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Institute of Technology or Polytechnic

Otago Polytechnic
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Master of Design

This course is available


Level of Study

Master's Degree


1 year

Next start date



This qualification of excellence allows you to develop a significant body of scholarly creative work which is presented in a public forum and supported by an exegesis or equivalent. Alternatively, you can complete this programme through a thesis which could form the basis of academic journal articles.

The work will respond to societal needs, address sustainability from multiple perspectives, and be positioned within a wider framework of academic and applied research.

Graduates of this qualification will be well-prepared for doctoral-level study, an academic career or a lead design or design management role.

Why study postgraduate design?

Acquire a clear, critical sense of the roles and functions of design within a local, national and global context.

Engage in research for design, research about design and research through design, allowing you to address the complex and contested issue of sustainability from cultural, social, environmental and economic perspectives to meet both current and anticipated future needs, and

Gain transferable skills enabling you to work as a design professional, to think laterally, to take risks, to problem solve and to work effectively as a team member.

You will study

This one-year, full-time programme is comprised of one Level 9 course worth 120 credits.

Integrated Body of Creative Work (Option one) OR Thesis (Option two)

You will undertake a significant body of independent research as an integrated body of creative work supported by an exegesis or equivalent (Option one) OR an individual research thesis (Option two). The purpose of this research is to demonstrate systematic engagement with contemporary and critical thinking in your chosen field, to demonstrate mastery of theoretically-sophisticated knowledge and specialised skills and to confidently articulate the impact and contribution of your work in a wider context.

Further study options

Successful completion of this qualification will prepare you for further postgraduate study at doctoral level, an academic career or a lead design or design management role.

Your workload

You will be expected to work independently but will meet regularly with your supervisor.

Entry criteria

Minimum entry requirements are:

  • The Bachelor of Design (Honours) at Level 8 OR the Postgraduate Diploma in Design at Level 8 with an overall grade of B+ (75%) in Design Research Methods and Applied Design Project 2 OR an equivalent postgraduate qualification of 120 credits in a related area. Please send us certified copies of your undergraduate degree transcript and other relevant qualifications.
  • A physical or digital portfolio which demonstrates a depth of engagement with creative work relevant to your field.
  • Exceptional applicants not meeting the entry requirements but with appropriate documented professional experience may also be considered.
  • International applicants must demonstrate that they have equivalent experience/qualifications as domestic applicants.

If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in any band.

TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT): Score of 590 (with an essay score of 5.5 TWE)

TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT): Score of 79 (with a writing score of 21)

Cambridge English Qualifications: C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a score of 176. No less than 169 in each skill;

PTE (Academic) score of 58 with no band score lower than 50

Language Certificate: C1 Expert IESOL (LRWS) with HIGH PASS and no less than Pass in each skill or C2 Mastery IESOL (LRWS) with PASS and no less than Pass in each skill

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