Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 6)



One year full-time

On campus 

By February
  • 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

Develop your photographic practice to a professional level in this commercially-focused programme.

Whatever kind of career you want to have across professional photography, video or film – this programme will help you develop an industry-ready practice and portfolio along with the specialised skills you need to succeed as a professional. You will work in workshops and on projects with live briefs and clients.

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, TV and web TV, advertising, web design, news media, or as self-employed/freelance practitioners.

Graduates may wish to undertake further tertiary study at diploma or degree level in the field of creative arts or business if pursuing self-employment.

Entry requirements
  • Applicants must have completed a Level 5 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

We require examples of your photographic work (still and/or moving images) and the ways that you develop your ideas. Your examples need to show us your interests and your ability to use a range of techniques.

  • Please send us twelve (12) examples of your photographic work (still and/or moving images).
  • Please 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.
  • Please 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 camera for still and moving image
  • an external hard-drive for keeping their digital files (eg. 1TB USB hard-drive)
  • a pair of monitoring headphones
  • a good quality SD card (e.g. Sandisk), minimum 32GB.
Your workload

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

Programme structure

This diploma will provide you with the opportunity to gain professional experience within your chosen specialist field or industry by placing emphasis on self-initiated projects and entrepreneurship, collaboration and professional practice to deliver you the focused skill-set you require for sustainable success in your chosen specialism.

You will study
  • Independent specialisation and client projects in your chosen area of photographics
  • Professional workflow and tools
  • Responding to and adapting live briefs
  • Professional contexts – including working in industry, developing your own business, and small business practices
  • Advanced camera expertise, lighting, post-production and editing
  • Iterative design processes, image analysis and criticism
Further study options

This programme provides a pathway to the Bachelor of Visual Arts or Bachelor of Design (Communication) (Fashion) or (Product).

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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