Our entire visual experience depends on light. It has a profound impact on both the function and aesthetics of architectural spaces. The Illumination Design program offers strong technical education in human visual perception, methods for quantifying light, lighting technologies and issues of sustainability. This field is enjoying rapid and exciting technological innovations and this program emphasizes the knowledge and critical thinking skills to enable students to adapt to - and even lead - future changes.

As a student of Illumination Design, you will develop your expertise in lighting for architectural and urban environments. You will understand how rapidly-evolving sustainable lighting technologies are changing industry practise and are contributing to new opportunities for creative applications of modern materials, colours and technologies.

You will understand the relationship between lighting and allied-built environment disciplines and how the interaction of optics, psychology and physiology determines an occupant’s perception and appreciation of lighting choices.

Career Prospects

Graduates of this course are working at lighting design firms, engineering companies, lighting equipment manufacturers, architectural and design practices, lighting distributors, and as private consultants. Upon successful completion of this masters coursework program, students are qualified for full membership in the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand, subject to the required practical experience.

This program prepares you for a range of lighting and illumination-related careers. Employment spans diverse disciplines such as architectural lighting, lighting consultancy, technical advising and lighting product design.



The fact that the program is done in intensive blocks, you really get to meet and spend time with people. Normally we're professional rivals, some people do it over 4 or five years, so you get to meet different groups all the time. It's more camaraderie.

I enjoyed every class. Day lighting was one of my favourite units, not because of the subject per se but because it surprised me. It gave me a bit of an insight into different aspects of the industry. I ‘clicked’ with the very first class. Every lighting unit was exceptional. It's fantastic that [Dr] Wendy [Davis] has come onboard. She lives and breathes lighting. She is bringing even more science and more future technologies. I'm contemplating do more research.

Wendy has taken the course to the next level. I think it's fantastic. For any alumni that want to come back and do papers or research, Wendy is establishing amazing facilities. There’s no reason that Australia can’t be the world leader in lighting.

This degree is highly regarded by the lighting industry. To become a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society you must have the Illumination Design program, it’s one of only two recognised courses. That recognition is important; I believe you should continue to educate yourself throughout your whole career because technology and understandings change.

Alex McCoy

I come from an entertainment lighting background, the majority of which is based on information handed down by informal on the job training which is fine but I wanted a more formal, defined education in Illumination Design.

The convenience of the time table was extremely appealing as the lectures are run in intensive mode so you’re only required to attend four days of class per unit. As someone who works full time this allows for minimal interference with work compared to weekly night classes or other conventional arrangements.

The collective group of lecturers and guest speakers have an immense quantity of knowledge to impart and I hope to take as much of that away as possible.

Double Stream

The Master, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate programs in Illumination Design provide you with a specialisation in both the design and science of lighting. You study this field throughout the core of your program, in addition to foundational units in architectural science. All students in Illumination Design are trained in these fundamental, first-principles approaches.

But you may be a student that wants to distinguish yourself. You might want to extend your studies and demonstrate to employers your mastery not just of Illumination Design, but also of a related field from the design sciences. The Double Stream program in Illumination Design allows you to demonstrate your dedication to studies and the professional skills that these studies represent. To extend yourself in this way, select the ‘Double Stream’ option once you have chosen the Master program on the ‘Course Structure’ page of this website. You may complete a second stream in Audio and Acoustics, Sustainable Design, Building Services and Facilities Management.


Our Illumination Design program can be taken as a Graduate Certificate (six months full time), Graduate Diploma (one year full time) or Master degree (one and a half years full time), or as a double stream Master degree (two years full time). Part time study options are available for domestic students.

Many Illumination Design units are taught as ‘block-mode’ intensive classes, delivered over four to six full days, some of which occur on weekends to accommodate students working students. Some units may be delivered in weekly lecture format. Please refer to the current timetable or Faculty Handbook to explore the delivery method of you chosen subjects.

Students may apply to upgrade at the completion of their program from the Graduate Certificate, through to the Diploma and then to the Masters by maintaining a credit average over the course of study. Masters and Diploma students may also opt to graduate with a lower level of certification once the required units are complete.

Individual units can also be taken as Continuing Professional Development short courses without enrolling into a degree.


Primary Core

Secondary Core


Total Required

Primary Stream Core Units

Secondary Stream Core Units

Illumination Optional Units

  • Illumination Stream

  • Audio & Acoustics Stream

  • Sustainable Stream

  • Facilities Management Stream

  • Building Services Stream

Your Course

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How to Apply

Local students enrolling in the Illumination Design program can, with permission, enrol part time.

Local and international students enrolling in the double stream Illumination Design program can enrol full time in 2013 and 2014.

Masters and Graduate Diploma applicants should hold a Bachelor degree. Graduate Certificate applicants should hold a Bachelor degree or possess experience that is considered to demonstrate the knowledge and aptitude required to undertake the course.

Applications are completed online. Please visit Courses Online to get started.

Applications must be accompanied by original transcripts of study (or copies issued and certified by the issuing institution), together with certified copies of your identification (Birth Certificate or Passport). Students who are applying for a certificate program based on industry experience should attach a CV and any other supporting documentation that may assist in the assessment of your application.

For further information or enquiries, please contact the program director, Dr Wendy Davis

Just want to study one unit of study as professional development?

Visit the CPD page for more information on Professional Development courses.