Further study options
Expand your career options further by studying towards the Master of Fine Arts.
Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours)
Ideal if you want to develop research skills in studio and theory, or pursue further postgraduate study. By the end of the programme, you will produce a body of critically engaged studio work, supported by a conceptual research paper.
1 Year Full-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
1 Year Full-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
What You Study
By the end of this programme, you'll be able to produce a proposal-based body of critically-engaged studio work and complete an extended essay of 5,000 words as a conceptual research paper contextualising the studio work produced.
The Dunedin School of Art has eight areas of studio practice: Ceramics, Electronic Arts, Jewellery & Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture and Textiles. The School of Design has four specialist areas: Communication, Fashion, Interior and Product Design. Postgraduate candidates may evolve unexpected relationships between traditional subjects or create new syntheses from them. As the organisation of your programme is shaped by your own proposal and desired end result, this qualification may be completed in one discipline, or across several.
A studio and a theory supervisor are appointed for each candidate. The Postgraduate Coordinator will help you to interface with staff and other students at the School of Art and the School of Design and with the arts community within Dunedin and elsewhere.
Regular studio critiques and more formal presentation of work during seminars and research workshops provide opportunity for feedback, discussion and debate.
Visiting artists and designers
An international visiting artists and designers programme feeds into your postgraduate studies and contributes to a community of practice, currency of ideas and valuable contacts.
Studio space and facilities
You are allocated a studio space and have around-the-clock access to project-related facilities. The Dunedin School of Art has consistently focused on the development of excellence in the material aspects of art-making; it is now one of the best-equipped art schools in New Zealand and is fully supported by fine technical staff. The School of Design is recognised as being at the forefront of design education in New Zealand and features include the best-equipped advanced prototyping facility in Australasia.
Dunedin is a city with many exhibition facilities ranging from small informal galleries to large, public spaces like the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. A number of fine regional galleries offer further exhibition spaces.
The Dunedin School of Art has played a part in visual arts education since its establishment in 1870. It was the first in New Zealand and the world's southernmost school of art and, under the helm of Con Hutton followed by Gordon Tovey, it developed a legacy of academic excellence and artistic individuality. Over the years the school has attracted such students as Colin McCahon, Anne Hamblett, Doris Lusk and Lisa Walker; more recent graduates include Rachel Rakena who exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2008 and Emma Bugden who became director of ArtSpace Auckland in 2008.
Individuals choose the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic for its resource competitiveness, quality of teaching and supervision and its sense of community. Our points of difference are our interest in an integrated theory/studio learning environment and our ability to retain well-equipped workshops in all technical areas with appropriate technical support. Our position within a supportive Polytechnic enables this.
Our graduates work in all fields of art, often complementing their own practice with curatorial work, teaching, public art projects, design projects or work in the arts access field. The skills they learn are transferable to a wide variety of employment situations.
The two semesters operate in conjunction to build from semester one - in which you develop a body of studio work along with a draft essay of 3,000 words for critical feedback - through to semester two - at the end of which you successfully complete the body of studio work and also extend the essay to a length of 5,000 words. In this programme, writing and studio work generate a single project outcome/grade.
You'll take part in a weekly public seminar and postgraduate workshop (12.30pm-5.30pm) where you will have the chance to interact with your fellow students.
A one hour weekly meeting with your supervisor(s) will also give you the opportunity to hone your ideas and seek specialist advice in a more intimate environment.
The rest of your time will be spent in self-directed study in your studio alongside your postgraduate peers, producing the necessary work to successfully complete the qualification.
The School provides around the clock access to its facilities, allowing you the flexibility to study alongside part-time employment or other commitments.
We will be taking applications for a February 2023 start until 27 January 2023. Please submit all your materials by this date through the application portal.
Postgraduate interview dates
We will schedule in-person interviews on Wednesday 8 February for those in Dunedin. If you can't get to Dunedin, we will organise a time for you.
English Language requirements
If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.
Your application should contain the following:
Annotated portfolio details
You should provide approximately 15 images of work (including images of installations where applicable). Each image should be numbered and correspond with an annotated list including information as to title, date, size, materials and position within your practice. Images should illustrate a range of work as well as development over a period of time. If available, you should attach exhibition catalogues, reviews, articles or any other material relevant to your work.
Sending us your CV, portfolio and project proposal
If you need to send us your documents in a physical format, please send them to:
Dunedin School of Art
Please note: While all reasonable care will be taken, Otago Polytechnic does not accept responsibility for damage or loss of portfolio material.
Want your existing skills recognised?
If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, please ask us about our recognition of prior learning process. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification and could achieve it in a shorter timeframe. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 762 786.
If you’re a domestic student and this is your first time doing tertiary study in New Zealand (over 60 credits at Level 3 or higher), you may be able to get free tuition fees for this programme.
All the details and criteria are on the Fees Free website and you can check whether you’re going to be able to access funding by entering your National Student Number.
If you can access it, we’ll organise your fees with the Tertiary Education Commission when you’re enrolled to study with us. This funding doesn’t include additional costs or living costs.
The cost of additional materials will vary according to individual projects. As an indication, you may borrow up to $1,000 in addition to any student allowance for course-related costs.
The tuition fees shown above are approximate only. There may be a slight fee increase per year once Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) rules and guidelines are applied. These fees also don’t include additional costs or living costs.
Need more info?
If you want to chat before applying or have questions about your portfolio, please contact Alex Kennedy - our Postgraduate Programme Coordinator.
Phone: 03 479 3741 / 0800 762 786
A change for 2023 enrolments
When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people, and you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.
Get in touch
0800 762 786
International +64 3 477 3014