Introduction to Post Secondary Arts in Canada


This project was undertaken by the Sears Ontario Drama Festival to provide a resource for students, teachers and parents in accessing arts focused post secondary  programs in colleges in Ontario and universities across Canada. The predecessor to this was the D2Hub Project (which I also managed) and which explored Drama and Dance programs across Canada,  sponsored by the Sears Ontario Drama Festival, Theatre Ontario, and Dance Ontario. This was completed in 2003 and sent out on CDs to participating SODF schools across the province. Requests for the CD information and suggestions for creating a website for similar but updated info have been frequent in subsequent years, but finding the funding for a much wider study-- and the time for me to organize it --were major obstacles.


However, this year the SODF decided to expand its parameters for arts areas in which graduating high school students can study --from drama, dance and music to include all related arts areas --when they apply for the $14,000 worth of Watts Foundation scholarships and bursaries the SODF currently distributes each year. As a member of the Scholarship Committee for the past 15 years, I have often found that our interviews revealed that often students had  not selected the programs which might best fit their skills, interests, academic qualifications, distance limitations and budgets—largely because they had insufficient information easily available to them.  Because of these factors, we decided that it was, in fact, time to do a more comprehensive web-based resource in spite of the time and resources it would require. All of the information has been filtered through my experiences over 35 years in education-- as a university student/grad student in 3 countries; as a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator in both public and private schools; and as a parent, aunt, and mentor to varied kids over the years—so all the commentary mixed in with the facts is mine, and I am responsible for any errors or omissions in the information provided in the articles or data bases. J


This updated and expanded listing, linked to the Sears Drama Festival website with individually downloaded segments,  will be more easily comparative for students, teachers, and parents. It had been our hope to have individual pages for each institution with in-depth information of interest to most SODF kids, and to be able to provide info in French for the schools which offer arts programs in Quebec and other provinces. However, these had to be abandoned as few schools were interested in taking the time to provide the information we knew from the first study that kids and parents wanted: this is probably because they believe that their individual websites already provide all of this info in some format—a very debatable concept! – or because students can indeed access useful comparative data, if only for Ontario institutions, on the OUAC and OCAS sites,  or because some of the info—for example, the number of students in a particular program, gender distribution, and how many complete the program within the time frame suggested—is not as important to them as it is to potential students.  Not too many kids want to go into, for example, a performance theatre program with only 10 kids, 8 of them girls…..from which 75% drop out before completion ! J


First, there are a series of introductory articles providing general information: please feel free to download, print and use any or all of these as resources within your school or for your personal use:


Four Star Websites is a listing of key Ontario and Canadian websites about post secondary programs, careers, service organizations, scholarships and awards.


The Long and Winding Road to “Happily After High School”  is  a ‘seasonal road map’ for research and decision making in the summer before and in the last year of high school, which acts as both a timeline and a guide for accessing key info in the other articles.


Decoding the Road Signs…. provides definitions and examples of key terms needed for potential students and their parents to make sense of the very diverse terminology used in university catalogues, websites, course and degree requirements.


Under the Radar presents  18 special programs in six arts areas:  Theatre Performance; Dance Performance and Education;  Performance- Opera Studies;  Production;  One of a Kind Programs; and Creative Arts Therapies.  Some of these are undergrad, others grad programs for future reference.


Seismic Shifts in the Learning Landscape  reviews the major changes in, and blending of, college and university programs across the country in the last decade:  this will be especially useful for parents and teachers as it highlights and explains what has changed since their own educational experiences.


In addition to these resource articles,  a set of data bases have been constructed which contain over 100 post secondary schools—colleges, universities, and blends of these—which offer a wide variety of arts-related programs across Canada:


                A:   Universities West of Ontario: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba

                B:   Ontario Universities

                C:   Universities East of Ontario: Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, PEI

                D:   Ontario Colleges


To search programs available in these schools, there are two starting points:


The one you will want to use depends on whether you already have  specific schools in which you are interested—in which case start with Option 1 -- or whether you are interested in a specific kind of program and you are trying to find all the schools which might offer the program you want.  In this case, use Option 2.


Option 1) Go across the top of the data base until you reach a school in which you are interested and scroll down to see which kinds of programs in each category listed on the left side of the data base they offer—then connect directly to the school’s website by clicking the area under the school’s name.


Option 2) Go down the index list on the left side of the data base, which groups arts programs into categories, to find a particular kind of program within a category and scroll across the data base to see which schools have programs which fit into that area—then scroll up to the top of each relevant column and connect directly to a school’s website for complete information.  The categories and programs within them are:


* Business and Applied Arts: advertising & graphics design; advertising & marketing; architectural tech; graphics communication management; art & design fundamentals; graphic & textile design; fashion and interior design; environmental and industrial design.


* Fine Arts & Humanities: cultural studies; arts & culture; modern languages & cultural studies; arts and contemporary studies; indigenous studies; museum studies; art history; speech & communication studies.


* Music: applied music studies/education; composition; history/musicology; performance; production; theory; special programs.


* Media: multimedia design; mass/new/digital media; media studies-theory and production; media studies- communication and tech; film production; film studies/arts; radio and tv; acting for film, TV, video; production/writing for tv and film; audio post production; animation design- 2D and 3D.


* Performing Arts:  dance/dance studies; theatre/drama studies; theatre production; theatre performance; theatre playwriting.


* Visual Arts:  design; illustration; photography; printmaking; sculpture; studio art/contemporary studio art; visual culture; creative arts/craftwork and special programs.


* Other Arts Based: concurrent arts education; arts administration; journalism/creative writing.


With thanks to Geoff Armour, Pauline Keiflin ,  Dave Armour,  and Jesse Elbaz for help with research, editing and collating data; the SODF Scholarship Committee and Toronto District  co-ordinators for input: Adrian Black and his students for website work; and Wayne Fairhead for his unswerving support of this project!

If you have questions you can reach me at                                           

Sue Daniel, Project Manager