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Start Date

3 year(s) full-time


Program Code

424801 (Internal)
424811 (Packaged)

Study as
Full-time or part-time

Entry Requirements
Selection Rank (Internal): 60.45 (for 2020)
Selection Rank (Guaranteed): 70.00 (for 2021)
TAFE/RTO (Guaranteed): DIP
View full entry requirements


Assumed Knowledge

Degree overview

  • UniSA is number one in SA and top 10 in Australia for Art and Design1 and number one for Student Satisfaction in Creative Arts2.
  • Our curriculum is informed by our world-class research in visual art and craft, and contemporary art3.
  • UniSA has over 157 Years of experience teaching visual arts, incorporating the former South Australian School of Art.
  • Be taught by practising artists, writers and researchers who have significant arts industry experience. 
  • Access a state-of-the-art library with the largest collection of art, craft and design resources in South Australia.  
  • Apply for the Bachelor of Contemporary Art/Master of Teaching (Secondary) packaged option– it’s a pathway straight into postgraduate study.
  • Learn in custom-built studio spaces and workshops. 

1Ranked equal 10th, 2019 QS Subject Rankings
2ComparED (QILT): Course Experience Questionnaire 2018-19 – Overall Satisfaction Indicator (Undergraduate). Public SA-founded universities only.
3Results in Visual Arts and Crafts, and Creative Arts and Writing - Contemporary Art - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)



Intensive studio practice is a focus of this degree, and as a contemporary art student you will have access to stimulating, custom-built studio spaces and workshops. You will also graduate with a broad knowledge of contemporary and historical art.

A separate one-year Bachelor of Art and Design (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 think you might be interested in secondary school teaching, you can apply for the Bachelor of Contemporary Art/Master of Teaching (Secondary) - it's a pathway straight into postgraduate study. 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 explore the theoretical, technical and conceptual skills in contemporary art. You will also undertake research and get the opportunity to bring your ideas to life in on-campus studio spaces and workshops. Pieces produced will then be displayed at exhibitions at various Adelaide art spaces.   

During your second and third years you will complete a number of electives, which will further complement your specialisation. You are able to choose your electives from the studio disciplines or from a wider pool of electives. In your final year you will complete major project work where you will identify and frame a concept, plan appropriate methods and undertake research.

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)
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 and 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 practical, professionally focused and research-based learning, so assessment types will vary. You can expect essays and assignments, and there may also be:

  • studio projects
  • tutorial presentations  
  • reports 

Global opportunities

Enrich your studies and your life – make overseas study part of your qualification. Australian and international students may have the option to do an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas. We have links with universities worldwide. 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 degree is South Australia’s most comprehensive undergraduate contemporary art qualification, with the most extensive range of modern studio areas. 

With access to facilities such as studio spaces and workshops, you will learn first-hand how to turn your creative ideas into reality. You will also explore theoretical, technical and conceptual skills, and learn from national and international artists who visit as guest lecturers. 

Studio-based learning is supported by face-to-face teaching and online learning, with a selection of courses offered online. These courses offer flexibility and the opportunity for students to fit study in among work and other life commitments. You will study at the vibrant City West campus – located in the middle of Adelaide city’s art, culture and entertainment hub. Your teachers will be practicing artists, writers and researchers, with significant arts industry experience. 

Real-world connections

Learn from industry professionals, and benefit from their experience and real-world connections. During your second yearyou will have the opportunity to participate in an international study tour. You will also be given the opportunity to build networks and further broaden your understanding of contemporary arts practice when national and international artists visit as guest lecturers. We host regular University-wide employee master classes and employment expos, and alumni events in Australia and overseas.

Study at UniSA

Hear from Ella-Maude who studied the Bachelor of Contemporary Art at UniSA.

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

Contemporary artists are highly creative, highly motivated, disciplined and committed. To succeed in this creative profession you need to be willing to take risks, push boundaries and experiment with materials, textures and subject matter. If you think you've got what it takes, the job prospects for contemporary artists in Australia are looking great, with strong growth expected through to November 20201. Careers to consider: 

  • ceramicist: create ceramic objects or artwork 
  • arts administrator: responsible for facilitating the day-to-day operations of an arts organisation 
  • sculptor: manipulate hard materials to make three-dimensional artworks 
  • art critic: specialise in analysing, interpreting and evaluating art 
  • photographer: capture everything from portraits and landscapes to architecture, fashion and editorial. You can choose to be self-employed or to work for a range of industries as an in-house photographer
  • artist: create original artwork; fine artists are usually self-employed, but some artists may produce work during artist residencies or may be commissioned by an individual or organisation
  • jewellery and glass designer: design, repair and create jewellery
  • printmaker: create prints using a range of medium, including film, paper or wood

If you think you might be interested in secondary school teaching, you can apply for the Bachelor of Contemporary Art/Master of Teaching (Secondary) - it's a pathway straight into postgraduate study. If this interests you, please read How Do I Become a Teacher before selecting your courses.

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015

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 this degree, and one for this degree packaged with the Master of Teaching. You can apply to study this degree on its own. However if you already know you would like to combine it with a Master of Teaching, you can apply for both together.

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: 


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 have fantastic facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops, laboratories, and areas 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 has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation or private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages for plenty of options. If you need somewhere to live, our new student accommodation by urbanest is on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, an ideal perfect 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 support services will make your life at university easier. We want you to be successful, and if you need help, we're here to assist. We provide 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
  • Wirringka Student Services, offering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students a supportive place to study
  • services offered through our student association, USASA

When you become a UniSA student you can contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and any other questions you might have.

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 advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, and areas 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 
  • the University library’s collection of art, craft and design resource materials, which is the largest in the state 
  • Adelaide’s arts, culture and entertainment precinct, located in close proximity to our City West campus 
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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