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Visual Arts - frequently asked questions

Why study with us?

  • You will be taught by practising artists, writers, and curators, and benefit from their extensive professional experience and arts industry networks.

  • Choose from a wide range of electives in contemporary art or in the many disciplines offered across other faculties of the University.


In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely for students commencing their studies in 2021 and 2022.

Students commencing this course in 2021 and 2022 can commence their studies remotely whilst the Australian border remains closed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Remote study is not available for some units of study and/or placements essential to this course and you will be required to attend in-person on campus from Semester 1, Year 2.

About this course

This hands-on degree will provide you with the conceptual, theoretical and technical skills to become a successful practising artist or work across a range of careers in creative industries.

You will be taught by practising artists, writers and curators, whose extensive professional experience and industry networks will be of enormous benefit to you.

You will also be encouraged to work across disciplinary boundaries to realise your ideas. Your studies will be supported by intimate studio-style workshops across many artistic mediums including ceramics, glass, jewellery, painting, photography, print media, screen arts and sculpture.

The degree includes an art history component to help build your research and critical skills as well as access to a wide range of contemporary art electives.

With the opportunity to complete a major or minor from the University's shared pool, our flexible course structure allows you to build a degree in contemporary art adapted to your personal strengths and aspirations.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Admission, fees and how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status

The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

Your fee

Your funding and scholarships

How to apply

Prospective domestic students apply through the Universities Admission Centre (UAC) for a Commonwealth Supported Place . Refer to the UAC website for key dates.

Portfolio requirements:
To be eligible for admission to the Bachelor of Visual Arts you will also need to submit a portfolio of your artwork. Please refer to our Portfolio page for information about portfolio guidelines, submission instructions, and due dates.

For other useful information, visit our How to apply page.

Current students applying to transfer from one bachelor degree to another, apply directly to the University. The exact process will depend on the course you are currently in and the course to which you wish to transfer. For more information visit the transferring courses page .

Current students applying to transfer from a diploma to a bachelor degree must apply through UAC.

Refer to the UAC website . Separate dates apply for portfolio submission - see 'How to Apply' information above. Separate Scholarship deadlines apply - visit the scholarships webpage for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February)

Visit the How to apply page for detailed information on if you need to apply directly to the University or through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC). If you are a direct applicant, when you are ready to apply select the `Apply’ button on this course page.

Portfolio requirements:
To be eligible for admission to the Bachelor of Visual Arts you will also need to submit a portfolio of your artwork by 31 January 2020. Please refer to our Portfolio page for information about portfolio guidelines and submission instructions.

Closing dates

Direct applicants:

Semester 1 - 15 January of the commencing year.

Separate dates apply for portfolio submission - see 'How to Apply' information above. 

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - visit the scholarships webpage for details.

UAC Applicants: Refer to the UAC website

Starting date

Semester 1 (February)



What you'll study

In the first year of the Bachelor of Visual Arts you will be introduced to art practice in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and four-dimensional realms of creative practice at Sydney College of the Arts. . In second year, you will select one area of emphasis through focused assessment projects. The areas of emphasis are: ceramics, glass, jewellery, painting, photomedia, printmedia, screen arts and sculpture. You will explore and develop your own emerging ideas and personal artistic voice. The primary focus of third year is the consolidation of your own creative practice leading to the production of work for the graduate exhibition at the end of the year.

Sample study plan

Bachelor of Visual Arts

Year Sem  Unit of study 
1 1 Studio Foundation 1 Style and Substance: Introducing Art History Major/Elective  
  2 Studio Foundation 2 Shock of the Now: Global Art since 1900 Major/Elective  
2 1 Studio 1 Art History Major/Elective  
  2 Studio 2 Major/Elective Major/Elective  
3 1 Studio 3 Art History Major/Elective  
  2 Studio 4 Major/Elective Major/Elective  

Assumed knowledge

Visual Arts and Design and Technology is recommended

Admission criteria

Admission to this course is on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. UAC applicants – submit your portfolio electronically to SCA by the application deadline.
  2. Direct applicants – upload your portfolio as part of your online application to the University by the application deadline.

You will need to include a short statement of between 200 and 250 words addressing one of the more developed projects in your portfolio. Find out more about portfolio requirements. Late submissions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Admission pathways are open to domestic applicants on the basis of equity or other adjustment factors, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. For details, visit admission pathways.

Credit for previous study

If you’ve already completed university-level or equivalent subjects, you may be able to apply for credit for previous study.

Course opportunities

Sydney College of the Arts students have the opportunity to study at a number of leading art and design institutions around the world through our International student exchange program.

Bachelor of Advanced Studies

You can also choose to combine your Bachelor of Visual Arts degree with the Bachelor of Advanced Studies. In the Bachelor of Advanced Studies, you can complete a second major, combine studies from a range of disciplines, undertake advanced coursework, and get involved in cross-disciplinary community, professional, research or entrepreneurial project work

Our flexible course structure allows you to build a course in contemporary art that is adapted to your personal strengths and aspirations.

Career Pathways

Our graduates can be found across a broad range of careers and roles, including:

  • Artist
  • Arts writer
  • Craftsperson
  • Curator
  • Digital artist
  • Educator (with further tertiary qualifications)
  • Filmmaker
  • Illustrator
  • Painter
  • Producer
  • Product designer
  • Sound artist
  • Web and multimedia designer
Future study

At the completion of the Bachelor of Visual Arts you may consider further specialisation through postgraduate coursework at SCA.

The world is changing, and university education needs to change too

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.