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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 Jul 2024


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’ll help you develop the knowledge and skills required to excel in the industry, motivate you to step outside your creative comfort zone, consider different cultural perspectives – and try something new.

Choosing your specialisation

In your second semester, you’ll choose an area of practice within one of our three specialisations– 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.

Here are some of the areas of practice you can choose to focus on:

Design: Graphic Design, User Experience (UX/UI), Product Design, Web Design
Visual Arts: 2D/3D Practice, Photography/ Moving Image, Painting, Sculpture/Installation, Printmaking, Ceramics
Digital Media*: Animation, Visual Effects (FX), Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR)


  • 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.

Entry criteria

Academic requirements

Applicants must be at least 16 years of age when they begin their studies and one of the following;

Successful completion of an appropriate qualification at Level 4 or above in an art- or design-related subject, where appropriate or
Successful completion of Year 13 (NCEA Level 3) with minimum of with minimum of 48 credits (approx.) 42 credits (approx.) or International Baccalaureate score 24+ or Cambridge International Examination (CIE) 120 points on UCAS tariff.

English Language Requirements:IELTS test: Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5. TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT): Score of 60 (with a writing score of 18); PTE (Academic) score of 50 with no band score lower than 42; Cambridge English Qualifications: B2 First, or B2 First for schools, or C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency with a score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill. OET: Minimum of Grade C or 200 in all sub-tests. NZCEL - Level 4 (Academic). Language Cert - C1 Expert International ESOL Written (LRW) PASS with no less than 25/50 in each skill and Spoken (S) PASS.

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