HomeProgrammesCreativeBachelor of Creative Media

Bachelor of Creative Media

Specialisation in Illustration, Photography, Design, 3D Animation, Film/Video

Develop skills as a creative image maker in the UCOL Bachelor of Creative Media. Combine a range of digital technologies and arts - covering illustration, videography/filmmaking, 3D/animation, photography and design.

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  • Tea - second year creative student Ori BismarkTea - second year creative student Ori Bismark
  • Warrior - second year creative student Michael CarterWarrior - second year creative student Michael Carter
  • Fruit - third year creative Jeff CliffordFruit - third year creative Jeff Clifford
  • Fire fighter - first year creative student Emily SmithFire fighter - first year creative student Emily Smith
  • Album cover - third year creative student Chris StoneAlbum cover - third year creative student Chris Stone
  • Baking book design - second year creative studentsBaking book design - second year creative students
  • Wine - third year creative student Alisha RitsonWine - third year creative student Alisha Ritson
Quick info

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North

Duration: 3 years, full-time or part-time options are available

04 Mar 2024 - 22 Nov 2024

Domestic Fees: *
FY1: $8,127.00 FY2: $8,127.00 FY3: $8,127.00

Scholarship info

International Fees:*
$25,000.00 + Student Services Levy $591.00

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.

Equip yourself with the comprehensive knowledge, skills and expertise for working and contributing to the growing global creative industries with the UCOL Bachelor of Creative Media. Mix and match a range of subjects within this multi-discipline degree - 3D/animation, design, photography, illustration & video/filmmaking.

The creative industries represent specialities across a range of digital technologies, arts and design-based disciplines. The knowledge and skills associated with these specialities are now an integral part of many employment opportunities driving innovation, solution sourcing and business.

Work-integrated learning
Complete the third year of your degree by immersing in the “workhub” with real clients - getting truly ready for industry. This work-integrated learning component comprises 380 hours of work experience. You'll learn how to apply concept creation, logic, imagination, intuition, critical thought and reasoning to the creation of meaningful outcomes for clients in the workplace.You'll develop a multidisciplinary approach in context of cultural and ethical influences, enabling you to contribute to the creative industry solutions and outputs in New Zealand and around the world.

Check out our Creative Workhub website

Keen to know more? Checkout this video made by the class of 2017 and staff.

Why do you study at UCOL and this programme? Because we are here to help achieve your dream!

You have lecturers available to give face to face feedback making sure you are on the right track for improvement. When critiquing your work, we can read your expressions and see your body language to help us understand what is being perceived. We are focused on getting you to be the best you can be - by having lecturers and leaders that care about your progress forward at all times with those smaller classes. Meet our Manawatū Creative Industries team here.

Additionally, excellent wellbeing and educational support systems, community and Industry connections enable you to engage with real-world experiences before you are on the job. Have a look through the content here and see what suits you and how the multimedia can mix for you. A person is more employable with dual skill sets.

 Career & Study Outcomes

The UCOL Bachelor of Creative Media prepares learners for professional careers within creative industries that contribute to contemporary visual culture. Potential employment pathways include:

  • Photography (commercial, portrait, wedding, architectural & many more)
  • Graphic design/illustration (design app graphics, marketing resources, websites, user inter-phasing, concept development)
  • 3D/animation (storyboard artist, illustrator)
  • Visual journalism (photojournalist, documentary maker, infographics designer)
  • Video (television producer, television director, documentary maker)

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries for Designers and Artists, and Photographers, see careers.govt.nz

Education pathway

 Course Information

Note: As a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, UCOL Te Pūkenga is committed to providing the best learning outcome for you. As part of this, all programmes are currently being reviewed to make them portable, consistent, and closely aligned with the needs of the industry. When published, this course information is correct, but the courses offered may change over time. If you have any questions call an Enrolment Advisor on 0800 468 265.

BCM Year 1 Pathway.jpegBCM Year 2 Pathway.jpeg

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This programme consists of 360 credits.


Semester one: To start with we will help set you up for study and enable you to see the types of careers available in direct relation to the content of the degree. You will explore each creative area – illustration, photography, filmmaking, design and 3D/animation - creating core of information for all media development. 

Alongside this, you will learn a range of digital technologies required for creative industries. This occurs through projects and exploring a way to communicate through the subject of visual language. You will grow with a creative community and share alongside students your image progress and receive one on one feedback from lecturers.

