Programme list > Bachelor of Design with Honours

Bachelor of Design with Honours


Design your future

Change the world through design. Study in New Zealand’s leading and most comprehensive design programme.

  • Level

  • Undergraduate, NZQF Level 8
  • Credits

  • 480
  • Duration

  • 4 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
  • Other

  • Selected entry programme

Note: This programme may have an on-campus or in-person requirement and therefore requires that students submit a current My Vaccine Pass on enrolment.

Get the full picture

As a Massey design student, you will spend most of your time making and thinking in studios, workshops and media labs.

There are many opportunities to explore other design fields from your major through electives (courses you choose). Cross-disciplinary collaboration is encouraged.

Solve real problems and challenge how we see the world

Design thinking is about reflecting on the world around you, and considering the needs of diverse people, cultures and contexts. In your fourth year you will have the opportunity to engage with live briefs and external clients.

Massey’s College of Creative Arts in Wellington offers a broad range of programmes in visual communication design, concept design, fashion design, industrial design, integrated design, spatial design, textile design, and photography. With a history that can be traced back to 1886, our School of Design is the largest and most comprehensive design school in New Zealand. We have produced many of our country’s most renowned designers.

How does it work?

As a design degree student you will enrol in the honours programme. Towards the end of third year, you decide whether you want to stick with the honours route, where your fourth year will be strongly research-led. The non-honours path is less research-focused and gives you room for more electives in fourth year.

Careers and further study


You will graduate from this programme with:

  • a portfolio of creative design work
  • solid technical and analytic skills
  • a strong research ethos
  • a great network.

Our design graduates are sought after by employers in a range of industry, business, and marketing-related activities. 94% of design graduates employed in relevant industries within six months of completing their degree.

Further study

Further your design research and practice with MFA in Design or the Master of Design at Massey, or go on to create new knowledge with a PhD.

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission


This programme is a selected entry programme. This means there are a number of extra requirements you must meet.   

We are looking for creative, enthusiastic and dedicated students who demonstrate skill and passion for design and the visual arts.

To enter the Bachelor of Design with Honours programme you will:

  • submit a portfolio (if you do well in NCEA Level 2 art, design or technology (or equivalent) you may not need to submit a portfolio. See details below.)

Application closing date

If you are a new-to-Massey student, applications for this programme close on 30 November 2021 (for Semester One start) and 28 June 2022 (for Semester Two start). Late applications will be considered subject to available spaces.

English language requirements

To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Other requirements

Portfolio requirements

There are three main ways to gain entry to the Bachelor of Design with Honours.
Automatic entry

If you achieved NCEA Level 2 or 3 with Merit or Excellence overall, and a Merit or Excellence endorsement in an approved art, design or technology subject, you have automatic entry and will not have to submit a portfolio.

This also applies for Cambridge International students achieving an AS grade A or B in an approved art, design or technology subject.

Portfolio pre-approval entry

You can show work in progress to a Massey College of Creative Arts staff member during a school visit, Massey Open Day or other University event, or in a video call. They’ll look at examples of your work with you and if it shows the creative potential we’re looking for, they’ll sign a portfolio pre-approval letter. Then you won’t need to submit a final portfolio with your application.

Portfolio entry

When you apply online, submit a portfolio showing a selection of your creative work that demonstrates your creative potential with your application to study.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you do not have the entry requirements

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and qualifications that may help.

Summer School

If you need to do a course before you start your programme, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

480 credits

  • Compulsory core courses – 105 credits
  • Major courses – 210 credits
  • Studio course selection – 45 credits
  • 400-level electives from Schedule C – 30 credits
  • Electives – 90 credits

Ensure that overall, you have:

  • Not more than 180 credits at 100 level
  • At least 90 credits at 200 level
  • At least 90 credits at 300 level
  • At least 120 credits at 400 level

This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.

Courses for this programme

Schedule A: Core courses

Part One

30 credits
237130 Communication for Makers 15
237131 Conversations in Creative Cultures 15
60 credits
198157 Studio I (Object) 15
212157 Studio I (Dress) 15
213157 Studio I (Art Lab) 15
213158 Studio I (Art Place) 15
221157 Studio I (Lens) 15
222157 Studio I (Screen) 15
222158 Studio I (Type) 15
223157 Studio I (Material) 15
224157 Studio I (Space) 15
296157 Studio I (Imagine) 15

Part Two

15 credits
237230 Creative Cultures & Contexts I 15
15 credits
197288 Creative Collaboration 15
237231 Creative Cultures & Contexts II 15
Integrated Design major students must take
197288 Creative Collaboration 15

Part Three

15 credits
237330 Creative Cultures & Ideas 15
15 credits
197388 Creative Communities 15
237331 Creative Cultures & Display 15
Integrated Design major students must take
197388 Creative Communities 15

Part Four

15 credits
197465 Creative Leadership 15
213465 Exhibition 15
237465 Creative Exposition 15

Schedule B: Majors

Please refer to individual specialisation page for a list of courses for your specialisation.

