School of Architecture

How to apply

Before you apply, check the programme information page for the application due-by date. Early applications are welcomed. Late applications will be considered if places are available.

How to apply Header

How to apply for architecture

Before you apply, check the programme information page for the application due-by date. Early applications are welcomed. Late applications will be considered if places are available.

With your Application to Study, you are required to submit a portfolio of your work. Your portfolio will include examples of your artwork so we can see how you develop your ideas and if you have the foundational skills that are required for our programmes.

While it may seem daunting to compile a portfolio, it is an important and essential part of the application process. We’ve included some guidance on building your portfolio, cover letter and what you can include in your submission.

Include these three documents in your application:

  • Application (completed online)
  • Cover Letter
  • Portfolio of work

Note: you might not be required to provide a portfolio if you meet the criteria for automatic entry or get portfolio ‘pre-approval’.

Cover Letter

Help us get to know you and why you want to do this programme, what interests you about it and what you have done to give yourself the best chance of being accepted.

We want to know your career goals and anything else you think is relevant to your application. Will also need to include your curriculum vitae (resume/CV).

What to put in your portfolio

Bachelor of Architectural Studies

Portfolio format

Digital portfolio

There is a 2MB file limit when you upload your portfolio while applying online. If the file is too big to upload, send us a link to your website or online platform or email it to us at ebsDES@op.ac.nz. Alternatively, you can also send your digital portfolio on a USB drive.

Physical format

We prefer digital portfolios but you can send a physical portfolio to us if you need to. A physical portfolio should be submitted in an A4 clear file folder. Don’t include original works, send photographs or colour photocopies instead - and make sure it’s all clearly labelled with your name. Please courier or hand-deliver your portfolio to our address below.

If you want your portfolio returned, include a self-addressed, postage-paid courier package.

Otago Polytechnic - School of Architecture
Attn: Student Administrator for Design,
Customer Services, Otago Polytechnic,
F Block, Forth Street, Dunedin 9016

Still at school?

If you’re still at school, the work in your portfolio can be anything you’ve completed over the past year and work you’re developing for NCEA Level 3 portfolios. We don’t need your finished NCEA board, but you can include development work for these if you like. We want to see the work you’ve done in class and the work you’ve done for yourself.

Application process

Apply online

Fill in the application form and upload your cover letter, proposal (for postgraduate applicants only) and a PDF of your portfolio.

  • If you qualify for automatic entry, either upload a copy of your NCEA results or upload a note that says “I qualify for automatic entry”
  • If you qualify for portfolio ‘pre-approval’, upload the portfolio pre-approval letter that you’ve received from us.

Automatic portfolio approval

  • If you have achieved University Entrance endorsed with excellence overall including merit or excellence in an approved art, design or technology subject at NCEA Level 3, you have automatic entry, and will not need to submit a portfolio.
  • This also applies to applicants who have achieved Cambridge International AS grade A or B in an approved art, design or technology subject.

Note: When you apply online and are asked to upload a portfolio, you can either upload a copy of your NCEA results, or upload a note that says “I qualify for automatic entry”. We’ll then verify that with NZQA.

Portfolio pre-approval – show ‘work in progress’

  • You can show a ‘work in progress’ portfolio to a staff member from the School of Design by making contact with the school, or at open days and careers events throughout the year.
  • If you have achieved University Entrance and your portfolio already meets the criteria, you’ll receive a portfolio pre-approval letter. You can then upload that letter with your online application and you won’t have to submit a final portfolio.
  • If you want to talk to us about portfolio pre-approval, please email our school administrator, Pam.Hodgkinson@op.ac.nz or phone 0800 762 786.

Got any questions?

Email ebsDES@op.ac.nz if you have any questions about your application or portfolio.

Start here: Bachelor of Architectural Studies

Start here: Bachelor of Architectural Studies

Learn to harness light, space, line, form, and function to shape the built environment.

Contact us

If you want to know more about what we offer or you would like some guidance, we’re here to help. Feel free to chat to us directly about any questions you may have.