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Postgraduate Diploma of Design

Level 8

UCOL’s Postgraduate Diploma of Design is an exciting year of independent and facilitated study focussing on either time-based/print-based design, object design/visual arts or fashion/textile design.

Student works on a Mac at the Whanganui School of Design
Quick info

Level: 8

Locations: Whanganui

Duration: 1 year, full-time

20 Feb 2017 - 1 Dec 2017

Domestic Fees:*

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.

In conjunction with the Whanganui School of Design, this postgraduate diploma 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 or print-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 Graphic and Web Designers, Industrial Designers and Photographers.

Education pathway

Graduates who wish to further specialise can enrol in:

Student & Staff Profiles

Industry Connections

  • Whanganui School of Design is a Corporate Member of the Designers Institute of NZ (DINZ)
  • Whanganui School of Design students and graduates have taken out top prizes in the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) BEST Awards many times over the years.
  • Whanganui School of Design has an impressive range of Industry stakeholders in the fields of Animation, Web, Publication, Video, Game Design and Illustration.
  • Whanganui School of Design students undertake real-life Industry projects in a wide-range of design industries each year through Internships.
  • Whanganui School of Design graduates work at Weta Digital, TVNZ, Digital Arts Network, Charactaz Animation, Saatchi and Saatchi and more.

Learning Facilities

The Whanganui School of Design 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 the 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.

Applications must be made on the standard UCOL Student Application Form and provide information on relevant experience, academic qualifications and academic record.

Applicants may be asked to provide a portfolio of original, developmental and finished work.
Portfolio Specifications:
A portfolio which demonstrates previous engagement in creative activity will be required. Portfolios can take a number of different formats, and each will be considered on a case by case basis. Please contact the Associate Dean (Creative) if you need further guidance with preparing or presenting a portfolio.

International Entry Requirements

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). 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). 

Applicants under 20 years of age:
There are specific academic entry requirements for international students under 20 years of age. Please enquire for details.


Advice & Guidance

When appropriate, the Programme Leader will review portfolios provided by applicants. Based on this review the Programme Leader will provide applicants with advice and guidance on their proposed and/or potential programme of study.

The availability of a particular elective is subject to an appropriate number of students enrolling in that elective.

The Postgraduate Diploma of Design Level 8 is a one-year programme consisting of 120 credits.

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.

Course Information

Compulsory courses:
  • Advanced Research Methods for Design
  • Concept Development Studio
  • Major Project

Elective courses level 8:

  • Advanced Illustration
  • Advanced 3D Modelling
  • Advanced Moving Image
  • Advanced Glass Studio
  • Advanced Printmaking
  • Advanced Textile and Fibre
  • Advanced Computer Aided Drafting
  • Advanced Object
The Postgraduate Diploma of Design, L8 contains industry projects where the student will be expected to undertake an industry oriented design or art project that addresses the needs of the project client. The independent learning hours may be undertaken in the workplace environment or at UCOL’s studio.  


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.