Schedule C: Elective courses

197119 Coding for Creative Practice 15
197122 Digital Fabrication 15
197123 Visual Identity Systems 15
197191 Art and Design: Special Topic I 15
197193 Contemporary Design Project 1A 15
197194 Contemporary Design Project 1B 15
197211 Rapid Ideation 15
197228 Contemporary Design Project A 15
197229 Contemporary Design Project 2A 15
197238 Interaction and Interface I 15
197270 Creative Ecologies I 15
197288 Creative Collaboration 15
197291 Art and Design: Special Topic II 15
197331 Contemporary Design Project B 15
197332 Contemporary Design Project C 15
197338 Interaction and Interface II 15
197370 Creative Ecologies II 15
197379 Service and Experience Design 15
197383 Internship 15
197388 Creative Communities 15
197433 Designing Science Fiction 15
197434 Design Awards and Competitions 15
197435 Design for Festivals and Events 15
197436 Play, Research and Design 15
197440 Contemporary Design Project D 15
197441 Contemporary Design Project E 15
197442 Contemporary Design Project F 15
197443 Contemporary Design Project G 15
197470 Creative Ecologies 15
197471 Social Interventions Through Design 15
197490 Design Special Topic A 15
197495 Design Independent Study 15
197499 Design Special Topic 30
198124 Modelling and Prototyping for Product Design 15
198212 Product Design Visualisation 15
198213 Furniture Design 15
198308 Industrial Design Special Topic A 15
198315 Product Development 15
198320 Open Design & Digital Fabrication 15
198463 Industrial Design Digital Representation 15
198490 Industrial Design Special Topic C 15
198495 Industrial Design Independent Study 15
212100 Fashion Pattern Making 15
212101 Fashion Construction 15
212200 Garment Block Pattern Drafting and Grading 15
212226 Fashion Communication 15
212228 Fashion Special Topic A 15
212304 Drape for Design 15
212309 Contoured and Knit Apparel 15
212321 Digital Applications for Fashion Production 15
212328 Fashion Special Topic B 15
212403 Apparel Production Research 15
212495 Fashion Design Independent Study 15
213150 Painting 15
213151 Contemporary Sculpture 15
213154 Contemporary Drawing 15
213155 Drawing the Body I 15
213211 Fine Arts Special Topic II 15
213254 Drawing in Practice 15
213255 Drawing the Body II 15
213256 Contemporary Art Projects A 15
213257 Contemporary Art Projects B 15
213258 Contemporary Art Projects C 15
213259 Contemporary Art Projects D 15
213260 Fine Arts Special Topic IIB 30
213261 Contemporary Art Projects F 15
213262 Contemporary Art Projects G 15
213263 Contemporary Art Projects H 15
213264 Contemporary Art Projects I 15
213265 Contemporary Art Projects J 15
213311 Fine Arts Special Topic III 15
213356 Contemporary Art Projects E 15
213358 Fine Arts Internship 15
213359 Contemporary Art Projects K 15
213360 Fine Arts Special Topic IIIB 30
213411 Fine Arts Special Topic IV 15
213464 Art in Context 15
221100 Photography as an Agent of Change 15
221220 Photography and the Studio 15
221221 Photography and Digital Practices I 15
221222 Photography and the Darkroom 15
221291 Photography Special Topic A 15
221320 Photography and the Body 15
221321 Photography and Digital Practices II 15
221322 Photography and the Advanced Darkroom 15
221391 Photography Special Topic B 15
221456 Photography and the Archive 15
221457 Photography and Visuality 15
221495 Photography Independent Study 15
222103 Social Media Culture 15
222104 Printmaking 15
222208 Letterpress 15
222215 Brand Communication 15
222225 Narrative Illustration 15
222232 Illustrated Characters 15
222248 Typographic Systems 15
222312 Art Direction 15
222313 Copywriting 15
222326 Sequential Art 15
222333 Concept Design for Imaginary Worlds 15
222347 Editorial Design 15
222348 Narrative Information Design 15
222390 Visual Communication Design Special Topic A 15
222408 Experiential Information Design 15
222409 Contemporary Letterpress 15
222417 Image and Identity 15
222425 Illustration Studio Practice 15
222449 Spatial Type 15
222490 Visual Communication Design Special Topic D 15
222491 Visual Communication Design Special Topic E 15
222496 Visual Communication Design Special Topic F 15
222499 Independent Visual Communication Design Study 15
223207 Materials Lab 15
223211 Fashion Textiles 15
223301 Contemporary Wallcoverings 15
223312 Textile Print Project 15
223328 Textile Design Special Topic B 15
223411 Embroidered Textiles 15
223412 Sustainable Colouration 15
223490 Textile Design Special Topic C 15
223495 Textile Design Independent Study 15
224204 Design for Performance 15
224205 Design for Display 15
224302 Spatial Design Special Topic A 15
224306 Game Space 15
224490 Spatial Design Special Topic C 15
224495 Spatial Design Independent Study 15
237117 Māori Art and Design Studio I - Toi Atea 15
237130 Communication for Makers 15
237131 Conversations in Creative Cultures 15
237211 Māori Visual and Material Culture - Toi Atea 15
237217 Māori Art and Design Studio IIA - Toi Atea 15
237218 Māori Art and Design Studio IIB - Toi Atea 15
237230 Creative Cultures & Contexts I 15
237231 Creative Cultures & Contexts II 15
237317 Māori Art and Design Studio IIIA - Toi Atea 15
237318 Māori Art and Design Studio IIIB - Toi Atea 15
237330 Creative Cultures & Ideas 15
237331 Creative Cultures & Display 15
237401 The Material Turn 15
237402 The Visual Field 15
237403 Studies in Material Culture B 15
237404 Studies in Visual Culture B 15
237417 Māori Art and Design Studio IV - Toi Atea 30

