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Diploma in Furniture Design and Making

Level 5

UCOL’s Diploma in Furniture Design and Making will teach you all about the process of designing solid timber furniture concepts and then turn them into reality.

Cabinets designed and created by a UCOL student
Quick info

Level: 5

Locations: Palmerston North

Duration: 2 years, full-time

20 Feb 2017 - 25 Nov 2017

Domestic Fees:*
$6,764.36Scholarship info

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.

This furniture design course is unique to New Zealand and offers students a practical, hands-on experience with lecturers who are qualified furniture makers. 

The practical component makes up 80% of the programme so you will learn by doing and gain industry needed skills. You will also undertake business studies including computing, communications and marketing to help you run your own business or work within an existing one.

Career & Study Outcomes

  • Furniture design and making
  • Custom made furniture making
  • Furniture manufacturing
  • Furniture restoration
  • Furniture retailing
  • Design drawing
  • Pattern making
  • Stage set design
  • Marine cabinet making
  • Joinery

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Cabinet Makers.

Student & Staff Profiles

Industry Connections

2015 Kawerau Woodfest - National Woodskills Competition 
  • 1st prize in the Pinus Radiatus for Senior Lecturer Andy Halewood
  • 1st prize student award
  • 2nd prize student award
  • 3 highly commended student awards


Learning Facilities

The Regional Trades and Technology Centre is a state-of-the-art ten million dollar facility with the latest industry-fit equipment and teaching technology and includes a fully-equipped furniture design and making workshop.

Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 2 (including Literacy 10 credits at Level 2 and Numeracy 10 credits at Level 1)


Equivalent academic achievement


On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean*

*Pending NZQA approval

International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, international student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5. UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre. The English Proficiency test is accepted for English language entry into all UCOL programmes.

Applicants under 20 years of age:
Applicants under 20 years of age must provide evidence of an equivalent academic qualification that meets the relevant programme requirements for entry. Please refer to the International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria Guidelines for more details. 

Advice & Guidance

Students not completing the 240 credits necessary to obtain the Diploma in Furniture Design and Making Level 5 but successfully completing all year one courses can apply for the Certificate in Furniture Design and Making, Level 3. Students must apply for this Certificate within 12 months of their last enrolment period.  

To be eligible for either award students must also provide evidence, by the end of the first year of the programme, that they hold a recognised, current First Aid Qualification. The ability to work with one’s hands and/or the completion of some study in the hard materials technology area would be an advantage.

It is recommended that students have met the literacy and numeracy requirements of NCEA Level 1 or equivalent. To successfully complete this programme, students need to be aware of the physical demands required for this career pathway. Students must supply their own equipment as specified in the Student Handbook, including steel capped boots. 

Course Information

  • Communications and Basic Business Skills
  • Design Drawing 1
  • Furniture Practice 1
  • Design Drawing 2
  • Furniture Practice 2
  • Introduction to Marketing for Small Business
  • Introduction to Small Business Management


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.