Bachelor of Fine Art

Our Bachelor of Fine Art degree is designed to impart the skills, knowledge and creative independence required to sustain a career as an artist.

This individual development requires a holistic approach to art education – one that we have always believed is best accommodated by students learning the skills and knowledge of the studio through studio practice under the guidance of established artists.

NAS has long been recognised for our use of this studio model of learning. Our focus on small class sizes ensures that every student receives individual guidance and that their independent exploration of art making is informed by a comprehensive knowledge of the historical underpinnings of that practice as well as the dynamic range of contemporary possibilities for art practice today.

The BFA comprises three interrelated areas of study: Drawing, Art History & Art Theory and Studio. Study in these key subject areas continues throughout all three years of the degree.

Program Structure

Our Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is designed to impart the skills, knowledge and creative independence required to sustain a career as an artist.

This individual development requires a holistic approach to art education – one that we have always believed is best accommodated by students learning the skills and knowledge of the studio through studio practice under the guidance of established artists.

NAS has long been recognised for our use of this studio model of learning. Our focus on small class sizes ensures that every student receives individual guidance and that their independent exploration of art making is informed by a comprehensive knowledge of the historical underpinnings of that practice as well as the dynamic range of contemporary possibilities for art practice today.

The BFA comprises three interrelated areas of study: Drawing, Art History & Art Theory and Studio. Study in these key subject areas continues throughout all three years of the degree.

Course Schema

Year 1

In the first year of the degree, students are introduced to the foundational skills and concepts of art making in a comprehensive exploration of studio practice in all range of studio areas including Ceramics, Painting, Photomedia, Printmaking and Sculpture. In the second semester, students narrow the focus of their studio study to two of those areas – one of which will form the basis for an ongoing studio Specialisation in following years of study.

Study in Drawing at this level introduces students to the foundational principles of visual observation, analysis and experimental drawing, and the Art History & Theory program examines the historical precedents and contemporary contexts of visual arts practice.

Year 2

In the second year of the degree, students commence study in a Studio Specialisation nominated from one of two studio areas studied in the previous semester. The year is project based and supports the development of individual work practices in preparation for the final year of the degree.

Students continue to study Drawing where the skills attained in the previous year are extended to include both contemporary and traditional drawing practices. The Art History & Theory core program examines the history and cultural conditions of modernity and an Art History and Theory Elective program offers students an opportunity to engage more deeply with a broad variety of specialised topics.

Year 3

In the third and final year of the degree, students work on independent projects under the guidance of studio staff. This final year emphasises self-directed learning and individual development with all students building a major body of work for assessment and exhibition at the conclusion of the year.

The Drawing Program is driven by individual student projects at this level and the Art History & Theory core program examines the major concepts, terminology and debates that shape contemporary art and culture today.

Core Subjects

In conjunction with study in selected studio areas, Drawing and Art History & Theory are included as core subjects throughout all three years of the BFA.

These core areas of study grow in scope and intensity at each level of the course and areas of core study reflect the critical importance of these key areas of skill and knowledge required for practice in any studio discipline. The final year of the BFA includes a core Professional Practice component for all students.

Drawing

Drawing is a core competency for the visual artist in any area of visual arts practice. As the fields of artistic practice continue to expand and evolve in a changing word, drawing provides the artist with the essential capacity for visual analysis and speculation. In recognition of the importance of those attributes, Drawing is delivered as a core subject throughout all three years of the BFA.

Within that three-year sequence, students are engaged in a comprehensive exploration of drawing practices from foundational modes of drawing such as observational and life drawing, through experimental practises, multi-media works, installation practices and new media art works.

In addition to being a core subject within the BFA, Drawing is also offered as a Studio Specialisation at MFA level where it encompasses a diverse and dynamic range of practices, processes and attitudes to art making.

Art History & Theory

Today more than ever, the development of informed artistic practice requires understanding of the historical precedents and contexts of art making across a broad cultural spectrum. Given that importance, Art History & Theory is delivered as a core subject throughout all three years of our BFA and in the first year of our MFA.

Commencing with overview of artistic production from antiquity to the industrialisation of society in the nineteenth century, the BFA curriculum continues on to a comprehensive study of Modernity and Post Modernity. The final year of the BFA program includes a special focus on contemporary Australian and Aboriginal art and culture. In addition to this core program, a range of AHT electives are offered in the BFA covering a range of specialised topics.

Studio Specialisations

In conjunction with core study in Drawing and Art History & Theory the BFA provides students with the opportunity to engage in in-depth study in any of our five Studio Specialisations including Ceramics, Painting, Photomedia, Printmaking and Sculpture.

A Studio Introduction program in the first year of the degree provides an opportunity for students to engage in study in all of these studio areas. From the second year of the degree students nominate one of these areas as a Studio Specialisation which will form the basis of their studio study over the ensuing years of their BFA.

Ceramics

The study of Ceramics at NAS emphasises the ‘hands-on’ experience of working with clay.

Through the production of objects utilising a broad range of studio materials and equipment, our students engage in a ‘hands on’ exploration of the traditions of this ancient craft and its contemporary possibilities.

Our Ceramics studios are among the best equipped in Australia and support production across the entire temperature spectrum of ceramics from raku to porcelain. Students have access to production in a broad range of studio processes including hand building, wheel-throwing and casting techniques under the guidance of expert staff.

Painting

To study Painting at NAS is to engage with the rich and diverse traditions of one of the most enduring areas of art practice.

Through the exploration of a broad range of studio techniques and processes, our students develop the skill and confidence to engage with the history and the dynamic field that is Painting today.

From an introduction to the foundational histories, techniques and materials of the studio in the first year of the BFA, students are guided in their development through visual literacy, colour, tone and composition toward an engagement with contemporary approaches to painting and the development of an individual approach to art making.

