Fine Arts Diploma

Two-year diploma.

Where: Comox Valley
Starts: September
  • Become a professional artist with expertise in a broad range of disciplines that encompass traditional, interdisciplinary and digital art practices.
  • Develop strong analytical, problem solving and critical thinking skills to challenge yourself as a dynamic member of the knowledge-based, creative and cultural economy.
  • Expand your creative potential and art making skills in the supportive environment of NIC's well-equipped fine arts studios.
  • Transfer to degree programs in BC and across Canada.

Career possibilities: As a graduate, you will be well-prepared for employment as an artist, gallery assistant, teaching assistant, community arts programmer and community arts educator. You will have the skills to pursue a career in painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, ceramics, illustration, video, film and more.

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  • A world of possibility awaits you. Take your first two years of classes at NIC to develop your material and core technical skills in our well-equipped facilities before transferring into Emily Carr University of Art + Design's Bachelor of Fine Arts, UVic's Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) or Bachelor of Arts (Art History and Visual Studies) or VIU's Bachelor of Arts (Visual Art).
  • A great education, an affordable price. NIC also has some of the lowest tuitions and lab fees in the province. You will be provided with a substantial amount of materials and are encouraged to explore and experiment with techniques and process. 
  • Let NIC inspire you. The program develops critical thinking, communication and problem solving skills, and encourages experimentation and individual expression. NIC’s beautiful setting and studios provide you with the resources and foundation for a successful art practice.
  • Community presence. NIC staff and students consistently exhibit their work and play a major role in the Comox Valley’s lively arts and culture community. At NIC, you’ll create a portfolio of work and accumulate experiences to build your career in the visual and creative art sectors.
  • Unique places, inspiring spaces. As a fine arts student, you will enjoy access to the Shadbolt Studios, a modern, 7,510 square foot building which contains separate ceramics, painting and sculpture studios. You will also have access to one of only four Tozan Anagama kilns in the world. NIC also provides access to a large-format jaguar printing press and textile screen print lab for student learning in print media.


NIC’s fine arts program offers a career-focused education that fosters strong problem solving, critical thinking, research and studio practice skills. You will develop critical and theoretical skills in a broad range of mediums encompassing traditional, interdisciplinary and digital arts practice.

NIC’s well-equipped studios and unique setting has extensive resources, both physical and human, to inspire your imagination, allowing you to experiment with different mediums and express yourself individually.

Study in one of the best facilities in BC. NIC's studios are outfitted with up-to-date equipment and technology and many of the instructors maintain national and international practices. Trees, mountains and beautiful natural settings surround the Comox Valley campus and outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking are easily accessible as you learn to define who you are as an artist.

Beginning with fundamentals, for studio-based practice, you will build a comprehensive knowledge of materials, theory and exhibition for a contemporary visual culture. You will learn creative and critical thinking, as well as the hands-on techniques and skills necessary for artistic expression.

At NIC, you will have many opportunities to diversify your talents and explore a variety of mediums such as ceramics, printmaking, photography, sculpture, digital media, drawing and painting. Through a study of art history, you will explore the evolution of visual culture. NIC's creative environment will motivate you to experiment, explore and discover new methods of personal expression. You will be challenged to see the world around you from different perspectives and interpret those experiences originally and creatively.

If you are interested in taking a fine arts course, but do not wanting to apply to the fine arts program, there are often spaces available. Although course spaces are first allocated to program registrants, university studies program students are welcome to select fine arts courses and do not need to submit a portfolio of works to do so. Community members can also sign up to enjoy a fine arts course by registering as a part-time university studies student. For more information, contact an NIC educational advisor.

Your Fine Arts diploma will prepare you to launch your career or transfer to degrees at UVic, VIU or at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. 

Career Opportunities

After graduation, you will have conceptual and technical knowledge to apply your skills in a wide range of employment opportunities in the knowledge-based creative economy. You will have a strong contextual understanding of the visual arts across multiple disciplines to successfully pursue a career in painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, ceramics, curating, art education, art therapy, community arts programming, industrial design, exhibit design, fashion, interior design, illustration, theatre, set design, video, film and more.

Transfer to a Degree

Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD)

Transfer your NIC fine arts courses for credit in the ACAD's Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Design

Complete your NIC Fine Arts diploma with an average of C (2.0) or higher) including first and second year liberal studies courses outlined below to be considered for admission to Year 3 of ACAD's Bachelor of Fine Arts degree on the basis of their academic standing and a portfolio review.

As an NIC transfer student you will be given the same priority admission as continuing ACAD students when applying to:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts majors in media arts, sculpture, fibre, painting, drawing, ceramics, print media, glass and jewellery + metals.
  • Bachelor of Design majors in photography and visual communication design.

