Diploma of Visual Arts

Course Code CUA51115
Locations Warrnambool
Study Mode Full-time, Part-time, On Campus
Length Full-time: 1 year
Part-time: 2 years
Commencement Expressions of interest
Timetable Full-time:
3 days a week
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday

1-2 days a week
Monday, Tuesday or Thursday
Course Overview

Take your creativity further with the Diploma of Arts.

The art industry is experiencing growth nationally, and 1 in 3 artists are bringing their creative skills to other industries, which translates to great future job prospects. But the right skills are essential.

During this course, you will develop practical, conceptual and interpretive skills as well as exploring the use of your personal imagery. You will investigate themes and refine your art into a cohesive body of work which will be exhibited at the end of year exhibition.

It is a project-based course and you will participate in a range of industry competitions, project and exhibitions. You will develop skills in studio areas including drawing, painting, digital photography and printmaking.

Graduating students of the diploma are eligible for the Peter Lucas Award. Winners of this award receive a free exhibition at the Warrnambool Art Gallery.

This course is offered for full-time or part-time study at our Warrnambool campus. We also offer the Diploma of Visual Arts in Colac that has a textile focus.

What will I Learn?

Through working on a number of community and arts industry projects, competitions and exhibitions you will learn:

  • sustainable practice
  • work health and safety
  • history and theory of art
  • how to present and exhibit a body of work
  • painting
  • printmaking
  • photography
  • sculpture
  • drawing
  • developing a body of work

Upon completion of this course, you will have highly developed technical, creative and conceptual skills to plan and realize a body of work in one or more art forms. You can utilise your understanding of art theory and history to critically analyse and synthesise information from a range of sources.

Course Outcomes and Career Opportunities

With the arts industry experiencing continued growth nationally and 1 in 3 artists bringing their creative skills in other industries, there are great future job prospects.

Upon completion of this course, you may work in your own practice or in a wide range of contexts across the arts, government, community or commercial organisations.

Career opportunities may include:

  • studio artist
  • community artist
  • public artist
  • assistant curator
  • gallery assistant
  • arts officer


This course offers a pathway to further study in courses at Bachelor level or at Deakin University, Warrnambool Campus.


There is no formal placement for this course but students will work closely with local arts organisations

Information Session

Why don’t you come along to our next course info session to find out everything you need to start your learning journey? You can chat with our teachers, tour our facilities, learn more about the course, find out about the application process and get your questions answered by our course experts. 

Find the next info session near you

Course Requirements
Entrance requirements & pre-requisites

To apply you must have the technical, creative and organisational skills to conceptualise and create works in selected mediums. Those skills and knowledge may have been acquired through experience in creative practice or through formal study.

You will be required to provide a portfolio of art work and complete an interview with a member of the arts team. During this interview, you will be asked questions about concepts in your work, artists who inspire youm, expectations of the course and your future career goals in Visual Arts.

Course requirements

To be eligible to be awarded this qualification you must successfully complete 15 units: 6 core and 9 electives.

Students will need to provide

    • USB storage device
    • Art materials for each studio, list to be supplied/outlined per studio.
    • General kit: pens, pencils, ruler, eraser, sharpener, workable fixative, masking tape, fine liners
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Students attending the course in Colac may occasionally be required to travel to the Warrnambool campus for artist talks, exhibitions and to use equipment that's not available in Colac.

Units offered

Core Units

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Unit Code Unit Name Unit Hours Unit Consumables
CUAACD501 Refine drawing and other visual representation tools 70 $42.00
CUAPPR501 Realise a body of creative work 80 $66.00
CUAPPR502 Develop own sustainable professional practice 35 $0.00
CUAPPR503 Present a body of own creative work 60 $0.00
CUAPPR505 Establish and maintain safe creative practice 30 $0.00
CUARES503 Analyse cultural history and theory 70 $70.00

Elective Units

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Unit Code Unit Name Unit Hours Unit Consumables
BSBDES501 Implement design solutions 60 $66.00
CUADRA502 Investigate drawing materials and processes 70 $42.00
CUAEVP403 Install and dismantle exhibition elements 20 $0.00
CUAIND502 Maintain and apply creative arts industry knowledge 50 $0.00
CUAPAI501 Refine painting techniques 80 $66.00
CUAPAI502 Investigate painting materials and processes 70 $66.00
CUAPPR602 Collaborate in professional creative projects 50 $0.00
CUAPRI502 Investigate printmaking materials and processes 80 $66.00
CUASCU501 Refine Sculptural Techniques 80 $0.00

Above is the list of units offered at our Warrnambool campus. We also offer units with a textiles focus in the Diploma of Visual Arts at our Colac campus.


This course involves accredited units.  You will be required to complete assessment tasks to demonstrate your underpinning knowledge, skills and attributes to meet the course outcomes.  A combination of written, oral and practical assessment strategies will be used in either a classroom, online or workplace environment. 

