M.Des in New Zealand

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Why Study M.Des (Master of Design) in New Zealand

1. High-Quality Education: New Zealand is known for its excellent education system, which is globally recognized and respected. The universities and design schools in New Zealand offer high-quality programs, ensuring that you receive a strong foundation in design theory, practical skills, and industry-relevant knowledge.

2. Diverse Design Programs: New Zealand provides a wide range of design programs, allowing you to choose from various specializations such as graphic design, industrial design, fashion design, interaction design, and more. You can select the program that aligns with your interests and career goals.

3. Innovative and Creative Environment: New Zealand has a vibrant design industry with a strong focus on innovation and creativity. By studying in this environment, you can gain exposure to cutting-edge design concepts, trends, and technologies. You may have opportunities to collaborate with industry professionals and work on real-world design projects, fostering your creativity and critical thinking skills.

4. Cultural Diversity and Inspiration: New Zealand is a multicultural country that values diversity. Studying in such an environment can expose you to different perspectives, cultures, and design aesthetics, broadening your understanding of global design practices. This cultural diversity can inspire your own design ideas and help you develop a unique design identity.

5. Networking and Industry Connections: New Zealand's design industry is well-connected, and studying there can provide you with valuable networking opportunities. You may have access to guest lectures, workshops, design events, and internships, allowing you to establish connections with professionals, potential employers, and fellow designers. These connections can be instrumental in launching your design career.

6. Post-Study Work Opportunities: New Zealand offers favorable post-study work opportunities for international students. Upon completing your M.Des degree, you may be eligible for a post-study work visa, allowing you to gain professional experience in New Zealand. This can be valuable for applying your design skills, building your portfolio, and enhancing your career prospects.

7. Quality of Life: New Zealand consistently ranks high in global surveys for quality of life. It offers stunning natural landscapes, a safe and welcoming environment, and a balanced lifestyle. Studying in New Zealand provides an opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities, explore the country's breathtaking scenery, and experience its unique culture.

M.Des (Master of Design) Specializations in New Zealand




Approximate Fees (NZD)


Victoria University of Wellington

Master of Design Innovation (MDesI)

1 year

$38,000 - $43,000

Design Strategy, Service Design, Design-Led Innovation, Social Innovation

Massey University

Master of Design

1.5 - 2 years

$35,000 - $45,000

Industrial Design, Visual Communication Design, Fashion Design, Textile Design, Spatial Design, Digital Fabrication

Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

Master of Design (MDes)

1 year

$30,000 - $40,000

Interaction Design, User Experience (UX) Design, Visual Communication Design, Digital Design, Social Innovation Design

University of Waikato

Master of Digital Design

1 - 1.5 years

$35,000 - $40,000

Interaction Design, Visual Communication Design, User Experience (UX) Design, Motion Graphics, Animation

Otago Polytechnic

Master of Design

1 - 1.5 years

$30,000 - $35,000

Communication Design, Product Design, Fashion Design, Jewellery Design, Spatial Design

Admission Intake for M.Des (Master of Design) in New Zealand

1. Semester 1 (February/March Intake): This is the primary intake for most universities in New Zealand. The application deadlines for this intake are typically between September and December of the previous year, although specific dates may vary. It is advisable to check the university's official website for the exact application deadlines.

2. Semester 2 (July Intake): Some universities may offer a second intake in July for certain programs, including M.Des programs. The application deadlines for the July intake are usually between April and May. However, not all universities offer this intake for all programs, so it is essential to verify the availability of the July intake for M.Des programs at your chosen university.

Top 10 Universities in New Zealand for M.Des (Master of Design)


Course Specializations

QS World Ranking (2022)

University of Auckland

Design for Social Innovation, Design Innovation and Management, UX/UI Design, Design Communication


Victoria University of Wellington

Design Innovation, Design Strategy, Service Design, Social Innovation


Massey University

Industrial Design, Visual Communication Design, Fashion Design, Textile Design, Spatial Design, Digital Fabrication


Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

Interaction Design, User Experience (UX) Design, Visual Communication Design, Digital Design


University of Otago

Communication Design, Product Design, Fashion Design, Jewellery Design, Spatial Design


