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

Unleash your creativity

With majors in either visual or digital arts, this degree gives you the opportunity to explore a wide variety of approaches and techniques in the fields of drawing, intermedia, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, photography, graphic design and digital arts.

It is distinctive in its emphasis on research-based practice, and the interdisciplinary connections that are developed throughout. Whilst exploring art and design theory and practice, there will be opportunities to work with our communities and to exhibit at our art precinct gallery. You will be guided through the work processes and professionalism essential to become creative, lateral-thinking problem solvers.

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.

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

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

The third year is based around preparing for the final exhibition, held at the Geoff Wilson Gallery. You will study core subjects and will gain industry experience, enabling you to find out more about the creative industries and preparing you to be a successful practitioner.

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.

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

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
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: February

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
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NorthTec Arts
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