Foundation/Foundation Transfer

Foundation Application Deadlines

Fall (September) Entry

The deadline to submit completed applications for scholarship consideration is March 1, 2021

The extended deadline to submit completed applications is May 1, 2021

Foundation Year Description

Foundation year is an exploratory, interdisciplinary year that equips you with the critical skills you will need to thrive in an art school environment. Foundation year is intense, challenging, fun and extremely interactive. It gives you the rare opportunity to explore a wide range of ideas, processes and materials. You’ll do things you didn’t know were possible. You’ll draw better than you ever thought was possible. You’ll meet friends who you will know for the rest of your life


Best of all, you’ll be confident and fully equipped to start making choices about where to focus your creative and academic energy in your following years at NSCAD.

NSCAD University is thrilled to launch its first all-online program for Summer 2020. Now the NSCAD experience is accessible from anywhere in the world!

The online courses available in July and August are as diverse as NSCAD’s usual full range of programming. They will be expertly delivered by leveraging the university’s state-of-the-art film equipment, studios, editing facilities, and digital media production knowledge to meticulously develop courses with the support and expertise of professional instructional designers.

Students will be immersed in the classroom experience with renowned artists and instructors in very personal, productive ways to create an outstanding experience with real art, craft and design production and curation as core outcomes using theoretical and practical content.

The Summer 2020 online courses offer a true, transformative art education that ensures community involvement with a heavy emphasis on engaging fellow students, learning to critique each other’s work, and having weekly personalized instruction through presentations and tutorials.



  • The vocabulary of visual arts
  • How to give and receive critique
  • Observational drawing
  • Colour theory
  • Composition
  • 2-and-3-D design
  • Academic writing and analytical skills
  • Visual culture studies


Admissions Requirements

Applicants who have completed, or expect to complete high school by year-end; or have attended a post-secondary institution but have not studied visual arts at the post-secondary level; or have completed less than one full year of visual arts study at the post-secondary level.

Academic Requirements - High School Applicants

Applicants currently completing high school must submit a record of all studies from Grade 10 onward. These transcripts should include at least mid-term or first semester grades for the graduating year.

All high school applicants must have completed Grade 12 (or the highest grade level required for secondary graduation) with an average of 70 per cent or higher, including a minimum grade of 70 per cent in Grade 12 English for university preparation. Advanced Placement (AP) courses with a grade of four or higher are eligible for transfer credit.


An International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma with a minimum grade of 24 is acceptable for entry to NSCAD. Higher Level courses with a grade of five or higher are eligible for transfer credit.

Quebec College d'Enseignement General et Professionnel (CEGEP) applicants must have completed at least one full year of a Diplome d'etudes collegiales (DEC) with an overall average of 70 per cent or higher. CEGEP students who have completed a two-year diplome d'etudes collegiales (DEC) will be considered for up to one full year of transfer credit. Quebec Grade 12 applicants must have an overall average of 70 per cent or higher including a minimum grade of 70 per cent in Grade 12 English. CEGEP students who have not had English courses at CEGEP must have received a grade of 70% or higher in their final year of high school English.

For those individuals studying toward the General Certificate of Education or the General Certificate of Secondary Education (e.g... in the United Kingdom, West Indies, Bermuda, East and West Africa, Hong Kong), the university requires a minimum of two subjects at the Advanced A Level and three subjects at the Ordinary O Level, with an overall average of C and no subject below a D grade. Two Advanced Standard (AS) Level courses may be used in place of one Advanced Level course.



Foundation Transfer (Post-Secondary) Applicants

Applicants who have completed previous post-secondary studies must submit all records of these studies. Applicants currently completing course work should submit transcripts covering all periods of study up to the last completed period. If an applicant is enrolled in course work, but no other final results are available, they may submit interim transcripts that include either mid-term
results or a listing of the courses in which they are enrolled.


Applicants who have been dismissed from NSCAD or another post-secondary institution for academic reasons will not be eligible for admission to NSCAD for a minimum period of 12 months from the date of their academic dismissal.



International Applicants

International applicants must have completed high school graduation requirements equivalent to those required for Canadian applicants. Applicants whose language of instruction either in high school or at the post-secondary level is not in English must submit a test of English as a second language. International applicants for whom English is a second language must submit evidence of their ability to conduct studies in English.


To apply:

Step 1. Join

MY.NSCAD.CA is your guide through the application process. It’s where we’ll answer all of your questions and help you prepare to apply and upload your portfolio pieces. You can sign up for a campus visit, track your application process and even receive your admission decision.


Step 2. Apply online

By answering a series of quick questions, you can begin your online application and provide us with all the details we’ll need to review your application.

Please note some changes to our application process due to our recent software update. Prospects will no longer be applying directly to the Foundation Program. Instead, please apply to the BFA Interdisciplinary Arts (or options that best describes your interest). This declaration can be changed, and you will be able to declare a major of your choice after two years of study at NSCAD.


Step 3. Admissions essay

Write a brief one-page essay explaining the reasons why you wish to attend NSCAD University. Your essay should discuss the prior experience that you bring to the university. You might also want to touch on the skills and knowledge that you hope to gain, and where you think your NSCAD education might lead you in the future. You can upload your admissions essay as part of the online application process.


Step 4. Submit transcripts

An academic record of current and previous study is required from all applicants. All transcripts must be received in the Office of Admissions by  mail or email directly from the issuing institution to be considered official. 

Click here to learn more about transfer credit for Foundation Transfer students.


Step 5. Letters of reccomendation

Letters of recommendation are not required  for undergraduate programs, but can be submitted to support your application. They are suggested for applicants who have been out of school for more than three years. Your reference will be asked to write a letter offering their impression of you and your art work. All letters must be received in the Office of Admissions directly by email from the person writing the reference.


Step 6. Portfolio and sketchbook

A visual portfolio is required for all applicants. Click here for information on the portfolio requirement.

Your sketchbook should contain 5-10 pages of your process toward making art.  What do you think about before you make your final images, your research, your ideas, your sketches? This is your visual journal of collections of doodles, lyrics, poems and drawings.  Approach this journal as if no one would see it (except us). Be brave and have fun!

How to upload your documents.


Step 7. Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of $70 is required. Pay online as you complete the online application.