Canadian schools

For anyone who knows which school is better, I have been accepted into both Emily Carr and Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD).

Emily Carr has Co Op, and Internship possibilities, where as OCAD does not. OCAD is more expensive, but I get the feeling that it would be a really great education over Emily Carr as I’ve heard. I am interested in furniture design myself, and would love to design with my own company one day. I’m not sure which school is more focused on design or engineering, or both. I’ve heard that Emily Carr’s strength is actually more in their Graphic Design department.

I would e-mail or go to the campuses to check it out myself and talk to the students, however, I am about 7 hours driving from Vancouver and a 7 hour plane ride from OCAD.

Anyone who has advice to give about either school, please let me know! If you’ve gone to either school, tell me about how the teachers were, or if the focus was more design based or engineering. I could do whichever one, but I think a focus in design as opposed to engineering would be more fun. If the schools even function like that. I would think that both are essential to ID.

I have until May 1st for Emily Carr and May 28th for OCAD to decide.

Thanks in advance.

If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend you take a few days to tour OCAD as it is not for everyone. I elected to go to Humber instead despite living ten minutes from OCAD. They stress art over practicality and concept over function. If that is what you’re looking then you should feel right at home, but it is REALLY worth the cash to go have a look. Well your at it I’d tour the other one before you decide

Thanks, but alas I cannot make that trip. I have gone by OCAD, and was impressed with the building. I went to a Grad show for Emily Carr a few years back, and it was interesting. Unfortunately I wasn’t really into ID as I am now, so the memory isn’t that great.

I’m leaning to OCAD because it’s in Toronto, where it seems much more in touch with the pulse of the world as it’s a bigger city. But it’s just one reason among many. I looked at Humber, it seemed like a good school too. I just ended up applying to OCAD.

Thanks for the reply

If you are interested in furniture design Emily Carr is probably not a bad option. They have a few instructors - Christian Blythe and Duane Elverum who are quite connected with the local furniture scene. I think they may even have a furniture “specialty”.

OCAD may also be good but I’m in Vancouver so I can only really comment on ECU.

Regarding internships - I think even at Emily Carr you might have to find your own internship. There are a lot of students there and not a lot of companies that offer internships in Van - so I wouldn’t use that as huge factor.

Emily Carr’s Grad show is starting in a week or so - the 7 hour drive might be worth it as you also may be able to ask to meet a couple of the instructors - especially if you’ve already been accepted.

You’re kind of leaving out Carleton and University of Montreal which are two good schools.

I just checked out the date for the Grad show, and it’s a day after I submit for the holding deposit, unfortunately.

I think I am choosing OCAD. One basic factor that makes me decide this is that when you are accepted into Emily Carr, you spend one year in their Foundation program. Then you have to apply after for Industrial Design. This isn’t bad, except that it totals 5 years in school. Whereas at OCAD, while it might be a bit more expensive initially, I am directly accepted into the program, making it only 4 years in total.

I would take a second look at that 5 year thing.

I am graduating this year from Emily Carr’s ID program and it is a 4 year degree. You do one year of foundation studies and 3 years of ‘design.’

When do you have to make your decision? If you came by the school on Thursday, I’m almost positive most of the work would be set up (as ‘industry night’ is Friday). If you want to make the drive down send me a message and I will tour you around the show before it opens (just don’t tell anyone! haha).

If you’re into furniture design, ECU might be a good fit. That’s what I’m interested in, and I’ve managed to tailor the program extremely well to my interests.

8 hours isn’t that far of a drive, considering it will effect the next 4 years of your life. You should come down and see for yourself!

I’n not that familiar with OCAD or EC, (though I have seen work from students from both as well as Humber), but I do know Carleton (I’m a CUSID alumni). I’d suggest giving Carleton a good look.

They have the rep of being the best design (ID) school in the country and are viewed favorably internationally as well. The foundation for the program is more engineering vs. art based than any of the other options, but I feel the program is very “real-world” and has a good position to set you up with furniture or any other professional application of design. Plus, they also just started a Masters program if you should choose to go that route.

In addition they also have a great coop program that sets you up with companies in the area and around north america, for a 16mo. term as part of the program.

As a grad, I have only good things to say about it, take that for what you will. Only positive of OCAD is being in TO :slight_smile:

I also think Carleton is the only one from the list above that offers a true Bachelors of Industrial Design compared to a BA or BD degree.


I have already accepted the offer to OCAD. I could always transfer if I’m having a tough time.

I did an “introductory” class for Industrial Design at EC. And it’s really what closed the deal for me on choosing to go into the program. It was a non-credit course, but the teacher really liked my design and it just seemed right.

