BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU

Bachelor of Visual Arts ANU - Fact Sheet

Wondering whether the Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU would be the perfect fit for you? Well, look no further because you’ve come to the right place!

We’ve put together everything there is to know about the units, culture, assessments and what it’s really like to study a Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU. 

Let’s get straight into it! 

What is a Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU?
Core Units and Majors
How to Get into a Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU?

A Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU is a degree that teaches the creative, conceptual and theoretical components of a range of artistic practices. You’ll get to learn about the structural, symbolic, historic and cultural elements of art so that you’ll not only be able to create brilliant pieces but you’ll learn to understand and analyse them too!

At ANU, your Visual Arts program will be tailored to suit your interests and aspirations so that you can get the most out of your degreeYou’ll be immersed in a range of artistic styles so that you’ll develop the creative skills and theoretical knowledge to adapt to any part of the creative industry once you graduate.

Throughout your Visual Arts degree at ANU, you’ll have the opportunity to dip your toes into the world of animation, filmmaking, ceramics, glass, furniture, hybrid art practice, jewellery, painting, photomedia, print media, drawing, sculpture and textiles. The options are endless! 

Can this degree be studied in conjunction with another?

Sure can! ANU makes it really easy to browse and compare all of your double degree options. 

A double degree is a way for university students to study two degrees simultaneously. It’s a popular choice for students who want to fast-track their studies, increase employability, enhance career flexibility and it’s great for those who are having trouble specialising in one particular area. 

However, there is definitely no requirement to study a double degree with Visual Arts. It’s only for students who want to and know that they’d be able to handle a lot more work over their program. Some of the degrees that ANU offers its students to study simultaneously with Visual Arts include:

    • Bachelor of Commerce 
    • Bachelor of Economics 
    • Bachelor of Science 
    • Bachelor of Political Science 
    • Bachelor of Classical Studies 
    • Bachelor of Archaeological Practice 
    • Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship 
    • Bachelor of Design 
    • Bachelor of Arts 

You’ve got a lot of options. So if you’re keen on extra study, then a Bachelor of Visual Arts in conjunction with another undergraduate degree may be the option for you. 

You can check out all of your double degree options right here

Career Paths

Your Visual Arts degree can take you anywhere — whether you want to be a practicing artist, a children’s book illustrator or a filmmaker.

Having a Visual Arts degree under your belt is exactly what you need to secure the profession that you want in the art world. Your Visual Arts degree may lead you to:

    • Advertising designer 
    • Art teacher 
    • Art curator 
    • Artwork restorer or conservator 
    • Fashion designer 
    • Book illustrator 
    • Animator 
    • Graphic designer 
    • Photojournalist 
    • Production artist 

Core Units and Majors

To graduate from a Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU, you’ll need to complete 144 credit points. At ANU, credit points are used to measure the workload of each subject.

While the more extensive subjects can be up to 12 credit points, the majority of the subjects that you’ll take are 6 credit points each. This means that you’ll be taking about 24 subjects throughout your course — 8 each year and 4 each semester.  

At ANU, your Visual Arts degree is going to be broken up into four different components which will vary a little over each year. 

What are the Core Units?

There are 3 core units that are consistent across your entire cohort. Your compulsory courses include:

Core UnitsDescription
Art and Design Histories: Form and SpaceThis subject is a first year introductory unit where you’ll learn all about the key concepts and methods in the history of art. You’ll develop an understanding of how culture has been developed through the form, materials and ideas behind art and artistic practice. 
Art and Design Histories: Making and MeaningSimilar to your previous core unit, this subject will allow you to analyse the historical and social chances that have impacted the production and understanding of art and design. You’ll examine the international development of art galleries and museums through diverse artistic traditions. 
Creative Research Practice: Extending and Consolidating an Independent ProjectIn this 12 credit-point subject, you’ll be creating your own original body of creative work ready for public display. This is a third year subject that allows you to explore and experiment with a range of different material and conceptual methods depending on the students’ interest. 

If you’d like to take a better look at the core subjects in ANU’s Visual Arts degree, you can check them out here

The rest of your units are incredibly personalisable and are very dependent on your interests and your goals for this degree. 

First Year

In your first year, you’ll take two classes from the Foundation List. This is the beginning of the course that will get everyone on the same page.

