New Zealand Diploma in Arts and Design (Level 5)

New Zealand Diploma in Arts and Design (Level 5)

Apply physical and digital making skills to create portfolio ready work. Ākonga will work on a range of exciting projects that combine a large range of art and design outcomes for graphic/visual communication, illustration, animation, 3D modelling, set design, and prop making for film or gaming.

Programme outline

The project-based learning approach in the diploma places you at the centre of the learning experience. The programme allows for the embedding of theory and practice within the project context. You will gain skills and knowledge using Abode Creative Suite Industry standard software including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other software dependent on your project. This programme is one year full-time (part-time options available) and your study time will be made up of contact time (class times, tutorials) and non-contact time (self-directed individual time). There are four 30 credit compulsory courses and to pass each course students are required to submit every assessment within the evidence portfolio and achieve a cumulative minimum of 50% across all assessments.

More detail about this qualification

This programme can be studied full-time or part-time and is taught in our design studios and classrooms. The programme is made up of four compulsory projects (courses), each worth 30 credits, with a total of 120 credits to complete the diploma.

Areas covered on this programme includes

  • Further learning about key historical principles, contexts ad conversation in art and design
  • Practical experimentation with photographic techniques including building and using a pinhole camera, developing black and white film and, editing images
  • Layout design for publications using elements and principles of design
  • Indepth study into typography for communications which involves learning about anatomy, classifications and the nuances of letterforms - designing a modular typeface
  • Traditional printmaking processes: cyanotypes, block printing, collage, dry point to convey a convincing narrative through the use of metaphor for illustration and design outcomes
  • Developing a personal design language and creating physical 3D work based on your world view (kaupapa) family history (whakapapa) and turangawaewae (standing place)
  • Preparing files for laser cutting and 3D printing
  • Creating physical 3D models for virtual (digital) world building
  • Direct teaching of Adobe CC: Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, also Blender and Unity

Students must pass all four courses to successfully pass the programme. 

Course-related costs

Some drawing resources may need to be purchased.

Entry requirements

The academic entry criteria for the New Zealand Diploma in Arts and Design (Level 5) is either:

  • University Entrance, as defined by the NZQA; or
  • Evidence regarded as sufficient by the Programme Manager of the capability to undertake and complete the programme of study; or
  • At the discretion of the Head of School, where the applicant is over 20 years of age and demonstrates the capability to undertake and complete the programme of study.

All applicants are required to attend an interview (and may bring whānau support).

Applicants must provide a hand-written letter of application and portfolio of work that represents their level of achievement at the interview.


All applicants must demonstrate an acceptable level of English language fluency prior to acceptance in the programme.

For International applicants, ways in which English language fluency may be demonstrated include the following:

  • Successful study of a programme in which English was the language of instruction.
  • Completion of a New Zealand Certificate in English Language (Level 4 with any endorsement).
  • IELTS Academic score of 6, with no band score lower than 5.5, achieved in a single test within the two years preceding enrolment.
  • Accepted international equivalents to the above IELTS scores, achieved in a single test within the two years preceding enrolment.

*For fee exclusions, please see our terms and conditions.

Related study options

The NZ Diploma in Arts and Design (Level 5) can lead you to apply for entry into the Diploma in Arts and Design (Level 6). The portfolio content completed during the programme can be used to support an application for further study or look for an entry level job in New Zealand’s fastest growing industry.

Do you have enough time?

To check which study options best fit your lifestyle, try our handy time calculator tool


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Give yourself credit →

Use the knowledge you already have to fast-track your qualification. Workplace-learning, volunteering, professional development, other provider qualifications and online courses can be recognised as prior learning and put towards your qualification. Start by getting in touch with us, or find out more here.

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Last updated: 12/7/2024

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