Midyear entry, applications closing soon Apply now

Start Date

1 year(s) full-time

Program Code

4GD102 (Internal)

Study as
Full-time or part-time

Degree overview

  • Gain advanced design and research skills, as they relate to building design and construction.
  • Learn in world-class facilities in our custom-built on-campus workshops.
  • Work on real-life projects, gaining valuable practical experience.
  • Be part of one of the longest running and most extensive university architectural design and construct-based courses in Australasia.
  • Benefit from our networks and relationships with industry – locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Learn from teachers who are practising professionals with strong links to industry.
  • Use this qualification as a pathway to further study.
  • Be taught by world-class leaders in research – UniSA's research in design is ranked world class1.
  • UniSA is an unstoppable university for unstoppable people. As one of the World’s Top Young Universities2, 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.

1Results in Design Practice and Management - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
2UNSTOPPABLE® is a Kellogg Company trade mark used under licence. Ranked #52, 2023 THE Young University Rankings.



This postgraduate qualification will equip you with a comprehensive understanding of the innovative, changing design world. You will study emerging trends and technologies, contemporary design issues, construction challenges and management.

You will build on your previously acquired knowledge and skill set with a strong focus on construction challenges, design principles and client considerations. In addition to fundamental practical skills (you’ll spend a large portion of your time on-site), a key part of your learning will relate to advanced research skills, and you will graduate with the cognitive skills needed to review and analyse research.

The unique award-winning Design and Construct courses will empower you to collaborate, design, and build community projects in remote locations in Australia and overseas with students from other design disciplines. Some of the projects students have designed and built include the visitor accommodation at Port Resolution (Tanna Island, Vanuatu); Aboriginal ranger accommodation and research facilities in Fish River (Northern Territory, Australia); and accommodation and research facilities at Witchelina Station (South Australia, Australia).

What you'll learn

What you Learn

Emerging trends and technologies, contemporary design issues, construction challenges and research are key focuses of this graduate diploma. You will also:  

  • develop design proposals
  • foster client relations
  • survey building sites
  • learn how to translate traditional drawing and design methods to specialised computer programs
  • develop research methodologies  

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Research Studio 1 GRAP 5005 9
Research Methods (Creative) CREA 4004 4.5
Nature, Culture and Sustainability ARCH 6005 4.5 Note(s): 4
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Research Studio 2 GRAP 5006 9
Business Practice for Artists and Designers VSAR 5006 4.5
Elective 4.5 Note(s): 1,2

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. 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 them to include:

  • research proposals
  • projects
  • literature/artefact reviews
  • presentations
  • essays and assignments

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 Graduate Diploma in Design (Design and Construct)

Why this Degree

This unique qualification enables students to see a project from the initial concept and design stages through to construction, client relations and community needs. It builds on knowledge and skills already attained and will extend your learning in preparation for a rewarding career across a range of employment sectors that combine co-design and co-construction.

UniSA boasts custom-built design studios and workshops where you will be able to develop practical skills, while teaching staff offer guidance, knowledge, and industry links. We are also fast becoming a renowned centre of innovation and enterprise in the sectors that will drive Australia's future, including smart manufacturing.

Our teaching staff are professional designers, so the curriculum is industry-relevant and primarily practical in nature. You will also work alongside world-class researchers in design1 so you can be assured that by studying this graduate diploma at UniSA you will take away industry-relevant skills and knowledge. This graduate diploma is also a pathway to further study, and with just one additional year of study, you can graduate with a Master of Design.

1Results in Design Practice and Management - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

Real-world connections

Our teaching staff are highly trained industry professionals with years of experience. They have strong industry links, and many holds professional positions with national and international organisations. For you, this means you will have links to the industry and the opportunity to build important networks. 

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.

Design Construct facility at the Mawson Lakes campus

UniSA runs the largest design construct program in Australia, providing students with hands-on experience in the design and construction of buildings in unique and incredible locations. The purpose-built facility, based at the Mawson Lakes campus, provides students with an unique opportunity to design and construct buildings for remote communities in Australia and overseas. The large scale prefabrication facilty enables students to see their designs come to life and also experience multi-disciplinary collaboration, modelling professional practice.

UniSA Video

Career outcomes

Your career

This unique qualification integrates both design and construction rather than focusing on just one specialisation. It is, therefore, particularly relevant for students who wish to pursue careers in areas such as:

  • architecture (further study required): design new buildings, and help to restore and conserve old buildings
  • interior design: design, implement and refurbish interior spaces
  • civil engineering (further study required): plan, design and oversee the construction of infrastructure such as roads, railways, and bridges
  • project management: plan, direct and coordinate building projects, and personnel; manage budget.

To increase employability in this competitive industry, it is recommended that students complete the additional year of study required to attain a Master of Design.    

Industry facts


Employment for architects, designers, planners and surveyors in Australia is projected to increase by 17,500 (14.7 per cent) by November 20201.

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015


UniSA students in the Design Construct degree are currently designing accommodation for Aboriginal rangers in the Nantawarrina Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).


The Design Construct degree is currently assisting the Community of Port Resolution to build beachside eco visitor accommodation on Tanna Island, Vanuatu.

How to apply

Applying to study with us:

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


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, tech zones, and spaces that simulate real work environments. You’ll also find student gyms and campus sport activities to keep you active. We also offer flexible study options, with online resources available for accessing lecture recordings, virtual classrooms, library resources and learning support. 

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. You can access a full range of support services including academic and personal counselling, career advice, social support services, as well as those 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

As a design student, you will have access to:   

  • custom-built design studios and workshops
  • Australia’s only Architecture Museum
  • the University library’s collection of art, craft, and design resource materials, which is the largest in the state
  • a mobile art, architecture, and design studio – a unique mobile facility that houses all of the equipment and resources you’ll need when on tour.
Your study spaces

Your program director

I’m passionate about increasing awareness of Indigenous knowledges and providing expansive opportunities for students to engage in the educational process.

Mr Peter Walker

Program Director

Portrait image for Mr Peter Walker
Portrait image for Mr Peter Walker

Mr Peter Walker

Program Director


Ask UniSA

More FAQs