NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

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CRICOS: 083697G

BFA (Props and Effects)



3 years full-time on campus

Fees 2024

$16,560 AUD / year (domestic)

Semester Dates 2024

Semester 1: 12 Feb – 21 Jun
Semester 2: 22 Jul – 22 Nov

Application Deadlines

Sign up for our Higher Education list for updates about 2025 applications.

Contact Admissions

+61 (02) 9697 7686

Course Overview

In the BFA Props and Effects, you will learn to become an adaptive and multiskilled designer-maker, ready to join the arts and entertainment industries in areas including theatre, film, exhibitions and events. Working in a small cohort and on individual and collaborative practical projects, you will develop skills in conceptualisation, problem-solving, and the realisation of props and practical effects.

You will be introduced to traditional techniques such as drawing, drafting, sculpting, metalwork, woodwork, leatherwork, mould making and casting, pattern making, scenic art and model making. You will also develop skills in digital design and fabrication processes. These include digital graphics; 3D modelling, sculpting, rendering and printing; laser cutting; and CNC machining.

As you progress, you will apply your practical knowledge, along with design tools and processes, to projects that involve sculpture, furniture making, set dressing, costume props, costume jewellery, architectural models, short films, electronics, practical effects, prosthetics and puppetry.

In your final year, you will initiate, develop and produce your own practice-based research project. You will also take on leadership roles and collaborate with other NIDA students and industry guests to realise creative projects. This includes the opportunity to supervise the sourcing and construction of props and practical effects required for student productions.

To finalise your studies, you will undertake a placement with an industry-leading arts or entertainment company, which could include major theatre companies, screen production companies, and public festivals. You will leave NIDA with a robust skillset, practical experiences, valuable industry connections and confidence in your professional future.

  • Research and implement concepts, processes, materials, and technologies in the sustainable design and realisation of props and effects
  • Position and articulate individual practice with an inclusive appreciation of cultural perspectives and global professional standards.
  • Identify and employ adaptive approaches to the communication of ideas, problems and solutions in diverse performing, and entertainment contexts.
  • Devise ethical, creative and agile responses to self-initiated projects and collaborative productions
  • Demonstrate inclusive leadership by applying entrepreneurial and management knowledge and practices in diverse self–directed and collaborative projects

Students are at NIDA from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.

Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully.

All NIDA Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees are three-year full-time courses. All NIDA Master of Fine Arts courses, except for Cultural Leadership, are 15-month full-time courses.

2024 Semester Dates

Semester 1: 12 Feb 2024 – 21 June 2024
Welcome Week: Feb 05 (First years & MFA only)
BFA Term 1: 12 February – 12 April 2024
Mid-semester break : 15 April – 26 April 2024
BFA Term 2: 29-April – 21 June 2024

Semester 2: 22 July – 22 November 2024
BFA Term 3: 22 July – 13 September 2024
Mid-semester break: 16 September – 20 September 2024
BFA Term 4: 23 September – 22 November 2024

Term dates exclude public holidays. View 2024 NSW public holiday dates.

Year One

  • Artefacts and Narratives
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration
  • Graphics and Textures
  • Performance and Ideas
  • Performance Makers
  • Post-digital Design and Fabrication

Year Two

  • Applied Environmental Storytelling
  • Characters, Costumes and Narratives
  • Contexts for Performance
  • Practical Effects for Performance
  • Effects and Screen Workflows
  • Professional Practice
  • Student Led Project

Year Three

  • Independent Research Project
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration
  • Professional Practice

Download 2024 Course Overview

Our graduates have been employed by Cirque du Soleil, Creature Technology Company, Wētā Workshop, Aardman Animation, Sydney Theatre Company, Opera Australia, Fox Studios and Dan Oliver Special Effects, along with many more.

Potential careers:

  • Properties maker
  • Scenic artist
  • Set decorator
  • Animator
  • Puppet-maker
  • Model-maker
  • Special effect artist
  • Draftsperson
  • 3D modellers
  • Workshop and project managers

Admissions Criteria

NIDA's general entry requirements for all accredited courses can be found below.
Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.

For more information, read our Admissions Transparency Statement.

Entry is by merit selection.

