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New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4)

New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4)

Level 4

Extend your talent with UCOL’s NZ Certificate in Arts & Design (Level 4). This inspiring hands-on programme is an excellent foundation to prepare you for further study in arts, graphic design or textile and fashion.

A large scale illustration on a wall with the artist standing next to it.
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North, UCOL Whanganui

Duration: 19 weeks, full-time

Palmerston North
25 Jul 2022 - 02 Dec 2022

18 Jul 2022 - 25 Nov 2022

Domestic Fees: *
$3371.50Scholarship 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 is a hands on, studio-based programme which allows you to explore and expand your skills in a range of visual arts, fashion/textiles and digital design mediums. 

UCOL's NZ Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4) aims to provide a solid grounding in a range of design and arts media as well as art and design history. It is an excellent stair-casing programme for entry into Diploma and Degree level art and design qualifications.

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

The New Zealand Government COVID-19 Mandate Order requires the following workers to be vaccinated: 

  • health and disability sector workers
  • prison staff
  • border and MIQ workers.

As well as that, private companies and organisations have the right to require staff to be vaccinated.

Therefore, to go on placement or an internship that is a part of your programme, you must meet COVID-19 vaccination requirements. You can see more information on UCOL's Covid-19 page and on the Unite Against Covid-19 website.

 Career & Study Outcomes

  • Prepares graduates for entry level positions within the arts and/or creative industries or higher level study within art/craft/design disciplines 
  • Provides students with a strong understanding of the cultural sector of Aotearoa New Zealand to enhance the creative industries.
  • Enables students to produce work through applying creative processes in a studio-based environment that reflects professional practices and conventions within arts/craft and design contexts.

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Designers and Artists.

Education pathway

 Course Information

Note: As a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, UCOL is committed to providing the best learning outcome for you. As part of this, all programmes are currently being reviewed to make them portable, consistent, and closely aligned with the needs of the industry. When published, this course information is correct, but the courses offered may change over time.

This programme consist of 60 credits. The courses includes;


Art/Design History (15 Credits)
Gain an introduction to national and international art/design practice including key historical principles, contexts and conventions.

Creative Methodology (15 Credits)
Learn to develop technical and conceptual creative skills through the selection and application of tools, techniques and processes appropriate to a directed art/design brief.


Visual Arts Studio (15 Credits) (Whanganui campus)
Gain knowledge and experience of working in two and three-dimensional forms and, through a variety of visual arts mediums, explore physical, and conceptual space.

Fashion Design (15 Credits) (Whanganui campus)
Gain technical and conceptual skills within the specialisation of fashion design. During your studies you'll explore garment construction methods, and apply principles of fashion design in response to a brief; use digital illustration as a means of generating and developing work; and demonstrate and apply an understanding of health and safety practices associated with the studio environment.

Graphic Design (15 Credits) (Palmerston North or Whanganui campus)
Gain technical and conceptual skills within the specialisation of graphic design. During your studies you'll gain an understanding of specific design software; apply principles of graphic design in response to a brief; and explore and describe the use of visual communication within a graphic design context.

Photography (15 Credits) (Palmerston North or Whanganui campus)
Gain technical and conceptual skills within the specialisation of photography. During your studies you'll gain an understanding of specific photography software; apply tools, techniques and processes in response to a brief; research, explore and describe the use of visual communication within a photography context; and apply a problem solving approach to image production for a variety of photographic imaging projects.

Digital Media (15 Credits) (Palmerston North or Whanganui campus)
Gain technical and conceptual skills within the specialisation of digital media. During your studies you'll gain an understanding of specific digital media software and principles in response to a brief; research, explore and describe the use of visual communication within a digital media context; and demonstrate and apply a problem solving approach to image production for a variety of digital media imaging projects.

** Available elective courses may vary between campuses. 

 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 

 Learning Facilities

Fully equipped Art and Design Home Room, specialist Mac Design Labs, printmaking facilities, Fashion and textiles studio, photography and lighting studio, wood and metal working workshop.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

To be eligible for entry to the programme, applicants must hold at least one of the following:

NCEA Level 2


Equivalent academic achievement


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

English language proficiency
If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5 with no band score less than 5 (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 testing centre.


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 applicants.

English language proficiency
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie 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

As UCOL becomes Te Pūkenga on 1 January 2023, learners enrolling in a programme that is likely to continue into semester 1 2023 or starting in semester 1 2023 will become Te Pūkenga learners. They will receive their qualification from Te Pūkenga on completion.

The programme can be studied full-time or part-time, and may require students to engage with evening classes and activities.

Applicants for the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4) may be required to attend a conversation with UCOL staff. The purpose of the conversation is to provide information to the applicant, to gauge motivation and support, and preparedness for study, and to inform teaching staff of the needs of the student.

From time to time study may include field trips of one or more days in length, and in those instances there may be additional costs incurred by the student. In these instances students will be informed of the schedule and associated costs well ahead of time and the programme lecturers will endeavour to ensure the costs and arrangements are appropriate.

Students need to be aware of the physical requirements for operating in professional studio environments. Students will be advised to put any special needs or requirements in writing and advise the Programme Leader before the programme begins.

The availability of specific elective courses may be subject to the campus and the number of students enrolling in courses.

Work experience
There are no work experience hours for this programme.

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a weekly commitment of:

  • 19 hours of lecturer supported learning in class
  • 17 hours of self-directed learning (your own time spent working to complete your assignments)

If you choose to do part-time work, we recommend a maximum of 10 hours a week.

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 have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL Academic Statute and other relavant policies and procedures.

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 (not via the online application form).

Previous Related Programmes

The New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design Level 4 supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:

  • Certificate in Art and Design

 Additional Costs


Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4) dependent on what electives you choose as follows:

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: A loan for course-related costs is available from StudyLink of up to $1000. Some of these items may be reused from New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 3).

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design Level 3 dependent on what electives you choose as follows:

Memory cards
If you're doing the photograhy elective, you'll need a memory card to use a DSLR camera at UCOL. You'll use a Canon 700D.

  • 16GB SD card - $20 (Photography elective)

Hard drive
Creative Media requires a lot of storage – a minimum 500MB hard drive is required. Note that many students prefer to purchase a 1TB hard drive.

  • 1TB hard drive - $110

Pen drives/USB flash drives

  • One 8GB pen drive - $13 (Whanganui students))
  • Three 8GB pen drives - $40 (Palmerston North students)

Equipment Bond
To use equipment out of class time, a bond for the use of cameras, tripods, Wacom tablets and other equipment must be paid. All students are required to pay this, which is refundable at the end of the year, if no damage to equipment has occurred.

  • Equipment bond - $80

Stationery costs - project completion
Students spend different amounts of money on assignments as per their personal choice. Typically this is between $10 - $30. There are approximately eight projects. This includes card, art paper, glues and tapes. NB: This is not applicable for digital projects, which have no associated costs.

  • Stationery $10 - $30 (per assignment/project)


  • A2 portfolio case for carrying works in a safe manner - form $20.00 for a manilla version
  • Field trips - various trips will have optional costs associated with them. They are recommended for expanding your knowledge.
  • Ipad Air 2, Wacom tablet or Android tablet for drawing - $180 - $1,300
  • Computers or laptops with solid state for safety with bumping, 8GB RAM with 256 Flash Memory - up to $4,000
  • Adobe Creative Cloud education license - $370

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: A loan for course-related costs is available from StudyLink of up to $1000. 


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.