Start date

2 year(s) full-time


Program Code

AUD$ 36,100 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL) for students enrolled in 2024
AUD$ 38,300 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL) for students enrolled in 2025

English Language Requirements
  • IELTS total [6.5]
  • IELTS reading [6.0]
  • IELTS writing [6.0]
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements


Degree overview

  • UniSA has over 150 years of experience teaching art and design (footnote re SASA’s incorporation into UniSA).
  • Gain advanced practical art, design and research skills.
  • Develop important skills in business to ensure you succeed in your chosen field.
  • Learn in custom-built studio spaces and workshops.
  • Be taught by practising artists, writers and researchers who have significant industry experience.
  • Build important industry networks.
  • UniSA is Top 5 in Australia for Art and Design facilities1.
  • Have access to a state-of-the-art library that has the largest collection of art, craft and design resources in the state.
  • Use this qualification as a pathway to further study.
  • Our curriculum is informed by our world-class research in visual arts and crafts2.
  • UniSA is an unstoppable university for unstoppable people. As one of the World’s Top Young Universities3, 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.

1Ranked #3, ComparED (QILT) Student Experience Survey 2021-22, Creative Arts – Learning Resources Indicator (Postgraduate). Public universities.
2Results in Visual Arts and Crafts, and Creative Arts and Writing - Contemporary Art - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
3UNSTOPPABLE® is a Kellogg Company trade mark used under licence. Ranked #52, 2023 THE Young University 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:

  • photographic, digital and graphic media, illustration and animation
  • painting and drawing
  • spatial and material studies, including public art, sculpture, textiles, glass, ceramics, jewellery/metal, and furniture.

A key focus of this degree is on the development and application of research practices and methodologies. You will graduate with the creative and critical thinking 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 the same specific discipline may be 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 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, and invaluable research and business 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 creative and critical thinking skills needed to conduct 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.

In your final year, you will work towards the creation of a body of work for 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
Research Methods (Creative) CREA 4004 4.5 Rule(s): 2
Nature, Culture and Sustainability ARCH 6005 4.5 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)
Masters Project 1 GRAP 6001 9
Masters Project Report 1 ARCH 5036 4.5
Elective 4.5 Note(s): 1,2
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Masters Project 2 GRAP 6002 9
Masters Project Report 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, 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 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 written 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 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 in custom-built 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 (with the potential to undertake industry placements), industry-experienced teaching staff and academics, and national and international artists who visit as guest lecturers.

Our teaching staff are professional artists and designers, so the curriculum is practice-based and industry-relevant. You will also work alongside world-class researchers in contemporary art1 when you embark on an individual research project as part of your studies.

The Master of Design is located at the centre of Adelaide’s City West cultural precinct with easy access to cutting-edge galleries and arts organisations, including the Samstag Museum of Art, SASA Gallery, MOD. and JamFactory.

Now is a perfect time to choose UniSA for your postgraduate study in art and design.

1Results in Studies in Creative Arts and Writing - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

Real-world connections

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

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

UniSA has 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 with real-world clients as part of the University’s matchstudio learning experience.

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.

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 concepts, contexts and materials. If you think you've got what it takes, the job prospects for visual artists in Australia are looking great1.

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, 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:

This degree is part of a nested suite of degrees, which means you may be able to exit early and graduate with a Graduate Diploma in Design.


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 gain access 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. 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 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 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 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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