HomeProgrammesCreativeNew Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 3)

New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 3)

Level 3

Discover your talent with the UCOL New Zealand Certificate in Arts & Design (Level 3). This inspiring hands-on programme is an excellent foundation to prepare you for further study in arts, graphic design or textile and fashion.

A UCOL learner working on a self potrait on a canvas
Quick info

Level: 3

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North, UCOL Whanganui

Duration: 19 weeks, full-time

Palmerston North
26 Feb 2024 - 05 Jul 2024

19 Feb 2024 - 28 Jun 2024

Domestic Fees: *

Scholarship info

International Fees:*
$12,500 + Student Services Levy $295.50

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.

This is a hands-on, studio-based programme that allows you to explore and gain skills in a range of visual arts, fashion/textiles and digital design mediums.

The UCOL New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 3) aims to provide a basic grounding in a range of design and arts media and is a good stair-casing programme for entry into higher level art and design qualifications.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Graduates of the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design will be able to:

  • Apply introductory skills and conventions in arts, craft and/or design to investigate and produce work.
  • Apply creative processes and techniques to solve problems in response to a brief.
  • Demonstrate introductory work practices in arts, craft and/or design.
  • Collaborate with others, and reflect on, select and present work.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural sector and creative industries within Aotearoa New Zealand.

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries for Designers and Artists, 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.

This programme consists of 60 credits.


Design (15 Credits)
Gain introductory skills and an understanding of cultural contexts within the discipline of design.

Creative Processes (15 Credits)
Learn to apply introductory skills and conventions in arts, craft and/or design to investigate and produce work.

STREAM 1 (Whanganui)

Two-Dimensional Studies (15 Credits)
Gain introductory skills and solve problems through working with two-dimensional art forms in a variety of media.

Three-Dimensional Studies (15 Credits)
Gain introductory skills and solve problems through working with three-dimensional art forms in a variety of media.

STREAM 2 (Palmerston North)

Digital Media (15 Credits)
Gain introductory skills and solve problems through creative digital channels.

Photography (15 Credits)
Gain introductory skills and solve problems through working with photographic media.

 Industry Connections

  • The UCOL Te Pūkenga School of Creative Industries (includes programmes and expertise from Wanganui School of Design) is a Corporate Member of the Designers Institute of NZ (DINZ) 
  • Our students and graduates have taken out top prizes in the DINZ BEST Awards many times over the years. 
  • UCOL Te Pūkenga has an impressive range of industry stakeholders in the fields of fine arts, fashion and graphic design

 Learning Facilities

Fully equipped art and design home room, specialist Mac design labs, printmaking facilities, fashion and textiles studio, photography and lighting studio, and wood and metal working workshop.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 1 or equivalent.

English language proficiency
If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.0 with no band score less than 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).


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

 International Entry Requirements

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

English language proficiency
International learner applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS GEneral or Academic score of 5 with no band score lower than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie 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

This programme leads to the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4), 60 credits qualification. It can be studied full-time or part-time, and may require leaners to engage with evening classes and activities.

Applicants for the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 3) may be required to attend a conversation with UCOL staff. The purpose of the conversation is to provide information to the applicant, to gauge motivation and support, and preparedness for study, and to inform teaching staff of the needs of the student.

From time to time study may include field trips of one or more days in length, and in those instances there may be additional costs incurred by the learner. In these instances learners will be informed of the schedule and associated costs well ahead of time and the programme lecturers will endeavour to ensure the costs and arrangements are appropriate.

Leaerners need to be aware of the physical requirements for operating in professional studio environments. Learners will be advised to put any special needs or requirements in writing and advise the Programme Leader before the programme begins.

Work experience
There are no work experience hours for this programme.

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

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

The UCOL New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 3) has four full days of classes a week - lecturer-supported hours. If you choose to do part-time work, 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 relevant 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).

Previous Related Programmes
The New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design Level 3 supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:

  • Certificate in Art and Design.

 Additional Costs


Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 3) dependent on what electives you choose as follows:

Memory cards

If you're doing the photograhy elective, you'll need a memory card to use a DSLR camera at UCOL. You'll use a Canon 700D.

  • 16GB SD card - $20 (Photography elective)

Hard drive

Creative Media requires a lot of storage – a minimum 500MB hard drive is required. Note that many students prefer to purchase a 1TB hard drive.

  • 1TB hard drive -$110

Pen drives/USB flash drives

  • One 8GB pen drive - $13 (Whanganui students)
  • Three 8GB pen drives - $40 (Palmerston North students)

Equipment Bond

To use equipment out of class time, a bond for the use of cameras, tripods, Wacom tablets and other equipmentmust 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

Stationery costs - project completion

Learners spend different amounts of money on assignments as per their personal choice. Typically this is between $10 - $30.There are approximately eight projects. This includes card, art paper, glues and tapes. NB: This is not applicable for digital projects, which have no associated costs.

  • Stationery $10 - $30 (per assignment/project)


  • A2 portfolio case for carrying works in a safe manner - form $20 for a manilla version
  • Field trips - various trips will have optional costs associated with them. They are recommended for expanding your knowledge.
  • Ipad Air 2,Wacom tablet or Android tabletfor drawing - $180- $1,300
  • Computers or laptops with solid state for safety with bumping, 8GB RAM with 256 Flash Memory- up to $4,000
  • Adobe Creative Cloud education license - $370.

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.