Start your study in Design
The Designers Institute works closely with educators to develop and support design education in New Zealand. The universities and polytechs to the left are all Designers Institute members – just click on each one to find out more about the great courses they have to offer.
Can I study anywhere?
We recommend that you choose a tertiary institute where the qualifications are accredited by the Government, through either the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) or the Committee for University Academic Programmes (CUAP). This means that your course has more credibility to potential employers. All of the courses offered by the schools to the left are accredited, so take a look through your options.
How do I choose a good school?
Aside from making sure the school is Government accredited (see above), you should compare schools to find the one that suits your interests and goals best – each school should have an area of specialisation. They’ll also offer a range of courses in different areas, such as graphic design, spatial design, interior design, product design, fashion design, furniture design or multimedia design. Which one offers the best course for what you want to do?
You should also do some research to find when each school has their organised visits, open days or exhibitions of student work – this will help you to get a feel for the place. Student exhibitions are usually around November.
Finally, talk to some students or ex-students. They’ll give you the inside word about what it’s really like to go to their uni or polytech – because we all know that places tend to talk themselves up in their brochures and promo material. Speaking to someone who’s been through the experience can be the most helpful way to figure out the school’s reputation and the realities of studying there.
Overall – do lots of research. The more you do, the more you’ll be prepared once the course starts. Good luck!
Contacting the Design schools
We recommend that you email, phone or write to your chosen school and ask them to send you their latest prospectus and brochures. Most Design schools will also have full information on their website, including details about programmes, staff and research.
The closing date for most programmes is between September and December, so make sure you prepare your application early – and pay close attention to what you need to provide.
What you’ll need to apply
Most schools will ask for a portfolio of work, so you should be preparing a set of images and files to send in with your application. There’ll be more detail as to what you need to hand in within the info you get from the school of your choice.
Student membership of the Designers Institute
We love to support up-and-coming talent, so we offer a special Designers Institute student membership rate while you’re studying, followed by a graduate rate that’s offered for three years after your graduation. Find out more about this on our Apply page.