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.


Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services)

Home Study Vocational Studies Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services)


1 year full-time, on campus in Sydney

Fees 2025

$17,770 AUD (domestic)

Semester Dates 2025

Term 1: 3 February – 11 April
Term 2: 28 April – 4 July
Term 3: 21 July – 10 October

Applications for 2025 intake

Open Monday 3 June 2024
Close Monday 30 September 2024

Contact Admissions

+61 2 9697 7600

Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services)

About the Course

NIDA’s CUA51020 Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services) provides practical and intensive training to prepare students for industry-facing roles in make-up design and application, hair styling, preparing wigs and designing make-up special effects and prosthetics.

Make-up training is industry-driven with content delivered by practising professionals and guest tutors. The course is supported by organisations such as Foundation Theatres and Pinchgut Opera, and includes site visits to The Opera Centre, Sydney Opera House and Capitol Theatre.

Students have opportunities throughout their training to practise their skills through roles on live performance and film projects. Students have a chance to collaborate with students from NIDA’s other creative disciplines in an environment which mirrors hair and make-up departments in the live performance industries.

The specialist make-up course includes placement on NIDA’s production seasons which are at the heart of NIDA’s calendar year. This provides the opportunity to work with NIDA tutors and industry guests, and to collaborate with Acting, Design for Performance, Directing and Musical Theatre students.

Assessments take place throughout the course, allowing students to build on the skills developed. Classes are practical, providing an active learning environment and a hands-on approach to learning.

The course culminates in a live showcase of make-up work in one of the NIDA theatres. This event is attended by entertainment industry practitioners, producers and agents.

2025 dates

Term 1             Monday 3 February – Friday 11 April

Term 2             Monday 28 April – Friday 4 July

Term 3             Monday 21 July – Friday 10 October


2024 dates

Term 1             Monday 5 February – Friday 12 April

Term 2             Monday 29 April – Friday 5 July

Term 3             Monday 22 July – Friday 11 October


Classes are scheduled 4 days per week, 9am–5pm.

The scheduling and delivery of this course each year is subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

The CUA51020 Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services) course comprises of the following units of competency:

  • CUAIND412 Provide freelance services
  • CUAIND512 Enhance professional practice using creative arts industry knowledge
  • CUAPPR411 Realise a creative project
  • CUAPPR515 Establish and maintain safe creative practice
  • CUAMUP411 Design, apply and remove make-up
  • CUAMUP412 Maintain make-up and hair continuity
  • CUAMUP413 Style hair for productions
  • CUAMUP414 Style wigs and hairpieces for productions
  • CUAMUP512 Design and apply specialised make-up
  • CUAMUP513 Design and apply special make-up effects
  • CUASFX411 Create special effects items
  • SHBHDES004 Create classic long hair up-styles
  • SHBHDES005 Select and apply hair extensions
  • BSBCRT512 Originate and develop concepts
  • BSBCRT413 Collaborate in creative processes

The CUA51020 Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services) has a number of valuable learning outcomes. You will:

  • gain skills and knowledge to design and apply make-up, create wigs and style hair and hair pieces.
  • learn specialist skills relating to prosthetics and special effects make-up
  • develop the ability to work as a part of a team or independently in make-up services.
  • develop autonomy in responding to make-up and hair design briefs.
  • develop problem-solving skills for a range of collaborative situations.
  • develop skills to work collaboratively with other creative professionals and performers.

Admissions Criteria

For more information, read our Admissions Transparency Statement.

To be eligible for entry to the NIDA CUA51020 Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services) you must:

  • Be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or New Zealand citizen. This course does not accept international students.
  • Have reached the age of 18 before the commencement of the course (in some circumstances NIDA may select candidates who turn 18 during their course).
  • Have completed their Higher School Certificate or equivalent; ATAR is not required.
  • Demonstrate a high level of practical ability, potential and motivation at the interview or audition.
  • Complete the interview/audition requirements for the course.

We select applicants who:

  • Demonstrate potential to create and/or apply make-up and hair designs.
  • Exhibit a capacity to collaborate.
  • Communicate effectively.
  • Respond to direction and feedback.

How to apply

NIDA encourages applications from First Nations students, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse students, and those from under-represented backgrounds, with different levels of experience in the entertainment industry.

All applications must be submitted online via the NIDA website. You will be required to submit a video audition via a YouTube link as part of your application.

There are five steps to applying:


New applicants: Create your application account here. You will be sent an automatic email with your login details to continue your application.

Returning applicants: If you have previously applied (in 2022-2023) and your email address already exists in the application system, you will not be able to create a new account. Please follow the link below to reset your password, using your email address as your User Login ID. Reset your password here.


Log in, select the green ‘New Application’ button and complete the online form.

You will be asked to submit your personal details, examples of previous experience and reasons for interest in this course.


