Programme overview

Do you have untapped creative potential? The Certificate in Design and Visual Arts is a great opportunity to explore your creative skills and develop your talent. It can serve as a stand-alone qualification or as the perfect foundation for further study. At the end of the programme, you'll have increased confidence in your own creativity, have a better idea of where your creative talents lie and will have found the focus for the future direction of your work.


  • Practical design projects: combine core studies in art and design, drawing, processes, procedures, materials and technology with studio assignments that develop hands-on skills in different creative disciplines.
  • Wide range of art and design subjects: try your hand at graphic design, spatial design, photography, painting and 3D practice.
  • Lecturers who are professional artists and designers.
  • Interactive lectures, seminars and presentations from guest speakers ensure that your learning is up-to-date and relevant, while an introduction to academic study methods prepares you for progression to higher-level design programmes.
  • Suitable for both school leavers and adult learners.
  • Flexible study options: study full-time or part-time.

Porfolio requirements

Please upload an online portfolio (as a PDF file) with your application. If you don't have a portfolio prepared, proceed with the online application and we will contact you when we receive your application.

If you can’t upload your portfolio you can also email a PDF file of your portfolio to and we will attach it to your application.

Alternatively, bring your PDF file to Student Central in Building 3, Entry One, Mt Albert campus and we will scan and attach it to your application.

What to include

Your portfolio must include 10 - 15 A4 size PDF images not exceeding 60MB in total.

Your images could include (but are not limited) to:

  • Your bursary board or similar year 12 or 13 work.
  • Other drawings, photographs or three-dimensional models.
  • Drawing with an emphasis on observational skills and/or personal expression.
  • Photography with an emphasis on visual skills and technique.
  • Art/design project work.
  • Sketches or notebook pages illustrating visual art/ design concepts.
  • Art/design related work from another discipline, for example jewellery or craft.
  • Images that demonstrates a visual narrative or sequence.
  • Group work you’ve been involved in (including a description of your involvement and contribution to the finished result).

Need some help?

Follow our portfolio hints and tips on what to include, what not to include and how to lay it all out.

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

1. A minimum of 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in two different subjects, one subject must be English
2. A minimum of 4 years secondary education
3. Completed Unitec’s Certificate in Foundation Studies (Level 3): Whitinga including Creative Arts and Creative Arts Additional Level 3 courses
4. Demonstrate your spoken, written and practical abilities by attending an interview and submitting a portfolio
5. If English is your second language, you will need one or more of the following:

  • Have an overall IELTS band score (Academic) of 6, with no band score lower than 5.5. The IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form
  • Have a TOEFL pBT (Paper-Based Test) score of no less than 550 or equivalent

Don’t have NCEA? We also accept:

  • A relevant qualification at Level 3 on the NZQF or above or an equivalent qualification; or
  • Provide sufficient evidence to be eligible for special or discretionary admission.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Studio A (DEVS4021) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To introduce students to the breadth of academic and vocational opportunity within related disciplines of design and visual arts, drawing upon students’ needs, interests and cultural backgrounds.
Studio B (DEVS4022) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To introduce students to the breadth of academic and vocational opportunity within related disciplines of design and visual arts, drawing upon students’ needs, interests and cultural backgrounds.
Processes, Procedures, Materials and Technology A (DEVS4023) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To provide students with an opportunity to extend and broaden knowledge, skills and experience in manipulating processes, procedures, materials and technologies.
Processes, Procedures, Materials and Technolgy B (DEVS4024) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To familiarise students with forms of visual communication and drawing conventions commonly used within professional practice, and provide opportunities for defining the implications of deviating from these conventions.
Academic Study Skills in Design and Visual Art A (DEVS4025) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To provide, within a supportive environment, opportunities for students to develop the necessary skills to effectively apply a range of learning strategies and to develop academic study skills related to design and visual art content.
Academic Study Skills in Design and Visual Art B (DEVS4026) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce students to a wide range of issues, ideas and themes in the history of twentieth century design and visual art, and enhance students’ awareness of the broader social implications and potential cultural impacts of design and visual art practice.