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Diploma in Photographic Imaging

Level 6

The Diploma in Photographic Imaging builds on the long term success of photographic training at UCOL - setting the benchmark for programmes in visual imaging across New Zealand.

Students photograph each other in the studio at the School of Photography, Arts and Design
Quick info

Level: 6

Locations: Palmerston North, Auckland

Duration: 2 years, full-time

All locations:
22 February 2016 - 18 November 2016

Domestic Fees:*

International Fees:*

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). Fees for multi-year programmes are for one year of study.

Focusing on contemporary digital photography, this diploma in photo imaging will help you master a range of conceptual, creative and technical skills for industry employment or self-employment.

You’ll also learn basic business skills, build your industry portfolio and develop your creative talent in a practical, career focused way.

As part of UCOL's School of Photography, Arts and Design (SPAD), this programme is offered both at the UCOL Institute of Commercial Photography/Auckland (UICPA) and UCOL’s Palmerston North Campus.

Career & Study Outcomes

  • Photographer/designer
  • Fashion photographer
  • Wedding photographer
  • Food photographer
  • Architectural photographer
  • Photo-journalist
  • Newspaper photographer
  • Photographic assistant

Student & Staff Profiles

  • Loris Blair resized.jpg

    Ben Loris Blair

    Diploma in Photographic Imaging Graduate

    Shooting for powerhouses such as Nike, Trelise Cooper and NZ Fashion Week, Ben Loris Blair looks unstoppable.

    Meet Ben

Industry Connections

  • Brooks Institute
  • Canon
  • Te Manawa
  • New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP)
  • INFOCUS – The Iris Awards
  • New Zealand Army
  • Palmerston North Airport
  • Horizons Palmerston North
  • BCC- Building Clever Companies Palmerston North

Domestic Entry Requirements

Entry to the Diploma in Photographic Imaging, Level 6, is dependent on the following requirements.

Applicants under 20 years of age:
• A minimum of 80 credits at NCEA Level 2, including a minimum of 8 credits at Level 2 (or higher) in English or Te Reo Maori (4 in reading and 4 in writing, selected from a schedule of approved achievement and unit standards).
• A minimum of 14 credits at Level 1 (or higher) in Mathematics or Pangarau on the NQF.

Applicants over 20 years of age:
A person having reached the age of 20 years by the first day of the programme in the year for which admission is sought is not required to hold the above entry requirements. 

Any prospective student who does not meet the above requirements may request an interview and their application will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

International Entry Requirements

English Proficiency Entry Requirements:
The minimum entry requirement for international students is IELTS Academic score of 6.0 with no band score lower than 5.5 (or equivalent). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).

Applicants under 20 years of age:
There are specific academic entry requirements for international students under 20 years of age. Please enquire for details.

Advice & Guidance

Prospective students should understand that the Diploma in Photographic Imaging requires strong motivation, organisational skills and commitment.

Where class content is delivered on campus, a high level of attendance is recommended if students are to satisfactorily meet the learning outcomes.  If a student misses a key session or significant portion of the programme, progress may be hampered.  Lecturer feedback, while studio work is in progress, is important to the development of creative skills in the photographic imaging industry.  It is highly recommended that consis¬tent attendance levels are maintained and notified key sessions are attended.

Where programme content is delivered on-line it is necessary that students maintain a high level of commitment to completing the programme content and that regular communication is maintained with lecturers.

Students are expected to carry out independent learning outside the class contact/lecturer supported learning hours.  Where facilities such as the studios or computer suites are required, the School of Photography, Art and Design is open on weekdays until 11.00 pm and at weekends from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm.

Students who choose to exit, after successfully achieving the first year credits, are eligible to apply for the Certificate in Photographic Imaging, Level 5.  This exit award must be applied for in writing within six months of the programme end date (ie, the applicant’s last year of study).  This Level 5 Certificate is not available to those students who continue to successfully achieve the Level 6 Diploma.

The availability of a particular elective is subject to an appropriate number of students enrolling in that elective.

Course Information

Year 1- Core Courses
  • Design 1A
  • Creative Processes 1A
  • Photography 1A
  • Digital Media 1C
  • Photographic Imaging 1C
  • Photography 1B
  • Photographic Portfolio 1B

Year 1 - Elective Courses

  • Design 1B
  • Video 1B
  • Visual Journalism 1B

Year 2- Core Courses

  • Photography 2A
  • Business Studies 3A
  • Image Analysis 2C – Photography
  • Major Project 2B
  • Photography 2B

Year 2 - Elective Courses

  • Design 2A
  • Moving Image 2A
  • Visual Journalism 2A


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.