Upload the following documentation to the online form:

  • Evidence of your most recent qualification if you have one (e.g. a school report, Higher School Certificate, university transcript, statement of attainment).
  • Proof of identification and citizenship (e.g. Australian passport, Australian driver’s licence, birth certificate. The scanned document needs to show your date of birth).
  • A recent photograph (head and shoulders, in colour, well lit, plain background).
  • One introduction/audition video as a link to an unlisted YouTube video.


Agree to the terms and conditions of application and click submit. You will receive a confirmation email when your submission is completed in full.


You will be contacted in early November regarding the outcome of your application and whether we are able to meet with you at a callback session. You will be provided with an opportunity to notify us of the best available date and time for your interview/callback, either face-to-face or via Zoom. To assist with your planning, we will publish suggested dates and times on the course page.

If we have invited you, please attend your callback session. Not everyone who submits a video will be invited to a callback.

  • There are no application fees for 2025 applicants.
    • Applications for 2025 intake of Diploma of Stage and Screen Performance and Diploma of Musical Theatre close on 16 September 2024 and Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services) and Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services close on Monday 30 September 2024. NIDA may not be able to accept applications after this date, and late applicants may be required to pay a late submission fee of $75.00.
  • There are a limited number of places available in each of our diploma courses. Selection is based on merit; not all applicants who meet the published entry requirements will receive a study offer.
  • All applicants are required to review the course information, including the schedule of tuition fees, published on the course page.
  • It is not possible to provide applicants with individual written or oral feedback on their audition.
  • Applicants who receive a study offer for 2025 must accept the offer within the time frame indicated. It is not possible to defer a study offer at NIDA.
  • NIDA encourages applications from people from diverse backgrounds, with different levels of experience in their chosen area of interest.

As part of your application, you are required to provide a link to a pre-recorded video interview.

Your video submission needs to be a short, one-minute introduction to camera, introducing yourself and explaining your experience.

Your video interview should be submitted as an unlisted YouTube video link, in the appropriate field of your application. You will only be able to upload one audition video.

Click HERE for instructions on how to upload an unlisted YouTube video.

See our how to apply page for more information around shooting your video – including sound, lighting, formatting & uploading.

Callback dates will be announced once 2025 applications open.

  • All applicants will be notified regarding the outcome of their application status.
  • Successful applicants will be contacted to arrange a suitable callback session.
  • Callback dates will be advised via this course page.
  • Callbacks may be conducted face-to-face or via Zoom in November.
  • More information will be available here when applications close.

At the callback, you will:

  • Discuss any previous experience or training.
  • Discuss your portfolio.
  • Bring a written testimonial from a teacher, colleague or employer.
  • Bring along any documentation such as portfolios, photos and/or drawings to support your application.
  • Undertake a written short-answer questionnaire.
  • Undertake a make-up task, using make-up and tools provided.

After the callback:

  • If we are able to offer you a place on the course, we will contact you in December 2024 via phone and email to advise you of your course offer.
  • You will be given a time period in which to accept or reject the course offer for the 2025 intake.

Recognition of Prior Learning is a process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior 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.
  • 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:

  1. Aligned to the Higher Education Standards Framework and the Vocational Standards for RTOs.
  2. 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.
  3. Consistent, equitable, transparent and accountable.
  4. Based on processes of comparable standard and integrity to those used to assess the relevant subject.
  5. 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 a Credit Transfer and/or RPL


The CUA51020 Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services) is only open to domestic students.
Domestic students are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

Tuition Fees for CUA51020 Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services)

2025 full course fee: $17,700

DSMS Application Guide, Fee Schedule & Entry Requirement 2025

2024 full course fee: $17,700

DSMS Application Guide, Fee Schedule & Entry Requirement 2024

Other costs

NIDA will provide the greater part of resources and consumables required for the training. Students need to contribute $1,490 towards make-up, special FX and hair kits, which become the students’ personal property.

VET Student Loans

NIDA is an approved VET Student Loans provider. Find out if you’re eligible here.


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.

Further Information

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact:

Phone: +61 (02) 9697 7516

Vocational applications
215 Anzac Parade
Kensington NSW 2033

Further information regarding NIDA’s vocational training products can be found at

NIDA is registered by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) under the National Vocational Education and Regulator Act 2011 to deliver Vocational Education and Training (VET) services. NIDA is a NVR Registered Training Organisation (RTO): ID number 90349.

As a graduate of the NIDA CUA51020 Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services) you have the skills and knowledge to be employed in a range of industries, including theatre, dance, opera, concerts, events, television and film.

Potential careers include:
  • Make-up artist
  • Hair stylist
  • Wig stylist
  • Special effects make-up designer
  • Special effects make-up artist

See NIDA’s Alumni.

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.

NIDA is registered by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to deliver Vocational Education and Training (VET) services. RTO (Registered Training Organisation) code: 90349

What does it take to put on a show?