General entry requirements for accredited courses are as follows:

  • Have completed a Higher School Certificate or equivalent qualification at the end of high school for undergraduate courses.
  • Be 18 years of age by 31 March in the first year of enrolment for domestic students in undergraduate programs.
  • Be proficient in written and spoken English.
  • Have skills and knowledge appropriate to the level and discipline into which the applicant is seeking to gain admission.
  • Have an evidenced interest in the performing arts.

Applications are encouraged from domestic applicants who:

  • Have previous higher education study.
  • Have vocational education and training.
  • Have work and life experience (having left school more than two years ago).
  • Are recent secondary education applicants.
  • Identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Applications are encouraged from international applicants who:

  • have successfully completed a Genuine Temporary Entry (GTE) interview.
  • have completed the equivalent of a Year 12 or final year of high school qualification
  • have an English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.0 (IELTS 8.0 for BFA Acting).
  • Are 18 years of age at date of enrolment for international students.
  • Have skills and knowledge appropriate to the level and discipline into which the applicant is seeking to gain admission.
  • Have an evidenced interest in the performing arts.

Recognition of Prior Learning is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.

NIDA may grant credit for:

  • Formal study undertaken in recognised education institutions in Australia, including universities, colleges, TAFE and other post-secondary education institutions and for study at recognised overseas institutions.
  • Credentialed courses provided by recognised professional bodies, employers and other authorities, where appropriate certification is available; and
  • Prior learning, where such learning can be sufficiently evidenced.

The principles underlying the assessment of credit transfer/Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) applications are that the policy and procedures are:

  • Aligned to the Higher Education Standards Framework and the Vocational Standards for RTOs.
  • Designed to maintain the integrity and reputation of NIDA’s accredited courses for which credit or RPL is applied and support the collaborative nature of NIDA’s conservatoire training model.
  • Consistent, equitable, transparent, and accountable.
  • Based on processes of comparable standard and integrity to those used to assess the relevant subject.
  • That students are not disadvantaged in achieving the expected learning outcomes for the course of study or qualification.

NIDA Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Apply for RPL/Credit Transfer

Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.

NIDA encourages applications from students from diverse backgrounds, with different levels of experience in theatre, film, television or other areas.

We select students who:

  • Demonstrate commitment and motivation in relation to the arts, entertainment and related industries, to their chosen discipline, and to the course of study.
  • Provide evidence of their capacity to work creatively and imaginatively.
  • Demonstrate an aptitude to collaborate with peers as part of a creative process.
  • Demonstrate a range of knowledge, skills, technical abilities and/or problem-solving techniques relevant to their discipline.
  • Demonstrate cultural and contextual awareness.
  • Articulate and communicate ideas clearly.

How to apply

Applicants MUST apply online via the NIDA website.

Entry to the BFA Props and Effects is by interview. Applicants will need to prepare a project and portfolio as part of their application.

The application process for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Props and Effects) consists of two rounds:

  • Round One: online application and portfolio
  • Round Two: interview

Only applicants who are successful in Round One will be invited to attend an interview.

Download 2024 Application Guide

You will need to prepare and submit the following as part of the online application:


Prepare examples of past work that you feel support your application and demonstrate your suitability for a career in the arts and entertainment industry. This can include (but is not limited to) :

  • photos
  • videos
  • props
  • life drawings
  • hand and digital illustrations
  • technical drawings and renders
  • physical and digital models
  • sculptures
  • paintings
  • cosplay costumes/costume props

The purpose of the portfolio is to provide an insight into how you think as an artist, designer and maker. Ensure you select and highlight a specific item/project which will be discussed in depth during the interview. Consider selecting an item or project that you feel best showcases your area of interests and/or breadth or depth of skills.

Your portfolio can include your website or other social media platforms you use to collect and display your work. Please provide these as links in your PDF. The max file upload size is 80Mb.

Please title your digital portfolio submission as: fullname_portfolio_BFAPFX_2024

How to prepare for your interview

Each applicant will be interviewed for approximately 45 minutes. All interviews will take place via Microsoft Teams, link to be provided prior to interview.

During the interview, we will discuss your portfolio; your ideas about theatre, film and the broader creative and entertainment industry; and why you want to study Props and Effects at NIDA.

There will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about NIDA or about the interview itself.

