Art Fundamentals Certificate Program

ABOUT Our Certificate Program

The Dundas Valley School of Art Fundamentals Certificate Program is a structured course of study, providing a wide-ranging education in studio art. Offered in collaboration with Ontario College of Art and Design (OCADU) Continuing Education, the certificate program is an alternative to a college/university program and is intended for art students looking for a more informal training environment in which to hone their art skills.

Please note: The DVSA Art Fundamentals Certificate Program is different from our Studio Fine Art Practice & Theory Diploma Program. You can learn more about that option here.

With an emphasis placed on studio work and practice, the Art Fundamentals program allows students to engage in hands-on visual arts-based learning and explore areas where they would like to take their learning further.

The program is ideal for those looking to do a gap year, expand upon their art making skill set, or for those simply looking to ensure a solid introduction to key art concepts and techniques by following a more formalized course of study. There is no set time frame in which all 16 courses (or equivalent) are to be completed.

Upon completion of the program requirements, eligible students will receive a DVSA Certificate of Completion. This certificate acknowledges the successful completion of foundational training in the visual arts from an independent art school with a long standing reputation for excellence and shaping the future of the visual arts in the Hamilton region. It is not, however, recognized by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

16 course credits are required for successful completion of the program:

  1. Beginners’ Level Drawing
  2. Life Drawing
  3. Intermediate/advanced Drawing
  4. Beginners’ Level Painting (Acrylic or Oil)
  5. Beginners’ Level Watercolour
  6. Introduction to Pottery
  7. Introduction to Sculpture
  8. Introduction to Printmaking
  9. Introduction to Photography (traditional Darkroom or Digital)
  10. Art History
  11. Colour Theory
  12. Introduction to Design
  13. Elective 1
  14. Elective 2
  15. Elective 3
  16. Elective 4

A minimum of 8 credits up to the maximum of 16 must be obtained from DVSA. The others can be obtained from the completion of specified OCADU Continuing Education online courses. A number of eligible online courses from OCADU are offered each term – options can be found on the DVSA website under Classes. Registration for OCADU courses must be completed through the DVSA main office or website.

A qualifying Elective course requires a minimum of 24 hours of instruction. Instructional hours for workshops and short-term courses can be accrued to the equivalent of a full Elective course.


  • Students wishing to participate in the DVSA Art Fundamentals Certificate Program must register with the school front desk in order to commence tracking of their progress. A one-time $50 administrative fee will be applied.
  • Attendance for required credit courses must be a minimum of 80%. Attendance is tracked for all DVSA courses.
  • If previous course completions exist in our database, these can be considered as eligible towards the credits required for completion of the Fundamentals Certificate Program. The Executive Director has final determination as to which previous courses may be considered eligible.
  • Students may apply to the Executive Director to use DVSA workshops towards their elective requirements.
  • Upon completion of all 16 credits, a Certificate of Completion will be awarded.