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

Programme code








Domestic Applications due

Received all year

International Applications due

Received all year



Annual Fees(indictive 2020)


$6,220 - $6,630



Course related costs

About this programme

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.

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

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 Level 2

    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

    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
  • Still want to study but don't meet the Academic Requirements?

    If you show that you have equivalent skills for tertiary study gained through study, work and/or life experience, you may be able to gain alternative entry.

    Note: The number of courses you have to complete for this qualification may be reduced where you have relevant credits from previous study, or evidence of similar learning or experience in the workplace. Contact Ara for advice.

Additional requirements
  • In addition you need to:

    • Submit a portfolio or other evidence to demonstrate your creative work. You also may be required to attend an interview to discuss your portfolio and determine suitability for your chosen programme.
English requirements
  • What if English is not my first language?

    If English is not your first language, we want to make sure that you will be successful in your chosen programme of study.

    Please provide a result from a test or qualification on the acceptable alternatives English Proficiency Outcomes Chart.


    • If you are a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident, complete an Admission and Enrolment form and Ara will contact you regarding a free assessment.
    • If you are not a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent resident, book an IELTS or other test through the Ara Examination Centre or in your home country.

    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.

    What if I have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance?

    You do not need to provide additional evidence of English Language skills.










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

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.