This leading, professional degree programme offers a highly practical, real-life approach to interior design and will prepare you for employment within the
Interested in creating beautiful and practical spaces for people to live, work and play amongst? Want to help shape our future and need a qualification to kick start your design career?
This leading, professional degree programme offers a highly practical, real-life approach to interior design and will prepare you for employment within the industry. As the global population grows, so does the demand for innovative designers to create clever and sustainable spatial solutions. Your ability to think outside the box will be sought after and you could find work in a broad range of creative areas. Career options could include an Interior Designer, Lighting Designer, Furniture Designer, CAD Specialist, Exhibition Designer, Stage Designer or Design Writer/Editor. With hard work and commitment, you could set your sights on design company directorial roles.
Gain a sound knowledge, understanding and practical experience of the design process, developing specialist skills in key aspects of interior design and redesign. Choose to study at one of New Zealand's most innovative and progressive design schools and enjoy an industry-focused approach to the unique history, context and philosophy of this field of design. Benefit from our excellent workshop facilities, the opportunity to undertake a work placement in a professional practice and the chance to showcase your creative talent.
International fee: NZD 21,270 (first year)
Creativity and vision.
A passion for design.
The ability to see an idea through from concept to reality.
The ability to communicate your ideas to others.
An interest in people and the world around you.
International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet degree-level entry requirements.
If English is not your first language, you must also 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.
Your portfolio should:
Be a comprehensive review of your current design achievements, potential and commitment. We are looking for evidence that you are able to be original, versatile and enterprising and that you are committed to creative study in your chosen design field.
Within the portfolio:
Your portfolio should include work that you feel best represents your creativity and demonstrates your knowledge of and passion for your chosen field of study. It may contain photographs, small original works, sketches, and whatever you feel is visually informative about you and your abilities as a potential fashion/communication/interiors/product designer.
Please include process work for some pieces (2-3 approximately). This could include drawings, sources of inspiration, comments etc which demonstrate the development of an idea, i.e. that you are able to develop and research an idea through to a finished design. e.g. painting, graphic work, garment, photograph, a creative textile work or 3-dimensional design, appropriate to your chosen field of study.
For secondary school students this work can be anything completed over the last year and may be work that you are developing for NCEA Level 3 portfolios. We do not require finished NCEA boards but you may wish to include development work for these. We would like to see work that has been done as part of class or group projects, but also work which has been self-initiated, and demonstrates interest in your chosen field of study.
The portfolio should be in a format appropriate to the work you are showing, i.e. digital (CD) or physical. As a guide, we expect at least 10 X A4 or A3 sheets – a clear binder is a good way to protect your work unless, of course, your portfolio is on CD or being sent by email. If you wish to include garments/samples in your portfolio, please consider providing photographs of your work instead. We have limited storage space and do not wish to risk damage to your work.
Please note there is a 15MB file size limit for the portfolio if you are applying online.
Explain why you have chosen to apply for the selected programme. This letter should communicate your interest in the discipline and discuss what steps you have already taken to increase your chances of being accepted onto the programme. Please include Curriculum Vitae and your career goals in this letter and any other relevant information.
Delivery of your portfolio
Please courier or hand-deliver your portfolio to the address below (enclosing a self-addressed, postage-paid courier package in order for your work to be returned after consideration):
F Block, Forth Street
Attn: Student Administrator for Design
We look forward to receiving your application as soon as possible. Applications are preferred by 30 November (late applications are accepted based on the availability of places in the programme).
You must supply certified copies of proof of identify, academic records, proof of residency (where appropriate) and curriculum vitae.
Selected applicants may be asked to undertake an interview, where they will be invited to discuss their portfolio. Eligible applicants will be selected using a range of identified criteria. Should the number of applicants who meet the selection process requirements exceed the available places, the professional judgement of staff will be used to determine those given immediate entry and those placed on a waiting list. Applicants who do not meet the acceptance criteria will be directed to a path of study to prepare them for application the following year.
A school leaver or an adult applicant who does not meet all of the entry criteria may be given provisional entry to year one at the discretion of the Head of Department. Those who successfully complete and pass year one will be deemed to have met entry requirements and provisional status will be removed. The interview panel will consist of lecturers who teach on the course, along with an academic leader from the department. Applicants will be selected on merit using professional judgement on the basis of their portfolio of work, evidence of creativity, ability to take a concept through to model or prototype, and demonstration of the ability to undertake design study at degree level.
Successful applicants are all informed before the end of the year and are sent detailed information on enrolment procedures, loans, starting dates for the following year and any information that might be required to facilitate a smooth introduction to the programme.
A list of equipment, textbooks and resources which must be purchased for this programme are available from the School of Design.
Further study options
Advance your design skills with our graduate or postgraduate qualifications in Design or Art, or expand your career prospects with a graduate teacher training programme.
