New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design (Level 5).xml New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design (Level 5)

A-Z study guide
New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design (Level 5)

DiplomaFull-time, 1 year

Annual Fees(indicative 2019)

Programme code



$6,100 - $6,500







Course related costs



Domestic Applications due

Received all year

International Applications due

Received all year




Start your career in design with a solid foundation of core skills.

This diploma aims to develop the technical and thinking skills needed to work in visual communication or graphic design at an introductory level.

Core skills taught include creative idea generation, drawing, design strategies, graphics, branding and communication and photography. As part of this students will have an introduction to using computers for creative work using Adobe Creative Suite software.

As well as studio courses, students will complete a contextual studies course. This is the main academic subject, and includes communication skills, a background in the history and sociology of creative practices, insights into contemporary professional ethics and bi-cultural issues.

Credit recognition

If you have work experience in this area, or a relevant prior qualification, you may be eligible for credit recognition towards this qualification.

Programme structure

To complete this Diploma you are required to complete 120 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 L2 OR New Zealand Certificate in Digital Media Design (Level 4)

    OR New Zealand Certificate in Creativity (Level 4) OR New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4) or equivalent

    OR If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), Ara will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.

Alternative requirements
  • Skills for tertiary study (including literacy and numeracy) may be acquired through study, work and/or life experience. Students who can demonstrate these skills may be approved for alternative entry. Literacy and numeracy assessments are available.

Additional requirements
  • Applicants are required to submit a portfolio or other evidence to demonstrate their creative work. Applicants may be required to attend an interview to discuss their portfolio and determine suitability for their chosen programme.

English requirements
  • Applicants for whom English is not their first language may also be required to provide evidence of English language skills. Applicants who do not have evidence of English language skills and are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, may contact us for an assessment

    IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form and are valid for two years from the date of the test.
    Students who have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance requirements are not required to provide evidence of English language skills.

    Pending approval by NZQA










Acceptable Alternatives Chart

Selection criteria

Applicants who meet the entry criteria are accepted into the programme in the order applications are received.

Next steps

Please complete:

  • An Admission and Enrolment form

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.

You will need to have ready a portfolio of artwork.

Application documents

Career opportunities

Graduating with this diploma will give the student introductory skills in visual communication sufficient to work at entry level with professional supervision. Graduates will be able to lay out artwork as well as generate their own to an introductory level. They will also have a good basic knowledge for more advanced study.

Study pathways

This programme will equip students for further study at higher levels. Entry to the Ara Bachelor of Design at second year level will be an option for students with a sufficient level of success in the Diploma.

Recommended school subjects

  • English
  • Visual arts
  • Design
  • Photography
  • Art history
  • Graphics