Postgraduate study in creative arts

Courses and specialisations

Many postgraduate degrees in creative arts are offered to students who have a background in the area, but there are also programs available for students who have studied other fields at undergraduate level and want to change their career. Some programs are also designed for creative arts graduates who want to move into leadership roles in their field, which includes programs such as art administration and art management.

The list of postgraduate coursework degrees in creative arts is extensive, with options available at graduate certificate, graduate diploma and masters by coursework level. Professional doctorates are also available, as well as some vocational graduate certificates available in the VET sector (see VET study in creative arts).  In addition to the popular disciplines (such as film and television, music, performing arts and visual arts), there are also some unique options available at postgraduate level, including art therapy, curatorship and directing.

There are some general courses (the master of creative arts, for example) that allow students to choose a major, but most courses specialise in a particular creative arts discipline (such as a master of music studies). Some courses and specialisations are interdisciplinary, meaning they focus on the creative arts industry as a whole rather than a specific arts discipline. Students who have multiple interests can combine postgraduate study in creative arts with study in another field through a double degree. There are also many degrees that have an integrated focus on another field, such as programs in art history (often found in humanities faculties).

Research programs are popular in the creative arts field, with a wide range of masters by research and research doctorates available allowing students to complete extensive study in their discipline. Students are not necessarily required to produce a thesis — many submit creative projects or combine creative works with a minor thesis.

Applicants must meet academic and English language requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. You may be required to submit a portfolio or attend an audition or interview. Some courses may require previous study or work experience in the creative arts field. For more information about postgraduate courses and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Postgraduate.

Where to study

Postgraduate degrees in creative arts are available at universities, private colleges and some TAFE institutes.There are a number of prestigious education providers that specialise in creative arts courses.

The course you choose will usually be determined by your skills and interests, but you should also consider whether the course has a practical or academic focus and whether the institution has a strong reputation in your field. If you are considering a research degree, you should look for institutions that have a history of research and creative practice in your discipline and check out the support services available for research students and potential supervisors.  

Practical experience is a very important part of creative arts courses, so it is important to check that the institutions you are considering have good facilities in your area of interest (such as art studios, recording studios, editing suites, theatres and exhibition spaces).

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