Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design (Level 5)



One year full-time

On campus

Until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
    28 June 2021 - 16 July 2021
    19 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Dunedin
    21 February 2022

This hands-on programme covers all aspects of photography and moving image production.

It will provide you with the knowledge and skills required for any career in professional photography, video production, moving image and related fields. 

Graduates of this qualification will have the skills and knowledge for various entry-level positions in many areas within creative industries. Those areas might include all aspects of commercial photography, film industry, television and web TV, advertising, web design, news media.

Entry requirements
  • Applicants under 20 must have completed a Level 3 qualification in a related field OR demonstrate equivalent knowledge and skills. For applicants 20 years of age and over there are no minimum academic requirements.
  • All applicants are also required to submit a portfolio.
  • In exceptional circumstances, an applicant under the age of 20 who doesn't meet the academic requirements may be granted entry to the programme where they supply evidence of their ability to succeed in the programme.
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Portfolio and written requirements


Please send us three (3) examples of your photographic work (still and/or moving images).

>  Submit your portfolio digitally as a PDF uploaded to the OP website. Combine your images into a single digital document and save as a PDF.

>  Upload any moving image work to a website (e.g. YouTube or similar) and include links as a page of your portfolio PDF.

There is a 2MB file size limit for the portfolio upload.

Thank you. We are looking forward to seeing your photographic work.

Covering letter

  • Please write a short covering letter to accompany your application. A double-spaced letter of not more than one page (300 words) explaining why you want to come to study on the program and what your relevant experiences have been to date.
Pathways into the programme
Selection criteria

Where there are more eligible applicants than places available, applicants will be selected based on the strength of the submitted portfolio and the above entry criteria.

Additional costs

You need to have:

  • a basic camera for still and moving image (e.g. smart phone or similar, or compact camera) that you can carry all the time
  • an external hard-drive for keeping your digital files (eg. 1TB USB hard-drive)
  • a pair of monitoring headphones and a good quality 32GB SD card (e.g. Sandisk).

You are welcome to bring your own DSLR camera or similar, but we will provide cameras.

Your workload

This is a full-time programme with approximately 20 hours per week contact time and around 15 hours self-directed study.

Programme structure

This programme is designed for anyone interested in developing their skills in photography and moving image to a professional level. The programme uniquely combines practical skills in both still and moving image production across a variety of contexts including: advertising, portraiture, fashion, events, news media, web TV and documentary.

You will study
  • Camera expertise including: Still images, video production and moving images, recording sound
  • Lighting
  • Postproduction & editing
  • Graphic design, typography and web design
  • Workflow & process management
  • Iterative design processes
  • Image analysis and criticism
  • Interpersonal skills including teamwork, collaboration & networking
  • Business skills including: Invoicing, charging, accounting & budgeting; licensing, permissions & copyright; Health & Safety laws & practices; analysing web data
  • Professional skills including: Working independently; research & problem solving, working intuitively; responding to briefs and working to deadlines

The programme consists of six, four-week projects running consecutively and one longer project at the end. The courses grow in complexity and we expect more independence from students as the programme progresses. The programme combines practical skills in both still and moving image production across a variety of contexts including: advertising, portraiture, fashion, events, news media, web TV and documentary. They are titled:

  • The Image
  • The Studio
  • On Location
  • The Event
  • The Tableau
  • Reportage
  • Storytelling
Further study options

This programme provides a pathway to the New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 6) and the Bachelor of Visual Arts or Bachelor of Design (Communication). Entry to year two of the degrees may be possible (criteria will apply).

Useful resources/links
Student loans and allowances

Full-time domestic students of this programme are eligible for student loans and allowances (dependent on age and financial circumstances.) Please contact Studylink for additional information. Phone 0800 88 99 00 or visit: www.studylink.govt.nz

Recognition of prior learning

If you already have extensive knowledge and skills gained from practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification in the course of your life. www.capable.nz


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.

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