Bachelor of Visual Arts

Passionate about art? Our Bachelor of Visual Arts prepares you for the demands of a career in contemporary art, whether as an artist or in the many other roles within the art sector.

Study visual arts with us and enjoy a student-centred and studio-based programme where you can follow your interests in art – including painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, sculpture, installation, moving image, sound, performance, social practice, multimedia approaches, and new and emerging technologies.

Follow us on social media:

Start date: 2020

Minimum entry requirements

Portfolio guidelines: applying to study art and design

International student entry requirements

Preferential entry

You may be eligible for preferential entry to the Bachelor of Visual Arts if:

  • You are a current Year 13 student at a NZ secondary school, and
  • You have achieved NCEA Level 2 with Excellence endorsement overall and with an Excellence endorsement in one or more approved art, design or technology subjects, or
  • You have achieved a University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) AS grade A or B in one or more approved art, design or technology subjects.

This means you won’t need to submit a portfolio of art or design work. If you believe you are eligible for preferential entry, apply online and submit your application without a portfolio.

English language requirements

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.0 overall with all bands 5.5 or higher; or equivalent

English language requirements

Useful New Zealand school subjects

Classical Studies, English, History of Art, Media Studies, Ngā Toi, Ngā Toi Ataata, Painting (Practical Art), Photography (Practical Art), Printmaking (Practical Art), Sculpture (Practical Art), Te Reo Māori, Te Reo Rangatira

Transferring to AUT (recognition of prior learning)

You may be eligible to enter Year 2 or Year 3 of our visual arts 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 for the Bachelor of Visual Arts.


n the Bachelor of Visual Arts degree you can specialise in one of three pathways:

  • Sculpture and Intermedia
  • Painting and Printmaking
  • Photography and Lens Based Media


To help you develop a broad range of skills, you study a minor (60 points) as part of this degree:

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

Additional majors and minors for bachelor’s degrees

Your study is based in the making of art, supported by theory classes along with a mix of one-on-one tutorials, group critiques, seminars, exhibitions, visits from artists and critics, noho marae, and gallery visits.

Bachelor of Visual Arts papers are delivered over either one semester or a full year. You need to complete 120 points each year and 360 points for the entire degree. In each year you will study and complete core compulsory papers alongside your selected minor.

Year 1

Explore the fundamentals of visual arts theory and practice. You're encouraged to develop your own artistic interests and approaches to art-making. You'll cover a wide range of materials, media and processes.

You study the following papers

You also study one paper from your chosen minor.

Year 2

You continue doing a mix of studio and theory papers, specialising in sculpture and intermedia, painting and printmaking, or photography and lens-based media. You develop advanced visual, media, method and conceptual skills, and create a coherent body of art, with increasing self-reliance.

You study the following papers

You also study two papers from your chosen minor.

Year 3

At the end of Year 3 of the Bachelor of Visual Arts, you have the opportunity to exhibit your work through the AUT School of Art and Design festival

You study the following papers

You also study one paper from your chosen minor.

More details about papers in this programme

Search for a paper (Arion)

Detailed progamme structure and paper outlines (Blackboard)


Enrolment in papers is subject to meeting all requirements and availability of papers.

AUT Bachelor of Visual Arts alumni are now carving successful careers around the world, as notable artists, curators, arts administrators, academics, teachers and technicians.

Art industries

  • Artist
  • Arts administrator, manager or director
  • Art consultant
  • Art critic, historian, commentator, writer or researcher

Museums and galleries

  • Art gallery manager or owner
  • Curator
  • Gallery technician
  • Conservation

Arts education

  • Teacher
  • Community education
  • Gallery educator

Creative technologies

  • Film industry
  • Commercial photographer
  • Interactive designer
  • Web designer

Community development

  • Community and public art management and coordination
  • Arts advocacy roles

Creative entrepreneur

  • Craft business
  • Art fair developers

Find out more about industry trends, job descriptions and what employers may be looking for.

Visual Arts Careers

Broaden your options by studying double degrees

Double degrees double your knowledge and opportunities but don't necessarily take double the time to complete. If you study double degrees, you apply for and enrol separately in each of the two degrees. If you’re considering doing this, please seek course advice to discuss your plans. You may be able to cross-credit relevant papers from one degree to the other, although the number of cross-credits will vary depending on the degree combinations. Double degrees may be completed either one after the other or concurrently.

Study the Bachelor of Visual Arts and:

Detailed programme structure

By studying both degrees you develop design skills for roles in visual arts and business. This includes the ability to create high value products, services and brands, and to balance creative design and strategic thinking to complement design and business.

Postgraduate study

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

Quick facts
Programme code:
3 years full-time / part-time available
City Campus

24 Feb 2020

Apply by:
27 September 2019 (to study at AUT in 2020)
$6,580- $6,628
  • This represents the approximate tuition fee range based on a full-time workload of 120 points in 2019. Exact fees will depend on papers selected and may exceed this range.
  • Fees are subject to change year to year, if you are planning for beyond 2019, fees may vary from those stated.
  • There may also be other fees and charges you need to pay. Learn more about fees to study at AUT
  • Check if you're eligible for fees-free study
  • This represents the approximate tuition fee based on a full-time workload of 120 points in 2019. The exact fees will depend on papers selected and may vary from the figure stated.
  • Fees are subject to change year to year, if you are planning for beyond 2019 the fee may vary from the figure stated.
  • There may also be other fees and charges you need to pay. Learn more about fees to study at AUT
  • International students' tuition fees reflect the full cost of tuition. Domestic students' tuition fees are less due to a proportion of the tuition fees being funded by the New Zealand Government.

Scholarships at AUT

Kelsi Tulafono
Joe Prisk
Cora-Allan Wickliffe

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