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Bachelor of Art and Design

About this course

The Bachelor of Art and Design provides a comprehensive grounding in the practical and theoretical aspects of contemporary visual arts practice. The theoretical component of the course instils an appreciation of both contemporary and historical perspectives applicable to contemporary art practice, curatorial practice and other careers in the arts industry.

Students gain a diverse and rich studio experience in an atmosphere that nurtures and inspires creativity. They develop their skills working in well-equipped, purposebuilt studios for painting, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture, digital arts and design, and drawing.

Students work under the guidance of academic staff, many of whom are active in the contemporary arts industry.

The Lismore campus is a cultural hub at the centre of the dynamic arts scene of the Northern Rivers.

Our art and design graduates have featured in some of Australia’s most prestigious arts awards and their work regularly features in commercial and public galleries nationally and internationally. Many have gained further qualifications through Honours and PhD studies to become art researchers and academics, while continuing their art practices.

Career opportunities

Graduates typically become practising artists and fine art researchers within the context of contemporary practice. Students exhibit in the Graduate Exhibition and can undertake research projects.

Professional placement

Students have the opportunity to undertake an internship in the dynamic arts industries of the New South Wales North Coast. They can also study for a session at universities overseas including the prestigious Pratt Institute in New York, University of Hertfordshire in England, Universitat de Barcelona in Spain, University of Massachusetts in USA, and Kansai Gaidai University in Japan.

Major areas of study

Core studies

  • Studio studies: painting, printmaking, mixed-media, 3D studies
  • Art theory
  • Curating
  • Studio drawing
  • Design

In second and third year, students select from a range of creative and media arts units and/or units from across the University to complement their areas of interest.

Assessment methods

Units in visual arts studio studies, digital art and design, photography and drawing are assessed by studio production work, artist’s journal, portfolio and e-portfolio. Generally, approximately 70 per cent of the final grade is based on the studio production work. During study sessions there are ongoing individual and group critique opportunities for feedback on students’ progress. Art theory units are generally assessed through research papers, group presentations and take-home exams.

Teaching methods

On-campus students experience a variety of teaching approaches including studio-based teaching, field work, lectures, tutorials, online activities and video-linked or podcast virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit. Students also have the opportunity to study some units online (for example, digital photography).

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.
  • Recognition of informal learning
    Credit may be awarded on the basis of current informal learning (that takes place through work, social, family or leisure activities).

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes.

Discipline-specific facilities are available at the Lismore campus for:

  • Ceramics (wheel, hand construction, slip casting, kilns)
  • Digital art and design (computer lab)
  • Drawing (full drawing studio, easels, lighting, life models)
  • Handmade papermaking (including paper beaters, vats and presses)
  • Painting (including studios for acrylic, oil and encaustic processes)
  • Photography (computer lab and digital camera equipment)
  • Printmaking (including etching, screenprinting and relief processes)
  • Sculpture (wood, metal fabrication and casting)

All studios are purpose-designed, well equipped. Students in most studio specialisations are given individual work spaces, while in others the studio is a shared workspace. Individual lockers are available to all students and storage space is available for works-in-progress. Students have access to dedicated exhibition spaces in the building, including the Studio One29 student exhibition space, visit scu.edu.au/studios

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents


Admission requirements

Students applying for the Bachelor of Art and Design must complete a folio presentation and interview prior to being granted entry into the degree. 

Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of Bachelor of Art and Design a candidate shall successfully complete the equivalent of 24 units (288 credit points) comprising:

    1. 20 Core units listed; and

    2. 4 Elective Art and Design units; or

    3. any combination of 4 Elective units from Art and Design or University Wide Electives

  2. A student can exit with an Associate Degree in Art and Design if  the equivalent of 16 units (192 credit points) have been successfully completed, comprising a minimum of 12 core units

  3. A student can exit with a Diploma of Art and Design if the equivalent of 8 units (96 credit points) have been successfully completed comprising any 8 core units.

Advanced standing

Candidates who can demonstrate artistic expertise at a professional level may be granted advanced standing of up to 4 Art and Design units, provided such artistic expertise has been demonstrated within 5 years prior to admission to candidature. 

Schedule of units

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How to apply

Entry to this course is by portfolio/interview. Applicants must present a portfolio or e-portfolio at the interview or for phone interview. Southern Cross University will contact applicants after the first UAC and QTAC on-time application closing dates at the end of September until the last closing dates in early February. Applicants who have not been contacted by the end of January should call the University on 1800 626 481. For further details, including portfolio requirements please visit scu.edu.au/visarts

Domestic students

SCU STAR Early Entry applications for current Year 12 students

Important: if you are attending Year 12 at a SCU Partner School, you're eligible to apply for STAR Early Entry. This gives you the opportunity to receive an early offer based on your Principal's recommendation.

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'