Semester two: A step up from semester one. You will take that knowledge and expand to the next step. Staircase learning. This will continue through your favourite subjects - from illustration, photography, video/filmmaking, design and 3D/animation. Create projects that use these subjects through classes while learning more ways to communicate about arts and with others. A community of arts-focused truly starts to evolve. Starting to introduce to presenting and understanding and practising the art of communication, which is key to our industries.

Visual Language (Semester 1) (15 Credits)
Learn the fundamentals of composition within visual practice, through the principles of gestalt, colour theory, colour psychology and terminology.

Digital Technologies (Semester 1) (15 Credits)
Learn appropriate selection and application of processes and techniques associated with current digital technologies.

Creative Media 1 & 2 (Semester 1 & 2) (30 Credits each)
Gain introductory skills in a range of practices such as design, photography, video/filmmaking, illustration, 3D/animation and visual journalism. Start by exploring each specialisation and then choose three workshops a week (or more). Start developing a professional persona within the creative industry.

Contextual Studies (Semester 2) (15 Credits)
Gain an introduction to a range of theories and issues that are relevant to the contemporary creative media industry, learn the conventions of academic writing and be able to present information formally by essay and verbal delivery.

Digital Technologies 2 (Semester 1) (15 Credits)
Learn how to apply high-quality visual techniques and processes, supported by research, critical development and experimentation to communicate and present your ideas.


Semester one: Now choose two specialist areas – from illustration, photography, filmmaking, design and 3D/animation. Create projects that use these subjects through the workshops as co-ordinated multimedia or specialised subjects, whilst completing a whole-semester personal project and implementing communication strategies.

Semester two: Hone a strong skill set in your specialisation areas. This is the first stage you are gently introduced to the “Workhub” and start working with real clients. Slowly and steadily, you work on business skillsets and understanding how to be a freelancer, employee or business owner. Also, this year you are learning the soft skills needed out there in regard to communication and managing yourself to succeed.

Creative Media 3 & 4 (Semesters 1 & 2) (30 Credits each)
Workshop-based skill development with exploration in problem-solving. Apply informed problem-solving and critical reflection to the creation and production of creative media outputs. Gain knowledge of current professional creative industry techniques, standards, practices, protocols and responsibilities. Develop advanced conceptual and perceptual skills, and problem-solving techniques and learn how to justify your creative media choices, from ideation through to final resolution.

Critical Studies 1 (Semesters 1 & 2) (30 Credits)
Further your understanding of the relationships between theory, research and professional creative practice, by exploring research concepts and methodologies that support an appreciation of cultural and historical influences surrounding contemporary creative media practices.

Industry Practice (Semester 2) (15 Credits)
Explore and understand what business looks like in the creative industries and how you can use your skill set to enhance your employment prospects. Undertake 80 hours of work experience to develop skills and attributes associated with professional business and marketing practices in the creative industries.

Visual Communication(Semester 2) (15 Credits)
Learn how to take the content of year one and further improve your understanding and implementation of visual language. This includes the development of conceptually based compositions and projects with a consideration of the relationships between author, intent, image, audience and context.


This is the hardest and the best year. You are concentrating on significant projects now. Your skill sets are becoming very refined and your communication and problem-solving are getting stronger. You're learning to negotiate with clients in the work hub, think in a solution-based manner, and create seriously cool work in the commercial industry of arts, with nonprofit organisations, UCOL Te Pūkenga and partnerships that support UCOL Te Pūkenga and our students.

You also work all year on a project for you that is well-researched and is for your portfolio. Being a year-long project enables you to explore and grow. The work forms an exhibit at the end of the year. Family and friends join in and celebrate your degree success. Next year you are off to gain employment in areas you love. What a better career could there be? Of course, we are biased.

Critical Studies 2 (Semesters 1 & 2) (30 Credits)
Produce a resolved multidisciplinary creative media project, underpinned by a sound research process that addresses current and developing industry trends.

Industry Immersion 1 & 2 (Semester 1 - 30 Credits, Semester 2 - 45 Credits)
This is where all your study and work come together. Work as teams and individuals in "The Workhub" with real clients on real jobs - 120 hours of work experience.

Professional Portfolio and Exhibition (Semesters 1 & 2) (15 Credits)
Using your research from Critical Studies 2 to create a portfolio to show future clients or employers. At the end of this course, you will be work-ready with a graduate exhibition at a curated gallery.

