Start date

3 year(s) full-time


Program Code


Assumed Knowledge

AUD$ 29,400 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL) for students enrolled in 2023
AUD$ 30,900 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL) for students enrolled in 2024

English Language Requirements
  • IELTS total [6.0]
  • IELTS reading [6.0]
  • IELTS writing [6.0]
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements


Degree overview

UniSA, incorporating the South Australian School of Art, has over 157 years’ experience in art education. UniSA is the only SA university ranked for art and designand is ranked #1 in South Australia for campus facilities in Creative Arts2.

As a student in the Bachelor of Contemporary Art:

  • You’ll be taught by practising artists, writers and researchers with significant art industry experience
  • Turn your curiosity into a creative career
  • Learn in purpose-built studios and workshops
  • Access the SASA Gallery and the Samstag Museum of Art
  • Engage with a curriculum informed by world-class research in contemporary art.

UniSA is an unstoppable university for unstoppable people. As one of the World’s Top Young Universities4, we’ll ensure you get the experience your future profession demands so it’ll feel like you’re studying one minute and in a career the next.

You also have the option of applying for the Bachelor of Contemporary Art/Master of Teaching (Secondary) packaged option for a pathway straight into secondary teaching.

12022 QS Subject Rankings
2ComparED (QILT) Student Experience Survey 2019-20 – Learning Resources Indicator (Undergraduate). SA public universities.
3Results in Studies in Creative Arts and Writing - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

4UNSTOPPABLE® is a Kellogg Company trade mark used under licence. Ranked #46, 2022 THE Young University Rankings, Ranked #29, 2021 QS Top 50 Universities Aged Under 50.



Hands-on teaching and learning is a focus of this degree, and as a contemporary art student you will have access to a comprehensive range of facilities in custom-built studios and workshops. Alongside these are studies in art history, theory, and courses in how to grow your career and opportunities to connect with industry partners in the City West cultural precinct. A key feature of the degree is its flexibility. Students can choose to focus on the development of hand skills or opt for a more multidisciplinary pathway through the program.

Throughout your studies, you can select from a range of the studio areas including:

  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Glass
  • Jewellery 
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Textiles
  • Printmaking

And also be introduced to the contemporary practices of video, sound, performance, and new media art.

A separate one-year Bachelor of Creative Arts (Honours) program is available to students who complete this degree with a credit or higher Grade Point Average (GPA). Other selection criteria may apply. 

If you want qualifications as an art teacher, you can apply for the combined Bachelor of Contemporary Art/Master of Teaching (Secondary) degree - it's a pathway straight into a career as a secondary school art teacher. If this interests you, please read How Do I Become a Teacher before selecting your courses.

If you would like to apply directly into the Bachelor of Contemporary Art/Master of Teaching (Secondary) package option, please apply via SATAC using 424811.

What you'll learn

What you Learn

Throughout your studies you will acquire the advanced problem-solving skills necessary for successful contemporary art practice. You will have the opportunity to bring your creative ideas to life in dedicated studios and workshops, build a portfolio, and learn how to present your work in gallery spaces on and off campus.   

Following your Foundation year, where you will be introduced to each main studio area, you can focus on your particular areas of interest or keep exploring via a wide range of electives. In your final year, you will work towards completing major artworks, identifying concepts, undertaking research, and experimenting with mediums and materials. This culminates in the annual end-of-year Graduate exhibition.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Critical Literacies for Contemporary Art VSAR 1107 4.5
Reading Visual Culture 1 VSAR 1100 4.5
Foundation: Creativity VSAR 1110 4.5
3D Contemporary Art Studio VSAR 1105 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
The Studio Journal VSAR 1109 4.5
Reading Visual Culture 2 VSAR 2100 4.5
Foundation: Principles of Perception VSAR 1108 4.5
2D Contemporary Art Studio VSAR 1104 4.5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Contemporary Art Practice VSAR 2096 4.5
Art and Australian Culture VSAR 3015 4.5
Core Studio Elective 4.5 Note(s): 5
Contemporary Art Elective 1 4.5 Note(s): 1,2,3
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Contemporary Art Research VSAR 1106 4.5
Art and Critical Thinking VSAR 3016 4.5
Core Studio Elective 4.5 Note(s): 5
Contemporary Art Elective 2 4.5 Note(s): 1,2,3
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Contextualising Studio Practice VSAR 2109 4.5
Studio: Project A VSAR 3005 9
Contemporary Art Elective 3 4.5 Note(s): 1,2,3
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Contemporary Art Career Development VSAR 3021 4.5
Studio: Project B VSAR 3006 9
University Elective 4.5 Note(s): 4

