a hand drawing a storyboard in pencil

Want to find out more about the Certificate in Design for Arts and Entertainment? Express interest to connect with this program and receive updates.

Express interest

Prepare for a career in scenography and learn to design for motion pictures, live entertainment, and cultural events.

This certificate program will help you develop the skills needed to make set, prop, and costume design proposals.

Upon successful completion, we will direct you to paid apprenticeships in Toronto’s vibrant entertainment sector through a policy of ongoing mentorship, including any additional professional development you may need.

This program offers the following benefits:

  • Enrol right away – open admissions with no application required
  • Take Toronto Metropolitan degree-credit courses
  • Prepare for recognition by leading professional associations (additional training required)
  • Apply for merit-based awards

What Will You Learn?

We prepare you with the cultural knowledge and technical skills expected of emerging scenographers in a variety of specialties. These specialties include production design, art direction, set design, costume design, and events planning.

Learn about:

  • the language of design
  • the history of scenography
  • script analysis
  • site and venue analysis
  • drafting and model-making
  • set and costume proposals
  • rendering and storyboarding skills
  • budget projections, scheduling, and art department management
  • the Internal Responsibility System, the welcoming workplace, and safe set practice
  • gaining practical experience on Toronto Metropolitan University student films

Who Should Take This Certificate?

Would you like to create the material culture for live performances, films, and television series?

Are you already an emerging scenographer, wishing to enrich your skill set? Or are you an artist, architect, or designer planning a lateral career move?

The Certificate in Design for Arts and Entertainment is for you!

Who Teaches the Courses?

Our instructors are scenographers with design credits in theatre, film, television, commercials, and special events.


Industry and Careers

Completing this program may lead to the following opportunities:

  • Trainee Assistant Art Director in the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), with advancement leading to Art Director and Production Designer
  • Pathway toward acceptance to the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC) (Theatre), requiring additional training, as an assistant set designer or assistant costume designer
  • Non-unionized set design, costume design, art direction, and production design
  • Events planning, fashion shows, marketing, and set dressing
  • Providing methodologies in constructed realities to directorial photographers

Certificate Requirements

  • 5 required courses
  • 2 electives
  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+

Recommended Course Sequence

We can help you customize the course sequence depending on your start date, financial considerations, part-time or full-time employment, and previous experience.

Contact Valerie Kaelin, Academic Coordinator,  at vkaelin@ryerson.ca for help in designing your course sequence.

If you are currently employed, be sure to make advance arrangements with your employer to release you from work with adequate travel time for prompt attendance. This certificate program will require your regular attendance, and you will have to meet homework deadlines.

We recommend you take courses in the following order:

  1. Early Terms: CDID 150, CDID 170, CDMP 130
  2. Mid Terms: CFPN 501, electives (2 selections)
  3. Final Term: CFPN 601

To fast-track certificate completion, many students register for CDID 150 in the Spring/Summer term. Some of the electives are also available then. Reducing employment hours to part-time status during this intensive term is recommended to maximize certificate success.

Why Register for the Certificate?

The classroom provides a safe, yet accelerated environment in which to acquire the hard skills to make your professional dreams come true. Haphazard preparation with nothing but eagerness on your side too often leads to burnout rather than a long-term, fulfilling career in entertainment.

Our instructors care deeply about your formation and introducing you to viable mentors once your core skills have been acquired.

Admission Criteria


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


  • Mature student status with relevant professional experience

Note: If you have no previous drawing experience, you must successfully complete CDID 803 - Drawing Fundamentals.

Awards and Financial Aid


Frequently Asked Questions

Will I find employment after completing the certificate?

While this is largely a freelance work environment, Toronto is a world centre for the entertainment industry. A lively network of unions, guilds, media outlets, and festivals can create a sustainable income.

What are the entry-level expectations of an art department?

Wild creativity is serviceable only if accompanied by a crisp set of hard skills, a strong work ethic, and civility. The way to get noticed is to focus on developing these skills. We are here to help you.

Are international students eligible for the program?

Yes. We have had students travel from Australia, the United Kingdom, China, Iran, and Italy come to study with us.

Please note that international students are required to pay international fees. Visit International Students for details.

What is the homework load?

You can expect to spend between 10 to 25 hours a week per course, depending on the syllabus.


“The Certificate in Design for Arts and Entertainment consistently nurtures, trains, and graduates exemplary new design talents, while also providing a wonderful launch pad for them to make their way into Toronto’s professional film industry. Over the past 10 years or so, I have personally hired at least 6 or 7 graduates of the Certificate in Design for Arts and Entertainment to work as assistants in my Art Department, and in some cases, on repeat occasions and in increasingly demanding capacities.

I am consistently impressed with the proven outcomes in terms of the students’ knowledge, skill base, and overall attitude, which is well-rounded, focused, disciplined, and holds refreshing respect for work/life experience and process. Hallelujah!”

Marian Wihak
Production Designer

“The Certificate in Design for Arts and Entertainment has been pivotal to my success in the working world. I am now successfully working in the DGC, representing professionals working on shows such as Star Trek: Discovery, Murdoch Mysteries, Altered Carbon, Kim’s Convenience, and Suits.

I strongly encourage students interested in production design for film to take the certificate program. Valérie teaches her students … portfolio requirements, [with] insider knowledge and contacts to succeed in the industry.”

Tess Sorochan-Ruland, TAAD, DGC

Course Delivery Schedule

Please note that this schedule is subject to change. Check individual course listings for scheduling information.

Required Courses Fall Winter Spring/Summer

CDID 150 - Design Theory



Monday & Wednesday

CDID 170 - Drafting for Entertainment



CFPN 501 - Scenography I: Art Direction



CFPN 601 - Scenography II - Production Design



CDMP 130 - History of Arts and Scenography


Elective Courses Fall Winter Spring/Summer

CCMN 314 - Professional Presentations

Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday

Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday

Monday & Wednesday; or Tuesday & Thursday

CDFA 104 - Fashion Drawing I



Monday & Wednesday

CDFC 106 - Fashion, Culture, and Society



CDFP 391 - History of Photography I



Monday & Wednesday

CDID 552 - Entertainment Lighting Design


  Monday & Wednesday

CDMP 120 - Film History



CENG 101 - Laughter and Tears: Comedy and Tragedy



Monday & Wednesday

CFPN 531 - Cinematography and Lighting Design I



Monday & Wednesday

CMPC 203 - Art in the Modern World



Monday & Wednesday

CRTA 180 - Music and Film


Monday or Tuesday

Monday & Wednesday

Contact Us

Questions? Contact Valerie Kaelin, Academic Coordinator.

Phone:  416-979-5000, ext. 6862
Email:  vkaelin@ryerson.ca

Additional Details