Diploma in Visual Arts and Design

Course information for - 2024 entry

Offered at 3 locations

1 year full-time or equivalent part-time
QTAC code
50.00 for Brisbane
Fees (first year)*

$10788 CSP

Start dates
Semester 1 intake: Not available
Midyear (Semester 2) intake: Beginning July 2024
Applications open April 2024


Follow your passion and explore a broad-based visual arts and design program that integrates the areas of studio-based art, graphic design or history and theory of art and design combined with relevant communication and industry skills. You will gain the knowledge and skills to prepare you for a career in the creative industries. This course can be used as a pathway into the Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design degree or as a starting point into teaching.


The course assists students to prepare for a career in the visual arts and design industries.

Course details

Course structure

Course map

Open all

Please note: Course maps are subject to change.

Commencing Semester 1

  • Specified units DESN120Graphic Design Thinking10 cp
  • Specified units ARTS236Ceramics/Multimedia10 cp
  • Specified units ARTS109Drawing10 cp
  • Elective units BA Elective Unit 110 cp
  • Specified units DESN242Design for Publication10 cp
  • Specified units ARTS241Painting10 cp
  • Specified units ARTS112Art in the Early 20th Century10 cp
  • Specified units Core Curriculum Unit 1See the ACU Core Curriculum page for details 10 cp

Core curriculum units may be studied in professional terms, subject to availability.

Commencing Semester 2

Core curriculum units may be studied in professional terms, subject to availability.

Graduate statement


As an ACU graduate you have personal insight founded on an understanding of who you are as a professional, a citizen and a scholar. You embrace change and growth through critical self-awareness and learning autonomy. You are empowered to seek truth and meaning, drawing on the principles of justice, equity, and the dignity of all human beings.


As an ACU graduate you value human dignity and diversity. This appreciation is founded on deep reflection, and empathy. You have experience of Indigenous Knowings and perspectives and can engage respectfully when working alongside Australia's First Peoples. You can connect with people and cultures and work with community in ways that recognise the dignity of the human person and all cultures


As an ACU graduate you utilise imagination and innovation to solve problems. You critically analyse information from a range of sources to creatively solve practical problems and use critical thinking to make decisions and advance the common good. You appreciate the role of innovation and creative thinking in developing a better future for each person and community.


As an ACU graduate you recognise your responsibility to work for social justice and a sustainable world founded on a commitment to human dignity and the common good. You lead change through respectful collaboration and effective communication of ideas to diverse peoples, groups and communities in local and global contexts. You are empowered to positively impact your profession and the community.

AQF framework

Diploma - AQF Level 5

Additional course information

The Diploma in Visual Arts and Design course is available as a UniAccess-International program.

The aim is to provide an opportunity for students from diverse backgrounds to study a selection of units of interest to them in a program that offers a pathway to a relevant Bachelors degree. The course is offered on a fee-paying basis and is available to international students (UniAccess-International).

Entry requirements

An applicant must also comply with the Admission to Coursework Programs Policy.

To be eligible for admission to the course, an applicant must have completed the equivalent of year 12 level.

International students must meet the English Language Proficiency requirements as defined in the Admission to Coursework Programs Policy.

Disclaimer: The course entry requirements above are for 2024 Admission.

English language requirements

Overall score: 6.0. Individual score of 5.5 in all tests.

Inherent requirement

There are essential components of a course or unit that demonstrate the capabilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of that course or unit. You will need to be able to meet these inherent requirements to complete your course.

Learn more about inherent requirements for your course and how they affect you


Further study

A UniAccess-International student who successfully completes eight units specified by a UniAccess program may either leave with a Diploma qualification or continue their studies with a place in the Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design course. Domestic students are also able to use this degree as a pathway into the Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design program.


Course costs

Average first year fee*

$10788 CSP

Payment options

You should be able to concentrate on getting good marks instead of worrying about how you’ll pay your fees. We have a number of options that can help you ease the financial burden, including government assistance, scholarships and income support. 

Explore your options 


You could be eligible for one of the hundreds of scholarships we award each year to help students from across the university with the cost of studying, accommodation or overseas study opportunities. Some of our scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, but these aren’t just for the academically gifted; ACU also recognises excellence in community engagement and leadership. We also offer a range of scholarships for those who may be struggling financially or who have faced other barriers to accessing education.  

Search our scholarships  

How to apply

Domestic applicants


Apply through QTAC

QTAC code 112801

Direct application

Apply now

Staff Profile

Dr Elvis Richardson

Lecturer (Graphics/Graphic Design), National School of Arts and Humanities

Dr Elvis Richardson is a visual artist, curator, and graphic design educator. She has taught units in basic to advanced graphic design including print and web design, motion graphics and video editing and visual arts units - self-directed studies, photography, sculpture, drawing and printmaking. Dr Richardson’s works are held in the collections of National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW, Heide Museum of Art, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Artbank, City of Fremantle, MerriBek Council and the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art. She is the founding editor of CoUNTess a blog publishing data on gender representation in the Australian visual arts sector.

Associate Professor Victoria Carruthers

Senior Lecturer (Art History), School of Arts and Humanities

Associate Professor Victoria Carruthers is Senior Lecturer in modern and contemporary art history and theory at the Australian Catholic University. Her research explores the intersections between art, literature and music across visual cultures from 19th century to the present day. She completed her doctoral thesis on the art of the late American surrealist Dorothea Tanning and has published several articles on her practice. Before coming to art history, Assoc. Prof. Carruthers studied opera (performance) and musicology at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and completed a BA in literature and philosophy and a Masters by thesis on Shakespeare's late plays. 


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