The DFA is a 3-year full-time (6-year part-time) program and is a practice-based professional doctorate that will provide the completion of an academic pathway to students. The DFA requires the successful completion and presentation of a significant body of artwork. The completed artwork will represent an original contribution to the knowledge and professional expertise in the field of visual art studio practice and will also include an accompanying text of 20,000-40,000 words that critically contextualises the studio work within the project’s field of research and knowledge.

Who is this for?

The DFA is designed for practising artists who wish to pursue specific research interests that focus on studio production. As such, the DFA provides a platform for integrating professional expertise and scholarly enquiry within the visual arts, whereupon graduates will have acquired an in-depth understanding of the technical and theoretical skills expected of a professional practitioner in the visual arts. The attainment of extended cognitive, research, technical, and creative skills will not only enable graduates to lead the contribution of knowledge within their fields of professional practice, but the exportable currency of such skills will also enhance their marketability within the wider arts-related industry.


The DFA is a three-year, six semester, full-time program (or part time equivalent) of practice-based studio research supported by individual research supervision and regular research symposia and seminars. The full-time program is structured as follows:



  • First year (Stage 1): DFA Studio Specialisation 6; DFA Studio Seminar 6; DFA Research Methods
  • Second year (Stage 2): DFA Studio Specialisation 7; DFA Studio Seminar 7
  • Third year (Stage 3): DFA Studio Specialisation 8; DFA Studio Seminar 8

Students will also be allocated 48 hours of supervision time to be used across the DFA degree.


The DFA has one yearly intake, starting in February each year.

Application process


Admission to the DFA is based on academic merit, a research proposal, portfolio and interview. Applicants are considered for admission on the basis of:

  • AQF level 9 Masters qualification in Fine Art, or
  • overseas tertiary qualifications in Fine Art considered equivalent to Australian studies, or
  • meet the requirements of an alternative entry scheme, which usually relates to professional experience that includes an established record of production and presentation of art works through industry/professional bodies.


Please contact NAS for application procedure via email at: [email protected]

We will not be having a July 2024 intake. Our next intake will be for February 2025.