Study hours

For each course you study, you will need to allocate time for various classes such as lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars and practicals. Plus you will need additional hours to study in your own time to complete assignments, readings and projects, as well as to contribute to online discussion forums (independent study). So as a general rule, if you are studying full-time you would need to allocate 12–26 hours of study when at university and 14–28 hours of independent study per week.



Your studies will incorporate a range of practical and creative skills, with professionally focused and research-based learning. Assessment types will vary, but these will generally include:

  • studio projects
  • visual journals
  • essays
  • video presentations

Global opportunities

Enrich your studies and your life – make overseas study part of your qualification. You may have the option to undertake an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas while you study. We have links with universities worldwide, as well as a range of travel grants available to make going overseas much more accessible.

You can choose short-term or semester-long study from a range of universities and countries depending on your area of study and cultural interests.

Take a look at the global opportunities available.

Global opportunities

Why Bachelor of Contemporary Art

Why this Degree

UniSA's Bachelor of Contemporary Art is South Australia’s most comprehensive undergraduate contemporary art qualification, with the most extensive range of studio areas, all located at the vibrant City West campus in the heart of Adelaide city’s art, culture and entertainment hub.

With access to dedicated studios, workshops, and gallery spaces, including the SASA Gallery, MOD and the Samstag Museum of Art, you will learn first-hand how to turn your creative ideas into reality.

Studio-based courses are supported by face-to-face tutorials and seminars, while a selection of online courses offer flexibility to allow you to fit study in with other work and life commitments.

Real-world connections

Learn from practising artists and industry professionals, and benefit from their experience and connections with studios and institutions around the world.  You will also be given the opportunity to build networks and broaden your understanding of contemporary arts practice through workshops and seminars with visiting artists. The Bachelor of Contemporary Art also offers a range of study tours and exchange programs giving you the opportunity to further expand your horizons.

UniSA offers an extensive range of career-related events and workshops online, on campus and around Adelaide to develop your skills and increase your knowledge.

Study Contemporary Art at UniSA

Hear from UniSA graduate and artist Lucy Zola about her experience studying Contemporary Art at UniSA and how it has helped her reach her career goals.

UniSA Video

Yusuf won the annual Helpmann Academy British School at Rome Residency, valued at $25,000.

The British School at Rome Residency (BSR) was an opportunity to reflect on what I had been doing and how I might take that forward on returning to Australia. My interest lay initially in Islamic geometric tile patterns such as the Cosmatesque tiles in Rome and other parts of Southern Italy. The live-in studio space at the BSR ensured that my creative practice was at the forefront of my thoughts.

After my Honours, I was awarded a scholarship for postgraduate research at UniSA and have started my PhD. The time to step away and reflect on my research interests, motivation and the intended outcomes has been invaluable.

Image credits: Mashrabiya by Yusuf Ali Hayat

Yusuf Ali Hayat

Bachelor of Visual Arts *now Bachelor of Contemporary Art

Career outcomes

Your career

Bachelor of Contemporary art graduates are highly creative problem solvers, motivated, independent, adaptable, and able to apply their learning to a wide range of professional contexts, including galleries, councils, theatres, festivals and community organisations.

