Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts and Design)

Gain professional skills in paint, print making, jewellery, textiles, sculpture, carving, photography, graphic design, animation and other art forms. Create a major body of work in your final year.     LEVEL 7

Programme Overview

Level 7 programme

Whitireia New Zealand has been at the leading edge of Visual Arts and Design for 30 years. Drawing on Pacific, Māori, and European traditions, combined with technical excellence, it has produced outstanding New Zealand artists Wi Taepa, Vaune Mason, Andrew Tau'afiafi, Neke Moa, and Moniek Schrijer. Tutors such as Peter Deckers, Chris White and Deb Donnelly bring artistic depth and international experience to the programme. Since Digital Design was introduced in 2000, it has extended the creative edge into the new media and provided a bridge between art and the design industry. Mid-year and end-of-year exhibitions are annual highlights, together with intensive workshops where internationally renowned artists and designers teach their unique skills.

The Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts and Design) is a three-year programme.

In the first year, students explore a wide range of visual arts media, such as painting, print making, sculpture, and fibre arts or jewellery. Alternatively, they study digital design media such as photography, digital illustration, publication design, motion graphics, 3D modelling and animation, and web interface design.

In the second year, students may specialise in a chosen media.

In the final year, students research and create a major body of work.

Note: Students who complete the New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 5) can enter the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts and Design) at Year Two.

Visit the Whitireia Media Gallery to see examples of student work from the Visual Arts, Textiles, Digital Design and Jewellery streams of the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts and Design). You can also view catalogues of past year exhibitions from Jewellery and Visual Arts and Design students.

Programme Outline

What this programme covers

In each year, students complete both core and body of work modules.

Core or compulsory modules provide the cultural and historical context, and the practical business knowledge, that underpin all art and design studies.

In body of work modules, students explore a range of manual and digital media to add breadth and depth to their chosen specialisation. Intensive studio or computer lab work focuses on specific media - for example, contemporary jewellery, fibre and fashion, digital design media (print, package, web, motion, and 3D animation), and 2D or 3D visual arts media (painting, printmaking, sculpture and carving).

To achieve the Bachelor of Applied Arts, students must complete all programme work, including all core modules, to a minimum of 360 credits.

Students can exit with the following qualifications:

  • Diploma in Jewellery Design (Level 5)
  • Diploma in Digital Design (Level 5)
  • Diploma in Digital Design and Multimedia (Level 6)
  • Diploma in Visual Art (Level 6)

Module outlines

Click the link below for detailed information about the modules in this programme.


Year 1 (Level 5) - 20 hours per week class contact.

Years 2 and 3 (Levels 6 and 7) - dependent on modules. Classes are scheduled between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. Students are expected to pursue self-directed study of approximately 20 hours per week.

Course costs

All students receive a small allowance for printing and photocopying. Materials and equipment are provided in studios and computer labs. Depending on the module chosen, there may be additional costs. Students will be advised of these costs when applying to enrol in the module.


Facilities include extensive studios for jewellery, print, paint, carving, photography, video and music production and performing arts, and digital design labs.

Entry Requirements

Whitireia Degree Requirements

NCEA Level 3 awarded, with at least three approved subjects of 14 credits each at Level 3

Literacy: 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing (from NZQA specified list)

Numeracy: 10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of specified achievement standards or unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627 (all three required)


A minimum of 72 credits at Level 2 including a minimum of 14 credits in each of four subjects and a minimum of 30 credits with merit or excellence, including degree entry standards for numeracy and literacy

International Baccalaureate (IB): award of the full IB Diploma (24 points or higher), including English A1 at either Higher or Standard Level and any mathematics subject

Cambridge International Examination (CIE)

A minimum of 120 points on the UCAS Tariff at A or AS level; including grade D or better in at least three subjects (from the NCEA approved list); minimum grade E in AS English and minimum grade D in IGCSE mathematics or any mathematics passed at AS level

Alternative entry

Evidence of successful completion of high school studies overseas or recent tertiary study at Level 4 and/or relevant work experience (paid or unpaid); application considered on a case-by-case basis with entry granted at the discretion of the Faculty Dean

English language competence

Minimum IELTS 6.0 (no lower than 5.5 in any band), or equivalent

Portfolio Requirements

All applicants must submit at enrolment an indicative portfolio of work showing ability in visual art/design.

Portfolios should be one of the following:

  • NCEA Level 3 portfolio or equivalent personal portfolio
  • Arts/Digital Media certificate programme portfolio
  • Portfolio of personal work or any other relevant practical work

The portfolio may include a selection of the following:

  • Sketchbooks/workbooks showing the development of ideas
  • Drawings, including both working drawings and finished works
  • Photographs, slides or CD-ROM files relevant to the applicant's field of study
  • Finished works in the medium in which the applicant wishes to study

Portfolios will be examined for evidence of the applicants potential to develop the following attributes:

  • Technical skills in major studio speciality areas
  • Drawing skills
  • Design processes and concept development
Campus Starts on Duration
Porirua 2017: 13 February Three years, full-time

Domestic Fees: $6,852 (per year)

International Fees: $19,950 NZD (per year)


Entry Requirements

Domestic students

Whitireia Degree requirements – see Full Course Details;  evidence of suitability based on interview and portfolio

International students

Proven equivalence to domestic entry requirements and IELTS 6.0 (no band lower than 5.5)

Career Opportunities:

Graduates are well equipped to pursue a career as a self-employed professional artist or designer, or work within the design industry in print, illustration, advertising, in time-based media for web, film and DVD, or in gallery and museum industries. Graduates are qualified to move into postgraduate study to become an arts educator.

Related Careers

Related Areas of Interest

Related Faculty

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    Programme Information

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