Skip Navigation LinksHomeProgrammesCreativePostgraduate Diploma of Design

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 design media, visual art design or textile and fashion design.

A photograph of a student works on a Mac at the Whanganui School of Design
Quick info

Level: 8

Locations: UCOL Whanganui

Duration: 1 year, full-time

14 Feb 2022 - 25 Nov 2022

Domestic Fees: *
$8239.00Scholarship 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 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

Master of Design

 Course Information

This one-year programme consisting of 120 credits.


Advanced Methodologies for Design Research (30 Credits)
On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Establish and articulate a philosophical orientation for their research and propose a research design and methodology supported by a rationale for the design choice;
  • Write and present a research proposal for approval;
  • Identify, evaluate and respond to key ethical and cultural considerations within the field of study;
  • Undertake a contextual review of the extant and seminal literature to identify or position a research question.

Development Studio (30 Credits)
On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate specific areas of interest for concept research and articulate objectives and ideas for future projects;
  • Explore inter‐disciplinary and/or multimedia approaches;
  • Undertake rigorous exploration of an extensive range of sources and technical applications and technologies relevant to their practice;
  • Investigate and define the link between research practice and an appropriate industry/ community context;
  • Demonstrate professional studio practice in the documentation of idea development and technical exploration.

Creative Thinking (30 Credits)

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Initiate rigorous intellectual analysis and critical reflection of their own work and that of others;
  • Articulate creative thinking methodologies appropriate to the context in which they work;
  • Articulate a considered position in relation to their field of enquiry or professional practice, with a focus on both current and future practice;
  • Apply creative thinking methodologies to developing unique solutions to industry challenges or opportunities;
  • Critically evaluate and professionally document research relevant to their creative practice.

Studio Project (30 Credits)
On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Advance and refine concepts for research and art/design projects as appropriate for industry/ community, professional and academic outcomes;
  • Undertake extended exploration of inter‐disciplinary and/or multimedia approaches to solve problems and achieve design solutions;
  • Document the investigation and creative development process used to make specified project work;
  • Compile and present a finished portfolio, exhibition or show. 

 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

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)

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 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

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.