Bachelor of Applied Arts

with majors in Visual Arts or Digital Arts

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Fees-free tertiary study is now available for eligible first-time tertiary students. Find out more at

COVID-19 Alert Level 1 - For Semester 2, campus facilities will fully reopen as it was pre-COVID.

About this programme

With this degree programme you will be able to take personal art and design ideas, underpinned by research of contemporary practice, through to quality finished products in selected media. It has a strong practical focus and subjects on offer include drawing, art history, sculpture, photography, graphic design, clay, glass, printmaking and digital design.


Bachelor of Applied Arts 2019 Brochure

What you will learn

You will learn to:

  • Independently work through the creative process in your selected field of excellence in order to produce original high quality art and design works

  • Operate within the creative industry effectively, professionally and ethically

  • Identify appropriate market and employment opportunities in order to successfully develop your career

  • Apply research skills to remain up-to-date with current developments in their fields

  • Identify and network with models of excellence in your field

  • Contribute to the development of a vibrant creative industry in Aotearoa New Zealand as an informed and laterally thinking innovator

  • Produce high-quality original work in selected media, such as clay, glass, print, painting, photography, graphic design and digital arts.

Courses in this programme

Bachelor of Applied Arts Electives and Pre-requisites

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 1 – Core Courses Level Credits
706.51001 - Art in History 5 15
706.51002 - Pacific Studies 5 15
706.51012 - Drawing and the Creative Process 5 15
7706.51017 - Approaches to Drawing 5 15
Year 1 – Elective Courses (Choose FOUR) Level Credits
706.51023 - Sculpture 5 15
706.51028 - Clay/Glass 5 15
706.51078 - Print – Intaglio (Drypoint and Collagraph) 5 15
706.51079 - Photography: (at) The Moment 5 15
706.51080 - Photography: in Black and White 5 15
706.51081 - Graphic Design 1A 5 15
7706.51078 - Digital Graphics for Screen 5 15
7706.51086 - Social Media in Practice 5 15
7706.51087 - Interactive Design 5 15
7706.51089 - Web Design 5 15

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

Year 2 – Core Courses Level Credits
706.62079 - Issues In Contemporary Art and Design 6 30
706.62080 - Aotearoa New Zealand Art and Design 6 30
Year 2 – Elective Courses (Choose FOUR) Level Credits
706.62005 - Studio Exploration - 3D Media 6 15
706.62007 - Photography: in Context 6 15
706.62008 - Photography: Viewfinder 6 15
706.62023 - Space and Materials 6 15
706.62078 - Intermedia 6 15
706.62082 - Printmaking – Open Studio 6 15
706.62083 - Graphic Design 2A 6 15
7706.62085 - Sound and Moving Image 6 15
7706.66084 - Mobile Device Technology 6 15
7706.66085 - Digital Game Design 6 15
7706.66086 - Animation, Motion Graphics and VFX 6 15

Year 3

All Year 1 and 2 core papers are pre-requisites for Year 3 papers.

Year 3 – Core Courses Level Credits
706.62001 - Contextual Studies 6 15
706.73004 - Independent Studio 1 7 30
706.73005 - Independent Studio 2 7 15
706.73006 - Exhibition 1 7 15
706.73009 - Final Exhibition 7 45

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.

Year 3 Exhibition Booklet

Career opportunities

  • Arts administration (community trusts, local and central government agencies)

  • Film and television

  • Gallery professional

  • Graphic designer - print or digital

  • Interior designer

  • Photographer

  • Primary, secondary and tertiary teaching

  • Printmaker, Sculptor, Painter or Ceramic artist

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.

Qualification gained

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

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

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Applied Arts Tutors
Lisa Clunie - photograph by Maggie Chen
Lisa Clunie

Lisa exhibits her photographs regularly, both nationally and internationally, and works part-time as a photography and drawing tutor at NorthTec




Full time/Part time


3 years full time

Start Dates

Whangarei: February

Cost Incl. GST (Approx):

Domestic: $7,199.15 (Year 1)

Student levy may apply

International: $19,760.00 (per year)

Programme Code


Phone 0800 162 100
Enquire about this programme
Related News
Is This Thing On?: An exhibition of student success

The latest exhibition at NorthTec’s Geoff Wilson Gallery showcases the diverse art practices of eight graduating Bachelor of Applied Arts students: Threy Cameron, Grant Matthews, Jared McGiven, Torben Morrison, Ihipera Keefe, Joe Paikea, Jolene Pascoe and Isaiah Rameka.

Exhibition redefines the humble banana box

The banana box, that ever-present packaging material, mandatory when packing up a life, shifting house and moving on, provides the framework for the Shutter Room’s next exhibition, Reconfiguring, an installation by Sarah Kippenberger and Chris Schreuder, both graduates of NorthTec's Applied Arts degree programme.