School of Design

At the School of Design, you get to immerse yourself in an innovative and supportive environment, engage in real-world projects, find your niche as a designer and become work-ready. Take advantage of our strong international relationships, award-winning teaching expertise and first-rate facilities.

Design Header

Why study design?

Creative people design the solutions that make our lives better. They also create aesthetically appealing things that make our environment stimulating and thought-provoking. Study one of our acclaimed design programmes and become an industry-ready, creative designer with great prospects for a successful career!

At the School of Design, we are proud that more than 85 per cent of our graduates find jobs in the field of design. Offering personalised learning, first-rate facilities and the expertise of award-winning staff, you will learn in a stimulating environment and benefit from our extensive industry networks.

What makes our design school unique

Study one of our acclaimed design programmes and become an industry-ready, creative designer with great prospects for a successful career. We’ll help you develop and showcase your talent.

  • learn in small classes in immersive studio environments
  • gain experience working with real clients, creating design-based solutions and services
  • build your own network of contacts by leveraging our industry connections
  • be involved in industry talks, exhibitions and events, including the annual ‘Excite’ exhibition

Award-winning lecturers and opportunities

Many of our lecturers are actively designing, run their own businesses and win awards. At the 2021 New Zealand Best Design Awards, Otago Polytechnic staff and students were finalists in eight categories…and won five medals!

Pathway options

If you’re brand new to design, we have entry level qualifications to build your skill level, create a portfolio and help you gain entry into higher-level programmes of study, like a bachelor’s degree. Our pathways can also be a great way to see if you like design before dedicating to further study. Some qualifications can teach you skills for entry-level roles or some additional skills to complement a current role you’re in.

Design pathways

Postgraduate study

Deepen your knowledge with postgraduate study across a range of design specialty areas. Our postgraduate qualifications will help you to acquire advanced knowledge in a particular field, expanding your previous study and work experience, to take your career to the next level.

Explore postgraduate programmes


How to apply for design

How to apply for design

Applications must include a portfolio of your work and we tell you exactly what you need to inc...

Celebrate our student’s work

Every year, our students enjoy a unique opportunity to display their year’s work to the public with a Student Showcase. Taking their work to a public platform allows our students to get industry exposure, along with people’s awe and support.


A collection of work from our Communication Design and Product Design students.

Collections 2021

Highlights from the Collections 2021 film exhibiting the work of our Fashion students as part of the 2021 Student Showcase.

Provide learners with real life experience

Our learners can add value to your organisation through internships and research projects.

Industry connections and research

Collaborations and partnerships are at the heart of our philosophy for learning and growth. The School of Design has strong links with industry and the wider community through student projects, visiting speakers, field trips, work placements, internships and student exchanges.
We are active in forging strong links with the international design community and our staff and students benefit greatly from the networks and opportunities created through these connections. Degree students also have the opportunity to extend their networks and experience a different culture through international exchange programmes with prominent design institutions.

  • The Cumulus Association: We are an active member of the Cumulus Association, an international Association of universities and colleges of art, media and design, which provides a forum for partnership and transfer of knowledge and best practices.
  • The International Foundation of Fashion Technical Institutes (IFFTI): We are also a member of the IFFTI, an international Association of leading higher education institutions dedicated to promoting excellence in teaching and learning in fashion.
  • The Designers Accord: The Designers Accord is a global coalition of designers, educators, and business leaders working together to create positive environmental and social impact.
  • iD Dunedin Fashion Week: Through partnership with iD Dunedin Fashion Week, the School of Design welcomes international and national emerging designers, as well as leading fashion icons from around the world.
  • Shanghai University of Engineering Science (SUES): Fashion students from both institutions participated in a collaborative fashion communication project in 2012, resulting in reciprocal visits, photographic shoots and catwalk shows in both Shanghai and Dunedin. Further projects with SUES are planned.
  • Student exchange: The School of Design has exchange agreements with Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Milan, Italy, and with HKU, Utrecht School of Arts. Once you’re enrolled in a programme of study, you can talk to your lecturers about these opportunities.

View industry research and collaborations

Research stories to inspire

Research stories to inspire

We encourage applied research to support teaching and community needs, available to all.

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.