I sent you an e-mail about taking a look at Emily Carr. What year are you in?

I looked into Carleton, but it just didn’t seem like the school for me. It is the best school I think, in Canada to go to for Industrial Design, but in the pamphlet, it just seemed more technical orientated, whereas I’m more interested in ‘softer’ products, to say the least. I’m into furniture design, and I didn’t see anything like that on there. So I’m assuming it’s not really orientated towards that.

Also, they wanted so many things from me that it sort of intimidated me. Which is good, they only want people going there who fit the school in that way better than me.

I wonder why University of Montreal is never mentionned in these discussions. Probably the language barrier is a big factor.

Anyway their yearly expo is tomorrow and the website will be up and running at 17h.

That’s because this thread is about OCAD and Emily Carr and how I got accepted into both. It’s all about me, really.

I just finished 3rd year and going into 4th year at ECUAD in ID. It is a 4 year program, 1st year is foundation year as with alot of other art institutes all over the world followed by 3 years of design. Getting into design program isn’t too hard, just maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA for the most part. Transfering into 2nd or 3rd year can be challenging. A few good classmates had to apply 2-3 times before getting finally accepted. So you’ll have a better chance getting in the design program if you start from our Foundation year.

I know of a few classmates that came from OCAD or was going to transfer there after 2nd year. I know it all comes to personal opinion in the end, but they weren’t impressed with OCAD overall. I’m happy I chose ECUAD. Foundation I hated since it’s basically fine-arts based, which I consider myself hardcore ID from the beginning so didn’t find any interest trying to find fine arts explorations (choosing ID instructors may help here, which I didn’t). 2nd year/1st semester can be better structured IMO, but in reality it’s intro to design. It’s kind of combined with 2d design students, which in the end will help you making graphic design stuff needed for later presentations. 3rd year gets more intense and a lot more enjoyable over all. But I was stuck in the guinea pig year where they had major changes in the ID program.

I’ve seen the upcoming program changes and it seems more stream line; combine minor electives into 1 class so you can get more classes in general, and having minors in which design stream you want to focus (wood, soft products, environmental, etc). Which is basically you choose specific electives you want to focus on and do a grad project in that stream. Electives can be open and can even be fine-arts electives too, so there’s some freedom on what you want to learn.

There are some international exchange programs they offer (though this year’s all got cancelled in last minute). More of social design like going to Asia, Africa or elsewhere to help develop local products. Every so often some local companies like LuluLemon puts up CoOp interns that if chosen can be your elective. Some classes gets clients, like this year’s furniture (which I took) was Far Coast (Coke) for the upcoming winter Olympics.

With any programs, make it your own. You won’t be 100% happy with any college you chose no matter how well known or great the school is supposed to be. Go to the workshop and make a lot of things on your own, not just school projects. You won’t have access to that size workshop or their tools after school, enjoy it while you can.


Thanks for the reply, though I am pretty much sealed into the deal with OCAD because I have sent off the deposit money.

It sounds like you have some pretty nice things to say about Emily Carr though. Is there a math component to the program there?

I am excited to go to OCAD. I do think it will be really great. Either school would be really great to go to, and I was really fortunate to have the opportunity to go to both. It wasn’t easy though. I wish I had known some of the information beforehand, but one has to make a decision sooner or later. Nonetheless, it is an exciting time. And the focus for me is to make the world a better place through design, and in the end, I think either school would have done a great job in getting me there.



Hey guys, hopefully you can help me out…

I am a McGill graduate (BACC of architecture) and am switching into I.D.

I got accepted to both Carleton and University of Montreal. I have some questions regarding both schoools! I hope you can help!

I compared things like housing (pricing is about the same), choice of classes are similar, and the facilities are similar (except Carleton has 2 rapid prototyping machines and U of M only has a removal prototyping machine or something) and of course the milling machine.

I looked at co-op, it seems useful and from what I gather, Carleton incorporates competitions into the studio classes and U of M does not. Carleton has some affiliations with companies (through co-op) and U of M does not.

Carleton however accepts high school students while U of M accepts CEGEP students meaning U of M doesn’t “waste” the first year on math and physics so I feel they have a more full curriculum, but they don’t see to prepare you as much for the real world as Carleton.

I am extremely torn between both, U of M has a better ranking as an overall school than Carleton (12 vs 37) in Canada.

I like U de M cuz it’s close to home and it’s in French and would force me to practice my French and seems very complete as a school.
I like Carleton cuz it has co-op (that I at least have the possibility of using) as well as a slightly better facility.

What is your opinion on both???