Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts and Design)

Gain professional skills in paint, print making, jewellery, textiles, sculpture, carving, photography, graphic design, animation and other art forms. Create a major body of work in your final year.
This programme is being replaced with the Bachelor of Creativity in 2018, currently pending approval.

Programme Overview

The Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts and Design) is a three-year programme. In the first year, students can explore one of two pathways: visual arts media (painting, print making, sculpture, textiles and jewellery) or visual communication design (publication design, motion graphics, photography, digital illustration and web interface design). Students increasingly specialise in a chosen media throughout the degree and in the final year, approach a variety of design professionals and galleries to showcase their work, while developing portfolios for employment or create a major body of work for exhibition.

Students who complete the New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 5) or the New Zealand Diploma in Digital Design can enter the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts and Design) at year two. 

Programme Outline

In each year, students complete both core and body of work modules. Core or compulsory modules provide the cultural and historical context, and the practical business knowledge, that underpin all art and design studies.

In studio papers, students explore a range of manual and digital media to add breadth and depth to their chosen specialisation. Intensive studio or computer lab work focuses on specific media - for example, contemporary jewellery, textiles, digital design media (print, web, motion, and publication), and 2D or 3D visual arts media (painting, printmaking, textiles and carving).

To achieve the Bachelor of Applied Arts, students must complete all programme work, including all core modules, to a minimum of 360 credits.

Module outlines


Year 1 (Level 5): 20 hours per week class contact.

Years 2 and 3 (Levels 6 and 7): Hours are dependent on modules. Classes are scheduled between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. Students are expected to pursue self-directed study of approximately 20 hours per week.

Course costs

All students receive a small allowance for printing and photocopying. Equipment is provided in studios and computer labs. Depending on the paper chosen, there may be additional costs. Students will be advised of these costs when applying to enroll in the paper.


Facilities include extensive studios for jewellery, print, paint, carving, textiles, photography, and digital design labs.

Exit qualifications

Students can exit with the following qualifications:

  • National Diploma in Jewellery Design (Level 5)
  • Diploma in Digital Design (Level 5)
  • Diploma in Digital Design and Multimedia (Level 6)
  • Diploma in Visual Art (Level 6)

Entry Requirements

Whitireia degree academic entry requirements and submission of portfolio showing ability in visual art/design.

Portfolios should be one of the following:

  • NCEA Level 3 portfolio or equivalent personal portfolio
  • Arts/Digital Media certificate programme portfolio
  • Portfolio of personal work or any other relevant practical work

The portfolio may include a selection of the following:

  • Sketchbooks/workbooks showing the development of ideas
  • Drawings, including both working drawings and finished works
  • Photographs, slides or CD-ROM files relevant to the applicant's field of study
  • Finished works in the medium in which the applicant wishes to study

Portfolios will be examined for evidence of the applicants potential to develop the following attributes:

  • Technical skills in major studio speciality areas
  • Drawing skills
  • Design processes and concept development​