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



Six months full-time; part-time over two years (you will study during semester two in both year one and two)
18 July 2022
By 30 June
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    19 July 2021
  • Dunedin
    18 July 2022

Learn how to be creative on a computer! 

Artists and designers work in lots of different areas and career opportunities in the creative industries are exciting and diverse. 

Build the skills and degree-level portfolio you need to apply for our Level 5 video and photography programme (New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design Level 5), Bachelor of Design (Communication) or Bachelor of Visual Arts. Alternatively, you could prepare for a junior role in a creative workplace. 

You'll explore graphic design, digital photography, web design, digital illustration, animation and interactivity. And you'll complete a research project about symbols, motifs and markings and how they connect with cultural identity. 

If you'd like to move into our Level 5 video and photography programme, this certificate on its own provides a great pathway. 

By studying the New Zealand Certificate in Arts and Design (Level 4) before you do this programme, you'll gain the well-rounded skills you need for degree-level study and both certificates together will provide a strong pathway into our Bachelor of Design (Communication) or Bachelor of Visual Arts. 

Both Level 4 certificates will also give you the creative skills that you need to be able to apply for our Bachelor of Design (Product) and our Bachelor of Architectural Studies. These degrees need a different technical skillset from our other art and design programmes. You’ll need to achieve a very high level in both Level 4 certificates if you’re keen to apply for either degree – just so we can make sure it’s the right fit for you. 

Entry requirements
  • Open entry
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure they have an acceptable level of secondary school achievement. 
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Other requirements

  • A portfolio or other evidence to demonstrate creative work (includes your creative works, a cover letter and curriculum vitae).
  • in addition applicants may be required to attend an interview.
COVID-19 vaccination

At the “red” setting under the COVID-19 Protection Framework, all tertiary students (i.e. those studying at a Polytechnic) will need to be fully-vaccinated to continue with on-campus/onsite/face-to-face learning. We’d strongly recommend that you are fully-vaccinated to limit any disruption to your study.

Your portfolio

Examples of creative work

You need to submit a portfolio that demonstrates your design, graphic and/or art skills; consisting of 10-12 examples of original work showing a variety of techniques and interests.

> drawings/sketches
> photographs
> images of original objects that you have made
> digital art
> animations
> whatever you feel is visually informative about yourself and your abilities

Cover letter

Tell us why you want to do this programme, what interests you about it and what you have done to give yourself the best chance being accepted. We want to know your career goals and anything else you think is relevant to your application.

Curriculum Vitae - current

Portfolio format

You can send us your portfolio in either digital or physical format but we prefer digital.

DIGITAL: Upload your portfolio as PDFs (preferably) - maximum file size is 2MB. If your file is a website or on another platform, either send us the live link in your letter or include a screen capture, or send us a USB or email it to

PHYSICAL: Submit photographs or colour photocopies of work in an A4/A3 clear file folder and clearly label with your name. No original pieces of work please. See address to send it to below.

Completing your application

Apply online

Fill in the application form and upload your portfolio documents - creative works, cover letter and CV.

Note: There is a 2MB file limit when you upload your portfolio. If the file is too big to upload, you can send it to us on a USB, using the address below or send us a link to your website or online platform or email it to us at

Attn: Student Administrator for Design
Customer Services
Otago Polytechnic
F Block, Forth Street
Dunedin 9016

Note: Remember to enclose a self-addressed, postage-paid courier package so that we can return your portfolio to you.

You will study

Four x 15 credit courses

  • Creative Digital Skills : Develop skills in digital design and photography with practical applications to print and screen solutions
  • Creative Online Design: Developing an understanding of digital citizenship and how to develop an online practice. Managing and designing content for blogs, web design etc. 
  • Animation and interactivity: Learn basic skills for creating animations and moving image
  • Symbolism and identity: A research project whereby students learn about symbol motifs and markings and the connection to cultural identity with a particular focus on iwi Māori cultural practice.
Additional costs

You will receive a list of basic requirements to be purchased during the first week (some class materials are supplied). 

Student loans and allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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