Previous Related Programme

The Bachelor of Creative Media has merged the best from the Bachelor in Applied visual Imaging and integrated it with industry immersion to enhance a student's employability - ensuring we continue to be industry focused for our students.

  • Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging (no longer offered)

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Domestic Entry Requirements

Applicants under the age of 20 years must have University Entrance


Equivalent academic achievement


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


Provisional enrolment (defined by NZQA as being Discretionary Entrance and includes the following clauses:

Discretionary enrolment may be granted to those applicants under the age of 20 who:

  • Are New Zealand or Australian citizens and Permanent Residents under 20 years of age
  • Must have a minimum of 14 credits in an approved subject at Level 2 towards NCEA
  • Must also have met the literacy and numeracy standards required for University Entrance

Learners accepted under the provisional admission requirements must pass all Year one courses before progressing to Year two.)


For more information about NCEA Credits see the UCOL Te Pūkenga NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

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

English Proficiency Entry Requirements:
The minimum entry requirement for international students is IELTS Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5 (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).

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

Prospective learners should understand that the Bachelor of Creative Media requires a high level of motivation, commitment and attendance.  You need good organisational skills and a high level of initiative in order to be able to generate ideas and complete project work. If there are any health issues, it is important that these are declared in order for us to provide guidance and support for academic success.

Work experience
There are 380 work integrated learning hours for this programme. This is excellent for when you finish your studies and start looking for work. You can inform your future employer that you have industry experience.


Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a weekly commitment of:

  • 20 hours of lecturer supported learning in class
  • 20 hours of self-directed learning (your own time spent working to complete your assignments)

Classes run from Monday to Friday and there may be one evening class. If you need a timetable before arriving, please contact UCOL Te Pūkenga. Learners sometimes need to earn an income to support their study. We recommend a maximum of 10 hours per week.

Recognition of prior learning
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 all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL Te Pūkenga Academic Statute and other relavant policies and procedures.

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 (not via the online application form).

 Additional Costs

COMPULSORY COURSE COSTS 2024 - Years 1, 2 & 3

The UCOL Bachelor of Creative Media is a multidisciplinary degree. This degree offers a range of media to choose from; video, design, photography, illustration and 3D. In each area you'll need to allocate money for project assessment completion and necessary equipment of up to $1,000.00 each year as follows:

Year 1:

Memory cards

  • Min 1x 16GB SD card - $50
  • Min 1x Video Ultra Extreme Pro 32 or 64G @ 200 MB per sec - $50

Hard drive

Creative Media requires a lot of storage – a minimum of 1TB hard drive is required ( (recommended video HD is 1TB Samsung T5 SSD due to the speed required & camera spec). Note that many students prefer to purchase a 2TB hard drive.

  • 1TB hard drive - $200
  • Cloud storage (may need additional, you do have Onedrive)

Pen drives/USB flash drives

  • One 16GB pen drives - $26 total

Additional Printing

You will be supplied with a $50 print credit at the beginning of the year. However, in order to complete the programme, additional print credits will be required. Please note that this is a minimum guide.

  • Video - $50
  • Photography - $120
  • Illustration - $50
  • 3D - $50
  • Design - $50

Equipment Bond

To use equipment out of class time, a bond for the use of cameras, tripods, Wacom tablets and other equipment must be paid. All students are required to pay this, which is refundable at the end of the year if no damage to equipment has occurred.

  • Equipment bond -$80

Mounting Boards/foam core

  • Video - $30
  • Photography - $80
  • Illustration - $50
  • 3D - $30
  • Design - $50

Visual Diaries

A minimum of two A4 books for use as a visual diary(may be digital)

  • Two A4 books -$30
The above items will be needed, however some items you may have already.

There will be additional costs in printing due to portfolio work:

Please note that this is a minimum guide.

  • Video - $50
  • Photography - $200
  • Illustration - $100
  • 3D - $50
  • Design - $100

Mounting Boards/foam core

  • Video - $30
  • Photography - $80
  • Illustration - $50
  • 3D - $30
  • Design - $50


May require you to have full personal access to adobe creative suite. This is so you can use the additional interactive apps that are used in industry for file sharing and design alterations - this will be approx. $350.00.

UCOL Supplies core function adobe suite, however not all the specialist interactive app functionality.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: A loan for course-related costs is available from StudyLink of up to $1000.


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020, and Universal College of Learning Limited, a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga is accredited to teach it.