Where units require demonstration of skills in a workplace environment, you will have the opportunity to do this either in your own workplace (where appropriate), through a practical placement, or by using one of the Institute's simulated workshops/classrooms.  Detailed information about the types, conduct and dates of assessments will be provided in advance.  You will also be provided with information about the opportunity for reassessment and appeal.

Skills Recognition

Your current skills, knowledge and experience can contribute to help you get a qualification. Learn more about skills recognition and how it may benefit you here.  

Pre-training review

The pre-training review assists SWTAFE staff to determine whether this course is the most suitable for you at this time, and also identify any support needs you may require once you commence your studies. It takes about an hour to complete. Once you apply for your chosen course a link to the pre-training review will be emailed to you.

Unique Student Identifier

If you are studying nationally recognised training in Australia, you are required to have a Unique Student Identifier (USI). Your USI links to an online account that contains your training records and results for training completed from 1 January 2015 onwards. One of the main benefits of the USI is the ability to provide you with easy access to your training records and results throughout your life and this will assist you when applying for a job or enrolling in further study. You are required to have a USI at the time of enrolment – especially if you want to use VET Student Loans to defer your fees. To apply online or get more information go to www.usi.gov.au.

Course Fees

Everyone has different circumstances that can affect what you pay and how much you pay. Your fees each year are made up of 2 different elements:

  • Tuition fee
  • Consumables/material fee

There are 3 different rates of tuition fees. Only one will apply to you depending on your eligibility and circumstances. The 3 categories include:

The fees listed below are indicative only and may be subject to change without notice and given individual circumstances. Your actual fees will be calculated based on your individual circumstances at the time of enrolment. Funding made available to eligible individuals by State and Commonwealth Governments. If funding is utilised, this may affect future opportunities to access additional funding in the future. 

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Student type Indicative Course Fee
Government subsidised rate (if eligible) $9,470.00
Full fee rate (if not eligible for govt subsidy) $12,925.00
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Fee type Indicative Course Fee
Maximum Consumable/Materials Fee $940.00
Maximum Consumables/Materials Fees

You may be required to pay the cost of some goods or materials necessary for your course, eg: tools of the trade, uniform and books. The maximum consumables/materials fees are made up of course consumables, core unit consumables and the maximum elective units you will pay.

Final costs will be determined at enrolment and you will be informed of the fees associated with course consumables and resources via your Statement of Fees. 

Which fee applies to me?

Government-subsidised rate - Skills First
You could be eligible for a government-subsidised rate depending on your age, educational history, and citizenship or residency status. If you are eligible, the government will contribute to the cost of your training.
Check your eligibility

Skills First Exemptions
As a Victorian Government TAFE, South West TAFE is able to provide exemptions for prospective students. Contact our Customer Service Team to find out if you are eligible for an exemption.

Concession rate
If you are eligible for a Skills First government-subsidised place and hold a current healthcare or pension card, that you can provide at enrolment. You may be eligble for the concession rate. 
Find out more about concession rates

Full fee rate
If you are not eligible for a Skills First government-subsidised place, exemption, concession or are enrolling in a course that isn't government-subsidised, you may be required to pay the full fee rate. 

Find out more about fees and eligibility

How do I pay my fees?

Once we have processed your enrolment form, you will receive an email with your invoice.

You have three options when organising your payment:

  1. Upfront payment - can be made over the phone with EFTPOS
  1. Payment plan - can be directly debited from your bank account, debited from your Centrelink payments or via a VET Student Loan (for diploma or advanced diploma courses only)
  1. Paid by employer, school or job network agency - if your fees are being paid by your employer, school or job network agency, you will need to complete an Authority to Invoice form.

Payments will need to be arranged within five(5) business days of receiving the email containing your invoice.

We also offer a range of scholarships each year which you may be eligible to apply for to assist with course fees.

Next Steps
Careers and Course Advice

Not sure which course is right for you? South West TAFE will help you find your way.

Our Pathfinders Skills and Jobs Centre is here to support you. Whether you’re exploring career options, transitioning from school to the workforce or looking to study after school we’re here to help you. Call, email or drop in.

Call 5564 8515 or email skillsandjobscentre@swtafe.edu.au

Apply Now

Apply now for a place in our next course intake. Places for courses are limited, so it’s best to get in soon so you don’t miss out. You’ll need to complete an application form  which you can do online here or by speaking with our Customer Service team.  We invite you to come and see us at one of our campuses in Warrnambool, Colac, Portland or Hamilton and a team member will ensure you are taken care of.

If you have any questions regarding the application process please chat to our Customer Service team on 1300 648 911.

Student Support

As a SWTAFE student, you can access a variety of support services that will enhance your study experience and help you complete your studies successfully. For more information about any of these services, visit our student page.