Bachelor of Design - degree outline


Design Students win top awards

Four AUT Communication Design students have won top prizes at the Australian Graphic Design Association Awards.

Milly Scott, Alex Turner, Alastair McCready and Rob Lewis all won the Distinction award, the top prize at the awards. Hugo Christian-Slane was also a finalist.

All of the students also won Gold or Silver Awards at New Zealand’s Best Design Awards earlier this year.

“This represents a really significant win for AUT. The students were all self-entered, and everyone who entered at least got into the finals. Most got distinctions," says AUT’s Head of Communication Design, Dr Peter Gilderdale.

Rob, Alistair and Alex have all just completed Honours – Milly and Hugo completed the undergrad in 2015 (which is the year this work was done).

Milly Scott (Print Category): Symbols and Spaces
Alex Turner (Craft Category): Stille
Alistair McCready (Craft Category): Obelisk Typeface
Alistair McCready (Craft Category): Huia Typeface
Alistair McCready (Craft Category): Monolith
Rob Lewis (Digital Category): Chronicle

Hugo Christian-Slane (Identity Category): The End of Graphic Design

Image credit: Alistair McCready - Monolith

button for easy access to information about this qualificationStudy with us and we’ll help you turn your creative ideas into reality. The Bachelor of Design (BDes) is creative and practical, with strong input from industry partners like Weta Workshop, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Auckland Art Gallery, Creative New Zealand and Kate Sylvester.

You collaborate with other art and design students, and in your final year you may be able to showcase your work at the AUT School of Art and Design festival or the AUT Rookie fashion show. Our School of Art and Design is ranked first in New Zealand and in the top 100 worldwide – so why would you choose to study anywhere else?

Key features

  • Self-directed, self-reflective learning that develops your problem-solving skills within a particular specialist discipline in art and design
  • Develop the ability to assess and effectively use relevant technologies in the development of solutions

Quick facts

Programme Code: AK3619
Level: 7
Points: 360 (300 points from a selected major and 60 points from a selected minor)
Duration: 3 years full-time / equivalent part-time
Venue: City Campus (all majors) and South Campus (Communication Design major only)
Start date: 26 February 2018

Deadlines for programme application and portfolio submission

Applications for admission to our Undergraduate programmes, the Bachelor of Design and the Bachelor of Visual Arts, for 2018 is Friday September 29. Completed applications (including portfolio) submitted by this time will have priority. Acceptance into these programmes is based on academic achievement, the work submitted in a portfolio, and if required, an interview.

Entry requirements

  • University Entrance
  • Portfolio of art work
  • An interview may be required
  • Applicants for whom English or Māori is not their first language must provide proof of their English proficiency. IELTS (academic), completed within the last two years is the preferred test for entry. Minimum IELTS (academic) requirements are as follows: 6.5 overall with all bands 6 or higher

Preferred school subjects

Communication Design, Fashion Design, Spatial Design, Textile Design:
Classical Studies, Design and Visual Communication (for Spatial Design only), Design (Practical Art), English, Geography, History, History of Art, Media Studies.

Digital Design:
Classical Studies, Design and Visual Communication, Design (Practical Art), Digital Technologies, English, Geography, History, History of Art, Mathematics, Media Studies, Photography (Practical Art), Physics.

Product Design:
Classical Studies, Design and Visual Communication, Design (Practical Art), English, Geography, History, History of Art, Media Studies, Physics.

Recognition of Prior Learning

You may be eligible to enter year 2 or year 3 of the degree if you have completed all or part of a design or visual arts degree at another approved tertiary institution. Applications for cross credits will normally be assessed after you receive an offer of place to the Bachelor of Design or the Bachelor of Visual Arts. For more information, click here or email



Enrolment in minors is subject to availability (not all minors listed above will be open for enrolment in a given year). You also have the option of studying a minor or elective papers from outside the Bachelor of Design degree. 

See the list of additional majors, minors and electives offered by the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies.


To help you develop a broad range of skills, you study a major (300 points of your degree) and a minor (60 points) across your three years at AUT.

Year 1

You complete two design studio papers and three other core papers related to your major, developing practical skills and a sound understanding of your chosen area of design. You also take the first paper from your minor.

Year 2 & 3

Build on what you have learnt in Year 1 and specialise further in your major and minor. You develop specific technical skills, and an understanding of design processes and theories. At the heart of Year 3 is your final-year project, and you may have the opportunity to exhibit your work at the AUT School of Art and Design festival or the AUT Rookie fashion show. 

Further Study Options

Postgraduate study will open up even more career opportunities. A one-year honours degree or 18-months master's degree enable you to specialise in and research a particular area within your chosen discipline. 

Last updated: 18-Jul-2017 1.28pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.