Postgraduate Certificate in Design

Perfect if you're returning to study after a long break or if you desire personalised guidance and support. This qualification introduces you to postgraduate study in a guided learning environment. You will have to option to focus on one discipline or take up a cross-disciplinary approach.

About the programme

This qualification introduces you to postgraduate study in a guided learning environment and is perfect for people who are returning to study after a long break or who desire more personalised guidance and support.

During this programme, you will extend and deepen your knowledge and understanding of design research methods and the professional design environment. You will also develop capabilities in design, creativity, sustainability and problem-solving through an applied design project. This project can be individual or team-based and can explore ideas and issues relevant to your design discipline. 

Graduates of this qualification will be well-prepared for further postgraduate study such as our: 

Studying part-time 

We know full-time study isn't always possible. We also offer this programme one year part-time.

This programme is taught in a multi-disciplinary environment which means that your design projects may be more discipline focused e.g. fashion, communication, visual arts, product, spatial design, or explore projects than span and connect disciplines such as interaction design, fashion communication, accessories, food design, multimedia projects, event and experience design to name a few.

A preliminary project proposal helps us to understand what motivates and inspires you to study at postgraduate level. It also allows us to determine if your area fits within our areas of expertise.

Studying with us will bring heaps of benefits!

  • Employers love our design graduates as they are industry-ready, innovative and hard working.
  • We offer a boutique learning environment; small classes mean your lecturers know you by name and can support you to develop your own ‘design identity’.
  • You will benefit from the expertise of award-winning staff and leading industry researchers.
  • You will have access to exhibitions and international competitions to showcase your creativity.
  • Local, national and international collaboration and partnerships are at the heart of our learning philosophy.
  • We have extensive industry connections and strong links with international design networks including the Cumulus Association and The Designers Accord.
  • Our acclaimed programmes are full of individual, team and interdisciplinary learning opportunities.
  • You will enjoy studio-based learning with access to specialised equipment and spaces.


This one semester, full-time programme is comprised of two 30 credit courses at Level 8. 

Professional Design Practice (30 credits) 

Develop an understanding of professional design practices, conventions, and professional and legislative frameworks applicable to specific design disciplines and examine what it means to be a sustainable design practitioner from multiple perspectives - cultural, social, environmental and economic. 

Applied Design Project 1 (30 credits) 

This project, either individual or team-based, employs relevant skills and techniques and explores ideas and issues applicable to your design discipline. You will research and analyse information from a range of sources, and incorporate critique and iteration to arrive at a resolved final design outcome. Sustainability will be addressed throughout the applied research process from cultural, social, environmental and/or economic perspectives. 

Further study options 

Successful completion of this qualification will prepare you for further postgraduate study in our Postgraduate Diploma in Design or Master of Design Enterprise qualifications (or equivalent), or for employment in a wide range of creative or design management roles.

We are part of Te Pūkenga

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic, 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.


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.