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Bachelor of Design with Honours

Key facts

  • Available at Wellington
  • Four years full-time
  • Available for international students studying in NZ

Design your future

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

What is it like?

Find out more about entry requirements, fees and courses in the planning section.

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, whatever your major. There are many opportunities to explore other design fields through electives and cross-disciplinary collaboration is encouraged. There is also a focus on real world problem-solving, and students in their fourth year have the opportunity to engage with live briefs and external clients.

All Design degree students enrol in honours. 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.

International recognition

Massey’s College of Creative Arts is ranked in the top 100 by QS University rankings, and the Wellington School of Design is currently ranked Number 1 in Asia–Pacific for design concept by Red Dot. The College of Creative Arts is NASAD approved as Substantially Equivalent.

If you are an international student, please check out how to apply.


We offer a range of scholarships you might be eligible for:

How to plan your degree

There is more detail under the “Planning” tab at the top right of this page, and at

How to apply

There are three main ways to apply for the Bachelor of Design with Honours (BDes(Hons)).

  • 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: Submit a portfolio showing a selection of your creative work that demonstrates your creative potential with your application to study.

See the College of Creative Arts website for more detail about portfolios and portfolio pre-approval.

International applications

It is recommended that international students apply at least three months before the start date to allow for processing.

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
  • Enjoy pushing the boundaries of creativity through individual and group projects
  • Want to work alongside the best creative talent in New Zealand, creating systems and experiences as well as products
  • Love the Wellington vibe - the coolest little capital in the world
Student profile photo
Josie Schultz, Steph Tidey, Rachael Jupp, Rhianna Field
Bachelor of Design (Hons)
Graduated in 2015

“The 12-week project was completed within the Creative Enterprise course, where a client comes to Massey with a strategic problem or opportunity, and students decide how to address it with a design solution…”

Here’s what happens when a community’s vision is put in the hands of talented designers.

Bachelor of Design honours students, Josie Schultz, Steph Tidey, Rachael Jupp, Rhianna Field and Oliver Ward were tasked with helping to make the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park more inclusive for new mountain bikers and walkers, while maintaining the area’s strong conservation values.

The project won two Designers’ Institute Best Awards in 2015 and in 2017 won a Merit award from the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) in Seattle.

“The 12-week project was completed within the Creative Enterprise course, where a client comes to Massey with a strategic problem or opportunity, and students decide how to address it with a design solution,” said Oliver Ward.

The client for this project was the Makara Peak Supporters group. Rhianna Field said, “We rode the park and got lost, so came back with a way-showing system which drew from the visual language of ski fields and an international sign language."

Makara Peak has more than 40 kilometres of track and gets more than 100,000 visitors per year. The Massey students developed a system of colour-coded signage to inform users where they are, the direction they are heading, distance, grade and level of difficulty. Helpful biking tips are placed on beginner and easy grade tracks and the students adjusted the signs depending on whether a user would be seeing it while riding uphill or speeding downhill. A new map was also developed.

“The Council initially only had money for signage to go in a new entranceway from the carpark, but the Supporters group did some fundraising and in the following year Rhianna and I worked out the plan for 500 signs to be installed by volunteers - that happened the year after we graduated,” Oliver said.

The result was a client “blown away” by what the student designers achieved, users giving them great feedback and the Council is over the moon. So much so they have come back to the School of Design with many other live projects.

The Wainuiomata and Colonial Knob mountain bike parks have both been inspired by the Massey students’ design. There is a real opportunity in New Zealand to spread the system and it has already been installed on Waiheke Island as a result of our Makara work,” Oliver said.

The judges in Seattle had this to say: “It’s hard for me to accept that this is a student project. The visual identity and way-finding system is beautiful, in harmony with the park and designed with visitor needs at its centre”, noted one of the judges. While another wrote: “Give these design students jobs, immediately!”


The twenty-first century is already rewarding people who are creative, innovative and engaged. Graduates leave the College of Creative Arts with a portfolio of creative design work, solid technical and analytic skills, a strong research ethos, and a great network.

Our design graduates are sought after by employers in a range of industry, business, and marketing-related activities, with 94% employed in relevant industries within six months of completing their degree. Some also continue to postgraduate study in New Zealand or overseas, including the MFA in Design and the Master of Design at Massey.

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