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The excitement and glamour of the creative arts field makes it very appealing to students. Australia has produced many actors, artists and musicians that are loved around the world, making it a popular destination for international students. Australian education providers offer a wide range of courses in the creative arts field, including those that prepare students for careers as performing and visual artists, as well as those that teach students the technical aspects of creative production for ‘behind the scenes’ roles.

If you are interested in studying creative arts, you might also be interested in studying Computing and information technology.

The courses and employment opportunities available will depend on the level of qualification you complete. There are three qualification levels in creative arts:

VET study in Creative Arts and Designs

Courses and specialization

The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector offers a wide range of practical courses in the creative arts field, including certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas. Lower-level courses such as a certificates I, II and III usually provide an introduction to the field, while certificate IV, diplomas and advanced diplomas provide preparation for specific careers.

VET qualifications are available in many different areas to train graduates for specific roles in the creative arts field, such as applied fashion design and technology; animation; ceramics; dance; film, television and theatre acting; floristry; graphic design; interactive digital media; jewellery design; live production, theatre and events; music; photography; printing and graphic arts; product design; screen and media; sound production; and visual arts. Some VET qualifications provide basic skills that can be applied to a variety of creative arts roles (such as courses in creative industries and design).

There are also some higher-level VET qualifications available at the vocational graduate certificate level, which are equivalent to the graduate certificates offered in the higher education sector but offer a more practical focus. Current courses include graphic design practice and public art.

VET qualifications can provide a good pathway into undergraduate creative arts degrees. See Undergraduate study in creative arts for more information.

Applicants must meet academic and English language requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. You may be required to submit a portfolio or attend an audition or interview. For more information about VET courses and entry requirements, see Vocational Education.

Where to study

VET courses in the creative arts field are available at TAFE institutes, private colleges and universities with TAFE departments. There are some education providers that specialise in creative arts courses.

Practical experience is a very important part of creative arts courses, so it is important to check that the institutions you are considering have good facilities in your area of interest (such as art studios, computer labs, recording studios, editing suites, theatres, exhibition spaces and sewing rooms) and incorporate plenty of opportunities to refine your skills (through student performances and exhibitions, for example).

Undergraduate study in Creative Arts and Designs

Courses and specialization

There is a wide variety of undergraduate degrees in the creative arts field, which means that there is something to suit every type of student — no matter what their interest or skill level.

Because of the various careers available in creative arts, there are many different specialisations available. Common creative arts disciplines include acting, dance, music, graphic design, fashion design, film and television, multimedia, screen production and visual arts. There are also some very unique courses in this field, including circus performance, jewellery design and music theatre.

While there are some general degrees that allow students to choose a specialisation or ‘major’ (such as a bachelor of creative arts), the majority of degrees in this field provide specialised training in a specific creative arts field (a bachelor of fashion design, for example). Most courses are very practical, although there are some courses that have more of an academic focus (a bachelor of art theory, for example). There are also relevant degrees in other fields, such as art history (which is often available within humanities degrees).

Creative arts can be studied as a double degree, combined with fields such as business and management, computing and information technology, communications, and humanities and social sciences. Students can also choose to complete a second specialisation through a postgraduate qualification (see Postgraduate study in creative arts for more information). Students who would like to teach creative arts can complete a double degree or postgraduate qualification in teaching.

Applicants must meet academic and English language requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. You may be required to submit a portfolio or attend an audition or interview. For more information about undergraduate courses and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Undergraduate.

Where to study

Undergraduate degrees in creative arts are available at universities, private colleges and some TAFE institutes. There are a number of prestigious education providers that specialise in creative arts courses.

The course you choose will usually be determined by your skills and interests, but you should also consider whether the course has a practical or academic focus and whether the institution has a strong reputation in your field. If you are considering a general creative arts degree, you should also make sure that you are interested in the specialisations offered within the degree.

Practical experience is a very important part of creative arts courses, so it is important to check that the institutions you are considering have good facilities in your area of interest (such as art studios, computer labs, recording studios, editing suites, theatres, exhibition spaces and sewing rooms) and incorporate plenty of opportunities to refine your skills (through student performances and exhibitions, for example).

Postgraduate study in Creative Arts and Business

Courses and specialization

Many postgraduate degrees in creative arts are offered to students who have a background in the area, but there are also programs available for students who have studied other fields at undergraduate level and want to change their career. Some programs are also designed for creative arts graduates who want to move into leadership roles in their field, which includes programs such as art administration and art management.

The list of postgraduate coursework degrees in creative arts is extensive, with options available at graduate certificate, graduate diploma and masters by coursework level. Professional doctorates are also available, as well as some vocational graduate certificates available in the VET sector (see VET study in creative arts). In addition to the popular disciplines (such as film and television, music, performing arts and visual arts), there are also some unique options available at postgraduate level, including art therapy, curatorship and directing.

There are some general courses (the master of creative arts, for example) that allow students to choose a major, but most courses specialise in a particular creative arts discipline (such as a master of music studies). Some courses and specialisations are interdisciplinary, meaning they focus on the creative arts industry as a whole rather than a specific arts discipline. Students who have multiple interests can combine postgraduate study in creative arts with study in another field through a double degree. There are also many degrees that have an integrated focus on another field, such as programs in art history (often found in humanities faculties).

Research programs are popular in the creative arts field, with a wide range of masters by research and research doctorates available allowing students to complete extensive study in their discipline. Students are not necessarily required to produce a thesis — many submit creative projects or combine creative works with a minor thesis.

Applicants must meet academic and English language requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. You may be required to submit a portfolio or attend an audition or interview. Some courses may require previous study or work experience in the creative arts field. For more information about postgraduate courses and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Postgraduate.

Where to study

Postgraduate degrees in creative arts are available at universities, private colleges and some TAFE institutes.There are a number of prestigious education providers that specialise in creative arts courses.

The course you choose will usually be determined by your skills and interests, but you should also consider whether the course has a practical or academic focus and whether the institution has a strong reputation in your field. If you are considering a research degree, you should look for institutions that have a history of research and creative practice in your discipline and check out the support services available for research students and potential supervisors.

Practical experience is a very important part of creative arts courses, so it is important to check that the institutions you are considering have good facilities in your area of interest (such as art studios, recording studios, editing suites, theatres and exhibition spaces).

Creative Arts and Designs jobs in Australia

Graduates of creative arts courses have many exciting career opportunities — both as artists and ‘behind the scenes’. Depending on the course or specialisation completed, graduates could find themselves working as actors, artists, fashion designers, film editors, graphic designers, illustrators, interior decorators, musicians, photographers, singers, stage managers or web designers, and the list just goes on. Some graduates find employment with organisations in their chosen area, while others start their own businesses or work on a freelance basis. There are also options to work in management roles (such as in curatorship and arts administration) or in arts education.

Because the creative arts industry is not extensively regulated, there are similar opportunities available to graduates of VET and higher education courses. While degree-level qualifications may provide an advantage in a competitive employment market, job opportunities in the creative arts field are often determined by talent rather than the level of education completed.