Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication Design)

Qualifications and courses Study options
Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication Design)
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DegreeFull time - 3 years, part time available

Annual Fees(indicative 2016)

Programme code



$6,450 - $7,100







Course related costs

$1000 per year



Domestic Applications due

Received all year.

International Applications due

Please enquire


Christchurch - Madras Street


Advertising, marketing and communication design for both page and screen are major employment areas. Learn how to generate ideas, solve problems and design innovative solutions in these challenging fields.

This programme aims to develop the student as an independent designer. Core skills taught include design strategies, graphics, branding and communication, typography, art direction, drawing and illustration. In addition, students will choose three courses from a range of electives, which will enable them to develop complementary skills in particular areas of interest.

As well as studio courses, students will complete a group of core courses in academic subjects. These include both professional and contextual studies, which will give them developed communication skills, a background in the history and sociology of creative practices, insights into contemporary professional ethics and some business skills.

Find out more about studying design

Programme structure

To complete this Degree you are required to complete a minimum total of 360 credits. Please browse the guide below to view the course options currently available within this qualification.

Core courses
Elective Courses

To be a full time student you need to maintain a workload of 120 credits per year. We recommend you talk with us to ensure you choose electives to benefit your future career.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
  • NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at Level 3 and 20 credits at Level 2 or higher) which must include 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three approved* subjects and

    • Literacy* - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading, 5 credits in writing and
    • Numeracy* - 10 credits at Level 1 or above (specified achievement standards, or unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627)

    Note: Students who have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (eg International Baccalaureate, Cambridge examination) should contact us for requirements.

    * NZQA approved subjects: see

Alternative requirements
  • Evidence of literacy, numeracy and an ability to study at the appropriate level. This can be through study, work and/or life experience. Literacy and numeracy assessments are available.

Additional requirements
  • Portfolio Applicants for the Bachelor of Design are required to present a portfolio demonstrating their art/design work with their application. The portfolio comprises 16 photographs of visual work including art, graphic or design work in any media giving clear evidence of your ability to generate ideas and concepts towards a specific purpose. Drawing (process, descriptive or imaginative), composition, and technical skills will be given special consideration.
  • Written Statement Applicants are required to answer three set questions based on their portfolio and future aspirations.

  • Interview Applicants may be required to attend an interview if there are any questions raised by their portfolio or written statement.
English requirements
  • If English is not your first language you may also be required to provide evidence of your English language skills. If you have no evidence of your English language skills and are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, contact us for an assessment.

    • IELTS 6.0 Academic (no lower than 5.5 in the reading and writing sub tests). For acceptable alternatives refer to the English Proficiency Outcomes Chart.
      Note: If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance requirements you are not required to provide evidence of English Language Skills.










Acceptable Alternatives Chart

Selection criteria

When there are limited spaces available we follow a selection process ranking applicants based on your application. Waitlisting is also available for this programme.

Next steps

To apply for this programme please:

  • Complete the Admission and Enrolment Form and submit this with the other application requirements.

If you don't meet the criteria for entry into this programme, we can help you meet entry level with our foundation and bridging programmes.

Your on-the-job experience may count towards part or even all of this qualification. To learn more, contact our Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning (CAPL) .

Application documents

Career opportunities

As a design graduate, you'll be ready to take on a rang of roles including advertising agency/design studio creative, self-employed graphic designer, web designer, app designer, book/magazine nillustrator, motion graphic designer.

You may even move into gallery or museum work as a designer or curator, or work in set design for stage, television or film.

Study pathways

Graduates may choose to enrol in a wide range of programmes including postgraduate study including:

  • Bachelor of Media Arts (Honours) (Wintec)
  • MFA (University of Canterbury)
  • PGDipFA (Massey)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Art and Design (AUT)

Recommended school subjects

  • Design
  • Photography
  • Art
  • English or English-rich subjects
  • Art History