History + Evolution

Founded in 1925, the post-secondary institution now known as Emily Carr University of Art + Design is one of B.C.’s oldest, and the only one dedicated solely to professional education and learning in the arts, media and design. In Canada, Emily Carr University is one of only four post-secondary art institutions and one of only 18 art institutions in North America with close to 2,000 FTEs. In 2021, Emily Carr University has ranked the top university in Canada for art and design, and number 30 in the world, in the (QS) World University Rankings.

The university has collaborative agreements and partnerships with other post-secondary institutions and organizations in British Columbia, Canada and abroad, providing a variety of opportunities for our students to participate in research, exchange and work-integrated learning.

Originally founded as the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, the institution became the Vancouver School of Art in 1933, followed by the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1978. In 1995, it became the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design and, in 2008, received university status and became Emily Carr University of Art + Design, designated as a special purpose, teaching university under the University Act. The school received degree-granting authority in 1989 and, by 1994, was able to offer degrees in its own name. In 2003, it began offering its first graduate program, the Master of Fine Arts and, in 2013, its second graduate program, the Master of Design. Most recently, in 2017, Emily Carr University transitioned from its long-held campus location at Granville Island to its new home at Great Northern Way.

The university’s new state-of-the-art campus is the first purpose-built centre for visual arts, design, and media arts education and research in the country. The 26,600 square-metre facility, designed by Canadian architectural firm, Diamond Schmitt Architects, and developed through a public-private partnership (P3) model with Applied Arts Partners (AAP), is LEED® gold-certified and advances the university’s efforts toward greater sustainability.