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Institute of Technology or Polytechnic

Otago Polytechnic
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New Zealand Diploma in Arts and Design (Level 5) - Ceramics Programme

This course is available

On-Campus, Online

Level of Study



32 weeks

Next start date

Expected Feb 2025


Otago Polytechnic


Study ceramics with New Zealand's only specialised tertiary programme in Ceramic Arts.

The Ceramics Studio at Otago Polytechnic is the largest in the country and the department has strong partnerships across the country. This has led to the establishment of six studio locations in Auckland, Waiheke, Hamilton, Otaki, Hawkes Bay and Christchurch where distance students can undertake practical classes.

This programme has an emphasis on exploration and experimentation. You will develop individual projects which study ceramics as a medium with its own formal language, skills and history, within a broader context of fine arts and crafts.

Successful completion of this programme could lead to you becoming a successful practising artist, with the ability to understand and use your creativity to contribute significantly to your community.

The transferable skills you gain during this programme will also be highly valued in a variety of fields in the art, education and design sectors.
Skills required:

  • Creativity and imagination.
  • The ability to think laterally and independently.
  • To be motivated and have a good work ethic.
  • Confidence and the ability to accept criticism.
  • To be adaptable and open to new ideas.

Further study options:

We also offer the New Zealand Diploma in Arts and Design (Level 6) which Level 5 graduates may wish to transition into to complete further study. The successful completion of the Level 6 programme can then be a step towards our Level 7 Bachelor of Visual Arts degree.

Course descriptions

This programme is made up of four studio-specific courses and complimentary courses that add to the students understanding of the history and theory of art making, as well as drawing, specific technical glaze methods and research methods. A list of the courses offered follows…

Studio Courses

Studio Methods 1 and Studio Methods 2: Be introduced to the core skills needed in the development of art work in this medium. Through a variety of studio techniques, you will learn how to transfer ideas into clay.

Ceramic Arts 1 and Ceramic Arts 2: Explore and extend your technical skills and knowledge about Ceramics practice. Make objects and artifacts that develop a personal concept of the medium in both functional and non-functional applications.

Complimentary Studio Courses

Visual Language 1: Become familiar with the language of art and design. Formal art/design elements will be considered alongside key theoretical ideas which inform contemporary practices of visual and oral culture. You will be required to evaluate and critique visual culture, research theoretical texts and apply your research to write an academic essay and craft an oral presentation.

Drawing 1: Gain the technical skills and a variety of media which are vital to the production of works in Drawing and Design while broadening your understanding of the visual arts. You will be introduced to analytical aspects of observational drawing and, under direction, you will develop and complete a series of specific technical drawing exercises.

Art/Craft Theory and History 1: Enjoy being introduced to a variety of ways of thinking and writing about the visual arts in a historical context. This course also tracks the significance of art throughout history in relation to different cultural and social structures, including local indigenous culture.

Glaze Practical 1: Through online learning and studio technical research, you will be introduced to the specifics of Glaze formula and recipe. You will make, test and evaluate glaze finishing methods in studio outcomes.

Entry criteria

Students need to have achieved a secondary school qualification that is equivalent to New Zealand’s NCEA levels (National Certificate of Educational Achievement). Entry requirements vary from country to country.

OR a Level 3 qualification in a related field
OR equivalent academic achievement.

International students will be individually assessed to ensure they have an acceptable level of secondary school achievement.

IELTS test: Overall Academic IELTS 6.0 with no individual band score lower than 5.5 (achieved in one test completed in the last two years), OR; TOEFL paper based test (PBT): Score of 550 (with an essay score of 5 TWE); TOEFL internet based test (IBT): Score of 46 (with a writing score of 14); Cambridge english qualifications: B2 First or B2 First for schools with a score of 162. No less than 154 in each skill; Pearson test of english (ACADEMIC): PTE (Academic) score of 42 with no band score lower than 36; Language Certificate: B2 Communicator IESOL (LRW) with HIGH PASS and no less than Pass in each skill

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