You’ll get to choose out of the following options:

    • Figure and Life 
    • Image and Object 
    • Hold Everything: Studio Foundation 
    • Precise Drawing and Model Making 
    • Visual Communication: Design and Production 
    • Contemporary Design in Context 

Alongside these, you’ll complete two elective subjects, classes for the major that you’ll choose and you’ll take some art history and practical classes.

Since there are some long lists to choose from, you can check out all of your options here

Essentially, to graduate from a Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU, you’ll complete:

    • 12 Units of Introductory Courses 
    • 6 Units of the Compulsory Course
    • 6 Units of the Introductory Art and Design History Course 
    • 18 Units of Art History and Theory Courses 
    • 6 Units of the Engagement Course 
    • 48 Units of Your Chosen Major
    • 48 Units of ANU Electives 

Remember, each subject at ANU is usually worth 6 units. 

What are the Majors?

ANU offers a diverse range of majors to Visual Arts students so you’ll be able to tailor the degree to your interests. There are 11 major options that you can choose from at ANU — these include:

    • Animation and Video Major 
    • Ceramics 
    • Furniture 
    • Glass 
    • Hybrid Art Practice 
    • Jewellery and Object 
    • Painting 
    • Photomedia 
    • Print Media and Drawing 
    • Sculpture and Spatial Practice 
    • Textiles 

Is there a built-in Internship program?

Your Visual Arts degree at ANU does not have any built-in internships or required placements. However, since the degree is very practice-based, your classes will often emulate the culture that you can expect from the workforce. 

With that said, you can always use your elective subjects to choose work experience classes! For example, you may choose to take the Art Museum Internship: Collection Management class to get some professional experience. 

Have a read of the pros and cons of this degree here!


How to Get into a Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU

To be guaranteed entry into ANU’s Bachelor of Visual Arts program, you’ll need to achieve a minimum ATAR of 70.

However, if you haven’t quite gotten the required ATAR, there’s no need to stress! ANU offers plenty of alternative entry pathways because an HSC mark is not an indication of someone’s abilities or talents. 

Alternate Pathways

ANU’s main pathway provider is ANU College which is a program that delivers avenues into ANU for those who haven’t gotten the required ATAR. There are a range of programs that will provide you with a pathway into a Bachelor’s degree program. 

You could also apply for adjustment factors to gain additional points to your ATAR. These may be equity-based, elite athlete adjustments or performance-based increases.

You can have a deeper look at ANU’s adjustment factors here

Early Entry

While ANU does offer early entry, they are always conditional and aren’t too common. This means that if you receive an early offer, you’ll still have to perform well in your HSC exams. 

ANU explicitly states that particular applicants will be prioritised for early entry offers. This includes:

    • Students in the top 2% for academic performance in their secondary school campus 
    • Students with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status 
    • Students with refugee status 
    • Students who have experienced long-term physical or psychological difficulties 
    • Students from low socio-economic schools 

You can check out more about ANU’s early offers here

Is there any assumed knowledge or prerequisite subjects?

There aren’t any prerequisite subjects for the Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU. You are eligible to submit an application as long as you get an ATAR over 70 and are prepared to undergo the interview process. You’ll also need to upload a portfolio of your creative work. 

This means that while it’s not compulsory, having studied Visual Arts in Year 11 and 12 would mean that you have some school work to include in your portfolio. 


ANU does offer scholarships to potential students on account of a variety of different reasons. A scholarship is designed to support students who may have difficulty paying for university fees, rent or living costs. 

You may also be eligible for a scholarship from ANU on the basis of financial hardship, if you’re an elite athlete or if you have excelled academically. 

You can find out more about ANU’s scholarships here

What’s the Teaching Format?

At ANU, you’ll be undertaking your studies through a two semester system. This means that you’ll be undertaking your degree in 2 sessions each year with some pretty long breaks in between.

To graduate in 3 years, you’ll be taking 4 classes each semester, which is considered a full-time load. Because Visual Arts is equally as practical as it is theoretical, you can expect to learn your content through lectures, tutorials and practical classes.

How much time do you spend on campus?

The time you spend in class will often vary throughout your degree. A lecture will be around 1 to 2 hours, a tutorial would, again, be around 1 to 2 hours and lastly your weekly practical session could last anywhere between 4 to 6 hours and involves a lot of self-directed practice.

