With our graduates working across the globe, RMIT’s Visual Merchandising course is recognised by the industry as a design leader. You’ll develop the knowledge and skills you’ll need to flourish in the global and fast-paced world of visual merchandising.
In your role as a visual merchandiser, you will present and maintain an organisation's image, service and merchandise to its customers. You will use your design talents to create stimulating and engaging spatial displays that promote and sell products and services. In your role you will,
- create displays, stands and panels for exhibitions, conferences and other events
- create window and in-store displays for retail shops and department stores
- source elements such as lighting, props and accessories
- work to a project brief and present concept designs to clients.
The major emphasis of the course is the design and production of commercial display and the development of a folio of work that prepares you for employment and a highly successful career as a creative individual.
This course prepares individuals for a creative career as a visual merchandiser or display designer in industries such as retail, events, exhibition and styling. You'll learn in commercial retail, exhibition and event environments in world-class facilities. For example, in purpose-built studios, major street frontage windows and new media and digital display technologies.
You will design, develop and create displays using advanced construction and presentation techniques that use colour, lighting, space, photography, digital technologies, sensory inputs and interactive installations.
This course has a hands-on, design-based curriculum that is monitored and delivered by experienced and practising professionals.
Practical workshops and outstanding industry connections help make this course the largest, most exciting and effective visual merchandising course of its kind in Australia.
RMIT offers a variety of learning and teaching approaches including lectures, seminars, studios, workshops, presentations, group discussions and syndicate work. These are primarily in English.
You will have access to online resources through the myRMIT student portal.
The learning and teaching approach of this course emulates how you would work in commercial retail, exhibition and event design.
You will learn from industry-experienced teaching staff through lectures, workshops, practical studio time, onsite installation, class and industry presentations, briefs and group discussions.
You will interact with key people from leading companies on real projects during the course like the Zoos Victoria project.
You’ll study on industry-standard design software and work in professional studio environments and a simulated workshop. This program offers full-scale retail windows and display showcases for students to train in and has its own fully operational production workshops and manufacturing areas.
Past students have collaborated with many leading companies including:
- Swedish design brand kikki.K
- Country Road
- Cotton On and Catherine Manuell
- Look Stop Shop: State of Design Festival.
You be will assessed throughout each semester via practical assignments, group projects and visual and verbal presentations.
Window of opportunity
RMIT Visual Merchandising students worked with Country Road to put together a stunning display in their Carlton store.
This course has ongoing relationships with many leading retailers, events, exhibitions and photo styling and display companies including:
- Country Road
- Cotton On
- Gloss Creative
- Zoos Victoria
- AgIdeas design festival.
These relationships offer you the opportunity to work directly with industry.
We also offer a unique mentor program, where you have the opportunity to be matched with an industry professional during your final semester of study.
Through the mentor program, you will develop a deeper understanding of how the industry operates and seek valuable advice from experienced professionals and businesses.
The mentor program works with a range of companies including Country Road, Cotton On, Sportsgirl and Gloss Creative and many more.
RMIT University is committed to providing you with an education that strongly links formal learning with professional or vocational practice.
Study tours interstate and overseas are sometimes included in the course delivery.
RMIT’s Global Mobility supports students to undertake an exchange or short-term mobility activity with over 165 partner universities worldwide.
This course focuses on engaging studio experiences that challenge you to develop innovative responses through both real and simulated projects.
You will be introduced to visual merchandising practice and develop a set of fundamental skills and knowledge covering:
- display and presentation
- design and digital publishing skills
- illustration drawing techniques
- colour theory
- visual merchandising theory and history
- 3D design and construction
- communication and workplace skills
- 2D design and concept development.
You will also further develop and refine your practice through project-based design studios and other courses including:
- shop window design
- in store design, presentation and display
- photo styling
- event and exhibition design
- lighting design for retail and large spaces
- branding and visual communication
- construction materials and techniques
- digital imaging and portfolio design.
This course has ongoing relationships with a number of leading retailers including Country Road, kikki.K, Sportsgirl Cotton On, Zoos Victoria and many more.
You will develop sophisticated display and presentation skills for retail, exhibition, events and photo styling. You will also receive digital training in CAD, digital imaging and multimedia.
Full-time students are expected to attend approximately 20 hours of classes per week. There are often concentrated periods of out-of-class work when assessments are due.
Choose a program structure
Choose a program structure
Program code: C5381
National curriculum code: SIR50217
This course prepares you for creative roles in the retail, styling, events and exhibition industries.
Upon graduation, you may find work in visual merchandising, retail design and display, photo styling, store design, exhibition, events and design consultancy.
You will have the opportunity to work with:
- national and international brands and retail stores
- event and exhibition companies
- photo styling and display production companies
- promotional support studios.
Depending on experience, you may also advance to middle management/management positions.
You must have successfully completed an Australian Year 12 (or equivalent senior secondary school qualification) with a minimum 50% average (check calculator below).
Equivalent qualifications may also include completion of the RMIT Foundation Studies program or a recognised post secondary Diploma in the relevant discipline with the required grades.
Meeting the minimum academic requirements does not guarantee entry. Your application will still need to be assessed and accepted.
You must attend a folio presentation.
- All VTAC applicants must telephone (03) 9925 4819 to book their folio presentation by the dates below for each VTAC round:
- Early round (Non year 12 only): 30 September 2019
- Main round (All applicants): 1 November 2019
- All subsequent rounds (if places are available): 7 February 2020
- Direct applicants, including RMIT current or recent students, will receive an email with interview details within a week from the date they submit their application. All direct applications will be assessed in the order they are received until 7 February 2020 unless places are filled prior.
