Bachelor of Applied Arts

with majors in Visual Arts or Digital Arts

Programme Banner

Fees-free is available for eligible first-time tertiary learners. Find out if you’re eligible at

Cover: Drawing on Experience: Moving through landscape large scale drawings by artist Geoff Harris

Art has the power to change the world

Unleash your creativity, tell your story and generate new ideas through your study of art. Arts and creativity has the power to change the world – through new thinking, new behaviours, new expression and illustration and combination of ideas and action. The future of work will need creative, lateral-thinking problem solvers.
With NorthTec’s degree, you can see yourself exploring a range of medium, approaches and techniques to create your own style in communicating with the world.

  • Drawing

  • Interactive Digital Design

  • Painting

  • Social Media Marketing

  • Sculpture

  • Animation

  • Printmaking

  • Moving Image

  • Graphic Design

  • Photography

Hear directly from NorthTec Applied Arts tutors, graduates and students about the career and study pathways for the applied arts here:


Contribute to our future communities

Your voice can be heard. With the application of art and design theory and practice, NorthTec specialises in providing real time opportunities to engage with Te Tai Tokerau communities.  You will also have the opportunity to exhibit at the Geoff Wilson Gallery within our art precinct.  Arts and culture are a legacy and an enabler for all our future communities.

Be part of a constantly innovative, creative and vibrant community.  Share the unique cultural heritage and landscape of Te Tai Tokerau as art and design make our places thrive.

Endeavour Pinhole Photograph - Student work by Chris Dion

Endeavour Pinhole Photograph - Student work by Chris Dion

Express your art and language for life

Arts are a language – they are an expression of life and how we live. The arts provide the world with a universal language as a means towards understanding our history, culture and values.  Learn and live the art that opens windows for all to see we are just humans in one community.


Study and Career Pathways

On completion of this qualification graduates may progress to postgraduate study or seek employment in a range of arts-related occupations. Recent graduates have gained employment in these areas:

  • Creative Practioner/Artist
  • Teacher
  • Arts Administration
  • Videographer
  • Portrait and Wedding Photographer
  • Web Designer
  • Printmaker
  • Art Event/Festival Coordinator
  • Conservator 
  • Graphic Designer
  • Events Photographer
  • Art Therapist
  • Mural Artist
  • Illustrator
  • Creative Director
  • Book Illustrator
  • Arts Promotion/Marketing
  • Gallery assistant/administrator
  • Artist in Residence
  • 3D Sculptor
  • Arts Coordinator for Trusts and Art Co-ops
  • Concept Artist
  • Gallery owner/director

Admission information 

All applicants must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age or over (unless an exemption has been granted) at the commencement of the programme; and

  • Have attained one of the following:

    • NCEA Level 3 with University Entrance; or

    • Successfully completed the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design, or an equivalent art/design qualification (60 credits at Level 4); or

    • Has proof of relevant experience equivalent to a Level 4 Art/ Design qualification; and

  • Submit a portfolio that shows skills in drawing and Art/ Design. The portfolio should demonstrate artistic ability in relevant art/ design practice. Including but not limited to: Photography/ Graphic Design/ Digital Media Arts and Design/ Sculpture/ Whakairo/ Raranga/Painting/ Printmaking/ Drawing

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must achieve an IELTS academic score of 6.0, with no band less than 5.5, or equivalent from a recognised alternative English proficiency test.

Courses in this programme

In the first year (Level 5), students study four compulsory core classes and select two studio classes for each semester.

Core Classes

Art in History 51001

This is not a chronological review and study of European Art History. You will select specific art in history that is relevant to your own studio practice. You will also put your own art and art by others into history, and by doing so, you will develop your own critical and analytical skills.

Pacific Studies 51002

This course introduces students to the history, culture and art of Pacific people. Students will develop an awareness of issues relating to the use of Pacific imagery in contemporary art and design. The course aims to encourage an awareness and appreciation of cultural difference.

Approaches to Drawing 51011

Drawing is a fundamental art process. Learning about different approaches to drawing is liberating. Explore the visual effects of wet and dry media, and see how these can be applied to a wide variety of disciplines and skills. 

Drawing and the Creative Process 51012

Drawing is a powerful tool in creativity and learning and it is a way of visualising ideas. It is fundamental to a variety of different art practices. As a creative process, regular drawing will help you understand your world from a variety of different viewpoints. A range of wet and dry media will be explored in this class.

Bachelor of Applied Arts Electives and Pre-requisites

Note for Majors:

  • Year 1 - 75% electives must be major related each year to get endorsement of either Visual or Digital. Social Media in Practice (51086) is compulsory for the Digital Major

  • Year 2 - 50% electives must be major related each year to get endorsement of either Visual or Digital. It is recommended to complete a year one sculpture paper for the year 2 animation paper

Qualification gained

Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts) or Bachelor of Applied Arts (Digital Arts)

A Bachelor of Applied Arts is awarded when students have achieved 360 credits with a minimum of 120 credits at Level 5, a minimum of 120 credits at Level 6 and a minimum of 90 credits at Level 7. Plus gain credits for all core papers and meet all pre-requisite requirements for all papers; and meet attendance requirements as per Bachelor of Applied Arts regulations. Work experience, as part of course requirements, is compulsory. Other compulsory activities as part of course requirements include gallery set-ups, exhibitions and attendance at field trips.

Courses and programmes may be cancelled, postponed or have their content or configuration changed from time to time (including during the academic year) at the discretion of NorthTec. Fees are an indication, include GST and apply to domestic students only. View terms and conditions

Do you like what you see?
Enquire Apply Now
Applied Arts Tutors
Faith McManus - Arts Tutor
Faith McManus

Faith is a lecturer in drawing, printmaking, intermedia and Pacific studies art history at NorthTec.




Full time/Part time


3 years full time

Start Dates

Whangarei: TBC

Cost Incl. GST (Approx):

Domestic: $7,279.20 (Year 1)

Student levy may apply

International: $19,760.00 (per year)

Programme Code


Phone 0800 162 100
Enquire about this programme
NorthTec Arts
Related News
Student artwork walks the talk

Anyone keen to study applied art at NorthTec is welcome to visit a special exhibition of recent student studio works in Whangārei.

Free arts workshops at NorthTec

NorthTec’s Applied Arts department is running free public workshops next week, offering an introduction to key creative skills