Master of Contemporary Art

Abednico Mishingo Sechaba
My job – as a lecturer at a junior high school training college in Botswana – requires that I have a Masters degree, and I also wanted to deepen my knowledge of ceramics and contemporary art. At SCA I’ve had the opportunity to move away from my more ‘conventional’ practice and the seminars built my confidence in critiquing my own practice and others’, which will help me talk to my students about their work.
Photo: Ian Hobbs
Adrian de Giorgio
I enjoyed my undergraduate study, which emphasised technical skills and working from observation. I knew, however, that for my postgraduate degree I wanted a conceptual emphasis, somewhere that would challenge my thinking, and SCA has a reputation for being conceptually concerned.
Photo: Ian Hobbs
Ellen Dahl
I’d been a commercial photographer for 15 years, and was working on a personal photographic project that made me particularly aware of my artistic shortcomings. I decided that studying at SCA would challenge me conceptually. Not only has my interest in photography been re-ignited but I’m now much more aware of my artistic intentions and the ideas behind my practice. Image courtesy of the artist
Jason Christopher
I began at SCA as an undergraduate, and then spent fifteen years working in the film industry and as a street infrastructure designer, maintaining an art practice on the side. When I resigned from my job and returned to SCA, I knew I needed to be amongst peers and staff who could inspire and develop my theoretical and conceptual processes. And my practice has been completely transformed.
Image courtesy of the artist
Stevie Fieldsend
The most surprising thing about the program was the high level of guidance and critical feedback I received on my artistic ideas and concerns – it was intense, challenging, nurturing and rewarding all at the same time. But this gave me a clear sense of the direction I wanted for my work, as well as a critical understanding of where my ideas fit in the contemporary landscape.
Image courtesy of the artist

About the MCA | Course structure | How to apply | Apply now | Further course information

About the MCA

The Master of Contemporary Art (MCA) is a dynamic program that supports the development of a career in contemporary art practice. The degree is coordinated by the Australian artist Robyn Backen.

If you have previously studied visual art and are looking to re-enter the field, the MCA has been specifically designed to offer you a valuable platform for up-skilling. MCA students propose and develop a self-initiated visual arts project, and develop work within a community of artists who intellectually support and challenge each other. You’ll present your studio project in an exhibition at the completion of your study.

You studio project will be supported by seminars in art practice that concentrate on the practical, theoretical and material context of contemporary art and its relationship to your individual studio practice. History and theory seminars provide a forum for discussion on key theorists and philosophers appropriate to contemporary art, and also include gallery visits and guest lectures.

The degree is self-directed, flexible, and transdisciplinary, and has a strong record of providing students with exhibition opportunities, initiating the careers of many artists in Sydney. You will have the option to specialise your degree pathway through industry placement, as well as through preparation for further study and higher research degrees.

The MCA is a 1*-1.5 year full time course that may be undertaken on a part-time basis (*depending on prior qualifications).

Course Structure

The course structure requires the completion of a cohesive sequence of core units of study supplemented by a range of electives, and a capstone unit that unites the themes of the whole course in a major moving image project. As part of your studies, you complete a compulsory Praxis component of study that can be undertaken as:

  • a professional project;
  • a research project consisting of an academically rigorous written component that assists you to prepare for a higher degree research pathway; or
  • an industry placement;

You can exit the course with Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Art after completion of two semesters full-time.

Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3
Project 1: Critical Thinking Project 2: Critical Contexts CAMI6001 Praxis
Contemporary Art: Histories and Theories Elective CAMI6002 Final Project
Elective Elective Elective

If you wish to study part-time, you will enrol in fewer units of study each semester. Most of classes are scheduled between 9 am and 5 pm. International students on a student visa are required to enrol full-time unless there are special circumstances.

Some of electives* are:

Contemporary Curating
Curatorial LAB
Image/Object in Photomedia
The Art of Sound and Noise
Investigate Clay
Screen Printing: Introductory Workshop
Fusion: Jewellery and Ceramics
Upcycled Glass: Introducing Warm Glass
Research Methodology in Art Practice
Light and Space: Introducing Cast Glass
Vessel as Concept: Hot Glass Intro
Biennales, Triennales and Contemporary Art
Documentary Film

*Please note not all electives are available in 2016. You can also choose any postgraduate electives offered at the University of Sydney. Please refer to the SCA Handbook.