Want to find out more about the Certificate in Image Arts (with specializations in Film Studies or Photography Studies)? Express interest to connect with this program and receive updates.

Express interest

Do you want to enter into an exciting career in the film, photography, design, communications, or cultural industries? This certificate program can provide you with the knowledge and skills to perform responsibly in these industries as a professional in creative or managerial positions. Whether your interest lies in the highly commercial, artistic, or experimental, the curriculum can provide you with the necessary grounding to move on to advanced study in a variety of media-related academic and artistic disciplines.

Many students take this certificate program before applying or re-applying to undergraduate programs at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts.

This program offers the following benefits:

  • Enrol right away – open admissions with no application required
  • Take a mix of online and in-class courses
  • Take Ryerson degree-credit courses
  • Ladder to a Ryerson degree program – earn advanced standing through eligible degree-credit courses
  • Exhibit your creative work through special events
  • Get assistance to help pay for this program through OSAP
  • Apply for merit-based awards
Equipment/Facilities Use
Please note that equipment and facilities use outside of class time will not be provided. Extra time may be purchased.

What Will You Learn?

Build a general background in design, art history, and cultural studies, along with professional real-world knowledge and skills in the two areas of Film Studies and Photography Studies. There is a strong link between theory and practice in each of these options.

Start with the very basics of film, photography, and design to build your skills from the ground up.

Who Should Take This Certificate?

You may be interested if you want to:

  • upgrade your current level of film, photography, and design expertise
  • retrain or make a career change
  • improve your job chances in film, photography, and design-related fields
  • prepare for a film or photography degree program at the undergraduate level

You can enrol in individual courses to gain specific skills, or take the whole certificate program to develop a greater depth of film, photography, design, and digital production knowledge.

Who Teaches the Courses?

All of our Image Arts instructors work in related professional industries and have long histories of teaching at The Chang School.


Industry and Careers 

Use this program to:

  • build your professional reel or portfolio
  • gain the technical and theoretical foundation to start your pursuit of an undergraduate degree
  • develop professional connections through your fellow students, expert instructors, and other industry specialists

Common career choices include the following:

Film Studies

  • Production Manager
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Editor
  • Sound Designer

Photography Studies

  • Photographer (fashion, commercial, fine art, portrait, photojournalism, etc.)
  • Photo Editor
  • Art Director
  • Photo Preservation Specialist

Certificate Requirements

  • 4 required courses
  • 4 single-term courses (or equivalent) from Specialization*
  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+

*This certificate offers specializations in either Film Studies or Photography Studies. You must fulfil the requirements of one of these two areas as listed.


Admission Criteria


  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
    • With 6 Grade 12 U or M credits (including English)
    •  With a minimum grade of 60 percent


  • Mature student status with relevant professional experience

Why Register for the Certificate?

Completion of our Certificate in Image Arts adds value to you! Here are some great reasons to pursue your certificate:

  • Build a comprehensive base of practical, real-world knowledge and skills.
  • Earn a well-respected credential that carries significant weight in this industry.
  • Develop professional connections through your fellow students, expert instructors, and other industry specialists.
  • Make your education a priority, complete a full program of study, and enjoy the reward of achieving a milestone goal.

Awards and Financial Aid




Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between the Certificate in Image Arts and the Certificate in Film Studies or Photography Studies?
The Certificate in Image Arts will prepare you to apply to either the undergraduate Film Studies – Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Photography – Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) second-year program at Ryerson University (subject to space/application review).

The Certificate in Film Studies and the Certificate in Photography Studies are standalone programs and are made up of different required courses and elective choices. Both certificates provide a more thorough understanding of theory and practice within their individual subject areas.

How long does it take to complete the certificate?
Most students take one to two years to complete the certificate (two years is realistic based on current scheduling and course availability). Ryerson requires that you complete the certificate within six years.

Can I apply the credits earned in this certificate to another Ryerson credential such as a degree?
Courses in the Certificate in Image Arts are both degree- and certificate-credit. This means that if you don’t yet have your degree, most of the credit received through the certificate may be transferred to the BFA program (Film or Photography) at Ryerson, subject to standard admission criteria and procedures.

How much time is involved per week?
As a general guideline, you should allow three additional hours per week, per course, outside of classroom hours. This will vary from week to week and will depend on your learning style, readings, and assignments.

The Chang School Photography Exhibition

The Chang School's Photography Exhibition, organized by instructor Joël Bénard, gives students an opportunity to display their strongest photographic work in a juried show. Students enrolled in visual studies courses – including Photography Studies, Film Studies, Image Arts, and Digital Art Production – are eligible to submit their images. Each year, leading professionals from the photography community select several works for their particular merit. The winning artists receive valuable awards that include gifts from photography-supply outlets and arts organizations.

Exhibitors are welcome to invite guests to the opening reception, where they can mingle with their colleagues and gallery visitors.

Our 2020/21 exhibition will take place May 1–14, 2021*. Visit ryerson.ca/ce/photoexhibit for information on attending the exhibit or volunteering your time, and view our past winners, awards, and sponsors.

*Dates and guidelines for attending the exhibit and opening reception are subject to change. Visit ryerson.ca/ce/photoexhibit for updates.

Questions? Contact photoex@ryerson.ca.

Peter Gerretsen Film Awards

Congratulations to the 2020 Nominees and Winners!

The Peter Gerretsen Film Awards have been honouring excellence in student filmmaking since 1999. Created by the late Peter Gerretsen – a passionate filmmaker and dedicated instructor, and a former coordinator of The Chang School’s Film Studies program – these awards showcase the talents and skills of our Certificate in Film Studies students.

The Chang School was proud to honour this year’s outstanding award nominees and winners. Winning films in the categories of Production, Screenwriting, and Film Editing were screened during our virtual event. Audience members were able to make their voices heard by voting for their favourite "Team Production" film through our new Audience Choice Award.

Visit ryerson.ca/ce/filmawards to view this year’s award categories, nominees, and winners.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact your Academic Coordinator.

Film Studies Academic Coordinator: James Warrack
Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 2237
Email:  jwarrack@ryerson.ca

Photography Studies Academic Coordinator: Dennis Miles
Email:  dmiles@ryerson.ca

Image Arts Academic Coordinator: James McCrorie
Email: mccrorie@ryerson.ca

Additional Details


This certificate offers specializations in either Film Studies or Photography Studies. Complete the following courses to achieve the Specialization in Film Studies.
This certificate offers specializations in either Film Studies or Photography Studies. Complete the following courses to achieve the Specialization in Photography Studies.