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Otago Polytechnic


Otago Polytechnic

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Master of Visual Arts

Key information

Level of study:
Master's Degree
Tuition fees:
1 year
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Start date: September-2021
Otago Polytechnic
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Course details


This Master of Visual Arts qualification may lead to higher level employment opportunities in the arts sector. Gain transferable skills which are highly valued in a huge variety of industries including education, art and design, arts management, editorial and curatorial practices.

Enjoy the chance to develop and present mastery of the professional, conceptual and technical skills relevant to your chosen field in the production of an original, independently-developed exhibition and associated writings. Choose to study at the Dunedin School of Art and enter into a lively and challenging environment where you will benefit from the nationally unique workshop facilities, a focus on individual supervision and the expertise of lecturers who have a diverse range of approaches and understandings in the Visual Arts and design.

Location: Dunedin School of Art (P Block, Riego Street) OR a low residency option is available for students based outside Dunedin.

Options for completion

18-month course is 180 credit pathway to achieve PGCertVA and MVA

Successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate in Visual Arts (60 credits, 6 months) will give you direct and guaranteed entry into the Master of Visual Arts (120 credits, 1 year).

Two year course is 240 credit pathway to achieve PGCertVA, PGDipVA and MVA.

Successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate in Visual Arts (60 credits, 6 months) will give you direct and guaranteed entry into the Postgraduate Diploma in Visual Arts (60 credits, 6 months). Once you then successfully achieve the Postgraduate Diploma, you will have direct and guaranteed entry to the Master of Visual Arts (120 credits, 1 year).

Please note: We offer a low residency option for study in this programme for students based outside Dunedin.

You will study

Embrace the opportunity to further develop your skills, knowledge and experience of the history and contemporary conventions of your field. Produce a proposal-based body of critically engaged studio work, present this work in a public space and write a conceptual research paper contextualising the body of studio work produced.

Qualification structure

In semester one, studio work is developed typically as an extension of work from the Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma of Visual Arts and includes the delivery of an oral seminar paper in the School's Public Research Seminar programme alongside an essay draft for critical feedback.

Semester two builds on the work done in semester one with the production of an independently-developed and original exhibition and an extended 7,500 word essay.

Further study options

Transfer and upgrading to the first year of the Master of Fine Arts programme (two years full-time at Level 9) will be possible by portfolio, interview and research project proposal or by invitation of the postgraduate coordinator after the completion of the first semester review of the Master of Visual Arts. In this case, students forfeit the Master of Visual Arts as a formal qualification and work towards obtaining the Master of Fine Arts instead. Alternatively, choose to expand your career options further by pursuing a Doctor of Visual Arts (DVA) in New Zealand or overseas.

Skills required

  • The ability to think laterally and independently.
  • To be motivated and have a good work ethic.
  • Confidence and the ability to accept criticism.
  • To be adaptable and open to new ideas.

Entry criteria

You must have successfully completed the Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) (Level 8) OR the Postgraduate Certificate in Visual Arts (Level 8) OR an equivalent postgraduate qualification worth a minimum of 60 credits in a related area.

If you do not hold the above qualifications, you must demonstrate appropriate ability through a portfolio and associated writings.
International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet the entry requirements.

If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in any band.

TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT): Score of 590 (with an essay score of 5.5 TWE)

TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT): Score of 79 (with a writing score of 21)

Cambridge English Qualifications: C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a score of 176. No less than 169 in each skill;

PTE (Academic) score of 58 with no band score lower than 50

Language Certificate: C1 Expert IESOL (LRWS) with HIGH PASS and no less than Pass in each skill or C2 Mastery IESOL (LRWS) with PASS and no less than Pass in each skill


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