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Start Date

3 year(s) full-time


Program Code

Study as
Full-time or part-time


Assumed Knowledge

Entry Scores
2024 Guaranteed Entry
Year 12 (ATAR-based): 65.00
Year 12 (Grades-based): B,B,C
View Guaranteed Entry Info
2023 Cut-Offs
Year 12 (ATAR-based):
- Internal: 65.00
View full entry requirements

Degree overview

Contemporary since 1861. With its origins in the South Australian School of Art, the Bachelor of Contemporary Art is the product of a long history of innovative programs dedicated to the education and training of emerging artists, designers, and arts workers. UniSA is ranked #1 in South Australia for Learning Resources in Creative Arts1 and also holds the top rank in the state for Art and Design Facilities2.

As a student in the Bachelor of Contemporary Art, you will:

  • Be taught by practicing artists, world-class researchers3 and art educators
  • Learn in purpose-built studios and workshops with state-of-the-art facilities
  • Have direct access to the SASA Gallery, MOD. and Samstag Museum of Art
  • Work alongside visiting artists as part of our Artist in Residence program
  • Study in Adelaide's dynamic City West cultural precinct, home of JamFactory, Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE), Nexus Arts and MercuryCX, and just a short tram ride away from the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum.

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.

1ComparED (QILT) Student Experience Survey 2021-22, Learning Resources Indicator (Undergraduate). SA public universities.
2ComparED (QILT) Student Experience Survey 2021-22, Creative Arts – 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 #52, 2023 THE Young University Rankings.



Contemporary artists use a wide variety of mediums and art forms to bring their ideas to life. As a student of the Bachelor of Contemporary Art, you can develop skills in your chosen studio areas while continuing to explore. Hands-on teaching and learning is a focus of the degree but this is accompanied by studies in art history and theory, and courses in how to grow your career and make connections in the local art scene and beyond. 

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

  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Glass
  • Jewellery 
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Textiles
  • Printmaking
  • New media
  • Experimental media

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

Bring your creative ideas to life in dedicated studios and workshops, build a portfolio, and learn how to present your work in galleries and public spaces. Throughout your studies you will acquire the advanced technical, creative and critical thinking skills necessary for successful contemporary art practice. 

In your first year you will be introduced to all studio areas and inducted into the safe use of workshops, materials, and equipment. Alongside this you will take courses in drawing, creative thinking, experimental media, and art history and theory. From your second year you can start to focus on your areas of particular interest or keep exploring via a wide range of electives. In your final year, you will work towards the completion of major artworks for presentation in the annual end-of-year graduate exhibition.

You will also have the opportunity to go on a study tour, take up a residency with an industry partner, or embark on a semester of study abroad, all as part of your Contemporary Art degree.

You can gain an extra qualification and broaden your career prospects by completing a Diploma in Languages.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Reading Visual Culture 1 VSAR 1100 4.5
Foundation: Creativity VSAR 1110 4.5
3D Contemporary Art Studio VSAR 1105 4.5
Materials and Processes VSAR 1111 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Drawing Techniques for Visual Arts VSAR 2048 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
Studio Elective 4.5 Note(s): 1,2,3
Studio Elective 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
Studio Elective 4.5 Note(s): 1,2,3
Studio Elective 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
Studio Elective 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): 2,4

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. 



The degree’s emphasis on intensive, hands-on studio practice is enhanced by courses in art history, research and critical thinking, all designed to help you generate and develop ideas and ask new questions. Assessment types vary but  include: 

  • studio projects and artworks 
  • 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 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 practicing artists, makers, researchers and industry professionals, work alongside visiting artists, connect with Adelaide's vibrant network of galleries, artist-run initiatives and studios, and expand your horizons through placements, study tours and exchange programs.

UniSA offers an extensive range of career-related events and workshops online, on campus and around Adelaide to develop your professional 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 not only creative problem solvers, but they also ask new questions. They are motivated, independent, resourceful, and able to apply their learning in a wide range of professional contexts, including museums and galleries, councils, theatres, festivals and community organisations.

The job prospects for contemporary artists in Australia are strong1 and the practical, creative, and analytical skills developed 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 and maker
  • graphic designer
  • arts administrator
  • art director
  • set designer
  • gallery director, curator and exhibition designer
  • studio manager
  • 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

To apply:

  • go to the top of this page and make note of the relevant SATAC code*, then click Apply
  • you will be redirected through to the SATAC website to continue your application

There are two SATAC codes – one for the Bachelor of Contemporary Art, and one for Contemporary Art packaged with the Master of Teaching. You can apply to study the Bachelor of Contemporary Art on its own and decide later to add the Master of Teaching to your qualifications. However, if you already know you want to be an art teacher, you can apply for the packaged degree from the start.

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: 

see the full list of entry pathways that may apply


This degree is available for deferment. This option is made available by responding to your offer during the application process via the SATAC website. Applicants who receive an offer into a midyear degree are eligible to defer for six months.


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

Our campuses are home to fantastic facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops and laboratories, as well as spaces that simulate real work environments. But you’ll also discover that your journey at UniSA is about social experiences, healthy living and getting involved. You’ll find student sports and fitness facilities, community clinics, tech zones and chill-out spaces. 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 loads 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 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:

  • academic counselling
  • personal counselling
  • social support services, including family support and nearby childcare
  • common rooms
  • prayer rooms
  • security officers
  • career services and mentoring
  • Wirringka Student Services, offering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students a supportive place to study
  • as well as services offered through our student association, USASA.

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

UniSA’s City West campus is located at the heart of Adelaide’s vibrant art, culture and entertainment precinct. As a Contemporary Art student, you will have extended 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, MOD. and Samstag Museum of Art.
Your study spaces

Your program director

Stephen Atkinson is Program Director of the Bachelor of Contemporary Art at UniSA Creative, lecturer in art theory and history, and studio instructor in printmaking. He also facilitates projects on sound art and the creative possibilities of everyday life and materials. As an educator, Stephen is committed to the wider personal and social benefits of art education, and the creative and critical thinking outcomes of learning through making.

"While the Bachelor of Contemporary Art is focused on fostering curiosity and teaching how to make and conceptualise artworks, these processes also open up other ways of thinking that are transferable across all areas of life and work. Most tertiary programs assist students to develop problem solving skills, but art education emphasises the importance of asking new questions to conceive the world differently and reimagine our place in it."

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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