Best Design Colleges in New Zealand: A Guide

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design colleges in new zealand

New Zealand offers a dynamic design education environment, featuring a number of esteemed institutions. Additionally, the country provides educational avenues for those inclined toward the arts. Situated in geographical isolation, New Zealand’s culture is shaped by a blend of Maori, European, and Pacifica influences, and it takes pride in its pristine environment. The nation warmly hosts over 30,000 international students from various corners of the world.


The premier fine arts schools in New Zealand offer programs such as Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master’s of Fine Arts, Visual Arts, and Fashion Design and Technology.

In this blog, we will delve into the best design colleges in New Zealand, their admission process, scholarships, and career scope.  

Must Read: Cost Of Studying In New Zealand: Key Details

Why Study in New Zealand?

New Zealand offers a diverse education system with a wide array of programs and courses, providing ample opportunities for research and attractive work benefits, making it an ideal destination for students. The cost of education for international students in New Zealand varies based on their chosen field of study, and the average monthly living expense is around INR 61,342.

The primary language spoken in New Zealand is English, although Maori and New Zealand sign languages are also recognized. With a robust market economy and a high per capita gross domestic product of US$ 36,254, New Zealand hosts major corporations like Fonterra, ASB, IBM, Millenium, Spark NZ, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, offering promising career prospects.

New Zealand is known for its exceptional safety and security, providing a welcoming environment for international students, particularly those living independently in a foreign country. 

Furthermore, the New Zealand government and institutions extend generous support to international students through various scholarships, including the New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships, SEG Scholarships, New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships (NZIDRS), and New Zealand Excellence Awards.

Also Read: Part-Time Jobs in New Zealand

Top Design Colleges in New Zealand

New Zealand is home to some of the most cost-effective design colleges in the world. Some prominent design colleges in New Zealand are mentioned below with their courses. Students willing to pursue can refer to the table: 

Universities Courses QS World University Rankings 2024 
The University of AucklandBachelor of Visual Arts
Graduate Diploma in Arts
Master of Visual Arts
Doctor of Philosophy in Art and Design
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts
University of OtagoMaster of Arts (Art History and Visual Culture)
Master of Fine Arts
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts
Victoria University of WellingtonAnimation and Visual Arts
Art History
Design for Social Innovation
Fashion Design and Technology
Media Design
University of CanterburyBachelor of Fine Arts (Painting)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture)
Master of Fine Arts (Painting)
Master of Fine Arts (Sculpture)
Postgraduate Diploma in Art Curatorship
Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts
Massey UniversityAnimation
Art and Photography
Visual Communication
Web Design
Fashion and Textile Design
University of Waikato, HamiltonM.S Computer Graphic Design250
Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington Master of Design Technology [M.D.T]
Master Design Innovation
Bachelor of Arts [B.A] Design Innovation
Bachelor Interior Architecture
Master Interior Architecture
University of Canterbury, ChristchurchM.A Graphic Design
Massey University, Palmerston NorthMaster (Design) 
Lincoln University BA (Hons) Graphic Design
BA (Hons) Illustration
BA (Hons) Photography
BA (Hons) Product Design


Each university has a different fee structure. The students who are willing to study design in New Zealand can refer to the chart mentioned below which gives an overview of average annual tuition fees. However, they are advised to visit the official website of each university or consult Leverage Edu experts for the exact fee structure of the design colleges. 

UniversitiesAverage Annual Tuition Fees
The University of AucklandNZD 41,227.28 
University of Waikato, Hamilton NZD 35,764.75
Victoria University of Wellington, WellingtonNZD 43,853.59
University of Canterbury, ChristchurchNZD 31,974.56
Massey University, Palmerston North NZD 39,023.27

Must Read: Top Universities in New Zealand: Leading Institutions in NZ

Top 3 Design Colles in New Zealand

There are plenty of design colleges situated in New Zealand, but here are three top design colleges that provide world-class education, and a diverse number of subjects to their students. 

The University of Auckland  

Situated in one of New Zealand’s liveliest and student-friendly cities, the University of Auckland holds the top position among colleges on the island. It consistently earns recognition as one of the world’s finest universities according to the QS World Rankings. The university offers a wide array of courses spanning diverse subject areas, encompassing fields like science, law, education, and the arts. Particularly renowned for its arts programs, it stands as one of New Zealand’s most esteemed art schools. 

The institution presents a distinctive and engaging selection of art-related courses, including Design, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Sustainable Design, Fine Arts, Built Heritage, Architecture, Museums, and Cultural Heritage. Prospective students can pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate diplomas in these subjects.

Must Read: University of Auckland Acceptance Rate

Massey University

Next up in our rundown of New Zealand’s art schools is Massey University. Founded in 1927, it’s situated in New Zealand’s Rose City. Despite the challenges brought about by a global pandemic, the university has provided both on-campus and remote learning options (for specific programs) to cater to students from across the globe and ensure top-notch education.

