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New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4)



Six months full-time; part-time over two years (you will study during semester one in both year one and two)
February 2022
until start date or class is full
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    21 February 2022
    18 April 2022 - 29 April 2022
    3 October 2022 - 14 October 2022

Prepare for entry-level roles in the creative industries sector or for higher level study in creative fields. 

No matter what direction your creative career takes, you will benefit from having the ability to select from and apply creative processes, methods and technologies to a range of outcomes.

Artists and designers work in various dynamic fields and career opportunities in the creative industries are ever-changing and diverse. This qualification will prepare you for a junior role in a creative workplace or for study on higher-level qualifications. 

After successfully completing the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4) you will have the academic entry requirements to enable you to apply for  the Bachelor of Design (Communication, Fashion or Product), Bachelor of Architectural Studies or the Bachelor of Visual Arts; and have content for your portfolio. 

The School of Design is internationally recognised as a great place to study art and design. You will be part of a vibrant creative culture with access to extensive facilities and guidance and support from highly skilled and enthusiastic tutors.

Student advisor: Pam Hodgkinson

Academic leader: Jane Venis

Skills required
  • A passion for design and art
  • 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
  • Open entry.
  • 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 provide:

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


Other requirements

  • A portfolio or other evidence to demonstrate creative work (includes your creative works, a cover letter and curriculum vitae).
  • Applicants may also be required to attend an interview.
Your portfolio

Examples of creative work

You need to submit a portfolio that demonstrates your design, graphic and/or art skills. consisting of 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

Cover letter

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.

Curriculum Vitae - current

Portfolio format

You can send us your portfolio in either digital or physical format but we prefer digital.

DIGITAL: Upload your portfolio as PDFs (preferably) - maximum file size is 2MB. If your file is a website or on another platform, either send us the live link in your letter or include a screen capture, or send us a USB or email it to

PHYSICAL: Submit photographs or colour photocopies of work in an A4/A3 clear file folder and clearly label with your name. No original pieces of work please. See address to send it to below.

Complete your application

Apply online

Fill in the application form and upload your portfolio documents - creative works, cover letter and CV.

Note: There is a 2MB 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 or send us a link to your website or online platform or email it to us at

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.

Additional information

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

You will study

 Four x 15-credit courses

  • Art and Design History: Research skills in relation to contemporary art and design and understanding cultural contexts within NZ and internationally
  • Creative Methodology:  A design-based course focusing on idea generation, technical and creative skills, materials and processes.
  • Visual Arts Studio: An art-based practical 2D and 3D studio course exploring idea development through drawing, illustration/ cartooning and sculpture
  • Studio Project:  Students finish the programme, developing their own project with either an art or design focus - this is their choice. They apply skills learnt in the preceding courses. This project finishes in an exhibition of work.
Additional costs

You will receive a list of basic requirements to be purchased during the first week (some class materials are supplied).

Student loans and 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. 


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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