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Contemporary art student working in studio

Bachelor of Contemporary Art


Course details

  • Jul 2024
    Feb 2025
  • Three years
  • Full-time or Part-time
  • $7,340* per year
  • Level 7
  • Available for International Students. International Fee Guideline
  • Hamilton City Campus
Note: For mid-year intakes, please contact to discuss pathway options.


This degree is for those who want to engage in fields of art including painting, photography, screen-based media, installation, street art, sculpture, curation or illustration. Students will study in a community where individual vision and personality are valued as a relevant contribution to our society.

Students will develop and gain a deep understanding of creativity in art and use this to respond to situations that demand combinations of ideas, technologies and techniques that result in new forms of knowledge and making. Such knowledge is powerful in the careers that will sustain and transform our world.

With 24-hour access to studios and workshops, students will have the opportunity to develop their own personal art practice, as well as undertake real-world projects both with students from other disciplines, and with industry.

How you will learn

Project zones

Project-based learning is at the heart of what students will do. Each term students will do a bunch of structured learning with their tutors and in the last four weeks of the term they'll get to apply your learning to a project, we call this time ‘project zones’. The project zones also provide opportunities for you to collaborate with students across the creative disciplines of Media Arts: Music and Performing Arts, Design (Visual Communication), Design (Fashion) and Contemporary Art.   

Classrooms for creatives

Students will be with us Monday-Thursday, spending the majority of their time in a studio environment, alongside their peers. This time is structured so students can find their rōpū and build a creative network, replicating the environment they’ll work in post-study but also allowing students the time and space to explore and make a mess. Students will also have 24-hour access to our studios and workshops, so they can work whenever inspiration hits.

Specialists and mentors

Students will get a backstage pass to our events, industry talks, gallery exhibitions, festival week and performances. These enhance our teaching programme and provide conversations to provoke challenge and inspire, that will not only fuel students' progress, but will connect them with experts that will help launch a creative career. 

Internships and industry

By the time students reach third year, they will be able to take their developing specialised skills, springboard off our connections, and be ready to move into a robust internship program that takes up the last half of the final year with us. This sets students up with real on-the-job experiences as they prepare for life beyond study. 

Contemporary arts student displaying artwork in studio
Click the play button and discover what studying at the Wintec School of Media Arts can offer you.

What you will learn

In the first year of the Bachelor of Contemporary Art, students will take three core modules:
  • Contemporary Art craft: Develop your specialised skills 
  • Critical methods: Understand the arts and cultural word
  • Professional practice: Learn the ways of industry
To complement, students will add two electives of their choice so they can broaden their creative toolkit, such as the fundamentals in sound, storytelling, and moving image, with more options to choose from.

These electives will give students a secure grounding in the technical, theoretical, and professional skills, while also exposing them to broader ideas about the arts and the cultural world around them.

View programme modules

Note: no value in the pre/co-requisite columns means there are no pre/co-requisites for that module.

Table A: Craft and core modules

Module Code Module Title Pre-requisites Co-requisites Credits Level
CART510Mahi Toi 510  305
CART520Mahi Toi 520 
CART610Mahi Toi 610  306
CART620Mahi Toi 620  306
CART710Mahi Toi 710CART610
CART720Mahi Toi 720CART710 157
CRIT501Critical Methods 1  155
CRIT601Critical Methods 2CRIT501 156
PROF501Professional Practice 1  155
PROF601Professional Practice 2PROF501 156
PROF702Professional Practice 3PROF601 157

Table B: Project modules

Module Code Module Title Pre-requisites Co-requisites Credits Level
Research MethodsCRIT601
15 7
CRTV702Freelance ProjectCOMM610 & 620 or
DSGN610 & 620 or
CART610 & 620 or
MAPA6010 & 620
CRTV703Capstone ProjectCOMM710 or
DSGN710 or
MAPA710 or
CRTV704Art Education - Matauranga ToiCOMM610 & 620 or
DSGN610 & 620 or
CART610 & 620 or
MAPA6010 & 620

CRTV705Creative Work Integrated LearningPROF702 or equivalent 157
DFNZ701Design Factory Industry Project75 credits at level 6 or
pre-requisites may be waived at the discretion
of the relevant Head of School/Centre Director
or designated authority

The 30 credit module DFNZ701: Design Factory 1 can be offered as an option within any Wintec degree programme, wherever the degree programme structures allows such an option.  Admission into the Design Factory module is on negotiation with the Centre Director or delegated authority and selection into the module is in line with the Design Factory process.

