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Institute of Technology or Polytechnic

Unitec Institute of Technology
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Bachelor of Design and Contemporary Art

This course is available


Level of Study

Bachelor's Degree


3 years

Next start date

Expected Feb 2023


Unitec Institute of Technology


The Bachelor of Design and Contemporary Art is the key to turning your creativity and innovation into an exciting career in the art and design industry.

With hands-on teaching and learning at the heart of this degree programme, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your practice through making and creating while developing the technical skills and expert knowledge you’ll need to land your dream job.

Your first year of study will involve lots of discovery and experimentation. From there, you’ll build a specialist area of practice that draws inspiration from your unique creative abilities and lived experiences, while remaining ever-focused on learning through doing.

You’ll be supported every step of the way by a team of expert professionals They will help you develop the knowledge and skills required to excel in industry. They will motivate you to step outside your creative comfort zone, consider different cultural perspectives – and try something new.

Choosing your major

In your second semester, you’ll choose an area of practice within one of our three majors – Visual Art, Design or Digital Media – and gain key skills and experiences in that area through studio projects, diverse technical workshops and in-depth contextual discussions.

Areas of practice you can choose to focus on: Design; Visual Arts; and Digital Media


  • Specialize in your chosen area of practice
  • Gain key skills and experience
  • Apply practical learning
  • Be creative in your own spaces
  • Get excellent student support
  • Work on a major creative capstone project
  • Graduate work-ready for the future

Develop the necessary skills to succeed - Expert knowledge; Communication; Industry preparedness; Cultural diversity capability; and Critical.

Create your future in art and design

In Aotearoa New Zealand, design is the largest sub-sector in the creative industries, employing almost half of all creative professionals in the Auckland region. Digital media is the fastest growing sub-sector – in the past 10 years, it has grown four times faster than the total Auckland economy. Aotearoa New Zealand is experiencing a growth period in art sales and work produced by emerging practitioners is highly desirable. There is a dynamic range of cultural and commercial practice within the arts sector.

The skills that you’ll learn in this programme will not only provide a solid foundation but also help you excel in the world of art and design. As of 2021, it’s estimated that employment for designers in Aotearoa New Zealand will increase over the next five years, keeping career prospects for graduates high. In this degree designers and artists are taught to be dexterous and adaptive to meet the needs of the dynamic industry.

By developing skills and experience in a specialized area, you can apply for more specialist roles, and as you continue to build your portfolio, you’ll be well set to take on more senior roles or contracting work.

Further study

Students might want to consider one of our postgraduate programmes: Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Practice, Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Practice and Master of Creative Practice programmes.


Graphic designer, Photographer, Artist, Motion graphics designer, Illustrator, Packaging designer, Product designer, Curator, Art/design educator, Gallerist, and Animator

Entry criteria

Academic requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

  • 42 credits at NCEA Level 3 or higher including: 14 credits in two art or design-related subjects and 14 credits from two (maximum) other subjects.
  • 14 credits in NCEA Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau;
  • A Level 4 approved qualification in a relevant art or design discipline.
  • Successful completion of Unitec’s Certificate in Foundation Studies (Whitinga) (Level 3) with a relevant pathway, where appropriate; or Certificate of University Preparation (Level 4) or Certificate in Foundation Studies (Level 4) or equivalent.

English requirements

If English is not your first language you need to have Academic IELTS score of 6.0 (no band<5.5) or equivalent. Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years.

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