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Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design

Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design

Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design


About Whitecliffe

Whitecliffe is an independent Arts and Design school of choice, producing the highest quality graduates and shaping exceptional creative citizens.

Whitecliffe provides life-transforming educational experiences in arts and design through teaching and research, educating students to shape culture through the practice and critical study of the arts. Building on foundations of excellence, innovation and a commitment to diversity, Whitecliffe prepares its students for lifelong creative work and engagement with their communities. Whitecliffe seeks to instil aesthetic judgment, professional knowledge, collaborative skills and technical expertise in all graduates.

Whitecliffe core values have developed through the work of committed faculty, students, alumni and staff. At Whitecliffe we believe that ideas and expression are inseparable. Our commitment to a wide range of media, processes and methodologies supports our belief that our graduates become leaders in their fields through a critical combination of making and thinking. Through rigorous critique, intelligent debate and mutual respect, graduates gain the lifelong skills they need to shape their communities.

Welcome to Whitecliffe

Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design established in 1982 and located in Auckland, is an award-winning specialist in tertiary arts and design education.

All qualifications conferred by Whitecliffe are New Zealand Qualification Authority approved. The spacious, secure and modern campus is located in Parnell, which is a few minutes walk from Central Auckland.

Internationally-recognised programmes at Certificate, Degree, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters levels are offered in FINE ARTS, PHOTO MEDIA, FASHION DESIGN, GRAPHIC DESIGN, ARTS MANAGEMENT and ARTS THERAPY.

Whitecliffe delivers contemporary and internationally relevant programmes which are taught by practising artists, designers, educators and researchers. Students develop creative and critical thinking, research, communication and presentation skills, and are exposed to the contemporary arts and design world through exhibitions, internships, international guests and industry professionals. Independence, creativity and risk-taking are strongly encouraged within Whitecliffe programmes from certificate to postgraduate level.

Whitecliffe graduates are articulate, creative thinkers with broad skills and a high level of industry standard technical proficiency. They create powerful and compelling visual expressions of their ideas, are leaders in the creative industries, and shape contemporary culture.

Why Choose Whitecliffe?

Whitecliffe is New Zealand's Art School of First Choice

Whitecliffe is the most prestigious art and design Tertiary institution in New Zealand. Whitecliffe is widely viewed as the ART SCHOOL OF FIRST CHOICE by New Zealand students and secondary school teachers.

International students at Whitecliffe have the benefit of studying alongside the best of New Zealand students.

Whitecliffe is Government Funded

Whitecliffe is recognised and funded by the New Zealand Government.

Whitecliffe is New Zealand owned and operated

Whitecliffe was established in 1982 and is the only privately owned, degree-conferring art and design institution in New Zealand that is New Zealand owned.

Whitecliffe is an award-winning specialist arts and design school where students, graduates and faculty win numerous national and international awards of note including:

  • Eden Arts Art Schools Top Award as the consistently top art school in Auckland since the awards was established in 2011.
  • Australasian Graduate of The Year – Fashion Design
  • Australasian Graduate of The Year – Visual Communication
  • id Emerging Designer
  • Best Awards
  • AgIdeas

Student-lead learning that recognises diversity

The Whitecliffe Foundation Certificate and Bachelor of Fine Arts programmes are based on a uniquely student-centred approach that recognises and nurtures each student’s diverse needs and passions. Students are exposed to a combination of new media and contemporary concepts while building up knowledge of traditional materials, skills and attitudes.

Whitecliffe Programmes

Whitecliffe offers a range of programmes designed to suit students’ creative aspirations. Entry points are also designed to fit with student experience and education background.

Value of creative education

Creativity requires a combination of imagination, focus and flexibility. Increasingly, fine arts graduates are receiving recognition as creative thinkers and makers who can successfully adapt to many industries and roles through using the transferable skills they accrue in their arts or design degree programme.

Academic study and research

Problem-solving skills and creative responses are emphasised and encouraged. As well as further developing individual creative talents, students learn critical thinking, research, communication and presentation skills. The study is supported at every level by theoretical and professional practice courses.