Advisory letters will be sent in late October (Early round) and late December (Main round).
Your folio should contain 15 to 20 images of your work that demonstrate your interests and creative thinking as well as your conceptual, design, problem solving and technical skills.
Your folio should reflect concept and finished skills in: drawing, problem solving, creative use of colour, communication and 3D/spatial thinking, and a computer generated project displaying skills of digital competency.
Examples of work to consider including in your folio are: illustrations, technical drawings, paintings, graphic designs, photographs, models, sculpture, video, scripting, short stories, and/or 2D and 3D animation. A variety of work that shows your potential 2D and 3D skills is preferred.
Provide a brief explanation of no more than 100 words for each piece of work, to help understand its purpose and background.
Art and Design application tips
View the following videos for some practical application advice:
Folio: Please supply evidence of your creativity in the form of a folio that contains a variety of your personal work in art, design or media relevant to the program/s you are applying for (15 to 20 images). The folio should demonstrate your interests and creative thinking as well as your conceptual, design, problem solving and technical skills. You should include evidence of how ideas were developed as well as finished works.
Examples of work to include in your folio are drawings, paintings, graphic designs, photographs, digital images, models, sculpture, video, scripting, short stories, and/or 2D and 3D Flash animation. We recommend you explain each work to help the Selection Officer understand the purpose and background of that work.
Folios should be submitted electronically with files in PDF, JPEG, SWF, DCR or QuickTime format suitable to be read on Mac OSX or later, unless otherwise specified. Each electronic file should be no larger than 10MB. Please ensure to include your name and applicant ID in the file name.
Submitted folios will not be returned.
Folio presentation: You may be required to present your folio to a selection panel or attend an interview, either in person or via phone/video call.
To study this program you will need to complete one of the following English proficiency tests:
- IELTS (Academic): minimum overall band of 5.5 (with no individual band below 5.0)
- TOEFL (Paper Based Test): minimum score of 530 (TWE 3.5)
- TOEFL (Internet Based Test - IBT): minimum overall score of 50 (with minimum of 5 in Reading, 5 in Listening, 14 in Speaking and 15 in Writing)
- Pearson Test of English (Academic) (PTE (A)): minimum score of 42 (with no communication band less than 36)
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE): minimum of 162 with no less than 154 in any component.
For detailed information on English language requirements and other proficiency tests recognised by RMIT, visit English language requirements and equivalency information.
Don't meet the English language test scores? Complete an Upper Intermediate Certificate at RMIT English Worldwide.
Graduates of the Visual Merchandising program may apply for a place in the Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) (Honours) as a pathway to higher level studies, particularly for specialisations in the Exhibition Design / Retail Design areas. Currently there are no formal agreements in place but exemptions may be negotiated at time of entry.
Eligible graduates of the Certificate IV in Design who achieve a minimum grade of Competency with Credit (CCR) across all units will be given automatic entry into the Diploma of Visual Merchandising.
The tuition fees you will pay for this program will depend on whether you are offered a Victorian Government subsidised place or a full-fee place. To find out if you are eligible for a government subsidised place, follow the steps at How to check if you are eligible.
- 2020 government subsidised place: AU$8,000* per annum
- 2020 full-fee place: AU$16,500* per annum
*Fees shown are indicative only and subject to change given individual circumstances at the time of enrolment.
Use our fee finder to get an estimate of your fees for this program.
- Student services and amenities fee (SSAF): AU$308 maximum fee for 2020.
- Other items related to your program, including field trips, textbooks and equipment.
Annual fee adjustment
The student tuition fees as displayed by the fee finder are indicative only and subject to change given individual circumstances at enrolment. Fees are adjusted on an annual basis and these fees should only be used as a guide.
Eligibility criteria waver
**The Victorian Government is currently waiving two (2) eligibility criteria around prior qualifications. This means that more people who want to study a vocational education program at RMIT, and already have a qualification, will be able to access a government subsidised place in a program. Find out how to check your eligibility.
VET Student Loans
The Australian Government provides financial assistance via the VET Student Loans scheme, which allows eligible students in eligible programs to defer payment of their tuition fees, up to the maximum loan amount for their program.
How does a VET Student Loan work?
If your VET Student Loan application is successful, the Australian Government will pay RMIT your tuition fees on your behalf, up to the maximum loan amount for your program.
Your VET Student Loan becomes part of your VETSL debt. You will start repaying your accumulated VETSL debt to the Australian Government once you earn above the minimum income threshold for repayment, which is adjusted each year (this also applies if you are still studying).
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will calculate your compulsory repayment for the year and include this on your income tax notice.
Vet Student Loan cap
If your program is eligible for the VET Student Loan scheme and has a loan cap that doesn’t cover the total amount of the tuition fees for your program, then you’ll need to pay RMIT the difference by the due date once you exceed the cap.
It’s easy for you to keep track of your VET Student Loan debt, and you can choose to make upfront payments at any time before the census date.
In addition to tuition fees, you will be charged an annual student services and amenities fee (SSAF), which is used to maintain and enhance services and amenities that improve your experience as an RMIT student.
The SSAF is calculated based on your enrolment load and the maximum fee for 2020 is $308.
For more information about calculating your actual SSAF see Paying SSAF.
You may also be required to purchase other items related to your program, including field trips, textbooks and equipment. These additional fees and expenses vary from program to program.
In addition to tuition fees you also need to pay for:
- Student services and amenities fee (SSAF) in each calendar year.
- Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) - Student visa holders must have cover for the total duration of their visa.
- Some programs incur additional expenses.
You also need to account for your living expenses. Estimate the cost of living in Melbourne.