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Programme overview

Everyone appreciates beauty, and being surrounded by good design enhances well-being and feeds the spirit. If you have always had a desire to make the world a 'better' and more comfortable place, then this may be the career for you.

As a professional interior designer you will work in collaboration with clients, other design professionals and tradespeople, to shape inspiring, functional and dynamic spaces for people to live, work and play. On the course you'll gain a greater understanding of what interior design is and how it fits into the wider world of design. Projects are taught by designers who specialise in homes, retail stores, office spaces and hospitality interiors for bars, restaurants and hotels.

You'll be encouraged to use your passion and your creative talent to challenge the status quo and re-define the ways in which the spaces we inhabit enhance our lives, through inquiry, experimentation, and innovative thinking.


  • Teaching staff are highly respected interior design specialists with strong networks within the industry. Tapping into these connections, students undertake work experience in their final year which may lead to full-time employment.
  • Graduate students are past and current winners of the Design Institute of New Zealand 'Best Design Awards' in the Spatial Categories.
  • This programme acknowledges the importance of colour to the interior design field. There is a strong focus on the theory, psychology, and application of colour within both residential and commercial spaces.
  • Textiles, material technologies, building construction and environmentally sustainable design are key areas of study in this industry-focused programme.
  • Students are given opportunities to work within teams on collaborative, 'real-world projects' where they can interact and work alongside architects and business clients. These will stretch and develop your conceptual abilities.

Portfolio requirements

If invited to an interview you will be asked to present a portfolio of work that best demonstrates your design skills and abilities.

If you have no previous experience in design or visual arts, you need to submit a CV outlining your previous life and work experience. You should also be able to explain your reasons for pursuing a career in interior design. Check our portfolio guidelines for more information.

Qualifcation pathway

If you have relevant experience in this field you may be eligible to have your experience credited towards this programme via an Assessment of Prior Learning

Graduates of this diploma can cross credit into the Bachelor of Architectural Studies. You can apply for cross-crediting here.

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

1. A total of 60 credits at NCEA Level 2 from four different subjects including a minimum of 8 credits in English (4 in reading, 4 in writing)
2. Be at least 16 years old by the time the programme begins
3. Complete an interview where you’ll also need to pass a colour vision test and submit your portfolio
4. If English is not your first language, you are required to have one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years

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.

Technology: Building Construction and Services (DEVS5950) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to study building technologies, materials, finishes, construction and manufacturing techniques common to residential scaled buildings.
Technology: Materials (DEVS5951) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce students to a range of building materials, components and finishes commonly used in residential scaled buildings.
Design History (DEVS5952) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To provide students an opportunity to extend and broaden their understanding of the contextual influences of social history, including political movements, philosophical beliefs, technological developments and cultural aspects that have led to the evolutionary development of architecture and design movements over the centuries.
Visual Communication 1 (Manual Drawing) (DEVS5953) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To provide students with the knowledge and skills to become competent in a range of manual model-craft and drawing techniques from freehand sketching and architectural rendering through to the creation of formalized technical architectural drawings to industry standard to enable the communication of conceptual design ideas.
Visual Communication 2 (Digital Presentation Techniques) (DEVS5954) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop students knowledge and skills for producing a range of professional visual presentation techniques to communicate interior design concepts.
Design and Colour Studio (DEVS5955) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to study the principles and elements of design and colour theory and their application in the design of residential interior spaces.
Technology: Commercial Construction and Services (DEVS6950) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To extend students specialist knowledge of the construction and functions of, and interactions between, building services required for commercial environments.
Technology: Commercial Finishes (DEVS6951) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To extend students’ specialist knowledge of the construction, function, and application of finishing materials, fittings, fixtures and hardware commonly used in commercial interiors.
Visual Communication 3 (DEVS6953) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To extend the student’s knowledge of two-dimensional and three-dimensional CAD.
Visual Communication 4 (DEVS6954) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To further develop and reinforce student’s ability to carry out computer aided design, rendering and presentation skills in digital forms to an advanced level of competence.
Kitchen and Bathroom Studio (DEVS6955) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop the ability to think in a conceptual manner, and apply design principles and processes in the resolution of design briefs for residential kitchen and bathroom projects.
Commercial Design Studio 1 (DEVS6956) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To extend and develop study of the theory and practice of interior design with increased emphasis on technical and interdisciplinary relationships as they relate to the commercial environment.
Commercial Design Studio 2 (DEVS6957) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To extend and develop study of the theory and practice of interior design for commercial and hospitality spaces with increased emphasis on technical and interdisciplinary relationships. Students will utilise their specialised knowledge to apply design processes in a professional manner.
Professional Practice 1 (DEVS6958) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce students to the study of small business management and develop their skills and knowledge of business operations, financial planning and marketing strategies for an interior design practice.
Residential Design Studio (DEVS6959) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course will enhance students’ business, conceptual and presentation skills through the resolution of a client focused residential design brief.
Professional Practice 2 (DEVS6960) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)The course further develops student’s ability to understand and evaluate the processes of effective planning and management for interior design projects. The course consolidates a student’s ability to develop and apply their project management skills through approved industry work placement.





The 'Key Information for Students' below does not reflect any international student information.

Please take this information as a guideline only. For example, you will often see a difference between these tuition fees and our estimate above. This is because there are a number of variables, such as the specific courses chosen within a programme.

The national graduate outcomes information is for all tertiary New Zealand providers including Unitec. This information is provided by the New Zealand Government and is derived from a national database that links educational and income information.

Key Information for Students

Entry requirements

Minimum requirements: 60 credits at NCEA Level 2 from a mix of subjects, be 16 years old, supply proof of work and English language requirements or relevant and equivalent qualifications, special and discretionary admission also accepted.

Detailed requirements: See the above "Admission requirements" section for more information about entry to this progrogramme.


2 Years

Tuition Fees


Total Qualification

Student fees:  $6,566$13,132
Government tuition subsidy: $9,118$18,236

Compulsory Student Services Fee
Student loan information available at StudyLink.

National graduate outcomes

(3 years after completion)
Median earnings$35,776
Earnings range$26,007 - $43,735
In employment65%
In further study25%
On a benefit6%

Note:All KIS information is the most recent available relating to domestic students only. Click here for more information about the Key Information for Students.