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Diploma in Digital Design

Learn about publication design, digital photography, illustration, package design, motion graphics, 3D modelling and animation! Get a solid foundation in drawing and design process.    LEVEL 5

This programme is changing in 2017 to the New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design (Level 5), which is currently subject to NZQA approval. Please check back soon for updated programme content.​

Programme Overview

This diploma is an exit qualification from the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts and Design).

Become a graphic designer or specialise in motion.  Learn about publication design, digital photography, illustration, package design, motion graphics, 3D modeling and animation.  Get a solid foundation in the drawing and design process.

See examples of student work on the Digital Media page of the Whitireia Media gallery.

This one year programme provides a solid grounding and hands-on experience in design and technical ability for print, web, packaging, and the moving image.  There are a number of possible pathways - print, illustration, packaging, web design, animation and post-production in both 2D and 3D.

Students can graduate with the Diploma in Digital Design, or continue to do years 2 and 3 of the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts and Design).   

Programme Outline

Core modules are:

  • Drawing/Illustration
  • Digital Studio
  • Photography
  • Origins
  • Contextual Practice

Studio modules are:

  • Publication Design I
  • Web Design I
  • Motion Graphics

For detailed descriptions of the modules, please download the Diploma in Digital Design Module Outline (PDF file, 28KB).

Hours, extra costs, facilities

Our facilities include studios for video and photography, drawing and design as well as state-of-the-art computer labs with both Mac and PC platforms.

This course runs from Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm daily, with breaks for lunch and morning and afternoon tea. One day (usually Wednesday) is self-directed but students are expected to work on course projects. Computer and studio facilities, and technical support are available at those times.

Students are provided with a small printing allowance but should allow for additional costs for printing ($60). Digital file storage and backup is essential as the course proceeds so students are advised to purchase a portable hard drive or similar (up to $200).  ​

Entry  Requirements

Whitireia Degree Entry requirements

A minimum of 42 credits at NCEA Level 3 or higher made up of:

14 credits in an approved level 3 or higher subject
14 credits in a second approved level 3 or higher subject
14 credits in no more than two other approved level 3 or higher subjects


8 credits at level 2 or higher in English or te Reo Maori with at least 4 credits in reading and 4 credits in writing
4 credits at level 1 or higher in mathematics or Pangarau

Discretionary Entrance for students under 20 years of age

Students under 20 who have NCEA credits at level 2 or higher but who do not meet the undergraduate degree requirements may apply for discretionary entrance.
Supporting recommendation from the applicant's school or workplace is also required. Each application will be assessed on its merits and entrance granted at the Dean's discretion.

Entry requirements for students 20 years of age and over

Students will have to either meet the academic undergraduate degree requirements or equivalent or provide evidence of success in recent tertiary level study at Level 4 or above.
Previous work and life experience will be taken into account for mature students.

Campus Starts on Duration
Porirua 2017: 13 February One year, full-time; part-time options may be available

Domestic Fees: $6,852

International Fees: $19,950 NZ


Entry Requirements

Domestic students

Whitireia degree entry 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:

The profession has many directions and specialised areas of work: flat graphics for print, illustration, signage and advertising; time-based media for web, post-production and video/dvd; interactivity. Students may go on to study at Level 6 or gain employment in areas that require design and digital media skills.

Related Careers

Related Areas of Interest

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