Within the College of Creative Arts, you’ll find a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs spanning Animation, Art and Photography, Visual Communication Design, Web, Game and Interactive Design, Fashion and Textile Design, Sand partial, and Industrial Design, all designed to push the boundaries of your creativity and intellect. 

Must Read: Massey University Acceptance Rate

Victoria University of Wellington

The Victoria University of Wellington is renowned for its dedication to research and cutting-edge ideas. This university has risen to prominence as one of the finest educational institutions in the country. Nestled in the capital city, it boasts modern facilities and meticulously crafted academic programs, carrying a distinguished legacy as a top-tier education provider. 

The college extends a wide array of courses tailored for art enthusiasts, encompassing Animation and Visual Arts, Art History, Design for Social Innovation, Design Technology, Fashion Design and Technology, Industrial Design, Interactive Design, Media Design, User Experience Design, as well as Architecture and related disciplines.

Must Read: Victoria University of Wellington Acceptance Rate

Admission Process 

To opt for design colleges in New Zealand, an international student must meet the admission requirements and complete the application process to start her/their/his academic studies. Furthermore, she/they/he must produce the requisite documents to start higher education in New Zealand.

Eligibility Criteria 

To seek admission to design colleges in New Zealand, there are specific prerequisites to fulfil. The outlined eligibility criteria below provide a general overview, but it is strongly recommended that students verify the official website for their chosen course prior to application:

  • For undergraduate programs, you must furnish evidence of completing senior secondary education with a minimum score of 70% in English. 
  • Additionally, you need to demonstrate proficiency in the English language, attested by scores of at least 6.0 on exams like IELTS or TOEFL
  • Furthermore, essential documents including academic transcripts, Statements of Purpose, and Letters of Recommendation are required.

Application Process

To apply for design colleges, prospective students can visit the official university website to obtain the brochure and application form. Alternatively, they can seek assistance from Leverage Edu, where a team of experts is available to assist with the entire application process. Below are some points which can help you in the application process. 

  • Using our reliable AI University Finder, we’ll aid you in selecting the right course. The experts at Leverage Edu will then initiate the application process with the respective university.
  • Essential documents like Statements of Purpose (SOPs), Essays, and Letters of Recommendation (LORs), as well as language proficiency tests such as IELTS or TOEFL, are crucial components of your university application. It’s imperative to gather and organize all necessary paperwork.
  • Once you’ve submitted your application and required documents, the experts at Leverage Edu will proceed with the application process for accommodation, student visas, as well as scholarships or student loans.
  • Now, it’s a matter of waiting for your offer letter, which typically takes approximately 4-6 weeks.

Documents Required

Below is a checklist of the documents needed for the application procedure:

Must Read: List of Documents Required to Study Abroad in 2023

Scholarships to Study Design in New Zealand 

While pursuing a design degree from New Zealand is reasonably priced, students seek scholarships to support their education. We have mentioned some scholarships that are available for international students in New Zealand. 

AUT Doctoral Scholarship Auckland University of Technology50% discount on first-year tuition fees
Bickerton-Widdowson Trust Memorial Scholarship University of Canterburydiscount on tuition fees
Tongarewa Scholarship Victoria University of Wellington discount on tuition fees

Explore: Study in New Zealand without IELTS

Career Scope 

Earning a degree in the field of design from New Zealand offers a gateway to diverse employment options. Here are some in-demand roles to explore:

Job Roles Average Salary 
Graphic DesignerNZD 60,000 to 75,000
Fashion DesignerNZD 45,094 per year
Industrial DesignerNZD 91,792 per year
Product Designer NZD 140,000 per year
Production Artist NZD 55,000 to 60,000
Retail Designer NZD 50,000 to 55,00


Q1. Which is more cost-effective for education, New Zealand or Australia?

Ans. The cost of living depends on factors like course duration and university choice. However, if you’re considering between Australia and New Zealand for affordability, New Zealand emerges as the more budget-friendly option.

Q2. What is the average income for artists in New Zealand?

Ans. In New Zealand, artists typically earn an average of NZD 51,773 annually, or NZD 26.55 per hour. Entry-level positions start at NZD 40,950 per year, while seasoned professionals can earn up to NZD 85,800 annually.

Q3. Is pursuing education in New Zealand a worthwhile endeavour?

Ans. International students have the opportunity to pursue their preferred courses and engage in diverse research areas aligned with their interests at these universities. New Zealand also offers a secure and safe environment for students. Additionally, the government prioritizes the well-being of international students here.

Learn about study abroad prospects at Leverage Edu and Leverage Live. Get free 30-minute counselling at 1800 572 000 and start your journey.

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