Otago Polytechnic

Applying to study at the School of Design

1. Prepare your portfolio

2. Write your cover letter and proposal

3. Complete your application

1. PREPARE YOUR PORTFOLIO

UNDERGRADUATE

Your portfolio should show us your current design achievements, potential and commitment.

We are looking for evidence that you are original, versatile and enterprising, and that you are committed to creative study in your chosen design field.

Show us work that best represents your creativity and demonstrates your knowledge and passion for design or architecture, and that tells us the most about you and your abilities. 


We'll assess your portfolio in terms of:

  • composition
  • concepts – ideas and content, and variety and range of media
  • your drawing skills

 

What to include in your portfolio:

  NZ Cert in Arts and Design or Digital Media and Design

10 to 12 examples of your work that show a variety of techniques and interests, such as:

  • drawings/sketches
  • photographs
  • images of original objects that you have made
  • digital art
  • animations
  • whatever you feel is visually informative about yourself and your abilities
  Bachelor of Architectural Studies
  • 6 to 12 original or copied pieces of your work
  • work bound and mounted on boards no bigger than A3 size
  • a maximum of 4 sheets of A3 size. (If you are sending these through the post, A4 is fine.)
  • a variety of artwork, including sketches of architecture, still life and other observational drawings
  • a variety of media such as painting, 2D and 3D designs, photography, sculpture and digital media. These may include hobbies and activities you have completed outside of school.

You can submit your portfolio in PDF format through the online application form or courier it to us on boards. If you are a school leaver and are producing a portfolio, please digitally copy a selection of your work to be used in your portfolio for us.

  Bachelor of Design (Communication)
  • at least 10 x A4 or A3 sheets
  • photographs of samples
  • small original works and/or sketches, and whatever you feel is visually informative about you and your abilities as a designer
  • process work for 2 or 3 pieces. This could be drawings, sources of inspiration or comments etc, that show you can develop and research an idea to produce a finished design
  Bachelor of Design (Fashion)
  • at least 10 x A4 or A3 sheets
  • fashion ideas
  • sewing, patterns, textiles
  • drawings, sketches, illustrations, photos
  • prototypes, mock-ups, 3D models
  • 2D and 3D ideas and possibilities
  • photos of real 3D objects (these can be ideas for fashion objects, both finished pieces and works in progress)
  • images of your ideas for anything relating to the body: clothes, accessories, textiles, events, photography, ideas for communicating fashion
  • critiques of contemporary and/or historical fashion ideas
  • developmental work, ie. copies of workbook pages, journal or visual diary
  • screen captures in the case of digital work
  • links to original work, ie. blogs, Instagram, YouTube, Sound Cloud, Pinterest, Vimeo, Facebook.
  Bachelor of Design (Product)
  • at least 10 x A4 or A3 sheets
  • photographs of samples
  • small original works and/or sketches, and whatever you feel is visually informative about you and your abilities as a designer
  • process work for 2 or 3 pieces. This could be drawings, sources of inspiration or comments etc, that show you can develop and research an idea to produce a finished design.
  Graduate Diploma in Design (specialty)

Your portfolio should demonstrate a working knowledge of design/art/creative disciplines and support your application for your specialty area, with evidence of strong design process.

It may contain:

  • photographs
  • painting
  • graphic work
  • images of garments
  • 3-dimensional design
  • sketches
  • storyboards
  • video
  • website
  • any other work which is visually informative about you and your abilities as a designer.



 

Doing NCEA?

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 work you've done in class and work you’ve done for yourself.

 

POSTGRADUATE

What to include in your portfolio:

For all postgraduate programmes you need to provide a portfolio that consists of current and recent examples of your work that demonstrate your creative process and ability and depth of engagement in your proposed field of research. Please annotate each item with a brief summary/description of the context or provide a written overview of your portfolio content.

You must submit your portfolio in digital format, i.e. by using a portfolio hosting site, a USB stick, uploaded with your application or via email to ebsDES@op.ac.nz 

 

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2. WRITE YOUR COVER LETTER AND PROPOSAL

Cover letter (all programmes)

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

We want to know your career goals and anything else you think is relevant to your application.

Include your CV

Postgraduate applications should also include the names and contact details for two referees.

 

Research proposal (postgraduate programmes only)

  Bachelor of Design (Honours) / PG Certificate or Diploma in Design

This proposal should be 1000 words maximum and outline your project focus and address the following;

> Outline any work you have already completed in the field of your project and how this will inform the next stage of your research/project

> Define what you want to achieve/describe your aims for your project

> As a Design project outline the methods you plan to use to achieve your aims

  • You should have already read a few articles or books on the topic; summarise the important ideas that you will use to inform your research/project and identify any areas that you need to include (remember to reference the sources of the information)
  • Identify the context that you are working towards, e.g. a competition entry, a market-ready product, a communication or a new way to do things.
  Master of Design / Master of Design Enterprise

This proposal should be 1500 words maximum and address the following questions:

  • What is your project? This needs to be a clear description of a product, service or other design outcome that your project is based on
  • Why is your project relevant - i.e. what change will it bring about, what problem will it solve, and what issue will it address?
  • Who are your customers/audience?
  • What is your field of research and how is your project situated within this field? Please cite academic references here (this section should be around 300 words)
  • What research methods do you intend to use?
  • How will you achieve the proposed outcome - i.e. what is your process?

 

 

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3. COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION

Apply online (compulsory for postgraduate programmes)

Fill in the application form and upload your cover letter, proposal (if applicable) and a PDF of your portfolio. 

Note: There is a 15MB file limit when you upload your portfolio. If the file is too big to upload, you can send it to us on a USB, using the address below.

 

Apply with a paper form (optional for undergraduate programmes)

Download and print the application form.

Send your completed application form, your cover letter and your portfolio to: 

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

Note: Remember to enclose a self-addressed, postage-paid courier package so that we can return your portfolio to you.

 

Got any questions?

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