HSC Intensive Studio Practice


The NAS HSC Intensive Studio Practice program is endorsed by the NSW Education Standards Authority and has been offered by NAS to Year 11 Visual Arts students in all government and non-government high schools since 2000.

This program is designed for students seeking to further their studies in Visual Arts for the HSC and beyond to tertiary level and who are considering a career in the Visual Arts. Taught by practising artist lecturers, students have the opportunity to develop their art making skills and portfolio in professional studios. This unique program attracts passionate visual art students from around the state and provides an opportunity for them to establish new relationships with like minded peers.

Applicants must be endorsed by their Visual Arts teacher, are achieving at the highest level of excellence in their Preliminary Visual Arts Course and demonstrate a mature attitude to their studies.

Application is via the link on this page. Please fill in a separate online application for each student.

Applications for 2024 intake open January 2024.


The purpose of this course is to provide an opportunity for Year 11 students in Visual Arts to enrich and extend their study within a choice of seven specialised disciplines:

Black & White Darkroom Photography

Students use the traditional fine art medium of black and white (silver gelatin) photography to explore photography’s specific visual language and concerns. Using 35mm SLR film cameras, they create negatives from which they print a series of black and white photographs in the darkroom. Students undertake sustained exploration of the fundamental expressive tools of composition, light, tone, subject matter and editing.


Students will explore a specific theme that encompasses the natural environment, working with clay and other raw materials to refine and translate their experiences and observations. Students will investigate and combine a range of ceramics processes to extend and enrich their knowledge and scope of the ceramic studio, as well as the possibilities of clay, glaze and firing, starting from the research and development of ideas through to the presentation of finished artwork for exhibition.

Digital Photography

Students will use the fine art medium of digitally-produced photography to explore specific visual language and concerns. In a sustained exploration of the fundamental expressive tools of composition, light, colour, subject matter and editing, students will examine the manipulative possibilities particular to digitally produced photography and the resulting ideas expressed.

Life Drawing

This course will focus on drawing the human figure and students will spend the entire program drawing from the undraped life model. Through intensive studio practice students will develop their observational drawing skills while studying the inherent structure of the form, proportional relationships and the role of perspective in foreshortening. Different methodologies of depicting form will be employed from quick gestural drawings to sustained exploration of the figure in a spatial context.


Students who have chosen this discipline will participate in the process of transcription: the analysis and appropriation of an historically significant image by research and practice. Through this process they will interpret the formal qualities and language of an historically significant painting by observation of surface, composition, planar and architectural space as well as cultural and conceptual concerns. In focussing on subjective analysis and research they will be encouraged to develop a personal response to the artistic language of the work with their new perspectives informing the medium.


Students will investigate and combine a range of printmaking processes to extend and enrich their knowledge and scope of the printmaking studio. They will focus on the use of etching in an exploration of contemporary technical, aesthetic and creative concerns. The course will promote independent research and foster the development of individual ideas to produce a folio of prints.


The aim of the course is the development of a set of 3D figurative concepts. In developing their art works within different methods of sculpture all students will undertake a sustained exploration of the human figure. Students will begin with a study in clay and progress to a further study of the human form. The final project entails producing a large scale figure using construction methods. An emphasis is placed on a reinterpretation of sculptural conventions and traditions.


Cecilia Jackson, Education Coordinator

[email protected]
+61 2 9339 8751

Course Dates

The dates for the 2023 HSC program are:

Module 1: Tuesday 11 – Friday 14 July 2023 and

Module 2: Monday 25 – Friday 29 September 2023

The dates for the 2024 HSC program are:

Module 1: Tuesday 16 – Friday 19 July 2024 and

Module 2: Monday 30 – Friday 4 October 2024

The National Art School (NAS) reserves the right to review students after Module 1. Students will be invited to continue on to Module 2 if they have met the criteria of Module 1 and displayed excellence in their chosen media.

Course Fee

The fee for all students who are accepted into the NAS HSC Intensive Studio Practice is $450. All regional students who require boarding will be asked to pay an additional $450 ($900 total). This will be payable on acceptance to the course.