Table C: Elective Modules

Module Code Module Title Pre-requisites Co-requisites Credits Level
DSGN502CMS Web Publishing  155
DSGN503Graphic Design Fundamentals  155
CRTV501Creative Special Topic 1  155
CRTV502Creative Special Topic 2  155
MAPA502Sound Fundamentals  155
MAPA503Lighting Fundamentals  155
MAPA504Songwriting  155
MAPA604Songwriting 2MAPA504 166
MAPA505Intro to Ensemble Performance  155
MAPA506Repertoire Studies 1  155
MAPA507Performance Studies 1
CRTV601Creative Special Topic 360 credits level 5 156
CRTV602Creative Special Topic 460 credits level 5 156
COMM502Storytelling, Myth and Ritual  155
PRNT501Screen Printing   155
SCRN502Screen Fundamentals  155
SCRN503Screen Technology OneSCRN502 155
JOUR505Media Law and Context  155
DSGN602Motion GraphicsDSGN510 or
DSGN503 or
equivalent knowledge or skills
DSGN603Type DesignDSGN510 or
DSGN503 or
equivalent knowledge or skills
BMA0G210Illustration, Concept MediaDSGN510 or
CART510 or
DSGN503 or
equivalent knowledge or skills
PHOT501Photography Fundamentals  155
PHOT502Photography Tech OnePHOT501 or
equivalent knowledge or skills
PHOT503Darkroom Photography  155
CART502Drawing Fundamentals  155
CART503Painting Fundamentals  155
MAPA606Repertoire Studies 2MAPA506 or equivalent proficiency 155
MAPA607Performance Studies 2MAPA507 or equivalent proficiency 155
CART602Eco Creative Practice60 credits Level 5 including either
CRIT501 or PROF501
DFNZ601Design Thinking Launchpad60 credits at level 6 or equivalent 156
COMM602Feature Writing  156
DSGN604Surface DesignDSGN503 or equivalent 156

Or other modules and packages of learning as agreed to by the designated media arts staff.

Design Factory NZ

In their third year of study, students can apply to study the 30 credit Design Factory NZ module. This experience teaches a range of problem-solving methodologies, which students will apply to a real-world challenge provided by an industry partner. Students will work in a multi-disciplinary team alongside students from engineering, business, IT, sport and exercise science, media arts, and more. 

Joining Design Factory NZ will provide students with the opportunity to learn and work in new ways, prototype solutions to complex problems, and develop their soft skills of creativity, empathy and communication - all in high-demand for the workplace of the future.

Read more about Design Factory NZ here.

Design factory NZ logo small size

Career/further opportunities

  • Artist: painting, photographer, filmmaker, multi-media
  • Illustrator
  • Curator
  • Arts administrator
  • Stylist 
  • Art teacher
  • Arts advocate

Graduates will be qualified to work in a range of communication, media, and creative related roles. They will have developed transferable skills and professional attributes that will position them for many other jobs. Graduates will have the skills to work collaboratively and creatively within the increasingly complex and dynamic creative industries. 

This programme also pathways into postgraduate programmes at Wintec such as the Bachelor of Media Arts with Honours then Master of Arts.

Student projects

Look through our graduate publications to see the work students create. In these, you will find short bios and images of student projects from across the media arts disciplines over the years.

Frequently asked questions

If you have not done NCEA credits in arts or visual design, do not meet the entry criteria, or are applying as a mature student, you may need to submit a portfolio, and you will be advised of this when you apply. Find out more about portfolio entry and if you need to submit a portfolio here.

What can I expect from the class schedule and workload?

Students can expect to spend about 26 hours a week in scheduled classes. Some of these will be on campus, but students will also spend time on industry visits and working on client projects.

