Pre-University Programs

Visual Arts


Visual Arts is a two-year pre-university program that aims to prepare students for continued studies in a creative discipline. Courses are offered in painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, digital media and art history. Students work closely with teachers and studio technicians in professionally equipped studios.

The program emphasizes the production of visual works informed by an attention to aesthetics, technical skill, research and critical thinking. Throughout the two-year program students develop a comprehensive skill set geared toward maximizing their creative potential and the ability to understand how art movements relate to greater cultural contexts.

Where Visual Arts can take you!

Our graduating students typically enter university programs directly related to the broad field of the visual arts, including studio art, design, art history, art education, art therapy, digital media and 3D animation. A DEC in Visual Arts is also a solid foundation for further studies in the humanities or social sciences.

This program is for you if you want to?

  • Expand your imagination, creativity and critical thinking.
  • Acquire technical skills working in professionally equipped studios.
  • Develop an independent, personal approach to making art.
  • Engage in creative problem solving and decision making.
  • Learn about contemporary culture and art history.
  • Pursue a university education and career in the arts.

As a Visual Arts student you will…

  • Acquire technical skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, digital media and photography.
  • Explore drawing and painting from observation, memory, and imagination.
  • Work with traditional and contemporary approaches to printmaking and photography.
  • Acquire skills and techniques in the 3D studios, including woodworking, plaster casting, welding and ceramics.
  • Expand your artistic vocabulary and skills using digital media.
  • Understand the major art historical movements and current art practices.
  • Participate in a public exhibition of your work.
  • Build a portfolio for admission to post-secondary institutions and galleries.


Spacious art studios featuring state of the art equipment and natural light provide a quality working environment, meeting the needs of the students as they progress through the program. In addition to our two drawing and painting studios, there are three sculpture studios, which include a wood, metal and ceramics studio. Our printmaking studio is equipped for relief printing, etching, serigraphy and lithography. The Visual Arts department also boasts a dedicated Digital Arts multi-media lab.

Artwork courtesy of Aurélie Le Coadou

Field trips to galleries, museums and artist studios

Art history forms an integral part of the Visual Arts curriculum. The connection between art history and studio courses is reinforced for students with field trips to galleries, museums, artist studios and museums in Montreal, Ottawa and New York.

New York

Each fall semester, the Visual Arts Department offers a 4-day field trip to New York City. Students travel by coach bus to a hotel on Times Square. While in New York, students visit major museums featuring some of the most important works in the history of art, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. Students also visit important commercial galleries showing the work of emerging contemporary artists and emerging younger artists in some of New York’s most interesting cultural neighbourhoods.

Graduate Exhibition

Every year, the Visual Arts program culminates in a graduate exhibition that is open to the public. In the final semester of study, students work closely with faculty in order to create an independent body of advanced work for exhibition. Students participate in the comprehensive planning and presentation of the exhibition from public relations to installation, lighting and vernissage.

Bursaries and scholarships for Visual Arts students

The following bursaries and scholarships are available to students in the Visual Arts program. For application forms and more detailed information about bursaries and scholarships please contact Financial Assistance Services or the Visual Arts department directly.

  • Lakeshore Association of Artists Scholarship
  • Kirk MacGeachy Memorial Bursary
  • Freda and Irwin Browns Award

Admission Requirements

CEGEP Requirements

A Secondary School Diploma which includes:
  • Secondary 5 Language of Instruction
  • Secondary 5 Second Language
  • Secondary 4 Mathematics
  • Secondary 4 Science and Technology
    OR Secondary 4 Applied Science and Technology
  • Secondary 4 History and Citizenship Education
OR a Secondary School Vocational Diploma which includes:
  • Secondary 5 Language of Instruction
  • Secondary 5 Second Language
  • Secondary 4 Mathematics

Please Note

Applicants who have not studied in Québec must have education deemed equivalent by the College.

Program Prerequisites

In addition to the general CEGEP admissions requirements, students must complete the Visual Arts admission requirements consisting of a sample artwork and letter.

Make one work of art in any medium and any size that responds to the theme “identity”. What does identity mean to you? What does it look like? How does it make you feel? Interpret the theme any way you see fit. Be creative! Submissions may include but are not limited to drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, or digital media.

Write a letter of introduction explaining the creative process you went through to produce your work of art. Tell us about yourself too and why you wish to pursue studies in visual arts at John Abbott College. Approximately 300 words. The letter may be written either in English or in French.

Submit by email to:
Subject line: VA_Submission_YOUR NAME_2024
Your letter and one artwork image, must be submitted together as one .pdf with title: VA_Submission_YOUR NAME
Failure to follow these submission guidelines will result in delays in processing your application.

How To Apply

John Abbott College is affiliated with the Service régional d’admission du Montréal métropolitain (SRAM) and uses its online application service.

The application deadline is March 1.

Advisory: Support material (artwork and letter) and payment must also be submitted by the March 1 deadline.


Program start: Fall


To apply:

  • Complete the SRAM online application
  • Select John Abbott and the program of your choice along with the corresponding SRAM program number: 510.A0
  • Upload any necessary documents directly to your online SRAM application
  • Complete the Visual Arts Program admission requirements and send to

Students whose prerequisites are more than five years old should contact the Admissions office.

Admissions Office
514-457-6610 x5358, 5355 & 5361

Visual Arts Department
514-457-6610 x5808

Student for a Day Program

You are interested in John Abbott College and would like spend a few hours on campus?

Please follow this link to fill out the form Student for a day, and someone will contact you to set up a time for you to come to JAC and discover our campus.

During the tour, you will visit our newly renovated library, our sports facilities, the campus store, the cafeteria, etc. You will also be shown all the services offered on “Main Street”. If you have questions about application and programs, you can speak to someone in Admissions.

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