You’ll be attending one lecture and one tutorial for each of your classes. This means that you can expect to be on campus for a little over 20 hours a week. This accounts for your lectures, tutorials, practicals and some individual study at the library. 

Class Structure

Bachelor of Visual Arts ANU - Class Structure


At ANU, you’ll be required to attend 1 lecture for each of the subjects that you’ll be taking. The lectures will give you a chance to familiarise yourself with the theoretical components of your course.

There’ll usually be a little over 100 students in the lecture theatre at a time and it’s a great opportunity for you to take notes and prepare for the upcoming week of material. 

Lectures generally involve a lecturer standing up at the front of the theatre discussing content from a presentation. Lectures are quite formal and don’t allow for too much group work or peer discussions. 


Similar to lectures, you’ll be attending a tutorial for each of your subjects every week. A tutorial will generally last 1 to 2 hours and will have about 15 to 20 students in each class. 

Tutorials will give you the chance to develop your theoretical knowledge. You’ll be asking questions or participating in class discussions. Tutorials are far more conversational than lectures and will be quite informal, so they’re a perfect chance to get to know your peers! 


Throughout your degree, you’ll get a few hours each week to work on whatever project that you’re up to — you’ll always be working on something! So, practicals will require a lot of self-directed learning as you work away on whatever masterpiece that you’re creating that week. 

These classes will be a little similar to tutorials — they are informal and can really be whatever you make them. You can expect around 10 to 12 people in each practical class. 

What are the assessments like?

Just like your degree, your assessments are going to be broken up into two kinds — theoretical and practical.

For your theoretical assessments, you’ll have to write a few essays, give some presentations and you’ll complete a mix of take-home assessments too. You’ll usually be analysing a particular artwork or statement but you’ll learn how to ace this once you begin your degree! 

On the practical side of things you’ll be working on plenty of artworks and visual diaries that showcase your work and give you a chance to reflect on your progress. 

Skills That You Refine and Learn

Bachelor of Visual Arts ANU - Skills

Once you graduate from a Visual Arts degree you can expect to feel confident in your artistic practice, style and theory. 

Time management is important as Visual Arts students because you’ll be creating some of your pieces within a pretty tight schedule. You’re going to need to be creative and innovative while sticking to a pretty rigid timeline. 

“My studies saw me develop a strong sense of resourcefulness and adaptability. Art is difficult in that not everything is perfect, but as an artist you can find a way to make anything work.” Samuel Jarosz, Bachelor of Visual Arts at Graduate at ANU

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

As a Visual Arts student at ANU, your faculty is the School of Art and Design which is a part of ANU’s College of Art and Social Sciences

Being a part of the School of Art and Design means that you’ll be surrounded and supported by like minded artistic people who are always willing to help with inspiration for your creative endeavours. 

Interacting with the members of the School of Art and Design is essential for fostering relationships and creating life-long networks. So, whenever you have the chance, talk to your staff! 

Visual Arts students are a group of creative, intelligent and supportive individuals that are always willing to help out and encourage you throughout your degree. You can be sure to make some long-term pals there!  

Bachelor of Visual Arts ANU - Student Quote

Societies and Clubs

A lot of people will be living in uni accommodation at ANU so you’ll be getting plenty of chances to interact with your peers. A great way to begin these relationships is to join some of the vast range of clubs and societies that ANU has on offer. 

ANU offers nearly 150 clubs and societies to students so you’re bound to find a group that interests you! 

You may like to join the Society of Arts and Social Sciences, the Rock Music clubs or even the dance club! Or maybe you’d just like to check them out for yourself here


Not only does ANU offer a huge amount of E-resources and databases to make studying that much easier, they also provide a range of wellbeing support services. 

Whether you need a bit of assistance managing your social life, relationships, exam anxiety, tragedies or time management help — ANU has got you covered.

Take a look at some of the student resources that ANU offers right here!

Gemma Billington is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and an undergraduate student at the University of Technology Sydney. While studying Journalism and Social and Political Sciences, Gemma enjoys spending her time at the gym or reading about Britain’s medieval monarchy – ideally not at the same time. She currently creates and administers social media posts for Central News and writes for the student publication, The Comma. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to study a Masters of Medieval History and is very excited about the prospect!


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