How much time outside of class will I need to spend on study?

Students are expected to do another 14 hours of independent learning on top of classes - in total the mix of class time and independent study should add up to about 40 hours per week.

What opportunities will I get to work on industry projects?

There are four project zones per year, during which students will work for up to three weeks with an industry or community partner on a cross-disciplinary project. Students will also do a work placement in second year and a major internship in their third year.

Undergraduate, semester, pathway, module and cross-disciplinary - what do these words mean?

Undergraduate means any study up to the level of completing a bachelor degree. Our academic year is made up of two main semesters, one from February to June and the other from July to November. We also have a summer semester for some classes. A degree is made up of a mix of compulsory and elective modules, modules are worth between 15 and 60 credits. A year’s worth of full time study is 120 credits. 


Entry criteria

General academic admission

a. Candidates are required to have:
  i. NCEA Level 3 comprised of 60 credits at NCEA Level 3 or above and 20 credits at NCEA Level 2 or above, including:
    1. 14 credits each at NCEA Level 3 in three approved subjects2; and
    2. Literacy3 (10 credits at NCEA Level 2 or above made up of 5 credits each in reading and writing); and
    3. Numeracy4 (10 credits at NCEA Level 1 or above); and
    4. 10 or more externally assessed credits at NCEA level 2 or 3 in either Practical Art or Design and Visual Communication; or
  ii. A relevant level 4 qualification; or
  iii. Equivalent

b. In exceptional cases, candidates with 60 credits at NCEA Level 2 across four subjects, including 12 credits in a Language Rich subject, or equivalent, and 10 or more externally assessed credits at NCEA level 2 or 3 in either Practical Art or Design and Visual Communication will be considered.

UE 2020

Applicants who achieved University Entrance through NCEA in 2020 will be assessed under separate NZQA entry requirements that take into account the impacts of COVID-19. Candidates are required to have: 

  • NCEA Level 3 comprised of 60 credits at NCEA Level 3 or above and 20 credits at NCEA Level 2 or above, including: 
    • 12 credits each at NCEA Level 3 in three approved subjects; and
    • Literacy (10 credits at NCEA Level 2 or above made up of 5 credits each in reading and writing); and
    • Numeracy (10 credits at NCEA Level 1 or above); and
    • 10 or more externally assessed credits at NCEA level 2 or 3 in either Practical Art or Design and Visual Communication.

Special admission

Domestic applicants aged 20 years or above who have not met the General Admission or entry requirements for a programme but whose skills, education or work experience indicate that they have a reasonable chance of success may be eligible for Special Admission. Special admission will be granted at the discretion of the relevant Head of School/Centre Director or designated nominee. Such applicants may be required to successfully complete a foundation, bridging or tertiary introductory programme as a condition of entry into higher level programmes.

Provisional entry

Domestic applicants aged under 20 years who have not met the general academic admission and entry criteria for a programme but who can demonstrate a reasonable chance of success through other educational attainment and/or work or life experience may be eligible for provisional entry at the discretion of the relevant Head of School/Centre Director or designated nominee. Provisional entry places restrictions on re-enrolment to be lifted if the applicant’s performance is deemed satisfactory by the relevant Head of School/Centre Director or designated nominee.

Selection criteria

Selection will be determined on the basis of the candidate’s application and academic performance. An interview, portfolio and written language test may also be required as part of the selection process.

English language requirements

a) Candidates who have English as a second language are required to have an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.0 with no individual band score lower than 5.5; or,
b) Equivalent.

Want to see full details of the entry criteria?

Don't meet the entry criteria?


Media Arts pathway diagram for semester 2 2019

To check what you need to gain direct entry to a course, review the entry criteria available on each programme page. These assist you in understanding what qualifications or experience are typically required to gain entry. You can contact our team at or 0800 2 Wintec at any time for further guidance.

Your first day

Are you ready for your first day of class? Check out your start date and where you need to be. You can also find useful information about studying at Wintec on our welcome page.

