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Study Screen Arts at Unitec

Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Screen Arts)

Considering a career in film and television? Train to be a screen professional and learn the creative, business and technical skills of development, pre-production, production and post production. This programme is hands-on and enables students to conceptualise and produce their own  film projects, as well as providing rigorous training to obtain work as a motion picture technician.

Level
7
Credits
360 (3.0 EFTS)
Campus
Mt Albert
Start dates
February
Duration
Full-time for three years

Programme overview

The Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Screen Arts), is an in-depth programme of study  where you will engage in a combination of creative, academic and practice-based courses designed to equip you with skills and qualities that will enable you to work in Aotearoa’s  screen sector.

It is the only undergraduate degree in NZ that offers a full ‘script-to-screen' experience

We work in an environment that is framed in Mātauranga Māori and the in the values embedded in our Te Noho Kotahitanga partnership. The whanaungatanga we embrace with other disciplines is woven throughout the school via shared noho marae and other whanau events. Partnering with Māori practitioners (Writers, Directors, etc ) strengthens this foundation for staff and students in our mahi. We are very fortunate to have the beautiful Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae and Maia centre onsite at Unitec, to provide us valued support in our practice

In Year One, you will learn about the filmmaking process and industry as a whole, the relationship between specialist skills, creative and critical thinking, and storytelling. From Year Two, you will start to specialise, gaining knowledge in a particular area of the industry.

Specialisation Options: 

  • Camera and field sound: includes cinematography, camera assisting, lighting and grip, new media technologies, sound recording and colour grading
  • Post-production: includes editing and post-production sound
  • Production: includes production management, assistant directing, location management and scouting
  • Screenwriting: includes screenwriting craft, writing for different mediums (short film, feature film, TV series, etc.), and best professional practices for working writers (pitching, proposal documents, working with producers)

Highlights

  • Participate in hands on learning through film, television and small screen projects designed to emulate the real world
  • Experience different crew models, such as working in small, tight teams, as well as in full industrial crews, as you would on a television or film set
  • The real world of performing and screen arts: work collaboratively with acting, art department and costume students to gain practical, on set experience when working in the studio and on location
  • Small class sizes in specialist areas allow for lecturers to mentor students
  • Students interested in directing can take a mixture of lectures, screenings and workshops
  • Specialist programmes designed to develop the necessary skills to succeed in the screen industry. 

Programme Structure

Year One is structured around building a foundation, with a focus on core skills in directing, production, camera, sound, lighting, editing, and scriptwriting. Throughout the year, you will gain an overview of the entire filmmaking process, which will help you choose the specialisation you would like to focus on in Year Two. You will engage in assignments that require creative and critical thinking, and you will perform a crew role on a studio shoot under the guidance of a professional director. Year One is about discovering who you are as a screen practitioner and beginning to think about the area you would like to specialise in your career.

Year Two is when you deepen your knowledge and practice within a screen discipline of your choice. Within your specialist field, you will work on a variety of projects, including a student-directed studio shoot. Year Two will also be your first opportunity to shoot on location. Writing students will write short film scripts, which will then be directed by Directing students, crewed by students from Production and Camera / Sound, and edited by students who choose Editing as their specialisation. Year Two is when you begin to develop focused abilities within a specific area of film and television.

Year Three puts all learning into practice, with a range of master classes and projects, including short films, web-series, and more. Year three is the time that students really hone their skills as filmmakers and collaborators and engage in concentrated opportunities for industry training and professional practice. You will be armed with a range of skills, industry practices and relationships that will set you up to transition from your training to the wider world of the film industry.

Industry Connections

  • New Zealand Film Commission
  • NZ On Air
  • Film Auckland
  • Film New Zealand
  • Documentary NZ Trust
  • Story Edge
  • Transmedia New Zealand
  • Ngā Aho Whakaari
  • PIFT (Pacific Islanders in Film & Television)
  • Asia New Zealand Film Foundation
  • SPADA (Screen Production and Development Association)
  • New Zealand Advertising Producers Guild
  • WIFT (Women in Film and Television)
  • New Zealand Writers Guild
  • Screen Directors Guild
  • Entertainment Technology NZ
  • New Zealand Game Developers Association
  • New Zealand Film and Video Technicians’ Guild
  • New Zealand Cinematographers Society
  • Screen Education Alliance New Zealand
  • Creative Digital Content New Zealand

Interview

To study film and television at Unitec you'll need to interview for a place. A portfolio that shows any previous experience in screen or performance media will help your application, but it’s not compulsory. Interviews usually take place in Auckland from September to October.

Find out more about upcoming auditions and interviews

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

1. 42 credits at NCEA Level 3 or higher including:

  • 14 credits in two different approved subjects; and
  • 14 credits from up to two subjects (approved or non-approved)

2. 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Maori (4 in reading, 4 in writing)
3. 14 credits in NCEA Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau
4. Interviews, submissions and/or auditions will be required - we'll notify you of what is required
5. Candidates who have English as a second language 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, please click on the course names below. Please note that our systems are updating with new course timetable information for 2023; please check back again soon.

