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Postgraduate Diploma of Design

Postgraduate Diploma of Design

Level 8

UCOL’s Postgraduate Diploma of Design is an exciting year of independent and facilitated study focussing on either time-based/print-based design, object design/visual arts or fashion/textile design.

Student works on a Mac at the Whanganui School of Design
Quick info

Level: 8

Locations: UCOL Whanganui

Duration: 1 year, full-time

15 Feb 2021 - 26 Nov 2021

Domestic Fees: *
$8,113.00Scholarship info

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

UCOL's Postgraduate Diploma of Design builds on your Bachelor’s degree in an art or design discipline. This rewarding and challenging programme is based on both lecturer facilitated and self-directed research projects that will broaden your understanding of either time-based or print-based design applications and expose you to current thinking and research methodologies.

You will advance your skills in a chosen design media, and produce a significant design portfolio, exhibition or show. This postgraduate pathway will prepare you for Masters level study or enable you to secure higher level of employment.

Graduates will be equipped to work in a variety of roles within art and design based industries such as galleries, fashion houses, graphic design studios, film and television, printing and publishing, web design, art studios, set design and much more.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Graduates of UCOL's Postgraduate Diploma of Design will be suitably equipped to work in a variety of roles in the design based industries. Areas of employment and potential roles include:

  • Advertising
  • Consultancy
  • Art/Design education
  • Art/Design studios
  • Fashion studios
  • Galleries and museums
  • Set design and styling
  • Television and video production
  • Printing, publishing and illustration
  • Research and development
  • Self-employment
  • Graphic design
  • Textile design
  • Visual communications
  • Website design
  • Object and craft design
  • Practicing artist
To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Designers and Artists and Photographers.

Education pathway

 Course Information

Compulsory courses

Advanced Research Methods for Design (15 credits)
Gain the skills and knowledge to undertake supervised research in a selected design discipline.

Concept Development Studio (15 credits)
Articulate objectives and creatively explore ideas centred on individual research. Through group critiques and discourse you'll clarify individual project objectives and propose outcomes

Major Project (30 credits)
Plan, develop and complete resolved art/design projects based on research concept development work initiated in the prerequisite course.

Elective courses 

Choose four from the following courses. Note that the availability of a particular elective is subject to an appropriate number of students enrolling in that elective.

Advanced Digital Photography (15 credits)
Apply advanced technical and operational skills in projects and to deepen your knowledge of photography through investigation and analysis of both its historical and contemporary uses and influences.

Advanced Illustration (15 credits)
Enrich and refine the creation of your own contemporary illustration style through experimentation and research for presentation in visual communication and exhibition.

Advanced Glass Studio (15 credits)
Utilise extended concepts and technical applications of studio glass equipment and processes to create advanced art or design projects.

Advanced Textile and Fibre (15 credits)
Utilise extended concepts and advanced technical applications of selected textile and fibre methods. You will use traditional and/or contemporary textile and fibre techniques for use in the production of advanced of art or design projects.

Advanced 3D Modelling (15 credits)
Use advanced computer-modelling capabilities, including Maya software to create 3D models.

Advanced Computer Aided Drafting (15 credits)
Extend your CAD drafting skills using software and devices in the production of advanced art/design projects.

Advanced Object (15 credits)
Develop and extend concepts and utilise a range of advanced technical applications, equipment, and processes to create contemporary three-dimensional art/design objects.

Advanced Printmaking (15 credits)
Advance your knowledge and technical skills in printmaking and extend your conceptual thinking through experimental art/design project work.

Advanced Moving Image (15 credits)
Undertake advanced level study in moving image and sound mediums; and develop strong conceptual approaches to investigation, application and analysis in the resolution of extended moving image productions.


 Student & Staff Profiles

 Industry Connections

  • UCOL is a Corporate Member of the Designers Institute of NZ (DINZ)
  • UCOL students and graduates have taken out top prizes in the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) BEST Awards many times over the years.
  • UCOn has an impressive range of industry stakeholders in the fields of animation, web, publication, video, game design and illustration.
  • UCOL students undertake real-life industry projects in a wide-range of design industries each year through Internships.
  • UCOL graduates work at Weta Digital, TVNZ, Digital Arts Network, Charactaz Animation, Saatchi and Saatchi and more.

 Learning Facilities

UCOL is a New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) heritage award winning building located on Taupo Quay and features modern spacious studio suites with industry leading technology and equipment.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

To be eligible for entry into UCOL's Postgraduate Diploma of Design applicants must have graduated with a Bachelor’s degree, or a similar qualification in art or design, or be able to demonstrate equivalent skills and knowledge.

Applicants may be asked to provide a portfolio of original, developmental and finished work.
Selection criteria:
Applicants are selected in order of receipt of their completed enrolment application and all entry requirements having been met.



For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international students.

English Proficiency Entry Requirements:
The minimum entry requirement for international students is IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with no band score lower than 6 (or equivalent, including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre.

Under 20 years of age
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.


 Advice & Guidance

The Postgraduate Diploma of Design Level 8 is a one-year programme consisting of 120 credits.

Work experience/industry project
As part of your studies you will undertake industry oriented design or art projects that address the needs of the project client.

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a weekly commitment of:
  • 12 hours of lecturer supported learning in class
  • 26 hours of self-directed learning (your own time spent working to complete your assignments)

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email.

Recognition of prior learning
Up to two-thirds of the qualification may be credited via recognition of prior learning.  In exceptional circumstances, this amount may be increased by the Faculty Board of Educational Improvement.

Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form, where a student believes they can demonstrate specified competencies.


 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the Postgraduate Diploma of Design as follows:
  • 32 GB USB flash drive - Approximately $16.00 from Warehouse Stationery
  • Allow up to $800.00 for specialist art and design supplies (dependend on personal preference)


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.