Master of Contemporary Art

Course MC-CTPYART (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Year and Campus: 2015 - 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 postgraduate professional degree that serves as a bridge between undergraduate study and independent art practice, as a "refresher" program for artists who have been away from formal study, or as an entry point to further tertiary education for artists who lack formal qualifications but have significant professional experience, including those of recognised ability who have been unable to undertake or complete an Honours year.

Tuition is conducted through a seminar programme and individual tutorials. Each student is assigned an Academic Advisor who is responsible for the oversight of the student's progress. The studio practice/project component is primarily conducted through individual tutorials and group tutorials/seminars. Students are encouraged to employ speculation and technical experimentation as learning strategies.

Individual tutorials provide the opportunity for one-to-one critical discussion with their advisor and other staff regarding the formal, conceptual, personal and expressive bases of the student's work and its realisation. The group tutorials/seminars are designed to generate critical discussion and debate on a more formal level with the student's peers, providing an initial forum for the analysis of the work and consideration of a range of issues surrounding contemporary art practice.

Students in consultation with their academic advisor prepare an individual study proposal appropriate to their studio practice. The program should provide a conceptual framework for development and incorporate a study plan for acquisition of necessary skills. The capstone experience to the course is a year-long studio project in second year, culminating in a public presentation in the School of Art Masters Exhibition at the end of the year.

The Postgraduate Diploma of Contemporary Art is an exit qualification for students who have successfully completed the first year (100 points) of the course should the decision be made to not continue into the second year. The Postgraduate Diploma cannot be applied for directly.

Learning Outcomes:

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:
Semester 2
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:
• either
– an undergraduate degree with a weighted average mark of at least H2B (70%) or equivalent, or
– at least five years of documented relevant professional experience, with evidence of artistic ability and achievement or practice comparable to that expected of undergraduate degree holders in relevant disciplines;
• a curriculum vitae; and
• a study proposal of approximately 500 words; and
• a folio of past work relevant to the study proposal or evidence of past work relevant to the study proposal; and
• an interview.
Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:
• prior academic performance; and/or the work experience; and
• the curriculum vitae; and
• the study proposal; and
• the folio; and
• the interview.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Student Application and Selection Procedure.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

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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