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Diploma of Visual Arts - CUA51120

The Diploma of Visual Arts at Sydney Art School is available to Australian students as well as international students who wish to study in Australia. 

It is ideal for visual arts students who are looking to to extend existing technical artistic skills.  The studio based "hands on" based learning model follows the classical atelier tradition of teaching art.  Specialised studio sessions will develop your skills in the disciplines of drawing, painting, printmaking and jewellery making. 

You will have the opportunity to learn about the business of being a professional artist by participating in the annual student art exhibition and through lectures from visiting artists who discuss their journey within the visual arts profession.

The Sydney Art School Diploma of Visual Arts course is accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework provides for a pathway into Australian universities.  It is also listed on the Commonwalth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).








Arts & Design


Full Time,  Part Time




This course is available to International Students


Western Sydney University (WSU),  Austalian Catholic University  (ACU),  Other*

Studio Locations

Hornsby,  Baulkham Hills




 This Diploma of Visual Arts reflects the role of individuals who combine specialised technical, creative and conceptual skills to plan and realise a body of work in one or more art forms. Mediums may include ceramics, drawing and illustration, painting, photomedia, printmaking, public art, sculpture, textile design, wood design, digital art and glasswork.

Visual artists may work in their own practice, or in a wide range of contexts across the arts, government, community or commercial organisations.

Practice at this level is underpinned by application of arts theory and history and the ability to critically analyse and synthesise information from a range of sources. Discourse around complex ideas is also required.

The job roles that relate to this qualification may include Printmaker, Photographer, Illustrator, Visual Artist, Ceramic Artist, Painter, Public Artist, Sculptor, Textile Designer, Woodwork Designer, Digital Artist, Glasswork Artist, Arts Practitioner. It also provides a pathway to other visual arts, craft and design job roles.

Entry Requirements

Individuals must provide evidence of their technical and organisational skills to conceptualise and create works in selected medium.

Skills and knowledge may have been acquired through experience in creative practice or formal study.

Pathways Information

Pathways into the qualification

It is highly recommended that people entering this qualification possess  HSC, Certificate IV qualification in visual arts OR a related discipline AND have well-developed skills in a specialised art form.

Pathways from the qualification

This qualification prepares people for entry into work at a professional level. Its conceptual and theoretical content also supports learning at higher levels. People with a Diploma of Visual Arts often engage in further learning in vocational and higher education through Advanced Diploma and Degree qualifications in a range of arts-related disciplines and beyond.

Qualification Rules and Units

Diploma of Visual Arts Qualification Curriculum

The Sydney Art School curriculum for the Diploma of Visual Arts (CUA51120) has been designed and approved to meet the requirements and standards set by the Australian Government for the award of this qualification. Full details of the rules and unit options can be found at CUA51120 Diploma-of-Visual-Arts

Units you will need to complete

To meet the requirements of the qualification the unit "packaging rules" are;

Total number of units = 15

5 core units plus

10 elective units of which

6 must be from Group A and/or Group C
2 must be from Group B
2 may be from the remaining listed electives or any currently endorsed training package qualification or accredited course.


Syndey Art School Curriculum Unit Options

Sydney Art School offers a set of standard units that provide you foundation set of skills across the disciplines of drawing, painting, printmaking and jewellery making. You can choose to vary the standard units to enable focus on a particular area of interest. 

Below are the units that are currently available to you.


CUAACD531 Refine drawing and other visual representation tools
CUAPPR511 Realise a body of creative work
CUAPPR512 Develop sustainability of own professional practice
CUAPPR503 Present a body of own creative work
CUAPPR515 Establish and maintain safe creative practice


The Electives that are offered as part of the current SAS standard assessment framework are shown below.  Other elective units listed in the qualification may be chosen with the agreement of the School on an exception basis. A complete list can be found at https://training.gov.au/TrainingComponentFiles/CUA/CUA51120_R1.pdf 

Elective Units Group A

Standard Electives from Group A:

CUAACD535 Work with the human form in creative practiceCUAACD532 Create observational drawings
CUADRA501 Refine drawing techniques
CUAJWL401 Experiment with techniques to produce jewellery
CUAPAI511 Refine painting techniques
CUAPRI511 Refine printmaking techniques
CUARES503 Analyse cultural history and theory

Optional Electives
CUAACD532 Create Observational Drawings
CUADRA502 Investigate drawing materials and processes
CUAPAI512 Investigate painting materials and processes
CUAPRI512 Investigate printmaking materials and processes

Elective Units Group B

As part of your participation in the annual student exhibition you will be complete the requirements for the following electives.

BSBMKG546 Develop social media engagement plans
CUAEVP413 Install and dismantle exhibition elementsBSBLIB504 Develop exhibition concepts

 Elective Units Group C

Group C Units focus on Ceramics and are not offered by SAS at this time.


 Other Electives

Up to 2 Listed electives from any currently endorsed training package qualification or accredited course may be used to meet qualification rules.
Any of the following units from Certificate IV may be chosen:

CUADRA401 Experiment with techniques to produce drawings
CUAJWL311 Produce jewellery
CUAPAI411 Experiment with techniques to produce paintings
CUAPRI411 Experiment with printing techniques



Recognition of Prior Learning 

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) against other units not listed above may be assessed by Sydney Art School on request. 


Employability Skills Summary

The following table contains a summary of the employability skills as identified by the visual arts, craft and design industries for this qualification.

Employability skill

Industry/enterprise requirements for this qualification


  •           responding appropriately to feedback on own skill development and performance
  •           consulting with peers and mentors about a range of issues related to own practice
  •           documenting own work
  •           engaging in critical discourse with colleagues and peers


  •           collaborating with others artists
  •           sharing ideas
  •           seeking feedback and guidance from mentors


  •           analysing complex information and responding with creative solutions
  •           developing solutions for complex design challenges
  •           balancing potentially conflicting needs
  •           evaluating the effectiveness of solutions

Initiative and enterprise

  •           working creatively with an art form
  •           developing ideas from historical and contemporary research
  •           achieving own individual style of creative expression

Planning and organising

  •           planning a creative project
  •           monitoring own work and introducing strategies to improve skills and knowledge
  •           conducting a range of research to inform work projects
  •           planning work tasks in a logical sequence
  •           setting work and practice goals
  •           planning for a sustainable professional practice


  •           developing goals for professional practice
  •           taking responsibility for own professional development
  •           monitoring own work and introducing strategies to improve performance
  •           using knowledge of industry and legal frameworks within own practice


  •           developing strong artistic technique
  •           identifying opportunities to maintain and enhance industry knowledge
  •           seeking feedback from colleagues and mentors
  •           exploring and testing new approaches
  •           participating in industry networks and professional development opportunities


  •           using an extended range of materials and technologies relevant to specific creative practice
  •           proactively using the internet as a research tool