Graduate Diploma in Design (Specialty)

If you are looking to achieve an applied qualification in a specialist area to complement your existing design degree or experience, you can opt for this programme and specialise in either Communications, Fashion or Product Design. This diploma will help you gain an understanding of the professional and strategic requirements of your industry, and to extend your professional research techniques. The skills you develop will then be applied to your selected area-specific courses and showcased in your final project.

About the programme

Looking to achieve an applied qualification in a specialist area to complement your existing design degree or experience? Perhaps you are a professional designer or practitioner wishing to develop practical skills and studio project experience to build on your existing knowledge?

Either way, this programme provides the ideal solution. New Zealand's future is being designed by people like you! Play your part by designing new products, innovating ideas, tackling social issues and creating commercial success. 

Within your specific discipline area - Communication, Fashion or Product - you will initially focus on a series of first and second-year Bachelor of Design courses to complement and enhance your existing abilities and to help you meet your individual goals. The skills you develop will then be applied during your selected third-year courses and within your final projects which could include film-making, fashion communication or accessory design.    

Start dates 

The July intake is available for students in the following specialties (Communication or Fashion) - please contact pamh@op.ac.nz for more details.

Studying part-time 

We know full-time study isn't always possible. We also offer this programme part-time over two years.

Overview 

Offering small class sizes in immersive studio environments, the School of Design provides you with numerous chances to showcase your creative talent. You will be frequently involved in talks, exhibitions and events, with the year culminating in the 'Excite' exhibition, a highlight on the Otago Polytechnic calendar. Benefit from our excellent workshop facilities, discipline-related studio and production areas and up-to-date CAD suites. 

The Design School also houses year group studios, a gallery space and we have access to the EPICentre Design Studio.

EPICentre is a dedicated resource to deliver practical research that solves real world problems. Our staff and student researchers cover diverse disciplines including art, design, information technology and engineering. 

The School of Design also enjoys strong and frequent links to the local, national and international design community. You will benefit from ongoing networks and opportunities through these associations which will allow you to form contacts within the industry, while at the same time earning credits towards your degree. No matter what your discipline, we offer you the chance to work with 'real' clients, creating design-based solutions and services.   

Courses

You will enrol into the Graduate Diploma in Design (Specialty) within one of the following specialities - Communication, Fashion, Product or Interiors.

All of the courses you select need to come from your specific discipline area within the Bachelor of Design programme - you cannot mix and match across specialties.

You will select courses with your Academic Leader that best suit what you need. For example, within the Communication specialty, you may choose to pursue a graphic design focus or a filmmaking focus.

You will choose first and second-year Bachelor of Design courses to develop your skills and will then use these skills in your final projects within your selected third-year courses.

You'll need to study at least 72 out of 120 credits at Level 7 (third year of a degree). The remaining credits can be drawn from Level 5 (first year of a degree) and Level 6 (second year of a degree) courses to support Level 7 learning.

Shared courses

These are common across all specialities.

Studio Workshops (Level 6)

All interdisciplinary courses are intended to broaden knowledge and provide opportunities for collaboration. Studio workshops are set at Level 6 in the first two years and at Level 7 in the final year. They are available for all three years of all four programme streams simultaneously, enabling you to work with, and learn from, other students in your own and allied specialties. Interdisciplinary studios are set at Levels 5, 6 and 7, again providing opportunities for you to work with students from different design disciplines on a shared brief, drawing on your own discipline-specific approaches and learning from other approaches at the same time.

Studio workshops vary each year and may include: Metals/Jewellery, Photography, Production Ceramics, Furniture Design, Digital Film, Digital Animation, Packaging and Retail, Sculptural Design, Storyboarding and Illustration, Textiles, Environmental Design, Printmaking, Rapid Prototyping, Exhibition Design, Small Business, Digital Photography, 2D Prototyping, Stained Glass and Leadlight, and a Negotiated Research Project.

Strategic Design (Level 7)

Develop an understanding of the professional and strategic requirements of the design industry. Extend your professional research techniques and critical reflection skills to define your personal design philosophy and potential career pathways upon graduation. Communicate these through a portfolio that utilises a range of visual, verbal and online formats and a written report.  