Boarding facilities are strictly limited and will be offered only to regional students who have no other accommodation alternatives. Boarding students will be offered share accommodation at a nearby hotel and will be supervised at all times by two teachers. Students living within the Sydney Metropolitan and Blue Mountains area, the Central Coast and Wollongong will not be offered boarding facilities and will need to commute.

In the event of the student needing financial assistance, a “NAS Regional Boarding Scholarship” may be applied for on the application form. This will cover full or partial fees. Eligible students are those who, due to financial restrictions and without the scholarship, would find it difficult or impossible to attend the program. A letter of support from the school should accompany the application outline the student’s eligibility.


I have thoroughly enjoyed working with different visual arts students from all around the state with different values, experiences and ideas, but all with the same passion for photography and being creative. I was thrilled to be accepted and to be challenged with a new medium of artmaking which will carry on through my year 12 visual arts course and beyond. I was very much inspired by the amazing people surrounding me and the talent of each individual.

Amelia, B&W Photography


The HSC Intensive course has been of great benefit to my practice as a photographer, and  having the amazing help and guidance from the tutor has really pushed my conceptual thinking and analysis to Year 12 level.

Ned, B&W Photography


The course was extremely beneficial for my visual art school studies, especially in experiencing the creation and display of a major work, as well as other tips such as, writing an artist statement, forming ideas and reflecting on my work.

Giselle, Digital Photography


I definitely found the course beneficial to my school Visual Arts practice as I learnt how to efficiently use photoshop and how to set up documents to print. I also loved meeting new people and made new friendships. I have found this course inspiring and a great motivational to continue art in the future.

Sasha, Digital Photography


This course and even just being in an art school environment has most definitely inspired me to continue something like this after school. It has opened my eyes, and reassured me that there are endless successful opportunities in the art industry, despite what many say.

Mara, Life Drawing


I have enjoyed meeting people and being able to spend an extended period of time drawing each day. I think that a lot of the skills I learned are transferable to other areas of art.  It has definitely given me an insight to what art school might be like – and it seems good.

Finn, Life Drawing

The HSC Intensive course was extremely beneficial and enlightening. The tutor was engaging and informative, and the skills I’ve learnt have certainly enhanced the way I approach drawing figures and drawing as a whole. The skills will be carried into my practice in artmaking and remain with me.

Jessica, Drawing


The course greatly benefitted my art practice, taking the skills and knowledge of my personal artistic practice to new levels. It also gave me insight to the type of art I would like to be working on for my major body of work in Year 12. Seeing a vast range of students from different school each with their own individual art-making practices also accentuated the diverse types of art practices.

Tolga, Painting


The HSC intensive has really helped me find out what I want to make for my year 12 major work and find an area I want to work in.

Connor, Printmaking


I feel as through this has benefited my school studies because it has made me think about other possibilities and approaches that I can take to my school studies and practice. Throughout this I believe my skills and knowledge have improved because I have thought outside the box.

I have been inspired to continue my visual art studies through to a focus on a career.

Adriana, Printmaking


By far one of my favourite things about the course was being able to be surrounded by creatively-charged, like-minded individuals from all over the state, the energy was amazing, and I really appreciated the constant feedback from peers.

Cade, Sculpture


The NAS HSC course has definitely inspired me to continue art into tertiary levels.

Katie, Sculpture

Please note

The NAS HSC Intensive Studio Practice now operates as a University Developed Board Endorsed Course, and as such the National Art School will have responsibility for:

  • forwarding a list of participating schools to the NSW Education Standards Authority so that the course appears in Schools Online to enable those schools to enter their students
  • informing school principals in writing if at any time a student is at risk of receiving an ‘N’ (Non-completion) Determination
  • advising the school principal in writing when students have satisfactorily completed the course.

Each School will have responsibility for:

  • entering students into the course on Schools Online at the commencement of Year 12.

The NAS HSC Intensive Studio Practice will still appear on the student’s HSC certificate as a one unit course but will not contribute to the student’s ATAR count. NAS will issue each student with a “Statement of Results” which will include a mark out of 50.

Supported by :

Edward and Deborah Griffin

Howard Tanner AM and Mary Tanner

Susan Rothwell AM and Garry Rothwell AM

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