Master of Contemporary Art

Course MC-CTPYART (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Year and Campus: 2013 - Southbank
CRICOS Code: 075494G
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 24 months full time.


Dr. Bernhard Sachs


Faculty of the VCA & MCM Student Centre
Ground Floor, Elisabeth Murdoch Building (Bldg 860)
Southbank Campus
234 St Kilda Road, Southbank, 3006

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Course Overview:

The Master of Contemporary Art is a two-year full-time professional degree by coursework. It serves as a bridge between undergraduate study and independent art practice, is a "refresher" programme for artists who have been away from formal study, is an entry point to tertiary education for mature artists who lack formal qualifications but have significant professional experience, and is an alternative route to study for a research higher degree for those who have been unable to complete an Honours year.

The course is divided into two parts. The first year is organised around two discrete semesters where experimentation leads to a year-long studio project in the second year. The project is presented publicly at the culmination of the course in a Masters exhibition.

Each student is assigned an Academic Advisor who is responsible for oversight of the student's progress. Students, in consultation with their Academic Advisor, prepare an individual study proposal appropriate to their studio practice. The program should provide a conceptual and formal framework for development and incorporate a study plan for research and acquisition of skills necessary to realise the projected work.

Tuition revolves around individual and group tutorials. Individual tutorials provide the opportunity for one-to-one critical discussion with staff regarding the formal, conceptual, personal or expressive bases of the student’s work and its realisation.

Group tutorials encourage critical discussion and debate with the student’s peers where the individual's work occasions consideration of a range of issues surrounding contemporary art practice.


This course will enable students to develop and refine their ability to:
• manipulate and manage the materials and processes involved in the chosen visual art medium;
• express ideas and personal concerns through the chosen visual art medium;
• gather and synthesise information and other resources in the service of a personal art practice;
• discuss contemporary art practice and its personal, professional and social involvements.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Qualification for the award requires completion of all subjects listed below.

Subject Options:

Master of Contemporary Art

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013
Not offered in 2013
Not offered in 2013
Not offered in 2013
Entry Requirements:

Admission requirements
An undergraduate degree and/or an Honours degree in a relevant discipline and/or the Graduate Certificate in Visual Art, with at least H2B (70%) in the major; or documented, relevant professional experience, along with an interview and folio presentation. A supplementary application form is additionally required to be completed. Credit is available to those who meet the criteria as per the University’s Advanced Standing Policy.

Selection mode
All applications will be reviewed by a selection panel. Short listed applicants will be invited to an interview during which they also present their folio. Interviews are normally held in the period October to December. The date and time of the interview will be notified in writing. The interview will be of between 20 and 30 minutes duration, and will be conducted by a panel of 3 to 5 people. The purpose of the interview is to discuss the application and view the folio.

Extra requirements for all local and international applicants
A full curriculum vitae detailing all relevant professional experience – exhibitions, awards, commissions, publications, etc.
List the names of any academic staff at VCA School of Art with whom application has been discussed.
A study proposal outlining the project and work program including aims and objectives and technical requirements (approximately 500 words).
A folio consisting of, or documenting recent work relevant to the study proposal, a maximum of 15 jpeg images or 8 minutes of video (DVD format).

Core Participation Requirements:

Communication: Students must be able to participate in and produce performances and exhibitions as required; they will also need to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms. Communication with fellow students, professional and academic staff, and the wider public about their knowledge and application of practising Arts disciplines is essential.

Creative, Intellectual and Organisational Abilities: Students require the capacity for high-level creative performance or production. They are also expected to have the ability to develop problem-solving skills and to comprehend disciplinary and cross-disciplinary information. Students must have the ability to establish study plans and prioritise training objectives and outcomes.

Behavioural and Social Attributes: Students must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. They must take full responsibility for their own participation and learning. Students also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative environments and must therefore demonstrate a wide range of interpersonal skills which consider the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Disability: Students who have a disability which may prevent them from participating in tasks involving these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:
Adjustments can be provided to minimise the impact of a disability; however, students will need to participate in the course in an independent manner.

Graduate Attributes:

Generic Skills:

On completion of this course students will be able to:
• plan and organise their own studio work and utilise time effectively to suit the demands of their developing methodologies;
• analyse historical and contemporary art methodologies relevant to their practical work;
• investigate through experiment, areas of practical relevance from a wide range of historical and contemporary sources;
• demonstrate developing knowledge of contemporary art practice, including skills and techniques relevant to their developing practice;
• communicate verbally opinions, ideas and observations with regard to their work and the work of others, in group and individual teaching and learning situations.

Links to further information:

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