Graduate Certificate in Visual Art

The experience


Meet current student Liz Smith

Liz Smith

After a 40-year career in psychology and education, Liz Smith is now part of the vibrant community of artists at the University of Melbourne’s Southbank Campus, where the students and teachers support one-another, whatever their background. “We’re all from different backgrounds, you only needed to be a graduate to apply – so we’ve got a biologist, a photographer, a couple of graphic artists, an illustrator. There are people from all different walks of life, and that just makes it a more layered, fascinating and experience".

Attending classes two nights a week is a joy, as is having the time to create work. “At the VCA I can go wild! And the wilder I go, the more I love it”.

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Faculty of Fine Arts and Music

The course is taught at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, the proud home of the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

Much of the teaching, research and performance takes place in, or near, the new Ian Potter Southbank Centre on the University of Melbourne’s Southbank campus. Our facilities on the University's Parkville campus, including Melba Hall, are also used for teaching, research and performances.

While studying at the Faculty, you will have the chance to benefit from a range of partnerships and engagement activities at major arts companies in Melbourne's Arts Precinct, local and national festivals and sister institutions around the world.

Explore the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music

Wilin Centre

Situated in the heart of Melbourne's Arts Precinct, the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development provides exposure to contemporary Indigenous arts practices and supports the recruitment of Indigenous artists, academics and students.

Learn more about the Wilin Centre

Exhibition spaces

Margaret Lawrence Gallery

Visit the Margaret Lawrence Gallery, our primary exhibition space. It is a professional exhibiting space for graduate and alumni work, Art studio projects, artists in-residence, staff exhibitions, as well as independent local and international exhibitions.

Margaret Lawrence Gallery

Student Gallery

The Student Gallery is a dedicated student exhibition space, where students are encouraged to test ideas and present their work in a supported peer environment. Members of the public are invited to visit and enjoy the space.

Student Gallery


John Meade

Meet John Meade, Head of the Graduate Certificate of Visual Art

Artist and Lecturer in Painting Dr John Meade has been described as having "an omnivorous eye". He uses his extensive creative practice and expertise to steer the Graduate Certificate in Visual Art at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, as course coordinator. He tells us here a bit more about the course. 

The Graduate Certificate in Visual Art is unique. It is a part-time graduate course, but your previous degree does not need to be in Fine Art. We attract an incredibly diverse range of students who have probably harboured the idea of studying art for quite a while (in some cases decades) but, for various reasons – be it through choice or circumstance – they have not chanced the enterprise. Some students do come to us with a degree in art but want a refresher, or want to prepare for a coursework masters.

The Graduate Certificate students do three coursework subjects over two semesters: two studio classes and one theory subject each semester. It can be completed in one or two years. We teach students how to think, how to look at art, and how to make art. As most of our students are so fresh, our focus is primarily on making, on engaging with campus activities, and on introducing students to the Melbourne contemporary art world."

What sort of careers or pathways can students expect to go into?
Well, the plan is always that students in Visual Art at the Victorian College of the Arts move into professional practice as artists. However, success comes in many forms. I think most of our students have a great time and their life is enriched by the experience. So, some graduates go on to establishing a career as an artist, some will work in allied fields, taking what they have learned into other creative spaces. And some will just keep at it because they love it. Sustainability is the most important thing for an artist.

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