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Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging

Level 7

Dive into the fantastic world of visual arts with UCOL’s Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging (BAVI) and gain industry-wanted skills for Photography, Design, Moving Image, Illustration and Visual Journalism.

Student works on an illustration at the School of Photography, Arts and Design
Quick info

Level: 7

Locations: Palmerston North

Duration: 3 years, full-time or part-time study options

6 Mar 2017 - 24 Nov 2017

Domestic Fees:*
$7,087.70Scholarship info

International Fees:*

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). Fees for multi-year programmes are for one year of study.

Gain a broad, technical and creative foundation to sample different areas of the industry before specialising in one of the five main areas of:
  • Photography – explores all areas of the photographic industry covering technical and creative aspects 
  • Design – covers traditional and new core areas including advertising, print and digital publications, branding, typography and projection mapping
  • Moving Image – a combination of animation and videography
  • Illustration - explores the translation of drawings into illustrations
  • Visual Journalism – looks into photojournalism, documentary filmmaking and infographics which allows you to structure information in a visual way

Career & Study Outcomes

UCOL's Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging prepares students for professional careers within creative industries that contribute to contemporary visual culture, including:

  • Graphic design
  • Photography
  • Web design
  • Animation
  • Publication design
  • TV directing
  • Packaging design
  • Architectural photography
  • Game design
  • Fashion photography
  • Interactive design
  • Wedding photography
  • TV production
  • Food photography
  • Photo journalism
  • Illustration
  • Movie animation
  • Film & documentary making
  • Cartoon illustration
  • Advertising
  • Art direction
  • Comic artistry

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.

Student & Staff Profiles

Industry Connections

Every year we select a Visual Imaging student to travel to renowned video production/post-production studio Lobitos Creek Ranch in San Francisco for a nine week internship. Other partnerships we have include:
  • Brooks Institute
  • Canon
  • Te Manawa
  • New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) 
  • INFOCUS – The Iris Awards
  • New Zealand Army
  • Palmerston North Airport
  • Horizons Palmerston North
  • BCC- Building Clever Companies Palmerston North

Domestic Entry Requirements

All prospective students must provide the following:
  • A short written statement that outlines who they are and why they want to do the programme.
  • An indication of their creative abilities in the form of two A4 pieces of photography, design, art (or photographs of) or electronic media such as a video or interactive file.

Applicants under 20 years of age:
At least 42 credits at level 3 or higher on the NQF. At least 14 of these credits must be from each of two subjects from the approved list. The remaining 14 credits must come from no more than two additional subjects or domains.  Also, at least 14 credits at Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau, and at least 8 credits at Level 2 or higher which show reading and writing skills in English or Te Reo Maori.

Provisional Admission
Applicants will normally be granted provisional admission if they have gained the following:

  • A total of at least 80 credits in four approved subjects or domains at level 2 NCEA and have met the literacy and numeracy requirements for university entrance.
  • Students accepted under the provisional admission requirements must pass all Year 1 courses before progressing to Year 2.

International Entry Requirements

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

English Proficiency Entry Requirements:
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 6.0 with no band score lower than 5.5. UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre. The English Proficiency test is accepted for English language entry into all UCOL programmes.

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

The Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging comprises 360 credits. It's a three year degree, but can be taken part-time and should be completed within five years.

Programme consultation and information evenings may be provided during enrolment time so that prospective students may learn more about the programme and make an informed decision about its suitability for their needs. During consultation, lecturers meet with prospective students to discuss their qualifications and experience and recommend programmes suitable to the student’s needs and qualifications.

Prospective students should understand that the Bachelor in Applied Visual Imaging requires a high level of motivation, commitment and attendance.  Similarly, prospec¬tive students should have good organisational skills and have demonstrated, through previous work, a high level of initiative in order to be able to generate ideas and subsequently target and drive their project work.

Where class content is delivered on campus a high level of attendance is recommended if students are to satisfactorily meet learning outcomes.  If a student misses a key session or significant portion of the programme, progress may be hampered. Lecturer feedback, while studio work is in progress, is important to the development of creative skills in the visual imaging industry. As such it is highly recommended that consistent attendance levels are maintained and notified key sessions are attended.

Where programme content is delivered online it is necessary that students maintain a high level of commitment to completing the programme content, and that regular communication is maintained with lecturers.

In addition to class contact/lecturer-directed hours students are expected to undertake independent work outside the class contact/lecturer-directed time.  Where facilities such as the studios or computer suites are required, the School of Photography, Art and Design is open on weekdays until 11pm and at weekends from 10am to 4pm. 

Work experience
There is no practicum or work experience component for this programme.

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.

Course Information

Year One

Semester 1:

Visual Practice 1: Introductory workshops based course on the fundamentals of Creativity, Design, Photography, Video, 3D Modeling and Visual Journalism. 

Visual Language: Exploring fundamentals of composition within visual practice (imagery - both 2D and 3D), through the principles of gestalt, colour theory, colour psychology and terminology.

Digital technologies: Introductory knowledge and understanding in the production and output of ideas through technology (ie photoshop, Indesign, Illustator)

Semester 2: 
Visual Practice 2: Building on visual practice 1 : A workshop based course exploring and implementing skills in the creative integration. Articulation through a variety of media artefacts in relation to Design, Photography, Video, 3D Modeling and Visual Journalism. Enabling the start of a personal professional persona within the creative industry.

Visual Communication: Understanding of visual communication. Development and communication of creative concepts, ideas and solutions for visual media products.

Contextual Studies: Introduction to a range of theories and issues that are relevant to contemporary creative media industry. Implimentation of academic writing skills through the presention of information formally by essay and verbal delivery. 

Year Two: 

Semester 1:
Visual Imaging 2A: Develop an understanding of research methods and processes relevant to the visual imaging environment. Plan a visual imaging product derived from the research process, applying a multi-disciplinary approach that employs relevant media, techniques and theories. Develop effective communication skills, both written and oral.

Digital Technologies 2: Extend knowledge and skills from Digital Technologies 1, by applying high quality visual techniques and processes, supported by research, critical development and experimentation, to communicate and present ideas. Students will gain insight into the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of digital technologies.

Visual Practice 3: Extend the knowledge, understanding and skills gained in Visual Practice 2 through relevant research and apply informed problem solving and critical reflection to the creation and production of creative media outputs.


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.