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Start Date

2 year(s) full-time

Program Code

4CM131 (Internal)
4CM208 (Internal)
4CM220 (Internal)

Study as
Full-time or part-time

Degree overview

  • Gain advanced practical art, design and research skills.
  • Develop important skills in business and financial management to ensure you succeed in your chosen field.
  • Learn in custom-built studio spaces and workshops.
  • Be taught by practicing artists, writers and researchers who have significant industry experience.
  • Build important industry networks.
  • Have access to a state-of-the-art library that has the largest collection of art, craft and design resources in the state.
  • Study at a School that has it's qualifications ranked in the World Top 150 in Art and Design1.
  • Use this qualification as a pathway to further learning.

12019 QS Subject Rankings



This master degree will not only help to further extend practical skills in your chosen specialisation, but it will also provide you with valuable business management skills.

The specialised fields you are able to choose from include:

  • photo, digital and graphic media
  • curatorship and arts writing
  • painting and drawing
  • spatial studies, involving public art, sculpture, textiles, glass, ceramics, jewellery and metal

A key focus is on the development and application of research processes and methodologies and you will graduate with the cognitive skills needed to review and analyse information. You will also develop skills in marketing and critical analysis.

Advanced Standing

Applicants who have completed a Bachelor (Honours) degree in a related discipline are eligible to enter the program with 1.0 EFTSL Advanced Standing and complete the program in 1 year of full time study or equivalent part time study. Applicants must also submit a portfolio of work, curriculum vitae and a written statement of intent.

What you'll learn

What you Learn

This qualification provides graduates with advanced practical and theoretical skills and knowledge, advanced research skills and valuable business and financial management skills.

A key focus is on research, as it relates to your chosen specialisation. You will also study marketing and business, covering areas such as:

  • grant sourcing and applications
  • industry associations and professional recognition
  • communication skills and marketing strategies
  • copyright, trademarks, intellectual property and taxation

You will also acquire the cognitive skills needed to review and analyse research, and will explore online art and design practice, online marketing, business management and self-employment practices related to the art and design industries. You will develop the knowledge and skills needed to understand critical research methodologies.

During the final six months of study you will complete two major research projects for presentation and/or exhibition.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Research Studio 1 GRAP 5005 9 Rule(s): 2
AAD Research Methods VSAR 4003 4.5 Rule(s): 2
Elective 4.5 Note(s): 1,2 Rule(s): 2
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Research Studio 2 GRAP 5006 9 Rule(s): 2
Business Practice for Artists and Designers VSAR 5006 4.5
Elective 4.5 Note(s): 1,2 Rule(s): 2
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Research Studio 3 GRAP 6001 9
Masters Research Project 1 ARCH 5036 4.5
Elective 4.5 Note(s): 1,2
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Research Studio 4 GRAP 6002 9
Masters Research Project 2 ARCH 5037 4.5
Elective 4.5 Note(s): 1,2 Rule(s): 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 and 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:

  • presentations
  • research projects
  • studio projects
  • business feasibility studies
  • literature/artefact reviews

There will also be essays and assignments.

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 Master of Design (Contemporary Art)

Why this Degree

This qualification not only provides you with advanced practical and theoretical skills and knowledge related to individual specialisations, but also ensures you have the necessary business management and marketing skills needed to succeed after graduation. It will also provide you with advanced research skills.

With access to facilities such as state-of-the-art studio spaces and workshops you will learn first-hand how to turn your creative ideas into reality. You will also benefit from our strong industry links, world-class teaching staff and academics and national and international artists who visit as guest lecturers.

Our teaching is informed by our research – 97 per cent of which is at or above world class1 – so you can be assured that by studying this degree at UniSA you will take away industry-relevant skills and knowledge. You will also work alongside world-class researchers in visual arts and crafts1 when you embark on an individual research project as part of your studies.

As Australia’s university of enterprise:

  • we are number one in South Australia for student satisfaction2
  • we are the largest university in South Australia with more than 31,000 students
  • we hold 26th spot in the QS World University Rankings for institutions under 50 years old in 20173

1 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

2 QILT: Course Experience Questionnaire 2016-17. Public SA-founded universities only.  

3 2017 QS Top 50 Universities Aged Under 50

Real-world connections

Learn from practicing artists, writers and researchers, and benefit from their industry experience and real-life connections.

Our teaching staff are highly trained industry professionals who bring with them years of experience. They have strong industry links and many hold professional positions with national and international organisations. For students this means links to industry and the opportunity to build important networks. 

UniSA has well over 2,500 national and international industry partnerships – providing further opportunities for you to build important industry relationships. You will have the opportunity to take on real-life projects, which requires liaison with real-world clients, as part of the University’s matchstudio learning experience.

We also host regular University-wide employee master classes and employment expos, and alumni events in Australia and overseas.

This degree was the only one available in SA and had a good reputation. The external mentoring program was amazing. I was able to get feedback and support from people I really admired that I otherwise wouldn’t of felt able to approach. This pushed me to produce better work and really strengthened my approach to making and writing about my work.

Awash, 2016-2017, sugar, cotton, plywood
Image credits:
Installation view, Firstdraft, Sydney. Photo: Tamara Baillie

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

Tamara Baillie

Master of Visual Art and Design *now Master of Design (Contemporary Art)

Career outcomes

Your career

Visual 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 subjects matter. If you think you've got what it takes, the job prospects for visual artists in Australia are looking great, with strong growth expected through to November 20201.

Careers to consider:

  • artist/designer: ceramicist, painter, illustrator, sculptor, jeweller, textile artist, printmaker, photographer, furniture designer, digital media
  • arts administrator: responsible for facilitating the day-to-day operations of an arts organisation
  • art historian: an authority on art history; you may work for a museum, library, art gallery or historical centre
  • art critic: specialise in analysing, interpreting and evaluating art

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015

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 areas 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 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, a 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 can make your life at university easier. We provide a full range of support services including academic and personal counselling. You can also access a range of services through our students 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 program director

Mr Peter Walker

Program Director

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

Mr Peter Walker

Program Director


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