Semester 2 2024

Date: Monday 22 July 2024
Time: 10.30am-4pm
Venue: Events Room 1, City Campus

  • Welcome and staff introductions
  • Tours, ID cards, and parking
  • Lunch
  • Class

Returning students
Please check your timetable for your first class details.

What you will need

Please bring a notebook and pen.

In classes, we utilise Mac computers and industry-standard software Adobe Creative Suite. While you will have access to computers as part of your study, it is strongly recommended that you bring your own laptop to be able to continue working on projects off-campus. A Mac computer is recommended as this platform is more common in the industry; however, a Windows-based PC would also be suitable. If you plan to buy a device for use during your studies, a 13” MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with the Apple M1 Chip and 8GB memory (or PC equivalent) is sufficient as a starting point for the software and tools used in class. For any enquiries about more advanced software and computer requirements, please send us an email

Timetable information

All Wintec timetables are available online here.

How to find your way around

Campus maps can be found here.

Parking and bus information

Both the Rotokauri and City campuses have parking available - payment and permits may be required. The Gardens Campus has free parking available. Learn more about parking and find out about bus services here.

He reo pōwhiri, your official welcome to Wintec

Tēnei te mihi mahana ki a koe e piki nei, e kake nei ki te Kuratini o Waikato.

You are warmly invited to attend the official welcome to Wintec for all new students, staff and whānau (family) at either our marae, Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa or Rotokauri campus. The pōwhiri is a welcoming ceremony involving mihimihi (speeches), waiata (singing), and will conclude with kai timotimo (light refreshments). Please gather at the campus hubs, and a staff member will guide you through our pōwhiri.

Click here to find out when the next pōwhiri will be.

Paying for your study

Course-related costs

Additional information


Purchasing textbooks

If your programme requires you to have access to textbooks, these can be purchased through a range of suppliers listed below:

    New Zealand-based suppliers

    General book suppliers

    First aid certificate

    Health status



    Clinical placement

    Prospectus (course guide)

    The Wintec Prospectus (otherwise known as a course guide) outlines everything you need to know about Wintec. It contains information about the Wintec campuses, student life, and the programmes that are on offer.

    Access your copy of the Wintec Prospectus

    The Wintec Prospectus (course guide) is available by downloading the file - click on the document below to access the file. Alternatively, to request a copy via email or the post, please complete the form below.

    Request an emailable or printed copy of the Prospectus


    If you have not received NCEA credits in arts or visual design, do not meet the entry criteria, or are applying as a mature student, you may need to submit a portfolio with annotation and visit us for an interview. You will be advised of this when you apply.

    What does my portfolio need to contain?

    A contemporary art portfolio should include around 15 annotated images of one of the following:

    • Series of drawings
    • Series of paintings and their drawings
    • Series of sculptures/carvings with drawings
    • Series of photographs with drawings (if applicable), proof sheets, and work prints
    • Graphic or product design projects with briefs and drawings
    • Video or film scripts and photographs of storyboards (if bigger than A4)
    • Visual narrative sequences (comic strips) and preparatory drawings (photographs only if bigger than A4)

    The portfolio of work should form a cohesive series. From this, we want to understand:

    • That you can develop a body of related work, and
    • The way that your ideas were investigated and developed

    It is better to show us one or two complete work series rather than a sample of many different things. These portfolio requirements fit nicely with the work you will have done if you studied at NCEA Level 2 or 3 in visual arts, technology or design, or visual communication subject at high school.

    What do my annotations need to communicate?

    Identify and discuss the successful aspects of your work, and describe where your ideas came from, what or who inspired or influenced them and how you developed them. You should also indicate how you could develop these ideas in future work. We are interested in how you engage with the wider visual culture that surrounds you and your understanding of where your work “fits” in the world's wide range of art and design practices. This could include a reference to art, architecture, movies, digital technologies, culture, or craft.

    These annotations could take the form of a series of notes that refer to specific works in your portfolio or could be in a set of paragraphs that discuss these ideas in general.

    Do you need help with your portfolio?

    We are happy to help, please send us an email, and we will be in touch.

    Need help? Want to know how to get started?

    Leave your details here and we will come back to you:

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