Some tips:

NIDA recognises that interviews can be stressful, but we will do our best to make your experience as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

The interview process is friendly, informal and open, and is designed to give you the best opportunity to show us your potential and readiness to study at NIDA.

Remember, the more time and effort you put into your application and portfolio, the better prepared you will be, and the more you will enjoy the interview.

Fees and Scholarships

Domestic and international students are required to pay tuition fees by the due date each semester.

Domestic Students

Domestic tuition fees overview

Domestic students are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

DegreeCourse duration2024 Annual tuition fee $AUD*Estimated total course tuition fee*
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Props & Effects) Three years $16,560.00 $49,680.00

2024 Domestic Undergraduate Student Fee Schedule

2023 Domestic Undergraduate Student Fee Schedule

International Students

International tuition fees overview

Fees and financial assistance vary for international students, please read full details here.

Degree Course duration 2024 Annual tuition fee $AUD* Estimated total course tuition fee*
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Props & Effects) Three years $34,920 $104,760

2024 International Undergraduate Student Fee Schedule

*The tuition fees are reviewed each year and if you enrol you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolments.

** EFTSL – Effective Full-Time Study Load: indicates the relative study load of a subject against a full-time study load of 1.0 for an academic year. For consistency, the EFTSL have been rounded to 3 decimal places. This is not indicative of the full value of the EFTSL but represents an accurate load for fee calculations.

Australian citizens and holders of permanent humanitarian visas are eligible for an Australian Government FEE-HELP loan for all or part of their tuition fees. For more information about FEE-HELP please read the information below and visit Study Assist.

What is FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is the Australian Government loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay their tuition fees, so that students do not have to pay tuition fees up-front. FEE-HELP can cover all or part of a student's tuition fees.

In 2024, the FEE-HELP loan limit is $121,844 for most students.

A loan fee of 20% applies to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. The FEE-HELP limit does not include the loan fee.

The Government pays the amount of the loan directly to NIDA. Students repay their loan through the tax system once their income rises above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

For more information go to

Who is eligible for FEE-HELP?

  • You are eligible for a FEE-HELP loan if you are either:
  • an Australian Citizen; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa

Those NOT eligible for FEE-HELP are:

  • New Zealand citizens - refer to the Study Assist website
  • Australian permanent residents
  • Overseas students

Financial Assistance

Eligible students, who are Australian residents, can apply to Centrelink for financial assistance through Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information.

NIDA is committed to making its education and learning more accessible to the most creative and talented individuals across Australia with a range of scholarships aimed to remove financial barriers, providing students with the opportunity to study at NIDA while being relieved of some of the cost of living, relocating and study expenses.

NIDA scholarships are made available by the generous support of donors, sponsors, corporate partners, trusts and bequests, through the NIDA Foundation Trust, and enable a significant increase in financial assistance to ongoing and students commencing study in 2024.


Further Information

The table below gives an indication of the educational backgrounds of the 2023 commencing undergraduate BFA peer cohort in all disciplines at NIDA.

It should be noted that as selection and admission to courses at NIDA is based on merit the statistics below may not be indicative of the educational backgrounds of commencing cohorts on a year-to-year basis.

L/N - Low numbers: the number of students is less than 5.

Applicant BackgroundNumber of studentsPercentage of all students
(A) Past higher education study11 17.7%
(B) Past Vocational Education and Training study 22 35.5%
(C) Recent secondary education
Admitted on basis of other criteria and ATAR was not a factor
(D) Work and life experience812.9%
International studentsL/NL/N
All students 62 100%

NIDA’S Registration Status

Registered as a Higher Education Provider by TEQSA

Registration Renewal Date

25 June 2025

CRICOS Registration

Code: 00756M

This allows NIDA to enrol international students on student visas into CRICOS approved courses.

Self Accrediting Authority*

Yes – partial self accrediting

Registered Higher Education providers may be authorised by TEQSA to self-accredit courses of study.

Course NameStatusCRICOS Code
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Props and Effects) Self-Accredited by NIDA under TEQSA’s determination of Self-Accrediting Authority for NIDA. 083697G

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for more info about NIDA courses, admissions and facilities? Check our FAQ page for answers to commonly-asked questions from future students.

This qualification is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. Read more information about the AQF.