Bachelor of Design - degree outline

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Study with us and we’ll help you turn your creative ideas into reality. The Bachelor of Design (BDes) is creative and practical, with strong input from industry partners like Weta Workshop, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Auckland Art Gallery, Creative New Zealand and Kate Sylvester.

You collaborate with other art and design students, and in your final year you may be able to showcase your work at the AUT School of Art and Design festival or the AUT Rookie fashion show. Our School of Art and Design is ranked first in New Zealand and in the top 100 worldwide – so why would you choose to study anywhere else?

Key features

  • Self-directed, self-reflective learning that develops your problem-solving skills within a particular specialist discipline in art and design
  • Develop the ability to assess and effectively use relevant technologies in the development of solutions

Quick facts

Programme Code: AK3619
Level: 7
Points: 360 (300 points from a selected major and 60 points from a selected minor)
Duration: 3 years full-time / equivalent part-time
Venue: City Campus (all majors) and South Campus (Communication Design major only)
Start date: 26 February 2018

Deadlines for programme application and portfolio submission

Acceptance into this programme is based on academic achievement, the work submitted in a portfolio, and if required, an interview. We will continue to accept applications until all places are filled (up to the start of Semester 1, 2018), however those who submit their full applications, including a portfolio of work, by 29 September 2017 will be prioritised. Applications received after this date will only be considered if there are places available and upon meeting all programme entry requirements.

Entry requirements

  • University Entrance
  • Portfolio of art work
  • An interview may be required
  • Applicants for whom English or Māori is not their first language must provide proof of their English proficiency. IELTS (academic), completed within the last two years is the preferred test for entry. Minimum IELTS (academic) requirements are as follows: 6.5 overall with all bands 6 or higher

Preferred school subjects

Communication Design, Fashion Design, Spatial Design, Textile Design:
Classical Studies, Design and Visual Communication (for Spatial Design only), Design (Practical Art), English, Geography, History, History of Art, Media Studies.

Digital Design:
Classical Studies, Design and Visual Communication, Design (Practical Art), Digital Technologies, English, Geography, History, History of Art, Mathematics, Media Studies, Photography (Practical Art), Physics.

Industrial Design:
Classical Studies, Design and Visual Communication, Design (Practical Art), English, Geography, History, History of Art, Media Studies, Physics.

Recognition of Prior Learning

You may be eligible to enter year 2 or year 3 of the degree if you have completed all or part of a design or visual arts degree at another approved tertiary institution. Applications for cross credits will normally be assessed after you receive an offer of place to the Bachelor of Design or the Bachelor of Visual Arts. For more information, click here or email



Enrolment in minors is subject to availability (not all minors listed above will be open for enrolment in a given year). You also have the option of studying a minor or elective papers from outside the Bachelor of Design degree. 

See the list of additional majors, minors and electives offered by the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies.


To help you develop a broad range of skills, you study a major (300 points of your degree) and a minor (60 points) across your three years at AUT.

Year 1

You complete two design studio papers and three other core papers related to your major, developing practical skills and a sound understanding of your chosen area of design. You also take the first paper from your minor.

Year 2 & 3

Build on what you have learnt in Year 1 and specialise further in your major and minor. You develop specific technical skills, and an understanding of design processes and theories. At the heart of Year 3 is your final-year project, and you may have the opportunity to exhibit your work at the AUT School of Art and Design festival or the AUT Rookie fashion show. 

Further study options

Postgraduate study will open up even more career opportunities. A one-year honours degree or 18-months master's degree enable you to specialise in and research a particular area within your chosen discipline.

Last updated: 13-Dec-2017 3.47pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.