Interdisciplinary Studio 3 (Level 7)

Explore design perspectives and approaches which will enhance the communication of your discipline-specific learning through both individual and team-based integrated projects.

Communication Design courses

Course choices at all levels will be discussed with the Academic Leader and are dependent on your skills and experience.

Level 5 and Level 6 courses 

  • Please refer to the discipline-specific papers within the Bachelor of Design information.

Level 7 courses 

  • This is only a selection of the courses available and individual study pathways will vary.

Communication Design Studio 2

Become familiar with interaction design techniques and develop an appreciation of user needs in the computer-human interaction paradigm. Test your ideas in real-world scenarios such as developing museum-style interactive projects for indoor and outdoor public spaces.

Communication Design Studio 3

Gain insight into client-designer relationships and develop applied project management skills, through project work on client-based creative solutions, ranging from wall graphics to web solutions and corporate video design.

Communication Design Studio 4 & 5 (self-directed project spaces in semester 2)

Develop unique and complex communication events based on your interests and choice. These projects will respond to a client briefing or be developed from your own brief based on a strong concept and context. You are expected to take significant responsibility for the whole project from inception to completion. Supervisory support and industry critique are provided to help you to achieve a resolved final outcome suitable for public exhibition or entry into a competition.

Fashion Design courses

Course choices at all levels will be discussed with the Academic Leader and are dependent on your skills and experience.

Level 5 and Level 6 courses 

  • Please refer to the discipline-specific papers within the Bachelor of Design information.

Level 7 courses 

  • This is only a selection of the courses available and individual study pathways will vary.

Fashion Design Studio 5

Develop your own brief for a directional collection. Research and develop ideas that require analysis, transformation and evaluation resulting in a creative end product suitable for a design award.

Work Placement (optional, unassessed)

Experience the fashion industry through a two-week work placement. You will research options for your placement and negotiate this with your lecturers. Placements can be taken in Dunedin, within New Zealand or internationally (national and international travel and accommodation are at your expense). Examples of previous work placements include Nom*D, Company of Strangers, Charmaine Reveley, Logan Park High, Otago Daily Times (Dunedin); St Kevin's College (Oamaru); twentysevennames, Lucire (Wellington); Ruby, Zambesi, Kathryn Wilson (Auckland); MaterialByProducts, Australian Ballet (Melbourne); Akira (Sydney); Lutz (Paris).

Product Design courses

Course choices at all levels will be discussed with the Academic Leader and are dependent on your skills and experience.

Level 5 and Level 6 courses 

  • Please refer to the discipline-specific papers within the Bachelor of Design information.

Level 7 courses 

  • This is only a selection of the courses available and individual study pathways will vary.

Product Design Studio 6 – Major Project part A

Take the opportunity to identify and develop your design focus. Bring together the key elements of your previous two years of study and design a portfolio of product solutions that is resolved, relevant, compelling and evocative. You are expected to take significant responsibility for the whole project from inception to completion with supervisory support provided.

Product Design Studio 7 – Reprise previous work

'Reprise' work developed in previous years to a similar standard to that being achieved in Product Studio's 6 and 8. Embrace the opportunity to reconfigure your previous work so it aligns more closely with your current design focus. You will be expected to refine your product solutions so they are resolved, relevant, compelling and evocative.

Product Design Studio 8 – Major Project part B

This studio is linked to the aims of Product Studio 6. Take the opportunity to further identify and develop your design focus. You will have the choice of further extending the work developed in Product Studio 6 or designing a second portfolio of product solutions that are resolved, relevant, compelling and evocative. You are expected to take significant responsibility for the whole project from inception to completion with supervisory support provided.

Programme specific risks

Prior to enrolment, you will be advised of the programme specific risks in the workplace, workshops and CAD rooms and of the requirements to undertake significant health and safety training (refer to the student handbook). This information is provided by way of discussion at the interview and written notification with acceptance and you will be required to undertake training before independent use of many types of equipment in workshops and studios. In some disciplines, you will be required to attend training sessions in first aid and computer health and safety.  

Further study options

Hone your skills further with our postgraduate programmes in Design or Art.

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.