The Bachelor of Art Theory is designed specifically for aspiring thinkers, producers, curators, innovators and entrepreneurs interested in pursuing a career in the creative and cultural sectors.
Degree: Bachelor of Art Theory (BArtTh)
Duration: 3 years full-time
Honours: Available to eligible students as an additional year of study
The Bachelor of Art Theory is designed specifically for those looking to develop the intellectual and critical skills to make an impact in the arts and cultural sectors. This program champions critical inquiry and recognises the important role that art theory plays in today’s arts ecology.
Through both structured and flexible pathways, the BAT will help you unpack the complex ways that art affects society. By investigating the cultural, social, political, and economic contexts for art, the BAT will enable you to produce incisive ideas and communicate them powerfully. Our focus on rigorous inquiry will give you the capacity to think experimentally, critically, and independently.
The BAT is a three-year program grounded in the fundamentals of art history and theory, with complementary expertise ranging across new media, visual art, performance, moving image, sound, Australian Indigenous art, design, and museum studies. Our teaching staff are leading experts in their fields and offer a dynamic and rewarding learning experience.
Through this program, you will become equipped to contribute insightful ideas to help shape understandings of art and its contexts. In-depth knowledge of the most important artistic ideas and practices of the recent past and present will help you become a future leader in the field.
The degree offers the flexibility to develop unique pathways into today’s arts and cultural industries. The BAT provides a strong basis for further study, for example into our Art Theory Honours program, a research degree, or the Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership, which supports graduates to become future creative innovators. In addition, the BAT degree can be combined with a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws or Bachelor of Social Research & Policy; enabling students to complete two degrees simultaneously.
The BAT is structured to help you develop the core skills and knowledge for a career in the cultural sector, as well as specialist expertise to help you stand out, no matter what field you pursue. The program focuses on the complexities of contemporary art and its contexts and engages with art history to track the lineages of the ideas and practices shaping today’s cultural environment
The first year of the program focuses on core concepts in art history and theory. It will help you hone your analytical skills and develop your understanding of how art and design responds to diverse contexts.
In the second and third years of the degree, you will choose from a selection of courses designed to develop your expertise in specialised areas. In following your interests through the degree, you will have options to examine art through various lenses including aesthetics, visual culture, critical theory, art writing, curating, and the role of cultural institutions. You will be exposed to influential and significant art locally and internationally. Your independent research interests will be encouraged as you investigate contemporary creative practices.
On completion of the program, you will have a broad and comprehensive knowledge of art and cultural industries. Whether you choose to pursue a professional career straight away, or to further hone your skills and knowledge through our Honours program, this degree is designed to prepare you for a successful career in the arts and cultural sectors.
Upon completion of the Bachelor of Art Theory (or an equivalent recognised program either at UNSW or another institution), high achieving students may undertake an additional, research-based honours year.
The honours year provides students with the opportunity to expand and deepen their knowledge, while also developing their problem solving and research skills through a research-based thesis. The completion of the honours year may provide students with a pathway into PhD research
Detailed information regarding the Bachelor of Art Theory (Honours) is available from the UNSW Handbook.
The creative and cultural industries are key drivers of growth in the contemporary global economy. Our graduates are sought after across a range of arts, cultural, entertainment, media and technology industries.
The Bachelor of Art Theory offers students the opportunity to prepare intellectually and practically to work in these transformative industries. Students learn about the methodological processes, historical contexts and theoretical frameworks that underpin creativity, culture and innovation. Students also have the opportunity to acquire the hands-on skills underpinning how creative content is exhibited, distributed, interpreted and promoted.
Careers for Bachelor of Art Theory graduates include:
- Arts and cultural management, policy making and administration
- Creative direction, planning and production
- Art and design criticism, communications and journalism
- Cultural and creative research and scholarship
- Multi-platform publishing and distribution
- Curatorship, festival, event and museum management
- Design thinking and management
- Public programming and engagement
- Entrepreneurship, strategist, creative social enterprise and startups
UNSW Art & Design offers an extensive suite of career enhancing dual degree options.
Our wide ranging dual degree program is inspired by the world in which our students will ultimately work – a world in which few people work alone or in just one discipline, and in which it is important to understand and master a variety of skills. Dual degrees are not only for students with clearly chosen career interests – they offer valuable complementary sets of conceptual tools and transferable skills that potentially open more doors and create more opportunities in the ever changing creative economy.
UNSW Art & Design is taking interdisciplinary art, design and media education to a new level. UNSW Art & Design offers the following combinations of creative and professional degrees:
- Art Theory/Arts (BArtTh BA)
- Art Theory/Social Research and Policy (BArtTh BSRP)
- Art Theory/Laws (BArtTh LLB)
The following Scholarships are available to Bachelor of Art Theory students:
- UNSW Art & Design Undergraduate Award
- The UNSW Honours Year Scholarships
- Vicki Olsson Scholarship for Indigenous Students
For more information on the Bachelor of Art Theory course at UNSW Art & Design, please call +61 2 8936 0684 or Email us