Majors and minors

About specialisations

Completing a major in the Bachelor of Design with Honours is compulsory. You will need to complete the requirements for the BDes with Honours and pass specified major-related courses as outlined in the regulations.

About minors

Completing a minor is optional and may be a way for you to show the breadth of your degree.

A minor must be in a different subject from your major and be made up of at least 60 credits.

If you’re interested in doing a minor you should contact us using the enquire button on this page. Our student advice team will be able to talk you through your options and help you plan your degree.

Planning your programme

Planning overview

If you study full-time, in your first year, you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.

If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.

The Bachelor of Design with Honours is the best preparation for becoming a well-rounded designer, whatever your chosen field of practice. Regardless of what major you choose, your degree has the same basic structure:

Year One: fundamental design skills & principles

Studio courses in different design/art disciplines (your choice of 4, totalling 60 credits) + theory (30 credits) + electives (30 credits).

Year Two: focus on techniques, skills, processes in your major and important issues in design

Studio in your Major (60 credits) + theory/enterprise (30 credits) + electives (30 credits).

Year Three: increasing collaboration across majors

Studio (60 credits) + theory/enterprise (30 credits) + electives. (30 credits).

Year Four: design research & development project

Studio (75 credits) + an externally focused course (15 credits) + electives (30 credits).

More information:  ‘Yellow Book’.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete some undergraduate and all postgraduate qualifications. If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

If you complete this programme within the stated time limit, you will normally be able to graduate with a class of Honours.

Look for further information under ‘Student Progression’ in the regulations for this programme.

More information

  • Read the regulations for this programme thoroughly
  • Contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

A good fit if you:

  • are passionate about design and getting hands-on in the studio
  • want to re-define the way people live, work and play through great design
  • want to work alongside the best creative talent in New Zealand.

Accreditations and rankings

Art & Design QS Ranking

Massey University's College of Creative Arts is ranked as one of the Top 100 art and design schools in the world by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds).

red dot design ranking

The Wellington School of Design is ranked Number 3 in Asia–Pacific for design concept by Red Dot—the only Australasian university in the top ten.

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.


Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Undergraduate programmes

General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Choose your programme and click on Apply now

You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.

Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study.
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

About electives

Electives are courses that are not compulsory. Certain guidelines are usually provided on courses you may take. Elective courses contribute to the programme, but not to your major or specialisation.

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Scholarships and awards

Scholarships related to this programme

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships