The Asqwith/Elliot and Sir Eric Ashby's T Commissions on behalf of the British Government made recommendations in the 1940s and 1950s to bring about higher education in Nigeria. The Nigerian College of Arts Science and Technology, a Federal institution with branches in Enugu, Ibadan and Zaria was established in 1950 with Mr. W.H. Thorp as the first principal of the college. Work commenced in Ibadan in that same year and the first college council meeting was held on the 25th June 1953. The Department of Fine Arts, which started at the Ibadan branch of the Nigerian College of Arts Science and Technology in 1953, was moved to the Zaria Branch in 1955. The Diploma in Fine Art and in Commercial Design was a four-year residential course and comprised.
The Fine Arts programme is tailored through both academic and professional training, aimed at developing students' perceptual, conceptual artistic talent and expressive abilities. It is focused towards stimulating consciousness and enquiry into the practical and theoretical issues relevant to the discipline, its cultural setting and the human society. The programme is designed to respond and accommodate rapid socioeconomic and political changes that shape the Nigerian cultural milieu.
The department runs a 3-4 year B.A (Hons), M.A, M.F.A and PhD programmes and they are organised into four specialized areas: