Lighting takes its rightful place as an independent area of academic study.

Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is the first institution in Canada – and only the sixth in North America – to offer lighting design as its own field of study, in a certificate program sponsored by LightForm.

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“The Certificate in Lighting Design program at Ryerson’s Chang School is built up of fundamental core classes that help a person start to understand lighting at a fundamental level,” says academic co-ordinator and the program’s director Stephen Kaye, also a senior associate at Mulvey & Banani, “and by the end of the program, have the students be competent in lighting design strategies and understand the design process.”

Since Kaye began teaching at Ryerson in 2011, he noticed that more students – and professionals – were seeing a future in specializing in lighting.

“Over the last 8-10 years, lighting has been pushed into the mainstream,” he says. “I think a lot of designers are intrigued with what they can do, with the field being a lot smaller, and LED has really changed the whole idea of what lighting can be, and there’s a lot more creativity being brought forth.”

In addition to the individual courses that the school offered before – including Kaye’s own course in daylighting – the new program has introduced three studio courses that allow students more hands-on, out-of-classroom experience. Aware of the wide variety of potential students with an interest in lighting design, Ryerson’s Chang School is permitting professionals interested in lighting to take just one or two courses, without having to commit to the whole course load.

But the fundamental goal of every course, Kaye says, is the same.

“The core of the program is to understand the design process that exists in the real world,” he says. “How projects start and end, and understanding the processes that exist in between. Depending on the experience of the person taking the course, there are different levels of courses to investigate from fundamentals in lighting to daylighting to advance lighting design studios.”

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“Lighting is one of the most important elements in design,” says LightForm president Richard Assaly, “yet it remains one of the most challenging for designers because there are so many technical aspects and options for them to navigate.”

“Our goal is to support the design professionals who want to educate themselves so they can feel confident when specifying lighting for their projects. We think the Lighting Design Certificate at Ryerson’s Chang School will empower them.”

The courses run the gamut from the history of lighting – beginning with daylight and candles – all the way up through the LED revolution and working within today’s lighting standards and energy codes. Previous students have come from backgrounds as varied as electrical engineering, architecture, interior design, and theatrical design.

The Chang School is accepting enrollments now for its January 2019 courses, and those wishing to take advantage of the LightForm sponsorship – which can include up to a 50 percent reimbursement of tuition fees – must submit letters of intent by December 30th, 2018. A committee of the industry’s top design professionals (see list below) will review applicants’ eligibility, which will be determined based on the student’s acceptance into and completion of the course, and letter of acknowledgement from the student’s employer before classes begin.

LIT 101 Committee Members



Learn more about the Lighting Design Certificate program at Ryerson University’s Chang School of Continuing Education.

Learn more about LightForm’s LIT 101 Scholarship.