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Guarantee your admission to Emily Carr's Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (Critical and Cultural Practices)

Complete your NIC Fine Arts diploma with a cumulative 3.0 GPA (B average) or higher to be automatically accepted into year three of Emily Carr’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (Critical and Cultural Practices) degree. If your cumulative GPA is between 2.0 and 2.99 you will be considered for admission to year three of the BFA on the basis of your academic standing and a portfolio review.

Transfer up to 63 credits. Complete your NIC Fine Arts diploma with a cumulative 2.0 GPA (C average) or higher to be considered for admission to the following programs on the basis of your academic standing and a portfolio review. Note that these programs have competitive entry and therefore your portfolio should reflect work that is consistent with your intended major.

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (Film, Video + Integrated media)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (Photography)
  • Bachelor of Design (Communication Design)
  • Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design)
  • Bachelor of Design (Interaction Design)
  • Bachelor of Media (Animation)
  • Bachelor of Media (Interactive + Social Media Arts)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (Illustration) Note: Apply to second year in order to take Emily Carr’s specialized second-year illustration courses.

University of Victoria (UVIC)

Transfer Seamlessly to UVic's Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) or UVic's Bachelor of Arts (Art History and Visual Studies).

With dual admission you can secure a seat in UVic's Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) or Bachelor of Arts (Art History and Visual Studies). With dual admission you can study for up to two years at NIC while working toward UVic's BFA in Visual Arts or UVic's BA in Art History and Visual Studies.

With guaranteed admission you can secure admission to UVic based on your grades at NIC rather than your high school transcripts. Complete your NIC Fine Arts diploma with a cumulative 2.0 GPA (C average) or higher to be guaranteed admission to UVic's Bachelor of Arts (Art History and Visual Studies)

Vancouver Island University (VIU)

Transfer your NIC fine arts courses for guaranteed credit in VIU's Bachelor of Arts (Visual Art)

Complete two years (60 credits) of your NIC Fine Arts Diploma with a cumulative 2.0 GPA (C average) or higher to be  considered for admission to year three of VIU's Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) on the basis of your academic standing and a portfolio review. As an NIC transfer student, you will be given the same priority registration as continuing VIU students.

Make sure your courses count.

Each degree pathway has its own unique deadlines, portfolio requirements, course prerequisites and transfer requirements.


Admission Requirements

  1. Provincial English 12 or English 12 First Peoples with a C+ or better, or NIC upgrading ENG 060, ENG 096, ENG 098, ESL 090, or equivalent; or English assessment.
  2. Portfolio of Works (see Portfolio of Works Guidelines below)
  3. Admissions Essay (see Admission Essay below)

Portfolio of Works Guidelines

Portfolio submission deadline is the last week in March for a review that takes up to two weeks. Depending on the number of applicants, a second review may take place in May. Portfolios for the second review will be accepted during the last week of April. An admission essay is to be included with the portfolio submission. Drop off portfolios, along with your admission essay, directly to Student Services at the Comox Valley campus.

The Portfolio of Works is your opportunity to present yourself to the portfolio review committee. Since all portfolio submissions are eligible for scholarship consideration submitting a strong portfolio can be of enormous benefit. For a strong presentation, prepare and submit a portfolio of your works based on the following guidelines:

  • Original two-dimensional works
    Original two-dimensional works including drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, mixed media, design projects, and computer-generated designs. The maximum size is 56 cm X 76 cm (22” X 30”). Larger pieces should be submitted as photographs or digital files. Do not submit matted or framed work.
  • Three-dimensional works and other media
    Three-dimensional works - including clay, fibre, wood, metals, and so on are to be submitted as photographs or digital files. Media presentations can include audio or video components. Multimedia or time-based work should be a maximum of five minutes in length.
  • Digital submissions
    Work may be submitted entirely on CD, DVD, or USB flash drive. Files should be saved as JPEG, PDF, or as a digital portfolio in PowerPoint. Images should be high-resolution JPEG files (with a file suffix of .jpg or .jpeg). Image files in PDF or PowerPoint should be saved at 72dpi screen resolution with a minimum height and width of 1,000 pixels. Digital portfolios should be checked to assure that links work properly and all necessary files are included. Applicants should indicate if any special instructions are necessary for the viewing of digital portfolios.
  • Identify everything clearly
    In all cases, each work must be clearly identified with name, date, title, size and media. An inventory sheet identifying each piece must be included with your portfolio submission.
  • Show your range
    Your portfolio should contain a representative selection of up to 20 original completed works or works in progress. Original work excludes copies of works created by others; however, it may include variations derived from others. Your sources must be credited.

Submissions may include working studies, research, or technical explorations to illustrate your personal interests and directions. These can be self-initiated works as well as works assigned to you as projects. You should submit your best and most recent work that represents your personal interests and your abilities.