Preparation for Creative Industries

The philosophy underpinning the undergraduate programme is to combine creative research skills with a solid awareness of the public and professional requirements of visual arts professions.

Broad arts and design skills support each department

Whitecliffe undergraduate programmes are taught within the context of an art and design school and the Bachelor of Fine Arts so whichever major students select they will have drawing, painting and design skills.

Studio Spaces

Small practical class sizes mean lecturers and students interact at a personal level on a daily basis. BFA students from Year 2 and above are provided with personal working space or studio and have access to the Whitecliffe campus seven days a week.

BFA includes entrepreneurship programme

Whitecliffe provides comprehensive professional grounding in areas such as business, marketing and ethics which maximises the acquisition of transferable skills and post-study career outcomes for our students. The philosophy underpinning the undergraduate programme is to combine creative research skills with a solid awareness of the public and professional requirements of visual arts professions.


Students are exposed to the contemporary arts and design world through exhibitions, international guests, industry professionals, competitions and mandatory internships in Year 3.

The philosophy underpinning the undergraduate programme is to combine creative research skills with a solid awareness of the public and professional requirements of visual arts professions.

Central Campus Location

Whitecliffe is located in Parnell, Auckland. The campus is 2 kilometres from the very centre of the CBD and is therefore close to all the amenities offered by beautiful Auckland - New Zealand’s largest, and most cosmopolitan city.

Whitecliffe is a Category One Institution

New Zealand has a well established international reputation for high-quality education and for rigorous review of Education providers by The New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA)

NZQA is highly confident in the educational performance of Whitecliffe and has awarded Whitecliffe the highest grading of Category One.

High Course Completion Rates

Whitecliffe course completion and pass rates average 80% which is the highest for any arts and design programme in New Zealand. Whitecliffe has a 90% success rate with job placement for design students who graduate with an advanced qualification (Bachelor of Fine Arts)

Support of International Students

Whitecliffe has an established record of supporting International students for whom English is a second language. Academic writing and research support is available at every level via The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programme which is designed specifically to assist students with arts and academic language and essay writing. This one-on-one programme is available to all students that require it. It is not included in the tuition fees as a standard component of the course but is made available at an additional cost of $700 per year.

Diverse cultural backgrounds

International students at Whitecliffe come from over fifteen different countries including China, Canada, England, India, Japan, Korea, New Caledonia, Pacific Islands, Russia, USA and Vietnam, Whitecliffe faculty and staff are also drawn from diverse cultural backgrounds, such as Japan, China, India, United Kingdom, Pacific Islands, South Africa and Europe.

Ethnicity is valued at Whitecliffe and students are encouraged to reference their cultural heritage in their art and design work.

Internationally recognised qualifications

As with other highly respected private arts and design institutions around the world such as the Royal College of Arts in London, the Art Institute in Chicago, Pratt Institute and Parsons in New York City, The Otis School of Art and Design in Los Angeles, and the Rhode Island School of Design all Whitecliffe qualifications conferred are internationally recognised.

Pathways to further International study

Whitecliffe has a respected international reputation for both its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and has established pathway and study abroad arrangements to Higher Education with a number of notable universities overseas. These universities include Otis College of Arts and Design, Los Angeles, Pennsylvania State University, Montclair State University – New Jersey, The University of Michigan, The University of North Dakota, Texas Christian University – Fort Worth and Valdosta State University – South Georgia.

Whitecliffe is a dedicated Art and Design Institution

As Whitecliffe is a dedicated arts and design institution, all funding is directed to the arts and design programmes, to the campus facilities and for the benefit of all students.

In comparison with larger Institutions and Universities with multiple degree programmes, there is no requirement for departments to contest for a varying portion of funding.

Whitecliffe facilities

The Whitecliffe library and research resources are specifically targeted to support students studying arts and design. Once students have entered Year 2 of the BFA they will be allocated specific individual work areas/studio spaces for the duration of the academic year. Students have access to the studios in the evenings and over the weekends. The campus buildings are secure and access is controlled by swipe card.


  • Auckland

    24 Balfour Road, Parnell, 1052, Auckland