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CUA51115 - Diploma of Visual Arts

This qualification 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.

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.

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

Visual artists work in a wide range of contexts across the arts and other industries. They are often sole practitioners but may also hold positions in government or commercial organisations.

Artists work within and across many media, and their practice may incorporate
ceramics, digital art, glasswork, drawing and illustration, jewellery making, painting, photomedia, printmaking, sculpture, textile design and wood design.

To Be Awarded a Qualification ...

Each qualification has its own set of Core and Elective Units.  

You will need to complete Units of Competency based on the Packaging Rules set down by the Australian Government listed against the qualification at training.gov.au.  A list of Units currently offered by Sydney Art School is provided in the details section of each qualification.

To Complete Units of Competency ...

You will need to be assessed as meeting the perfomance criteria  for those Units by

  • attending studio sessions associated with that unit, AND
  • completing and submitting your Assessment Workbook associated with that unit AND  
  • completing and submitting your portfolio of work relevant to that unit (this will be described in further detail in the Assessment Workbook).

While you are enrolled in studio sessions at Sydney  Art School

  • You can work towards multiple Units at the same time.  
  • You can submit your Assessment Workbook at any time during your enrolment at Sydney Art School.

Be realistic about how much you can achieve.  As a guideline,  if you are attenidng only 1 studio session per week then completing an average of 2 Units over the course of 2 x 8 week terms terms  is a good starting point expectation.


Award of Certificate IV and Diploma qualifications require completion of 15 Units.

Award of the Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts requires 12 Units. See the detailed description of each qualification for the requirements.

To be assessed against a Unit you need to:


  • attend one or more Studio Session Series to develop your skills,  AND
  • complete and submit  the Assessment Workbook and Portfolio, AND
  • be assessed as meeting the listed perfromance requirements for that Unit.


You can choose the pace at which you complete the Units.  As a guide;


  • Part Time students should initially aim to submit the Assessment Workbook and Portrolio for 1 unit per term, and
  • Full Time students should initially aim to submit the Assessment Workbooks and Portfolios for 4 units per term.



Recognition of Prior Learning

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

Other Units Not Listed

If there are other Units you are particularly interested in working towards that are not listed in our current offerings please contact us.


Packaging Rules

Total number of units = 15

6 core units plus

9 elective units of which

3 units must be selected from Group A
2 units must be selected from Group B
4 units may be selected from the remaining listed electives or any currently endorsed training package qualification or accredited course at Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma level.
Elective units must be relevant to the work environment and the qualification, maintain the integrity of the AQF alignment and contribute to a valid vocational outcome.


 Unit  Associated Studio 
Session Type 

CUAACD501 Refine drawing and other visual representation tools

CUAPPR501 Realise a body of creative work Any
CUAPPR502 Develop own sustainable professional practice Any
CUAPPR503 Present a body of own creative work Any
CUAPPR505 Establish and maintain safe creative practice Any
CUARES503 Analyse cultural history and theory Any
Elective Units Group A  
CUAACD502 Create observational drawings  Drawing
CUAACD503 Select and refine a specialised drawing technique Any 
CUAACD505 Work with the human form in creative practice Drawing 
CUADRA501 Refine drawing techniques Drawing
CUADRA502 Investigate drawing materials and processes Drawing 
CUAJWL401 Experiment with techniques to produce jewellery Jewellery 
CUAPAI501 Refine painting techniques Painting 
CUAPAI502 Investigate painting materials and processes Painting 
Elective Units Group B  
BSBCMM401 Make a presentation Any 
bsbipr401 Use and Respect Coyright  Any 


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

A complete list of units specified for this qualification can be found at http://training.gov.au/Training/Details/CUA51115

Please contact us if you wish to discuss the options available.


How Much Will a Qualification Cost and How Long Will it Take to Complete?

Full Time Students

Fees for full time students are shown in the table below.  Each full time course at Sydney Art School is 1 year (4 terms).   You can start your enrolment at the beginning of any term. 

Each term is 8 weeks. The nominal studio session attendance is 20 hours per week.  

Part Time Students

Part time students complete the same assessment tasks as full time students.  They just complete them over a longer period.

If you want to study part time discuss your planned rate of completeion with the Principal or Student Liaison Officer and a fee schedule will be provided.   In general the total course fees will be the same as for full time students,  just spread out over your planned study duration.


2017 Course Fees


Fee per Term*

Total Fees*


Full Time

12 Months / 4 Terms

Part Time

24 Months / 8 Terms

Certificate III in Visual Arts  $1800 $900 $7200
Certificate IV in Visual Arts
$2125 $1250 $8500
Diploma of Visual Arts

$2125 $1250 $8500
Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts

$2125 $1250 $8500
 Payment Terms  Fees are payable each term in advance
  * International student levy is $500 per term


Studio Based Learning Format

Learning at Sydney Art School is done in a working studio where you will progress and complete assigned assessment tasks and be observed by assessors and other industry practitioners. The studio provides a hands on learning environment with a strong focus on skills development and producing artistic works.

Your Tutor

On enrolment you will be allocated a primary tutor.  The role of the primary tutor is to;

  • assign and mark your assessment tasks
  • recommend Studio Sessions for you to attend
  • monitor your artistic and academic progress
  • provide feedback to your questions on artistic or academic matters

Your Attendance and Studio Sessions

During your time at Sydney Art School you will attend  2 types of Studio Sessions:

  • Skills Development Studio Sessions &
  • Open Studio Sessions

International students will need to attend Studio Sessions for at least 20 hours per week during school terms.

"Skills Development Studio Sessions" are groups where a tutor provides theoretical and practical instructions on specific technical skills such as drawing, painting or jewellery making. Full time students may attend up to 6 hours of Skills Development sessions per week.

"Open Studio Sessions" provide a collegiate environment where you can work alongside tutors and other students.  You will use these sessions to 

  • use studio facilities to progress work on their tasks for assessment.
  • share learnings with other students
  • seek and give feedback on technical or creative concepts
  • consolidate technical skills
  • progress towards your assessment tasks.
  • share learnings with other students
  • seek and give feedback on technical or creative concepts

At least one tutor is present during any Open Studio Session.  They will not be providing specific demonstrations but are working on  their own art.  This gives you the opportunity to observe how they work in a professional practice environment. 


Other Fees & Charges

Material Fees:

Materials are not included in course fees unless otherwise indicated.


International Student Levy:

$500 per term 

Applicable to students who are sponsored by Sydney Art School for a Student Visa under the CRICOS program.


Qualification or Statement of Attainment Issuance Fee;

Statement of Attainment Issuance Fee: $100
Qualification Issuance Fee:  Initial $0,   Reprints $100

Service level times:
Standard: within 1 week
Priority: within 48 hours add $100 

Statements and Certificates are provided in electronic (.pdf) format.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is where you're competence against a Unit is assessed against evidence that you have collected through other courses or experience.

You will be asked to present your evidence firstly by use of an Assessment Workbook.  Your evidence will be reviewed by an assessor and may require a one on one interview with an assessor.

For students enrolled in a studio session at Sydney Art School RPL Fees are $200 per Unit.

For students not currently enrolled in a studio session at Sydney Art School RPL Fees Per Unit are:

  • Certificate IV Units: $250 per unit
  • Diploma Units: $300 per unit
  • Advanced Diploma Units: $350 per unit 

* Some Studio Sessions and Units may have additional fees  These will be indicated where applicable.



Pathways Information

Pathways into the qualification
It is highly recommended that people entering this qualification possess a 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 CUV51115 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.

Entry Requirements

To enter this qualification, individuals must have the technical and organisational skills to conceptualise and create works in selected medium.

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

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