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New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential)

New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential)

Level 5

Turn your creative talents into a professional career as an interior designer with UCOL’s New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential).

A photograph of lights
Quick info

Level: 5

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North

Duration: 1 year, full-time

17 Feb 2020 - 20 Nov 2020
20 Jul 2020 - 3 Jul 2020

Domestic Fees: *
$7,457.00Scholarship 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.

In UCOL's one-year interior design diploma you will gain the technical and practical skills to transform creative design ideas into a reality. 

New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design will teach you to analyse and conceptualise design, and implement solutions for residential spaces.

This qualification is for people wanting a career as a professional residential interior designer, and for those already working in the interior design industry to further their knowledge and skills.

Work experience/internship
As part of your studies you will undertake 20 hours of work experience.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Successful graduates of New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential) will be able to:

  • Utilise construction theory to inform and ensure interior material specifications comply with the regulatory environment.
  • Apply knowledge of design principles, design history, products and materials in residential interior design to fulfill a client brief.
  • Communicate solutions for residential interior design projects effectively.
  • Investigate and evaluate information to conceptualise, develop, plan and coordinate residential interior design solutions.
  • Coordinate aspects of residential interior design processes.
  • Employ appropriate business practices and procedures within residential interior design contexts.
Employment options may include:
  • Interior designer (residential)
  • Interior design product specifier
  • Colour consultant
  • Design stylist
  • Design project coordinator.
To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Designers and Artists.

 Course Information


Interior Design Practice (15 Credits)
Apply design process to complete residential design projects, focusing on living and sleeping spaces and small space design.

Design History (15 Credits)
Learn investigative skills to develop design projects using historical design principles and colour theory in a contemporary context.

Design Project Presentation (15 Credits)
Learn the skills to present interior design documentation for design projects to a range of audiences.

Design Construction (15 Credits)
Use research skills to develop small scale design projects, inclusive of current building regulations, construction methods and building services.

Interior Design Studio (15 Credits)
Learn to propose creative kitchen and bathroom design solutions while working within regulatory constraints present in New Zealand.

Design Specification (15 Credits)
Apply design principles and colour theory in the selection of products and materials for use in design projects.

Interior Design Imaging (15 Credits)
Develop your presentation drawing style, both manually and digitally, in a range of design projects.

Business Practices (15 Credits) (20 work experience hours)
You'll be introduced to small business practice in the context of interior design, and prepare for a work placement.

Previous Related Programmes

The New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential) supersedes and takes the best from the following programmes of study, which are no longer offered:
  • Diploma in Interior Design

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 3


Equivalent academic achievement


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


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 student applicants.

English language proficiency
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic score of 5.5 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). 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


UCOL's New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential) comprises 120 credits.

Work experience/internship
As part of your studies you will undertake 20 hours of work experience.

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
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 New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential).


  • Stationery - Up to $290 


Memory cards
You'll need a memory card to use a DSLR camera at UCOL. 
  • 4GB SD card - $20
Hard drive
Creative Media requires a lot of storage – a minimum 500mbhard drive is required. Note that many students prefer to purchase a 1TB hard drive.
  • 1TB hard drive - $110
Pen drives/USB flash drives
  • Two 8GB pen drives - $26 
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
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, as printing needs differ with paper choices and printing is not an exact science. When it comes to colour management sometimes more test printing is required.
  • $100
One can of 3M spray mount glue (product defined, as we have found this is the best one and is industry standard) and double-sided tape.
  • 3M spray mount glue or double-sided tape - up to $60
Mounting boards/foam core
  • $80
Visual diaries
A minimum of two A4 books for use as a visual diary (may be digital)
  • $30
  • Mars Micro Technical Pencil 0.5mm - $8
  • Mars Micro Technical Pencil 0.5mm HB leads - $8
  • Staedtler Rastoplast Eraser 526B20 (black if possible) - $3
  • A pack of Staedtler pigment liners (0.1, 0.3, 0.5. 0.7) - $24
  • Helix 30/60 and 40/45 set square pack - $9
  • Helix circle template - $7
  • Rotring triangular scale ruler (802020) - $32
  • 18mm masking tape - $7
  • Two Uniball Eye Fine/Medium (black) - $18
  • Two A4 visual diaries - $7
  • Retractable tape measure - 8 meters or longer - $8
  • One Cancon Tracing Pad 90GSM - $48
  • ProMarkers for use in Semester Two. Recommended colours to be confirmed before semester begins. - $60

Optional course costs

  • 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 tablet for drawing - $180 - $1,300
  • Computers or laptops with solid state for safety with bumping, 8GB RAM with 256 Flash Memory - up to $4,000.00
  • Adobe Creative Cloud education license - $370.00.
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 Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.