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Diploma in Furniture Design and Making

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

19 Feb 2018 - 23 Nov 2018

Domestic Fees: *
$6,888.00Scholarship 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.

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.

Here's an example of some of the bespoke pieces of furniture made by second year UCOL Diploma in Furniture Design and Making students:


 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.

 Course Information

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

 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 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


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 Proficiency Entry Requirements
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5. 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

UCOL's Diploma in Furniture Design and Making comprises 240 credits.

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. 

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.

To be eligible for achievement of the qualification, students must provide evidence, by the end of the first year of the programme, that they hold a recognised, current First Aid Qualification. 

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 or unit standards have already been met.

Work experience
In the second year, students are expected to find work experience in a large or small furniture business, or with a self-employed furniture maker. The students will spend one day a week for eight weeks, which represents 64 hours. Neither the student nor the business with which they are placed for their work experience will be paid for these hours.

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.

 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the Diploma in Furniture Design and Making:
  • Steel capped boots $80 - $100 


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.