The job prospects for contemporary artists in Australia are strong1 and the practical, creative, and analytical skills acquired in the Bachelor of Contemporary Art are immediately transferable to other areas of the arts and cultural industries, and beyond. Careers for graduates of the Bachelor of Contemporary Art include: 

  • artist
  • ceramicist or glass artist
  • jewellery designer/-maker
  • arts administrator
  • art director
  • set designer
  • curator and exhibition designer
  • community arts worker and workshop facilitator
  • art therapist
  • art teacher*

*To qualify as a secondary school art teacher you can apply for the combined Bachelor of Contemporary Art/Master of Teaching (Secondary) degree - it's a pathway straight into a secondary teaching career. If this interests you, please read How Do I Become a Teacher before selecting your courses.

1Australian Government, National Skills Commission, Job Outlook 2020

How to apply

How to apply for international students will give you helpful information about the application process at the University of South Australia. When you are ready, apply through our International Application System. If you would like to talk to someone near you about studying at the University of South Australia, we have agents all over the world who can assist you. Find an Education Agent in your country.

Alternative Pathways

There are other pathways you can follow to study this degree, including: 

There are other pathways you can follow to study this degree, including: 


Every year, over 2,500 UniSA students are supported in their studies through scholarships and grants worth millions of dollars. Check out the scholarships below. One of them may be perfect for you. Visit our scholarships page for more.

More scholarships

Your study experience and support

As a UniSA student, you will have unique access to work placement opportunities, overseas study tours and exchanges, networking events, internships, guest speakers and more.

Our campuses are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops and laboratories, as well as spaces that simulate real work environments. These are all supported by the latest technologies and a 24/7 online learning platform. We have health services on campus, gymnasiums, technology zones and great student lounges. You will also gain access to a range of community clinics, which provide professional and cost effective services in areas of health, business, law and psychology. There are campus sport activities to keep you active, and if you are keen to explore the social side of university life, there are movies, cooking demonstrations, parties and lots more.

Adelaide also has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation and private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages, or explore our student accommodation by Scape on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, an ideal location for students. It is within easy reach of UniSA’s city and metropolitan campuses, Rundle Mall shopping, the Central Market, Chinatown, and the West End’s vibrant nightlife. It is also across the road from the Adelaide train station, and on bus and tram routes.

Student services

Student services

Our international student services provide you with all the support you need at university. We want you to succeed, and if you need help, we're here to assist. You can access a full range of support services, including:

  • career advice and mentoring
  • help with student visas and health cover
  • personal counselling
  • academic counselling
  • fees and finance help
  • common rooms
  • prayer rooms
  • security officers
  • accommodation services 
  • as well as services offered through our student association, USASA.

We also offer study support from our Learning Advisers face-to-face or online. They are here to help you develop academically and professionally during your studies, and can offer help with the English language too. When you become a UniSA student, you can also contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and more.

24/7 digital environment

Our learnonline facilities include a personal learning environment with virtual classrooms, lecture recordings, emails, learning support, administration, library access and results. The environment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can tailor your learning to your life. We are continually investing in innovative digital technologies for a high-quality student learning experience.

Student services

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with modern facilities including lecture theatres, libraries and laboratories, as well as spaces that simulate real work environments.

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

As a contemporary art student you will have access to: 

  • dedicated studio spaces and workshops in painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, glass, jewellery, printmaking, photography, textiles, and new media
  • the University library’s extensive online collection of art, craft and design resources
  • on campus galleries including the SASA Gallery and the Samstag Museum of Art
  • UniSA’s City West campus located at the heart of Adelaide’s vibrant art, culture and entertainment precinct.
Your study spaces

Your program director

Dr Stephen Atkinson

Program Director

Portrait image for Dr Stephen Atkinson
Portrait image for Dr Stephen Atkinson

Dr Stephen Atkinson

Program Director


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