The portfolio committee is looking for demonstrated abilities within a variety of areas, an open, exploratory attitude, energy and a commitment that is consistent with the intense nature of this two-year program.

Admissions Essay Guidelines

State in a brief essay, of one typed page, your reasons for wanting to attend NIC’s Fine Arts program. You should discuss the experiences you bring to the college or the reasons that have led you to apply. You may also discuss the skills and information that you hope to gain, where your education might lead, and where you find inspiration or how you presently relate to the world.

It should be understood that the admissions essay is not used to determine your suitability for the program, rather it provides the committee with information that may enhance or contribute to our understanding of your portfolio.


Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

International Language Requirements

For international language requirements click here.

To Be Successful

Fine arts and design students at NIC are dedicated as well as creative. Course work is intense and requires focused effort and commitment.

If you are in the program full time, you will be in class for 22 hours per week with homework and extra studio time requiring almost that amount of time again. You will be challenged to see the world around you from different perspectives and are invited to interpret those experiences originally and creatively.

We encourage you to do much more than simply complete assignments. There is an expectation that you will push the limits and bring more to your assignments than is being asked of you.

Program Requirements

Year 1

  • FIN-100 Introduction to Art History and Visual Culture I
  • FIN-101 Introduction to Art History and Visual Culture II 
  • FIN-110 Drawing & 2-Dimensional Language I
  • FIN-111 Drawing & 2-Dimensional Language II
  • FIN-120 Painting: Colour & Perception
  • FIN-121 Painting: Methods & Concepts
  • FIN-130 Foundation Studio in 3-D Materials and Design
  • FIN-140 Creative Processes

Note: FIN-110 is a prerequisite or co-requisite for all 100- and 200-level Fine Arts courses except FIN-100 and 101.

plus 2 courses from the following list:

  • FIN-115 Introduction to Printmaking
  • FIN-131 Foundation Studio in 3-D Objects and Space
  • FIN-135 Introduction to Ceramics
  • FIN-145 Introduction to Photography

Year 2

All students will be required to take:

  • FIN-210 Drawing & 2-Dimensional Language III
  • FIN-211 Drawing & 2-Dimensional Language IV
  • PHI-240 Philosophy of Art
  • FIN-250 Modern Art History

plus 2 courses from:

plus 2 of the following courses:

  • FIN-201 Video + Sound 2
  • FIN-217 Serigraph Printmaking
  • FIN-221 Painting Applications II
  • FIN-231 Sculpture and Integrated Art Practices II
  • FIN-236 3-Dimensional Applications (Ceramics II)
  • FIN-247 Introduction to Digital Photography

plus 2 English courses from the following:

Students who are enrolled in the dual admission program with Emily Carr will select from these English courses.

  • ENG-115 Essay Writing and Critical Analysis
  • ENG-120 Introduction to Literature: Short Stories and the Novel
  • ENG-121 Introduction to Literature: Poetry and Drama
  • ENG-125 Composition & Indigenous Literature I
  • ENG-126 Composition & Indigenous Literature II

Students who do not intend on continuing to the Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr at NIC can select from the above English courses, plus

  • ENG-107 Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction & Non-Fiction
  • ENG-108 Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry & Drama  

Completion Requirements

As a full-time student: 
A student must complete the program within two years of acceptance.

As a part-time student:
A student must complete the program within four years of acceptance.

Tuition & Costs Estimate for
Fall 2018, Winter, Spring & Summer 2019

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Year 1 Year 2 Grand Total
Tuition $2,910 $2,910
NISU Fees $125 $125
Lab Fees $425 $470
Books $1,630 $1,630
Learner Resource $155 $155
Health and Dental $275 $275
Total $5,520 $5,565 $11,085
Full-time students are automatically enrolled in the mandatory Health and Dental Benefit plan ($275).

International Fees

Year 1 Year 2 Grand Total
Tuition $16,540 $16,540
NISU Fees $125 $125
Lab Fees $425 $470
Books $1,630 $1,630
Learner Resource $155 $155
Health and Dental $275 $275
Total $19,150 $19,195 $38,345
Additional Costs for International Students include the $100 Application fee (required) and the $250 Accommodation Application Fee (optional).
Tuition is based on 3 - 5 courses per term.
Full-time students are automatically enrolled in the mandatory Health and Dental Benefit plan ($275).

Linda Perron

Linda Perron
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5054 | Location DIS - 215

Angela Somerset

Angela Somerset
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5093 | Location RAV - 115

Gordon Hutchens

Gordon Hutchens
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5051 | Location RAV - 115

Susanne Sampson

Susanne Sampson
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5228 | Location RAV - 108A

Sara Vipond

Sara Vipond


Fine Arts

Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts, (York University, 2005)


Subjects: Fine Arts
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5000 ext. 4100 | Location RAV - 115

Megan Wilson

Megan Wilson
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5056 | Location RAV - 108B