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Unitec Institute of Technology
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New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential)

This course is available


Level of Study



1 year

Next start date



Study in this interior design diploma and get the skills, knowledge and qualification necessary to become a professional residential interior designer.

This residential focused interior design programme will prepare you for a career working as an interior design consultant or design assistant within the residential sector. If you enjoy design, seeing your work come to life and working with people, this programme is for you. This programme is ideal if you’re looking to enter the residential interiors industry or if you’re already working in the field and would like hold the formal qualification.

This diploma also prepares you for the commercial environment as it is a prerequisite for the New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Commercial). This residential focused diploma includes many of the interior design fundamentals that span across both residential and commercial.

In this programme you’ll be guided from the ground up; exploring design principles, theories and history, right though to application and development of practical business that will get you beyond work ready by the time you complete this programme. See a full list of courses in this programme in the Courses section below.

At Unitec, our approach to interior design learning is highly industry focused. This means that in addition to developing your necessary knowledge and skills in residential interior design, we also integrate you into the interior design industry through practical learning, facilitating industry connections, working on actual client projects, guest speakers from industry, work placement projects and much more.


  • Highly industry integrated and connected
  • Work on actual client projects
  • Practical projects which model current design processes used within industry practice.
  • Internship working with practising designers
  • Off site visits to trade suppliers and manufacturers
  • Guest speakers from industry
  • Focus on “work ready skills” that can be used in practice
  • Knowledgeable and skilled staff. Many of your lecturers are practising professionals at the top in their field
  • Pathways onto the New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Commercial)

Qualification pathway

Once you’ve completed this programme you can go onto to work in the residential interior industry in the careers or similar careers as listed above.

You can also go onto further study for commercial interior design in the New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Commercial), for which this programme is a pre-requisite.

As a Unitec Interior Design student and graduate you can also join the Designers Institute of New Zealand.

This programme and the New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Commercial) replace the Diploma in Applied Interior Design (Level 6).


  • Self-employed residential interior designer
  • Kitchen and bathroom designer
  • Junior interior designer (residential)
  • Interior design assistant (residential)
  • Specialist sales roles in textile, furniture, lighting
  • Colour consultant

Entry criteria

For this programme you need:

1. Be at least 16 years old when you start this programme (unless you have an Early Release Exemption from MOE)

2. At least 48 NCEA credits at Level 2 in your best four subjects

3. A minimum of 10 NCEA credits at Level 1 in mathematics, including measurement and number (excluding statistics); OR

A maximum total of 20 in your best four Sixth Form Certificate subjects or equivalent; OR
Hold an appropriate qualification at Level 3 or above

4. A minimum of 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in English.

Special admission:

Be 20 years old or above when your programme starts; AND
Provide sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a successful outcome in the qualification.

English Language Requirements: IELTS – Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5.0; TOEFL – Score of 46 (with a writing score of 14); PTE - Academic score of 42 with no band score lower than 36.

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