design students working on projects together

Bachelor of Design

Bachelor of Design with endorsement in: Visual Communication or Spatial Design


Course details

  • Jul 2019
    Feb 2020
  • Three years
  • Full-time or Part-time
  • $7149 per year
  • You may qualify for fee free study under Fees Free Policy
  • Level 7
  • Available for International Students. International Fee Guideline
  • Hamilton City Campus


This degree will develop students’ capabilities in creativity, innovation, and design. Students will learn to apply creative problem-solving and spatial design skills in the residential and commercial environment.

As part of this programme, students will have the opportunity to undertake collaborative real-world projects with students from other disciplines and industry.

The degree has pathways in Spatial or Visual Communication (Graphic Design).

Visual communication

Students will develop skills in design and hone their eye for detail so they can masterfully bring their ideas to life. They will learn:

  • Web and interactive design, and animation and motion graphics 
  • Graphic design for print, package, and publication
  • Illustration
  • Brand identity development

Students will gain practical and critical design skills, while keeping pace with current industry trends in this rapidly evolving industry. They will also be challenged to apply their skills to a variety of design situations as they learn while doing.

Spatial design

Students will develop skills in spatial design and hone their eye for detail, so they can masterfully bring their ideas to life. They will learn:

  • Design fundamentals for residential and commercial spaces
  • People and communication skills to pitch to clients
  • Project management strategies

Students will gain practical and critical design skills, while keeping pace with current industry trends in this evolving industry. They will also be challenged to apply their skills to a variety of design situations as they learn while doing.

How you'll 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 tutors and in the last four weeks of the term they'll get to apply their learning to a project, we call this time ‘project zones’. The project zones also provide opportunities for students to collaborate across the creative disciplines of Media Arts: Music and Performing Arts, Design (Visual Communication), and Contemporary Art.   

Classrooms for creatives

Students will be with us Monday-Wednesday, spending the majority of their time in a design studio environment, alongside their peers. This time is structured so students can find their rōpū (group) and build their creative network, replicating the environment they'll work in post-study but also allowing them 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 progress, but will connect students with experts that will help launch their 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 will be ready to move into a robust internship program that could take up the last six months of their final year with us. This sets students up with real on-the-job experiences as they launch their creative career. 


Design student drawing fonts

What you'll learn

In the first year students will take three core modules:

  • Design Craft: Develop 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 graphic design, contemporary art, textile design or photography, 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.

Craft and core modules:

Module codeModule titleLevelCreditsPre-requisitesCo-requisites
DSGN501Design Craft 1560  
DSGN601Design Craft 2660 DSGN501 
DSGN701Design Craft 3730 DSGN601 
CRIT501Critical Methods 1515  
CRIT601​Critical Methods 2615  
PROF501Professional Practice 1515  
PROF601Professional Practice 2615  
PROF701Professional Practice 3730  


Project modules:

Module codeModule titleLevelCreditsPre-requisitesCo-requisites
CRTV701​Research Methods715CRIT601 
CRTV702​Freelance Project715

COMM601 or 


CRTV703Capstone Project715

COMM701 or




Elective modules:

Module codeModule titleLevelCreditsPre-requisitesCo-requisites
DSGN502​CMS Web Publishing515  
CRTV501​Creative Special Topic 1515  
CRTV502Creative Special Topic 2515  
 CRTV601Creative Special Topic 361560 credits level 5 
 CRTV602Creative Special Topic 461560 credits level 5 
BMAXX100Moving Image: An Introduction515  
 BMALX142Storytelling, Myth & Ritual515  
 BMALX110BHistory and Theory in visual Art and Design 515  
 BMALX179Interpreting Visual Culture515  
​ PRNT501Printmaking 2 Screen Printing51512 credits at NCEA level 2 Visual Arts or Design 
 MAPA502Sound Fundamentals515  
 MAPA503Lighting Fundamentals515  
​ MAPA504Songwriting515  
 MAPA505Intro to Ensemble Performance 515  
BMAVX212Textile Design515

DSGN501 or

DSGN503 or

equivalent knowledge or skills

BMAYX202Creative Writing Workshop615  
BMA0P230Technical Workshop 1615  
BMAVX284Drawing Through the Camera615  
SCRN502Screen Fundamentals515  
SCRN503Screen Technology One515SCRN502 
JOUR505Media Law and Context515  
BMA0G210Illustration, Concept Media615

DSGN501 or

CART501 or


DSGN603Type Design615

DSGN501 or

DSGN503 or

equivalent knowledge or skills

DSGN602Moving Graphics 615

DSGN501 or

DSGN503 or

equivalent knowledge or skills

PHOT501Photography Fundamentals 515  
CART502Drawing Fundamentals515  
CART503Painting Fundamentals515  
COMM602Feature Writing 615  

Or other modules and packages of learning as agreed to by the designated Media Arts staff.


Module codeModule titleLevelCreditsPre-requisitesCo-requisites
DFNZ701​Design Factory 1730  

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.

Design Factory

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 New Zealand here.

Design factory NZ logo small size

Career/further opportunities

Visual communication:

  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Motion graphics
  • Art director
  • Content developer
  • Product and brand developer

Spatial design:

  • Interior designer
  • Stylist
  • Design consultant
  • Art director
  • Commercial designer
  • Colour consultant
  • Kitchen and bathroom designer
  • Product specialist
  • Furniture and lighting designer or consultant 

Graduates will be qualified to work in a range of design and creative related roles, and 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. 

Graduates of the Bachelor of Design (Spatial) are positioned to pathway into postgraduate programmes at Wintec such as the Bachelor of Media Arts with Honours and Master of Arts.

Frequently asked questions

What can I expect from the class schedule and workload?

Students are expected 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 subjects, including a Language Rich; and
    (2) Literacy (10 credits at NCEA Level 2 or above made up of 5 credits each in reading and writing); and
    (3) Numeracy (10 credits at NCEA Level 1 or above); 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, will be considered.

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 success4 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

a) Where there are more applicants than the number of places available, selection will be determined on the basis of the candidate’s application and submitted portfolio work.
b) An interview 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

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.

Year 1 students starting semester 2 2019

Date:  Monday 22nd July
Time:  9am
Venue: Events room 1, City Campus

9–9.30am Welcome, staff introductions, waiata

9.30am–12pm Tours with Coordinators, information session, student ID’s, parking, and computer logins

12-1pm Social space, pizza for lunch

1pm onwards Ramp Festival.

What you will need

Timetable information

All timetables are available via Timetable Net on our website.

How to find your way around

Parking and bus information

Both the Rotokauri and City campuses have parking available - permits are required. Learn more about parking. Find out about discounted bus services here.

Wintec pōwhiri/nau mai, haere mai

Wintec extends a warm invitation to all new students to attend a Pōwhiri to welcome the semester ahead. After formalities, light refreshments will be served in the marae dining room, Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa, Wintec City Campus.

Click here to find out where and 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:

Hamilton-based supplier

  • Bennetts (Bennetts has a store operating on campus at the University of Waikato, Hamilton)

New Zealand-based suppliers

General book suppliers

First aid certificate

Health status



Clinical placement

Course guide

Our course guides (prospectuses) will tell you everything you need to know about Wintec. They contain information about the Wintec campus, student life and the programmes we offer.

We offer the course guides (prospectuses) in both digital and physical form. Click on the document to download, or fill in the form and we will post or email you a copy.

Request an email or posted copy of the prospectus

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