Bachelor of Visual Arts

Our Bachelor of Visual Arts will set you up for an exciting and diverse range of creative professions. During your first year, you will study core art courses, methodology, and art history. You will then choose a studio discipline to develop your talent in your chosen passion. The eight studio disciplines include ceramics, electronic arts, jewellery and metalsmithing, print, photography, painting, sculpture and textiles.

About the programme

Translate your creativity into an art career. Gain experience in a range of speciality subjects and discover where your artistic talent truly lies.

This degree will teach you how to become a creative maker, thinker and active agent in a local, national and global context. A qualification in the Visual Arts will allow you to find employment in a diverse range of professions such as practising artist, curator, art educator or researcher. A variety of roles within the digital and film industries would also be possible.

Gain technical, academic and personal skills which will be transferable to a wide variety of fields including education, design, management and marketing. This qualification provides a perfect bridge into further learning as you select from a range of subjects initially and then move into full specialisation, focusing your talents in your chosen field.

Study art at New Zealand's most established school of art and benefit from the nationally-unique range of workshop facilities and the excellent studio-based teaching. Flourish under the guidance of highly experienced lecturers who have national and international profiles and represent a diverse range of approaches and understandings.  

July start date 

Our July intake is an advanced standing intake. You will need to be eligible for 60 cross-credits to apply so that you can go straight into our semester two courses. Please email ebsART@op.ac.nz for more information about this option.

You will study

In the first semester, you will gain experience in each of the studio disciplines listed below. This will be supported by visual arts courses in Studio Methodologies, and Art History and Theory that will introduce you to a range of key skills in art-making and research. In the second semester, you will extend your knowledge in two of these studio areas and continue with Art History and Theory. In the second year, you will specialise in a single studio subject, developing your core skills and techniques, experimenting widely and engaging with critical debates as you move towards more independent learning in your chosen area. You will also continue to study Art History and Theory, and Studio Methodologies. In your final year, you will extend your art practice into a sustained body of work for presentation in a public exhibition. The Studio Research and Professional Methodologies courses provide critical, historical and vocational contexts for the development of your studio project in your final year.

Specialist Studio Disciplines

Study Ceramics
We have the largest ceramics arts department in New Zealand with wood, salt, electric and gas kilns, electric wheels and online research facilities. You will benefit from an emphasis on hands-on experimentation in clay-making workshops which explore ceramics as a medium with its own language, skills and history.

Study Electronic Arts
Specialise in Electronic Arts, which inhabit a constantly shifting location in art and media practice. You may choose to explore 2D and 3D animation, film, installation, electronics, projection and online media and audio/video production. Through the study of contemporary practice, you will engage with media arts and reflect on their historical and contemporary position in the art world.

Study Jewellery and Metalsmithing
Develop your artistic eye and practical skills with the understanding that the fundamental reference for jewellery is the human body. Jewellery uses a visual language based on interaction, communication and contact, and may be expressive and intimate or aggressively provocative. Art, objects and adornment for the body use an unlimited palette from precious metal recycled materials. 

Study Painting
Here is an opportunity to develop your artwork so it is relevant to today's society and to national and international contemporary practice. That is the focus of this specialty, although you will also be encouraged to investigate painting movements and methodologies in recent centuries.

Study Photography
Gain a solid foundation in the practical and theoretical components of black and white, colour and alternative photographic processes. Use and explore a range of equipment and techniques in our well-designed facility. Understand the principles and history of photography as you study different photographic approaches, such as the antiquarian, formalist, documentary, fabricated or manipulated. 

Study Print
Our internationally-renowned Printmaking Department is well-established and is one of the leading departments of its kind in New Zealand. You will work and learn in its spacious studios and well-equipped workshops, designed to enable you to study and practice a comprehensive range of printmaking processes and related techniques. Experienced and award-winning staff members monitor these programmes, which help you research, explore and develop creative concepts.

Study Sculpture 

Develop a sculptural language through studio workshops focusing on drawing, form and spatial analysis. This department is equipped to international standards with separate workshops for wood, metal and plastics fabrication, a modelling and casting studio and specialist facilities for ceramic shell bronze casting, metal forging, vacuum forming and spray painting. 

Study Textiles
Major in textiles in a visual arts context, examining the value of cloth and its relationship to the body, different genders and classes, and material culture. The field of textile practice can encompass many approaches such as sculptural, 2D and site-specific artworks. We specialise in construction and a variety of print processes such as screen-print methodologies using pigment ink, dye, discharge and burnout applications, manual and digital embroidery and 3D sewing.

Qualification structure

Year one

Course

Level

Credit

Studio Methodologies 1

5

15

Art History and Theory 1

5

15

Introduction to Studio Practices 1

5

15

Introduction to Studio Practices 2

5

15

Studio Methodologies 2

5

15

Art History and Theory 2

5

15

Studio Practice 1

5

15

Studio Practice 2

5

15

Year One Total

 

120

Year two

Course

Level

Credits

Studio Methodologies 3

6

15

Art History and Theory 3

6

15

Studio Practice 3

6

45

Studio Practice 4

6

45

Year Two Total

 

120

Year three

Course

Level

Credits

Studio Research

7

15

Studio Practice 5

7

45

Studio Practice 6

7

45

Professional Methodologies

7

15

Year Three Total

 

120

Studio discipline areas

Studio

Level

Visual Arts Core Studio - Ceramics

5

Visual Arts Core Studio - Electronic Arts

5

Visual Arts Core Studio - Jewellery and Metalsmithing

5

Visual Arts Core Studio - Painting

5

Visual Arts Core Studio - Photography

5

Visual Arts Core Studio - Printmaking

5

Visual Arts Core Studio - Sculpture

5

Visual Arts Core Studio - Textiles

5

Programme specific risks

You will complete Health and Safety checklists for specific hazards in your courses. During your study, you will use a range of technical equipment and chemical substances. If you have known allergies or reactions to materials, please indicate these in your application.

Further study options

This programme perfectly prepares you for further learning and you may go on to study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Visual Arts, a Master of Fine Arts or a Master of Visual Arts.

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. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.