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Bachelor of Design and Arts

Level 7

To meet the demands of the increasingly diverse art and design industries, UCOL’s Bachelor of Design and Arts degree includes majors in visual arts, graphic design and textile/fashion design to give you the competitive edge in these exciting fields.

Fashion Design student drapes a garment at the Whanganui School of Design
Quick info

Level: 7

Locations: Whanganui

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

19 Feb 2018 - 30 Nov 2018
23 Jul 2018 - 28 Jun 2019

Domestic Fees:*
$7,025.00Scholarship info

Find out if you're eligible for fees-free study

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.

Learn from the best in the field and gain practical skills through intern projects, drawing, art/design labs, history, theory and professional practice.

All students in the Bachelor of Design and Arts programme will choose a major area of study which could include:
  • Visual Arts: Painting, sculpture, photography, glass, digital arts
  • Textile/Fashion Design: Fabric printing, garment construction, textile art, fashion photography
  • Graphic Design: Typography & print, animation, video, web

Here's UCOL Fashion Design students drafting patterns and constructing garments:


Here's a little 30 second snapshot of a day in the life of learning the creative arts:


 Career & Study Outcomes

  • Graphic design
  • Visual art
  • Fashion design
  • Gallery curation
  • Videography
  • Animation
  • Marketing
  • Movie industry
  • Television
  • Product design
  • Costume design
  • Theatre and prop design
  • Photography
  • Art or design administration and management
  • Secondary and tertiary teaching learning programmes
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

Graduates who wish to further specialise can enrol in:

 Course Information

Year 1 - Core Courses
  • Visual Language
  • Art/Design
  • Design Practical 
  • Art/Design History 
  • Drawing 

Elective courses depend on your chosen major of graphic design, visual arts or textiles/fashion design.

Year 2 - Core Courses

  • Art/Design History 
  • Art/Design Theory

Elective courses depend on your chosen major of graphic design, visual arts or textiles/fashion design. In addition, you can choose two of the following:

  • Digital Photography
  • Illustration
  • 3D Modelling
  • Moving Image
  • Glass Studio
  • Printmaking
  • Textile and Fibre
  • Computer Aided Drafting
  • Object

Year 3 - Core Courses

  • An internship/industry project
  • Research Methods
  • Professional Practice

Elective courses depend on your chosen major of graphic design, visual arts or textiles/fashion design. 

Previous Related Programmes

The Bachelor of Design and Arts supersedes and takes the best from the following programmes of study, which are no longer offered:
  • Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Fashion
  • Diploma in Glass Design and Production

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Industry Connections

  • UCOL's 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 has an impressive range of industry stakeholders in the fields of fine arts, fashion and graphic design
  • Bachelor of Design Arts students undertake real-life industry projects in a wide-range of art and design through internships.

 Learning Facilities

UCOL is home to 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

Portfolio and written statement
All applicants are asked to provide a portfolio of work and written statement that summarises their personal interest in Design and Arts. These are requested in order to ensure students have the ability and commitment required to succeed at Level 5. The content of the portfolio may also help staff to guide students in their choices of both majors and electives within the degree.

Written Statement 
All applicants are asked to submit a 200 word written statement. In this short piece of writing you should try to summarise your personal interest in Design and Arts. The statement may say what drives you to study at UCOL and present other information that you think is relevant to your application. 

All students applying for the Bachelor of Design and Arts (with a major in Graphic Design, Visual Arts or Textiles/Fashion Design) need to submit a portfolio of work which demonstrates previous engagement with creative activity. Portfolios can take a number of different formats and each will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Portfolios can be submitted either in hard copy or digital format and could contain any combination of the following:
  • Drawings or sketches
  • Paintings or other artworks
  • Photographs
  • Prototypes or toiles
  • Concept drawings
  • Examples of sculptural or 3D work
  • Graphic Design
  • Examples of applied art or craft work
  • Original film or video
  • Textiles design
  • Interior design concepts
  • Examples of anything else that demonstrates creative engagement

Applicants under 20 years of age:
University entrance requirements comprise NCEA Level 3 - (80 credits, 60 of which are at Level 3 or above).

  • Three subjects at Level 3 or above made up of 14 credits each in three approved subjects
  • Literacy - 10 Credits at Level 2 or above made up of 5 Credits in reading and 5 Credits in writing
  • Numeracy - 10 Credits at Level 1 or above made up of:
    • Achievement Standards - specified Achievement standards through a range of subjects, or
    • Unit Standards - a package of three Numeracy Unit Standards: 26623, 26626, 26627 (all three required).

Or equivalent academic achievement.

Or on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean.

Or a provisional enrolment.

Applicants over 20 years of age:
A person having reached the age of 20 years by the first day of the programme in the year, for which admission is sought, is not required to hold the above entry qualifications.


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:
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.

Applicants 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 in Design and Arts comprises 360 credits and has majors in graphic design, visual arts and textiles/fashion design.

Work experience/internship
As part of your studies you will take an internship course comprising 48 lecturer supported learning hours and 102 independent learning hours, where you'll undertake an industry oriented design or art project that addresses the needs of the project client.

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a weekly commitment of:
  • 18 hours of lecturer supported learning in class
  • 22 hours of self-directed learning (your own time spent working to complete your assignments)
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 the Bachelor of Design and Arts as follows:

All majors/all students (core courses)
  • USB flash drive
  • Digital camera (phone camera or any other type is fine)
Graphic Design Major
Year one
  • Allow approximately $200.00 for stationery, supplies and services such as specialist printing (dependent on personal preference).
  • USB flash drive $30.00
Year two

Allow approximately $300.00 for stationery and supplies.

Year three

Allow up to $600.00 for stationery and specialist design supplies.

Textiles/Fashion Design Major
Year one

Allow approximately $400.00 for stationery and fashion supplies such as sewing tools and fabrics (dependent on personal preference). 

Recommended textbook: Aldrich, A. (2013). Metric pattern cutting for women's wear. 6th Edition. United Kingdom. Wiley-Blackwell.

This and the latest edition is available through www.fishpond.co.nz for approximately $80.00. Any other edition of this book is also acceptable and can often be purchased through Whitcoulls, other online book stores and auction sites.

Year two

Allow approximately $300.00 for stationery and fashion supplies.

Year three

Allow up to $600.00 for stationery, fashion supplies and printing.

Visual Arts Major
Year one

Allow approximately $300.00 for stationery and art supplies such as brushes and sculpture materials (dependent on personal preference).

Year two

Allow approximately $400.00 for stationery and art supplies.

Year three

Allow up to $600.00 for stationery and art supplies.


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.