Photomedia

The study of Photomedia at NAS is based upon a comprehensive exploration of the broad range of photographic processes, techniques and theories that constitute practice in this constantly evolving field of art practice.

Student learning is founded upon in-depth instruction and development of critical awareness to support the development of individual approaches to art making.

Our Photomedia studios support a diverse range of photographic practices, from the analogue camera and darkroom techniques that came to define this area of practice for over a century, to the more advanced digital camera and print output processes of today in addition to screen based moving image art works.

Printmaking

From the development of Gutenberg’s printing press in 15th century Europe to the digital process of today, Printmaking represents an exciting, influential and enduring approach to art making.

The study of Printmaking at NAS focuses on technical instruction in the uses of varying printmaking media to assist students in discovering their own personal visual language expressed through Printmaking.

Our Printmaking studio facilities cover the full range of printmaking processes including relief, intaglio, screen-printing, lithography and digital output. Students are guided thorough an extensive range of print formats, from an introduction to traditional approaches to printmaking and printing methods, to the making of artist’s books, multiples and digital print process.

Sculpture

The study of Sculpture at NAS is structured to provide students with an opportunity to fully explore this rich and diverse discipline.

From foundational study of the conventional modes of sculptural practice to more contemporary materials and sculptural practices, students are guided towards the development of their individual artistic sensibility and visual language.

Our Sculpture studios and central workshops support a comprehensive range of processes covering carving, modelling, and construction in a wide range of materials and artistic approaches. Dedicated facilities include areas for mould making and a foundry for casting in bronze.

How to Apply

Applications for the Bachelor of Fine Art are open and made through
(UAC) University Admissions Centre.

Standard admission to NAS is based upon interview and portfolio.

Download the BFA Application Guidelines here

Schedule of Fees
Download the schedule of fees here

Admissions Transparency Statement 2018

CONTACT

Student Services
+61 2 9339 8651
student.services@nas.edu.au

Admission Requirements

Eligibility requirements

One of the following educational qualifications is required to be eligible for admission into the BFA:

  • Successful completion of Year 12 (NSW Higher School Certificate or equivalent), or
  • TAFE CERT IV in Fine Art or equivalent; or
  • Successful completion of a minimum of one year’s tertiary study at an equivalent institution; or
  • Successful completion of the UAC STAT test – for applicants who are not current school leavers and do not have suitable qualifications for entry to the National Art School as outlined above.

Applicants over 21 years of age:

Consideration for entry to BFA is also given to mature-age entrants. Non-Current Year 12 applicants or applicants over 21 years of age meeting one of the below requirements must also submit their applications through UAC.

Applicants will be considered eligible to apply if they have completed one of the following:

  • NSW Higher School Certificate (1967-present) or equivalent;
  • Leaving Certificate (1955-66);
  • Diploma or Advanced Diploma at TAFE or other accredited tertiary institution, or
  • An approved tertiary preparation course (listed below):
  • Higher Education Approved Preparation Courses
  • University Preparation Courses (UPC) at the University of Sydney
  • University Preparation Program (UPP) and Foundation Studies at UNSW
  • NSW TAFE Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation (TPC)

Please note:

All tertiary qualifications must be issued for study in an accredited course complying with the Australian Qualifications Framework or a recognised equivalent qualification from a different jurisdiction.

Applicants who do not meet the required educational qualifications for acceptance into the BFA are encouraged to complete the UAC STAT test or a TAFE Diploma in Fine Art or TAFE matriculation program prior to applying to NAS the following year.

Application Process

The interview and portfolio presentation

Admission into the Bachelor of Fine Art is competitive, with selection based on an interview process and portfolio assessment.

Interviews and portfolio evaluations are held on campus in the first week of December.

Upon submitting your completed application to UAC and provided that you meet the educational requirements for admission, you will be contacted and notified of the exact time and date of your interview by National Art School Student Services via email and/or post.

Students unable to attend an interview (e.g. interstate or overseas applicants) may apply using powerpoint, digital files, transcripts of results of previous training and photographic documentation. Please discuss this with Student Services as soon as possible.


How it works:

The interview panel will consist of two members of Academic staff from the National Art School. The panel will ask you a range of questions relating to your interest in the arts, your portfolio, and your reasons for wishing to study at the National Art School. There will also be an opportunity for you to ask course related questions of the panel.


What to bring: 

A typed personal statement: (500-1000 words in length) addressing the following points:

  • Why you are interested in studying at the National Art School
  • What you hope to achieve from your study at the National Art School
  • Exhibitions have you seen or participated in during the last 12 months
  • Other cultural interests do you have, e.g. films, theatre, music, literature
  • An outline of your current art practice and interests

Your portfolio consisting of:

  • Minimum of 12 recently completed works
  • Relevant support material such as drawings, maquettes, sketchbooks and visual diaries.
Advance Standing

Applicants can apply for admission into the Bachelor of Fine Art with Advanced Standing in recognition of prior study at a university or TAFE. Students admitted with Advanced Standing are given credit towards the degree for all appropriate subjects completed at another institution up to a maximum of two thirds of the total credit points required for the degree.

Specified credit will be given for subjects closely related to a subject offered within the degree program. Advanced standing is only given for study completed in the last 10 years.

The educational qualifications required for admission with Advanced Standing into the BFA for second year are:

  • Successful completion of the first year of a Degree in Fine Art at an equivalent institution, or
  • Successful completion of a two year Diploma in Fine Art at TAFE or an equivalent institution.
  • Successful completion of a three year Advanced Diploma in Fine Art at TAFE or an equivalent institution.

The educational qualification required for admission with Advanced Standing into the BFA for third year requires successful completion of the first and second years of a degree in fine art at an equivalent institution.

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