Courses Credits Aim
Film & Television 1B (PASA5302) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to acquire a wide range of basic skills, knowledge and practices in the development, production and technologies of screen works. The course focuses on developing professional self-management approaches for production work through practice in a specialist role as well as developing the student’s ability to identify personal areas of their own creative development.
Screen Technologies and Techniques (PASA5303) 30.0 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to gain a practice-based understanding of fundamental methods, procedures, techniques, concepts, and a range of technical skills associated with screen production and technologies.
Screen Basics 1B (PASA5312) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to employ fundamental theories, concepts and techniques in practice-based settings to develop their creativity and artistic growth through experiential exploration of film and television technologies and processes. This course continues to work collaboratively across a range of discipline areas and focusses on establishing habits and methodologies appropriate to the profession.
Professional Development 1 (PASA5902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to the basic professional practices associated with the performing and screen arts industries and their own professional development. This course focuses on building capability for students in self-management, communication and presentation, as well as academic literacies such as text analysis and academic writing.
Contextual Studies 1 (PASA5903) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will develop a broad understanding of the history, contexts, language and relevant theoretical frameworks of performing arts and screen arts. Students will acquire skills in critical and analytical literacy through engaging in research and project work focused on performing and screen arts practices in Aotearoa and beyond.
History of Cinema (PASA5961) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to examine and reflect upon the historical development of cinematic languages and theories in an interactive multi-disciplinary learning environment. This course focuses on placing selected movements and developments of production and performance in the context of the student?s specialist discipline. There is a focus on experiencing festival and world cinema through field trips and site visits.
Courses Credits Aim
Screen Technology Collaboration (PASA6303) 30.0 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to develop the techniques for creative collaborative work and for the use of technology within screen specialisations.
New Zealand Cinema (PASA6304) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to locate New Zealand films in their historical, social and political contexts and to explore the role they play in constructing or reflecting national and/or cultural identity.
Professional Development 2 (PASA6902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to utilise a range of concepts and skills, including business and professional practices, that will enhance their ability to operate independently in the creative industries.
Contextual Studies 2 (PASA6903) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students examine the relationship between authors and audiences in Aotearoa and beyond within the context of performing and screen arts history and culture. Students will investigate different modes of practice and conventions of representation and interpretation commonly associated with performing and screen arts.
Courses Credits Aim
Contemporary International Cinema (PASA7301) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to examine local and global perspectives and issues influencing the continuing evolution of media screen production and develop the ability to apply critical judgement to creative decisions. This course employs a noho marae to allow students to evaluate and develop responses to cultural/political perspectives as an emergent creative arts practitioner.
Screen Projects (PASA7304) 45 credits (0.375 EFTS) To provide students with a practical learning experience in which they can employ advanced theories, concepts and techniques in specialised screen creative practice for. This course focuses on enabling students to consolidate their ability to create and realise complex screen work in a variety of contexts. There is also a focus on the ability of students to critically evaluate their own performance.
Professional Development 3 (PASA7902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to transition into the industry by acquiring advanced professional development skills. This course focuses on setting personal and professional goals for academic and professional achievement as well as the business and management practices associated with the performing and screen arts profession.
Courses Credits Aim
Motion Graphic Design (DACA6321) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to investigate creative and communicative possibilities offered by motion graphics in a time-based media context. Students will investigate and analyse contemporary practices and trends in time-based media in order to create, plan and produce a well-developed narrative sequence using digital workflows.
Skills in Screen Directing 2A (PASA6253) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to specialised theories, concepts and techniques for directing. This course focuses on enabling students to practically engage with skills in directing for screen media.
Skills in Screen Directing 2B (PASA6254) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for screen directing needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions.
Camera & Sound 2B (PASA6334) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for specialised camera and sound technologies needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions. The course focuses on the further development of specialist skills and the application of individual creative development and practice.
Editing & Sound (Post-Production Technologies) 2B (PASA6344) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for specialised editing and post-production sound technologies needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions. The course focuses on the further development of specialist skills and the application of individual creative development and practice.
Scriptwriting 2B (PASA6356) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to develop works for the screen and to achieve creative and technical standards that demonstrate professionalism. This course is designed to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for writing needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions.
Screen Production 2B (PASA6376) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for production needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions. This course is designed to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for production needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions.
Negotiated Creative Project 1 (PASA6605) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to engage practically in a theatre and/or screen production project in a negotiated role using a variety of individual and collaborative approaches. This course provides a practical environment for students to engage in collaborative creative projects from their own specialist perspective.
Courses Credits Aim
Writing the Short Film (PASA7257) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To acquire the theoretical, creative and technical skills required to develop short scripts for the screen (or associated medium).
Camera and Sound 3 (PASA7331) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to establish a critical understanding of advanced skills, knowledge, technologies and practices for camera and sound. This course focuses on students employing professionalism in creative and collaborative practice while developing the ability to critically evaluate their own work and that of others.
Editing & Sound (Post-Production) 3 (PASA7341) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to establish a critical understanding of advanced skills, knowledge, technologies and practices for editing and sound design. This course focuses on students employing professionalism in creative and collaborative practice while developing the ability to critically evaluate their own work and that of others.
Screen Production 3 (PASA7371) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) To enable students to establish a critical understanding of advanced skills, knowledge and practices for screen production. This course focuses on students employing professionalism in creative and collaborative practice while developing the ability to critically evaluate their own work and that of others.

Unitec is part of Te Pūkenga

On 1 October 2022 Unitec became part of Te Pūkenga. Find out more about Te Pūkenga and what this means for you.