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Institute of Technology or Polytechnic

Otago Polytechnic
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Postgraduate Diploma in Visual Arts

This course is available


Level of Study

Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma


1 year

Next start date



Advance your art studies and enhance your career prospects in the Arts industry.

This programme gives you the opportunity to undertake practical and theory-based guided art research in a structured learning environment. A postgraduate qualification in the Visual Arts can lead to an exciting and diverse range of art professions, and the skills you develop are transferable to a wide variety of employment situations in education, or the arts industry and management. Perfect as a springboard into further postgraduate study, the Master of Visual Arts would be a logical extension to this qualification and may lead to higher level employment opportunities in the art and design sector.

With support and advice from highly experienced tutors, create a systematic and professionally-exhibited body of work, accompanied by two written texts that demonstrate your intellectual rigour and contemporary relevance. Benefit from Otago Polytechnic's nationally unique range of workshop facilities and the Dunedin School of Art's focus on individual supervision and student-centred learning, supported by an active community of artists to enhance professional development.

Skills required

  • The ability to think laterally and independently.
  • Motivation and a good work ethic.
  • Confidence and the ability to accept criticism.
  • Adaptability and open-mindedness.

You will study

This programme provides you with the opportunity to further develop your undergraduate experience of the history and contemporary conventions of your chosen field, within appropriate learning contexts at a postgraduate level.

Qualification structure

Semester one includes coursework on research methodologies with the completion of a 2,000 word essay relevant to a body of critically-engaged studio work.

Semester two builds on semester one leading to further development of the studio work and the completion of a 3,000 word essay on related contemporary practices.

Further study options

If you achieve an overall grade of B (70%) or higher during your Postgraduate Diploma, you’ll meet the minimum academic entry requirements for our Master of Visual Arts (another year of study). Alternatively, you could choose to pursue our Master of Fine Arts (another two years of study).

Your workload

You will participate in a weekly public seminar and postgraduate workshop (12.30-5.30 pm) where you will have the chance to interact with your fellow students. A one hour weekly meeting with your supervisor(s) will also give you the opportunity to hone your ideas and seek specialist advice in a more intimate environment. The rest of your time will be spent in self-directed study in your studio alongside your postgraduate peers, producing the necessary work to successfully complete the qualification. The School provides around the clock access to its facilities, allowing you the flexibility to study alongside part-time employment or other commitments.

Entry criteria

Students must have completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts OR equivalent qualification at a bachelor's level OR any other undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline.

Exceptional applicants not meeting the entry requirements but with appropriate documented professional experience may also be considered.

Selection for admission includes an interview. If you do not hold the above qualifications, you must demonstrate appropriate ability through a portfolio and associated writings which will be approved by the Postgraduate Admissions Committee.

International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet the entry requirements.

If English is not your first language, you must provide:

New Zealand University Entrance OR
Overall Academic IELTS 6.5 with no individual band score lower than 6.0 (achieved in one test completed in the last two years), OR

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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