New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4)

Begin to build the skills and degree-level portfolio you need to apply for our Bachelor of Design (Communication), Bachelor of Design (Fashion) or Bachelor of Visual Arts. Alternatively, this programme will prepare you for a junior role in a creative workplace.

About the programme

Artists and designers work in lots of different areas and career opportunities in the creative industries are exciting and diverse. 

This programme will give you a taste of what studying art and design is all about. You'll begin to build the skills and degree-level portfolio you need to apply for the Bachelor of Design (Communication or Fashion) or Bachelor of Visuals Arts, or to prepare for a junior role in a creative workplace. 

You'll develop your research skills by studying art and design history, learn about creative processes and materials, explore idea development through drawing, illustration/cartoon and sculpture, and create your own art or design project which will be showcased in an exhibition. 

To gain the well-rounded skills that are ideally needed for further art or design study, you can move into our New Zealand Certificate in Digital Media and Design (Level 4) or the New Zealand Certificate in Fashion (Level 4). Both of these programmes start in July and in combination with the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4) create a strong pathway into: 

These all start in February. 

By studying both Level 4 certificates, you'll also be gaining the creative skills that you need to be able to apply for our Bachelor of Design (Product) and our Bachelor of Architectural Studies. These degrees need a different technical skill set than our other art and design programmes. You'll need to achieve a very high level in both Level 4 certificates if you're keen to apply for either degree - just so we can make sure it's the right fit for you. 

Studying part-time 

We know full-time study isn't always possible. We also offer this programme part-time over two years (you'll study during semester one in both year one and two). 


Four x 15-credit courses
  • Art and Design History: Research skills in relation to contemporary art and design and understanding cultural contexts within NZ and internationally
  • Creative Methodology:  A design-based course focusing on idea generation, technical and creative skills, materials, and processes.
  • Visual Arts Studio: An art-based practical 2D and 3D studio course exploring idea development through drawing, illustration/ cartooning, and sculpture
  • Studio Project:  Students finish the programme, developing their own project with either an art or design focus - this is their choice. They apply skills learned in the preceding courses. This project finishes in an exhibition of work.


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.