The Ilam School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury was founded in 1882 as the Canterbury College School of Art. The school became a full department of the university in the 1950s, and was the first department to move to the suburban Ilam site in 1957, in the Okeover Homestead. Art history was included in 1974, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was introduced in 1982.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is a four-year degree in visual arts and design subjects. With a high teacher/student ratio, the School of Fine Arts offers a boutique-style education in both the practical field of fine arts and the wider liberal arts.

The ability to specialise in one of the five disciplines - design, film, painting, photography and sculpture - is unique within New Zealand.

Staff are all practising designers or artists with established reputations. Our graduates are highly employable with lateral thinking skills as well as solid organisation skills.