A degree in art and design can open the door to a range of occupations and prepare students for a workforce requiring creative and independent thinking, problem-solving skills and communication. 

Whether it’s a career in robotics or museum curating, a degree in art and design provides graduates with a diversity of choices for study that will prepare them for a job market that seeks creative and more innovative ways of thinking.

UNSW Sydney Art & Design is an internationally recognised centre for arts-led interdisciplinary research in science and technology. Strengths of the faculty span design; art theory and criticism; film, television and digital media; visual arts and craft with an approach that is interdisciplinary, advances tradition and challenges existing thinking.

“The UNSW difference is that we focus on exposing our students to a broad range of disciplines and skills and ways of thinking,” said Dr Vaughan Rees, Associate Dean, International and Engagement. “We give students a set of skills so when they graduate, they can adapt to a fast changing world quite easily. Our students are able to take that toolkit and see how it works in all sorts of different ways.”

The faculty offers 18 undergraduate degrees, including an extensive suite of double degree options, and a range of postgraduate coursework and research degrees. The Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Design and Bachelor of Media Arts are each 3-year degree programs, with a hands-on, studio-based and industry-aligned focus.

“The university offers unique combinations of programs and that is the advantage of our faculty being a part of a very large university which is part of the Group of Eight. Our students can do art and law together, they can do design and commerce together, media art and computer science,” said Rees. “That makes it a different structure but is also responding to the needs of current undergraduate students. Their interests are much broader than they would have been 20 years ago. Students don’t see themselves in just one tiny niche area. They see themselves as having interests in more than one area. And having dual degrees prepares them for that.”

The Postgraduate Coursework Degrees are designed for those who already hold a bachelor's degree and are seeking a master's level degree that will position them as a leader in their area, while Postgraduate Research Degrees provide candidates with outstanding research opportunities in a strong and supportive research culture.

A popular degree among international students is the Master of Design program, an interdisciplinary industry-engaged program that integrates technology, design thinking, conceptual exploration, strategy and communication with practical skills to focus on the role of design in innovation and the global economy.

“Students come into it for a number of different reasons. For some, it is because they want higher level credentials to be competitive in the marketplace,” said Rees. “Others have been working in design for a while and they come back to do the masters to get a refresh, to reconnect with their creativity, learn new ways, new tech or ways of thinking around the world. Then we have those I like to call changelings who come from a different background but have a strong interest and some experience in design.”

When Abraham Markos first entered the Master of Design program, he was focused on automobile and industrial design to complement his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. But classmates and his mentor soon helped Markos realise his interest and flair for product design and furniture making.

“My mentor Vaughan has really pushed and encouraged me to try something different. He would see me drawing and say to me, ‘don’t just draw cars.’ It was challenging at first but now I really like it,” said Markos. “I have learned so much from my peers, too. You learn a lot from people who are different to you, culturally or whether they are in a different career. Everyone has their own skill. I think that’s something UNSW is good at. It lets you explore and find out what you are interested in.”

Students also have immediate access to the faculty’s deep industry links, strong partnerships and inimitable rollcall of alumni from India, Australia and the rest of the world to create lasting relationships and build networks across the cultural and creative sectors.

One such program is Art & Design’s highly regarded Professional Experience Project (PEP), an internship program designed to equip students with grounded and sustained experience in a professional workplace environment. PEP offers every student the opportunity to build additional professional skills and knowledge that can help them make informed choices about future career pathways. It also means they can complete practical work experience under the guidance of practicing professionals and accelerate establishing a professional network and links that may open up employment pathways.

“Our field is not one where people put ads in papers or online,” said Rees. “It is about knowing your network and being really active. Our students have agency; they go out there, they know how to communicate, their portfolios are ready, they’re ready to engage with the world.”  

Students are also encouraged to take part in an exchange or study abroad program to immerse themselves in another culture via one of the 250-plus institutions UNSW partners with around the world.

“We work that into the program so that students can take an exchange,” said Rees. “We fully understand that we are in cultural production and all of our students must have that experience of another culture so that they understand their own beliefs, but also understand how to communicate with someone from another culture.”  

To learn more about UNSW Art & Design and other UNSW faculties, register for one of the upcoming UNSW Sydney Open Day 2019 events listed below:

4 August, 2019
The Ritz-Carlton, Bengaluru
99 Residency Road
Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar
Bengaluru, KA 560025

6 August, 2019
Taj Coromandel
37 Uthamar Gandhi Road
Tirumurthy Nagar, Nungambakkam
Chennai, TN 600034

9 August, 2019
The St. Regis Mumbai
462 Tulsi Pipe Road, Lower Parel
Mumbai, MH 400013

11 August, 2019
Le Méridien New Delhi
Windsor Place
New Delhi, DL 110001