The mission of the Academy of Design Australia is ‘to offer a high quality alternative to traditional tertiary education in the Arts’. In order to realise this mission, the AAD has set two primary goals: to build the distinctive character of the Academy; and to enhance our national and international reputation for academic excellence and leadership. These goals are to be attained by: • offering innovative specialist undergraduate and postgraduate programs relevant to the needs of graduates and industry; • encouraging students seeking a career in the Arts to access programs through multiple pathways; • creating a supportive learning environment by provision of appropriate student support services; • developing knowledge and skills in students which foster their creativity and innovation; • promoting a global perspective among students and building their determination to strive for international recognition and excellence; • embedding nationally and internationally marketable skills within the curriculum; • attracting and retaining high quality teaching staff; and • encouraging scholarship in teaching. These policies seek to build upon past aims and objectives, which included fostering close cooperation with the community, industry, commerce and government, and anticipating and responding to their needs through research, consultancy and continuing education; developing a spirit of community embracing students, staff and alumni; and equipping its graduates with the depth of education, the breadth of vision and the personal qualities needed to contribute to the development of a prosperous, equitable and just society.
The Academy has formalized memoranda of understanding with the following international institutions: BAU Escola Superior de Disseny, Barcelona, Spain; Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands; Utrecht School of Art, Netherlands; Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK; Instituto Europeo di Design (I.E.D.) Barcelona, Spain; Instituto Europeo di Design (I.E.D.) Milan, Italy. These affiliations have been developed primarily to facilitate student and staff exchange programs, and encourage collaborative research and the exchange of information and materials that are of mutual interest.
The Academy is a not-for-profit organisation and is included on the Commonwealth Register of Cultural Organisations.
The Academy’s governing body, the Senate, is comprised of recognized leaders and innovators in art, design and marketing fields (supplemented by experts in law, accounting, marketing and public relations). The President of the Senate is Professor Daryl le Grew. The Academy’s Patrons are Ken Cato, one of Australia’s most prominent designers; and Julian Burnside AO QC, barrister, author and one of Australia’s leading human rights and refugee advocates.
The Academy fosters links with industry via its program of guest lecturers, its professional practical placement program, and sponsored competitions. It also encourages input from the design industry via its Industry Advisory Panels, comprised of current practitioners and professionals, who assist in regularly reviewing the content and delivery of Academy courses and offer advice on course development.
The majority of teaching staff have industry background and are highly respected and reputable artists or designers. Staff members have been recognised in awards including the Archibald Portrait Prize, Sulman Photographic Prize, Dobell Drawing Prize and National Gallery of Victoria Trustees Award. Other staff have designed or provided art direction for clients including Visa, ANZ, Guiness, the Olympic Games, Ford, Kodak, Vogue Living and the Belvoir Street Theatre.
Academy students have won the Design Institute of Australia’s Graduate of the Year Award, the Southern Cross Packaging Award, the St Kilda Poster Prize, and the ‘Under the Radar’ Short Film Competition. Academy alumni include members of some of the country's top creative studios, Oscar-winning graphic designers, buyers for fashion houses, artists represented by major galleries, arts administrators, as well as freelance professionals.
The Academy plays an active role in community cultural development through its Clement Meadmore gallery, which features regular exhibitions of work by emerging and established artists, and through its engagement with community and cultural groups such as the Chamber Made Opera ensemble, the Goethe-Institut, ARLIS (the Art Libraries Society) and Books Illustrated. Previous event partners include Stanford University’s d.school, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, and the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Charitable Appeal.
The Academy’s focus is its Bachelor of Design Arts, the first of its kind in Australia and a Design Institute of Australia Recognised Course. This undergraduate degree has major studies programs in Communication Design, Fashion & Costume Design, Filmmaking & Photography, Graphic & Digital Design, and Visual Arts. Our future focus will be on extending the Academy’s range of educational pathways through the development of an Honours program and postgraduate courses.
faculties and departments
Australian Academy of Design (as a whole)
bachelor level programs
Bachelor of Design Arts – Communication Design major
Bachelor of Design Arts – Fashion & Costume Design major
Bachelor of Design Arts – Filmmaking & Photography major
Bachelor of Design Arts – Graphic & Digital Design major
Bachelor of Design Arts – Visual Arts major
The estimated duration of all of the above is 3 years / 6 semesters full-time, or equivalent part-time study. Each program includes provision for students to change their major study area and to exit after 2 years / 4 semesters (or equivalent part-time study) with an Associate Degree of Design Arts.
master level programs
research activity and main areas
Individual academic staff members are actively engaged in research in design-related fields.
doctorate level programs
subject areas for exchange students
Exchange students may apply to study in any of the Academy's programs: Communication Design, Fashion & Costume Design, Filmmaking & Photography, Graphic & Digital Design, Visual Arts. The exchange period is usually one semester but may be extended to two semesters. Exchange students are expected to have completed one year of study in their home institution and achieved a Credit average or better.
Autumn Semester: 1 January. Spring Semester: 1 June.
Autumn Semester (Semester 1): late February until end of June. Spring Semester (Semester 2): start August until late November.
cost of living per month (studying and living)
The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship advises that the basic monthly cost of living in Australia is A$1500.