Otago Polytechnic

Certificate in Fashion Studies (Level 4)



One semester full-time; one year part-time

On campus

July, 2017
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    17 July 2017
    25 September 2017 - 6 October 2017
Got a passion for fashion and wondering how to transform that enthusiasm into a career as a fashion designer? Look no further!

Embark on this hands-on qualification to acquire the design and technical skills, knowledge and industry-awareness necessary to study for the Bachelor of Design (Fashion), or to gain employment as a trainee machinist or production assistant. The fashion world is fast-paced, exciting and diverse, and with commitment and further study, you could consider numerous career paths including a fashion journalist, designer or buyer, patternmaker, stylist or costume designer for film/theatre/television.

Develop design and technical skills across a wide range of fashion-related areas during this flexible programme of study. Options include product design, interiors, textiles, web design, painting, jewellery-making and creative advertising. Undertake an integrated fashion project and embrace the opportunity to work within our extensive, modern design facilities. Flourish under the guidance and support of highly skilled tutors and benefit from the national and international links they are continually forging in the industry.

Please note: From 2018, this programme name will change to the New Zealand Certificate in Fashion (Level 4)* (*subject to final approval). This is due to a national review of qualifications that is being carried out by NZQA across all New Zealand tertiary institutions.

Skills required
  • Creativity and vision.
  • The ability to see an idea through from concept to reality.
  • Enthusiasm and willingness to develop practical abilities
  • The ability to communicate your ideas to others.
  • An interest in people and the world around you.
  • An enjoyment of working with others.
Entry requirements

There are no academic entry requirements. However, we do prefer applicants to have:

  • NCEA Level 1 or equivalent.
  • You must submit a letter of introduction and motivation and a curriculum vitae to be considered as part of a selection process.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure they have an acceptable level of secondary school achievement.
  • If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.0, with no less than 6.0 in writing and speaking, and no less than 5.5 in reading and listening.
Additional documentation

You must supply certified copies of proof of identify and proof of residency (where appropriate)

Selection procedure

To be considered for selection in to this programme, you are required to supply the following:

  • Curriculum vitae - detailing your recent employment history, your interests and involvement in sport, cultural activities, clubs and community organisations, as well as your recent academic achievements.
  • School leavers and recent school leavers must supply their most recent record of learning at application - selection is based on achieving NCEA Level 1 or equivalent.
  • Letter of introduction and motivation (around one page long) - highlighting your relevant creative interests, what has led you to apply and what you want to achieve by undertaking this qualification.
Additional costs

If you study full-time, you will be required to purchase $200-300 worth of fabrics, equipment and stationery supplies. A list of class requirements is available upon enrolment.

Further study options

This Certificate is designed to lead into the Bachelor of Design (Fashion) where you can build upon your skills and knowledge to further your career prospects.

Programme specific risks

You will be required to work with industrial machines, pressing equipment and chemical dyes and may also spend time working in industry.

Studying at the school of design

The School of Fashion offers you the chance to learn in an innovative and collaborative environment and provides you with fantastic opportunities to showcase your creativity. With numerous other talks and smaller-scale exhibitions during the year, a highlight on the Polytechnic calendar is the 'Collections' exhibition which focuses on year three graduate collections and creations.

With international guest designers and judges, and annually increasing audience numbers, a highlight on the Dunedin City calendar is the internationally-acclaimed iD Dunedin Fashion Week. Dunedin is fast becoming the fashion capital of New Zealand and is gaining a reputation for having a truly unique and distinctive style - come and be part of it!

Your workload

A full-time programme of study (17 weeks) averages out at 18 hours per week in class and the equivalent number of self-directed learning hours out of class.

Alternatively, enjoy the flexibility of studying part-time, allowing you to complete the qualification over more than six months and fitting your study around other commitments.

You will study

A total of 60 credits are required to complete this Certificate. Your programme will include 45 credits from compulsory courses and 15 credits from Studio Options courses.

Please note: Not all of the optional courses are available each year. Please contact the School of Design for a confirmed list.  


Compulsory Courses - Complete All


Fashion and Design Communication

Using the design processes as a foundation, explore and develop ideas through drawing and learn to record and communicate this process in a workbook. You are introduced to a range of materials along with manual and digital fashion communication techniques.


Fashion Production

Develop the technical skills required to pattern-make and construct samples and garments using industry standard methods and equipment. You will fit a garment to a standard size and apply quality control standards to samples and garments.


Fashion Design Project

Using your introductory skills in garment construction and patternmaking, and with your basic understanding of the fashion design process, you will apply these in an integrated fashion project.



Studio Options - choose one option and complete 15 Credits

*Available in second semester, 2017



CZ457001: Get involved in the illustrative process, starting from an initial brief. Your working process will involve investigations, trials and finished roughs which will result in a complete set of related images to match a text


Interiors Design

CZ421001: Introduces you to the scope of interior design practice. Learn a range of basic design skills that enable elementary design of interior space and develop awareness of factors influencing design decisions. 


Creative Digital Photography

CZ455001: To introduce students to the skills and techniques associated with digital photography and extend this knowledge through a creative digital photographic output.


Fashion Accessories Project OR Fashion Studio

Explore a variety of media and techniques associated with textiles and fashion accessories. Through the use of the design process, develop and extend a concept which allows you to apply these skills in a creative fashion accessories-based project.  


Introduction to Jewellery

CZ432001: Explore the use of different materials and techniques used in making jewellery and apply these skills in a jewellery-based project.


Product Design

CZ427001: Discover more about the design principles, techniques, processes and materials involved in designing products for everyday use.



CZ413001: Explore a variety of techniques for making and firing clay and develop the skills and ability to produce ceramic works through projects.



CZ426001: Experiment with different techniques for printing onto paper including woodblocks, drypoint on mylar, solar plate and printing on different papers.



CZ407001: Explore a variety of design principles, media and techniques associated with textiles and develop the skills and ability to translate these to a cloth outcome through a textiles-based project


Life Drawing

CZ423001: Develop the skills, understanding and appreciation of drawing practices as they relate to life drawing.



CZ434001: Enables you to develop your understanding and use of paint, colour and techniques in painting.



CZ458001: Explore a variety of sculpture principles, skills and techniques associated with the design and construction of cast aluminium objects through a sculpture-based project.


Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to 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.

Links to useful websites
  • Connect with School of Design students, graduates and staff on our very active Facebook page
  • iD Dunedin Fashion Week showcases the work of successful and emerging designers with a focus on unique and creative fashion

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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