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Study animation, gaming or emerging technologies

Study digital design in New Zealand and work with world-leading experts to build a career in animation, gaming or emerging technologies.

Why choose New Zealand

What subject do you want to study?

Why study digital design in New Zealand?

Whether you're studying game design, animation, visual effects or another digital design discipline, New Zealand offers you unique opportunities to bring your creative ideas to life.

Build connections with industry leaders, such as the Oscar-winning filmmakers who made Lord of the Rings, Shrek and Avatar. Gain real-world experience in vibrant design communities and showcase your work in shows, galleries and competitions.

With three universities in the 2015 top 100 QS World University Rankings for art and design, the New Zealand education system sets you up to meet the demands of the rapidly-changing global design industry.

Drawing pad tablet

Digital design students work in close-knit, high-performing teams while they're studying, just like they would in the workplace. But it's not all work - there's also time to explore New Zealand and discover the extraordinary landscapes captured in filmmaker Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.

New Zealand is a land of outdoor sports, wilderness adventures and incredible travel experiences, but we also have cosmopolitan cities with great restaurants, music, arts and shopping. You'll be given a warm welcome in our safe, multicultural and friendly communities.

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Working while studying can be a good way to gain New Zealand work experience and help support you while you’re studying abroad.

Student visa holders may be able to work up to 20 hours per week and full-time during scheduled holidays, depending on their programme of study. Masters by research or PhD students may work full-time throughout their studies.

You can study up to three consecutive programmes over five years on a single Pathway Student Visa.

Find out more about working while studying on Immigration New Zealand’s Study + Work website.

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Digital design students work collaboratively on group projects under expert leadership. They also network with world-leading innovators - people that students wouldn't usually get the chance to meet.

Study digital design in New Zealand and you'll gain skills, qualifications and experience that will make you in demand on the global job market. You'll also have the capability skills - such as English language proficiency, leadership, communications, creative thinking and problem-solving - graduates need to stay at the top of the fast-moving design industry.

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“The design campus has a host of computers and labs and tools for design students to make the most of their education.”

Devon D'Aoust | Bachelor of Design Innovation, Victoria University
Case study

Exploring a passion for the internet

Aiden Jaeyun Lee chose to move to New Zealand from South Korea to study for two reasons: because he’d heard Auckland was a safe city to live in, and because he was fascinated by the country’s global reputation for its creative and digital industries.

During his time studying creative technologies at Media Design School, Aiden developed a strong friendship with his lecturer, Matt Stevens, who constantly encouraged him to try new things.

A highlight of the course was collaborating with Bachelor of Communications students from Unitec to create a website highlighting stories of unknown soldiers who fought in the First World War.

Aiden particularly valued the time he and his classmates spent discussing their final projects.

“We touched on topics including user interface, web and mobile programming and new technologies. It helped us to improve our problem solving abilities and increase our self-motivation.”

Aiden is now a front-end developer for Flipmind, a web and mobile app development company, where he is able to explore his passion for the internet and enjoy Auckland’s “ocean-friendly lifestyle”.

Aiden Jaeyun Lee, 
South Korea

Graduate Diploma in Creative Technologies, Media Design School

Case study

Creating a career in the film industry

Deep Chahal’s studies in New Zealand have set him on the path to achieving his dream - directing his own movie.

Deep moved to New Zealand from India to study graphic design at ACG Yoobee, but as his English wasn’t yet at the required level his tutors suggested he sign up for an animation and digital video course instead.

“Once I began learning 3D software, I discovered I was pretty good at creating stuff. I realised that was the direction I should be taking,” he says.

Deep did so well in his studies that he won both the best technical artist award and the best overall award at his graduation.

“I learned so many valuable things at ACG Yoobee,” he says.

“I developed skills using different software, such as Maya, Zbrush and Mari, plus life skills like patience, time management, teamwork and how to meet deadlines.”

Deep now has an internship at Yukfoo Animation, an animation facility and production company in Auckland. In the evenings, he works with a partner on developing a 40-minute film.

“Moving forward makes me happy,” says Deep. “One day, I’m going to make my own feature film.”

Deep Chahal, 

Diploma in Advanced 3D Graphics, ACG Yoobee

Case study

Design student wins dream job

Studying computer graphic design in New Zealand has won Ryan Serrano a coveted job with internationally-famous design and effects facility Weta Workshop.

“Being a Weta Workshop artist has been my dream job ever since the release of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. I love my work,” says Ryan, whose role involves 3D sculpting of digital models for props, collectables and costumes.

Ryan, from the Philippines, has a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Graphic Design at Whanganui UCOL.

“I decided to study here because I wanted to learn the culture and have an introduction to the way of living in the country that I want to spend the rest of my life in,” he says.

UCOL helped Ryan to present his portfolio in a way that showcased his ability and potential to New Zealand employers. He used the same technology studying at UCOL that he now uses at Weta Workshop.

“I believe it was this experience and the guidance of my lecturers that gave me the edge I needed to secure my dream job.”

Ryan’s Level 8 student visa enabled his wife, Windy Grace Duque, to come with him to New Zealand. The couple are enjoying exploring New Zealand’s beautiful natural environment and culture.

“I love the people here,” says Ryan. “They’re very friendly and polite and most of all trustworthy.”

Ryan Serrano, 

Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Graphic Design, UCOL

Study pathway

New Zealand’s flexible education system gives digital design students the freedom to choose from many different study options, ranging from professional postgraduate qualifications to undergraduate degrees.


Post graduate

  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3
  • Year 4
  • Year 5
  • Year 6
Diploma in Digital Creativity
A Diploma in Digital Creativity gives you experience in graphic design, interactive design, motion graphics and 3D modelling.
Diploma in Applied Animation
A Diploma in Applied Animation gives you the drawing and digital art skills needed to build a career in anything from character animation and game art to app creation.
Bachelor of Design Innovation
A Bachelor of Design Innovation is flexible degree that lets you combine studying design with a minor in another discipline, such as computer science or media studies.
Bachelor of Media and Creative Technologies
A Bachelor of Media and Creative Technologies is an innovative degree focused on emerging ways of creating and sharing content.
Postgraduate Diploma in Design
A Postgraduate Diploma in Design is for graduates who choose to take the next step in their careers by exploring the latest relevant professional practice in design.
Master of Design - 18 Months
A Master of Design is an advanced research qualification that involves taking a challenging real-world design problem through to a well-constructed solution.
A PhD is the highest tertiary honour. It involves writing a thesis - a major piece of research - over three to five years.

This is a generic pathway. Length of study may vary depending on how students choose to structure their degrees.

Jobs involving digital design include:

  • Digital animators use traditional and digital media - such as drawing, models, photography, and image capture and manipulation software - to create still and moving images for print, web, TV and film.
  • Visual effects artists create computer-generated animations and special effects for films and other screen productions.
    Visual effects artist
  • Game artists work as part of a team to create video games, coming up with a game’s concept, characters, setting, story and game play.
    Game artist
  • Compositors work at the end of the production process to combine many elements - such as special effects, graphics, 2D animation and live action - into the final image.
  • Mobile app designers create programmes used on mobile devices such as smart phones. They write the programme, test it and repair any problems.
    Mobile app designer

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