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Ara Institute of Canterbury


Ara Institute of Canterbury

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New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design (Level 5)

Key information

Level of study:
Tuition fees:
1 year
Start date: 21-February-2022
Timaru Campus
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Course details


This diploma aims to develop the technical and thinking skills needed to work in visual communication or graphic design at an introductory level.

Core skills taught include creative idea generation, drawing, design strategies, graphics, branding and communication and photography. As part of this students will have an introduction to using computers for creative work using Adobe Creative Suite software.

As well as studio courses, students will complete a contextual studies course. This is the main academic subject, and includes communication skills, a background in the history and sociology of creative practices, insights into contemporary professional ethics and bi-cultural issues.


Graduating with this diploma will give the student introductory skills in visual communication sufficient to work at entry level with professional supervision. Graduates will be able to lay out artwork as well as generate their own to an introductory level. They will also have a good basic knowledge for more advanced study.


This programme will equip students for further study at higher levels. Entry to the Ara Bachelor of Design at second year level will be an option for students with a sufficient level of success in the Diploma.

Entry criteria

NCEA Level 2

OR New Zealand Certificate in Digital Media Design (Level 4)

OR New Zealand Certificate in Creativity (Level 4) OR New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4) or equivalent

If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), Ara will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.

Alternative requirements:

If you show that you have equivalent skills for tertiary study gained through study, work and/or life experience, you may be able to gain alternative entry.

English language requirements:

IELTS test - Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5


TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT) - Score of 550 (with an essay score of 5 TWE)

TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) - Score of 46 (with a writing score of 14)

Cambridge English Qualifications - B2 First or B2 First for schools with a score of 162. No less than 154 in each skill

Pearson Test of English (Academic) - PTE (Academic) score of 42 with no band score lower than 36


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