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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:*
$7,601.80Scholarship 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.

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 Designers and Artists 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.
Selection criteria:
Applicants are selected in order of receipt of their completed enrolment application and all entry requirements having been met.

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

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

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.

Recognition of prior learning
Up to two-thirds of the qualification may be credited via recognition of prior learning.  In exceptional circumstances, this amount may be increased by the Faculty Board of Educational Improvement.

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

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

Elective courses level 8:
The availability of a particular elective is subject to an appropriate number of students enrolling in that elective.

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


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.