Start date

3 year(s) full-time


Program Code


Assumed Knowledge

2022: AUD$ 28,000 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)

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.
  • Be taught by practising artists, writers and researchers with significant art industry experience.
  • Learn in purpose-built studio spaces and workshops.
  • Access the Samstag Museum of Art.
  • You also have the option of applying for the Bachelor of Contemporary Art/Master of Teaching (Secondary) packaged option for a pathway straight into postgraduate study.
  • UniSA is the only SA university ranked for art and design1.
  • Engage with a curriculum informed by our world-class research in contemporary visual art and craft2.
  • UniSA is also ranked #1 in South Australia for campus facilities in Creative Arts3.

12021 QS Subject Rankings
2Results in Visual Arts and Crafts, and Creative Arts and Writing - Contemporary Art - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
3ComparED (QILT) Student Experience Survey 2019-20 – Learning Resources Indicator (Undergraduate). Public SA-founded universities only.



Intensive studio teaching 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 art history and the theories and practices of contemporary art and training in how to grow your career.

Throughout your studies, you can explore the following studio disciplines:

  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Glass
  • Jewellery and Metal
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Textiles

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 acquire the technical, conceptual, research and 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 of the studio areas, you can choose from a wide range of electives drawn from the Bachelor of Contemporary Art and other programs across the University. In your final year, you will work towards the completion of major artworks, identifying concepts, undertaking research, and experimenting with mediums and materials. This will culminate in the 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
  • essays
  • tutorial presentations  
  • reports 

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 and workshops, and gallery spaces including 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 allows 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 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, motivated and disciplined professionals able to work in a wide range of contexts, independently or in conjunction with organisations such as councils, theatres, galleries, festivals and community groups. The job prospects for contemporary artists in Australia are looking 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 to consider include: 

  • artist
  • designer-maker
  • arts administrator
  • art director
  • art gallery manager
  • set designer and builder
  • curator and exhibition designer
  • community arts worker and workshop facilitator
  • art therapist
  • secondary school art teacher
  • graphic designer and illustrator.

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, 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 gainaccess 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 should you need, from dedicated student accommodation to private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages or explore our student accommodation by urbanest 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 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 advanced facilities including modern 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, digital and new media
  • the University library’s extensive collection of art, craft and design resource materials
  • on campus galleries including the South Australian School of Art 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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