Programme specific risks
Prior to enrolment, you are advised of the programme specific risks in workshops and CAD rooms. This information is provided by way of discussion at interview and written notification with acceptance and you will be required to undertake training before independent use of many types of equipment in workshops and studios. Risks include wood, metal, plastics, textiles, painting plant and equipment. You will be required to attend Otago Polytechnic training sessions in first aid and computer health and safety and will have significant exposure to working conditions in relevant design software.
Studying at the school of design
Offering small class sizes in immersive studio environments, the School of Design provides you with numerous chances to showcase your creative talent. You will be frequently involved in talks, exhibitions, and events, with the year culminating in the 'Excite' exhibition, a highlight on the Otago Polytechnic calendar. Benefit from our excellent workshop facilities, discipline-related studio areas, up-to-date CAD suites and the newly established innovation workSpace.
The innovation workSpace is a commercial product design and development centre and academic research facility meeting international standards. It is able to facilitate the production of prototypes at all levels of the product design and development process and is set up with a wide range of the latest equipment including a CNC 3 axis router, CNC milling and turning, 3D rapid manufacturing, water jet cutter, laser cutting and engraving, and full 3D scanning and reverse engineering. It is a business enabler, matching academic rigour with enterprise, business, production and management, and is a showcase for applied design, creativity and innovative endeavour.
newSplash is a professional Communication Design studio based at the Otago Polytechnic campus in Dunedin. This studio connects emerging designers with commercial or not-for-profit clients. newSplash matches clients' requirements to your design skills and enable you to gain valuable work experience in a learning environment. At the end of your degree you may apply for a job at the studio as a Design Associate, offering you up to a year of paid work experience, applying your skills to client work, in a busy studio environment.
The School of Design also enjoys strong and frequent links to the local, national and international design community. You will benefit from ongoing networks and opportunities through these associations which will allow you to form contacts within the industry, while at the same time earning credits towards your degree. No matter what your discipline, we offer you the chance to work with 'real' clients, creating design-based solutions and services.
What is the minimum/maximum age to apply?
There is no maximum age to apply, provided that you are a genuine student. Usually, students beginning their programmes are at least 18 years of age.
How long will my study take?
Undergraduate degrees are three years, diplomas are usually two years and certificates are one year. Graduate and postgraduate qualifications can take one to two years to complete.
What about international recognition?
All of our qualifications are recognised internationally. You are able to take your Otago Polytechnic undergraduate degree and apply to other national and international tertiary institutions for graduate and postgraduate study.
How much can I earn as a student?
Those students who are eligible to work while studying may get causal jobs in areas like hospitality or other service industries. Your hourly wage is likely to be between NZD$13-15.
What do I need for my student visa?
Your Otago Polytechnic Offer of Place letter. This letter means you have been accepted to study. It also states your course fee, which you must pay first to your nearest New Zealand embassy, consulate or immigration office. You will then receive a receipt of payment from us. You must submit these two documents (your Offer of Place and your receipt of fees), along with evidence that you have sufficient funds for living expenses, and a return international air ticket or evidence of sufficient funds to buy one, to your nearest New Zealand embassy, consulate or immigration office.
For programmes longer than 24 months, you will also need to provide very recent medical and x-ray certificates. If you are over 17 years of age, you will need a police certificate to show that you are of good character. See the New Zealand Immigration website for more details.
Streamlined visa applications now open!
If you are an international student who will apply for your student visa from outside of New Zealand, you might be eligible for the streamlined visa process offered by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). This allows your visa application to be processed faster by INZ because Otago Polytechnic nominates you as a suitable candidate (INZ will decide the outcome and the processing time).
Once you have received your Offer of Place from Otago Polytechnic, you may apply for a streamlined visa nomination letter from us. For more information and to submit an application, click here.
What happens when I finish my degree?
Students who have completed their degree in the normal time and have a job offer related to their studies can apply for a work visa for another two years. This entitles you to work in the job you have been offered, and may help you qualify for residence.
What about applying for New Zealand residency?
If you meet the requirements of the current immigration policy in New Zealand, it is possible for you to apply for residence at any time. Immigration policy encourages students who have completed their degree in New Zealand to apply for permanent residence.
Is there an application fee?
How long does it take to apply?
We suggest you apply at least three to four months before your programme starts so that you are organised to arrive on time.
What do I need to include in my application?
Your English language test results: IELTS, TOEFL or TOIEC. We also require certified copies of any academic results you have from your overseas high school or university. We may also require your curriculum vitae or a portfolio, depending on your programme entry requirements.
There is an emphasis throughout the three year programme on the development of independent learning skills. This is reflected in the decrease of directed hours over the three years with an expectation that, by the end of year three, you will be an independent learner.
Hours are allocated as follows, based on a 32 week academic year:
Directed (Class Contact Hours)
Approximate Hours Per Week
Self-Directed Hours (Non- Class Contact)
Approximate Hours Per Week
434 + 95 Work experience