University of Canterbury

Digital Humanities, Visual Communication Design, Product Design, Applied Immersive Game Design, Sustainable Product Design


University of Waikato

Interaction Design, Visual Communication Design, User Experience (UX) Design, Motion Graphics, Animation


Unitec Institute of Technology

Creative Practice, Digital Design, Environmental Design, Exhibition and Spatial Design


Lincoln University

Design Innovation, Urban Design, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture


Eastern Institute of Technology

Fashion Design, Visual Communication Design, Interior Design, Animation

Not ranked

Tuition Fees for M.Des (Master of Design) in New Zealand

1. For international students: The tuition fees for international students pursuing an M.Des degree in New Zealand typically range from NZD 30,000 to NZD 45,000 per year. However, some programs with a longer duration or specialized offerings may have higher fees.

2. For domestic students: Domestic students, who are citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand, usually pay lower tuition fees compared to international students. The fees for domestic students pursuing an M.Des degree in New Zealand can range from NZD 8,000 to NZD 25,000 per year, depending on the university and program.

Cost of Studying M.Des (Master of Design) in New Zealand


Approximate Cost (NZD)

Tuition Fees

$30,000 - $45,000 per year 


$8,000 - $15,000 per year


$4,000 - $6,000 per year 


$1,500 - $3,000 per year

Books and Supplies

$500 - $1,000 per year

Health Insurance

$600 - $1,200 per year 

Personal Expenses

$2,000 - $4,000 per year

Total (Approximate)

$46,600 - $75,200 per year (excluding tuition fees)

Eligibility for doing M.Des (Master of Design) in New Zealand

1. Bachelor's Degree: You will typically need to have completed a bachelor's degree or an equivalent qualification in a relevant field of study. Most M.Des programs require a bachelor's degree in design, fine arts, visual arts, or a related discipline. Some programs may accept candidates with a degree in a different field if they can demonstrate a strong portfolio or relevant work experience.

2. Academic Requirements: You will need to meet the minimum academic requirements set by the university and the specific M.Des program. This usually involves having a minimum grade point average (GPA) or equivalent academic performance in your previous studies. The required GPA may vary between universities and programs, but it is generally around a B grade or higher.

3. English Language Proficiency: Since the medium of instruction in New Zealand is English, you will need to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. International students are typically required to provide proof of English language proficiency through tests such as the IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic. The required scores may vary between universities and programs, but a minimum overall score of 6.5 in IELTS (with no individual band score below 6.0) is commonly accepted.

4. Portfolio or Work Experience: Many M.Des programs in New Zealand require applicants to submit a portfolio of their design work as part of the application process. The portfolio showcases your design skills, creativity, and previous design projects. Some programs may also consider relevant work experience in the design field as part of the eligibility criteria.

Documents Required for M.Des (Master of Design) in New Zealand

1. Completed Application Form: You will need to complete and submit the application form provided by the university or through their online application portal.

2. Academic Transcripts: Official transcripts or academic records from all previous educational institutions you have attended, including your bachelor's degree and any relevant post-secondary education. These transcripts should outline the courses you have completed, grades obtained, and the overall GPA or equivalent.

3. Proof of Degree: A certified copy of your bachelor's degree certificate or proof of completion of your previous degree program.

4. English Language Proficiency Test Results: If English is not your first language, you will typically be required to provide English language proficiency test results, such as IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic. Make sure to submit the official test score report.

5. Portfolio: A portfolio showcasing your design work is often required. This portfolio provides a glimpse of your design skills, creativity, and previous design projects. The specific requirements for the portfolio (format, number of samples, etc.) may vary between universities and programs, so check the guidelines provided by the institution.

6. Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume: A detailed CV or resume highlighting your educational background, work experience (if applicable), design-related activities, achievements, and any relevant skills or certifications.

7. Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement: A written statement explaining your motivation for pursuing an M.Des degree, your career goals, and how the program aligns with your aspirations. This statement helps the admissions committee understand your interests and suitability for the program.

8. Letters of Recommendation: Some universities may require letters of recommendation from academic or professional references who can attest to your abilities, skills, and potential as a design student.

9. Valid Passport: A copy of your valid passport or identification document.

Scholarships for M.Des (Master of Design) in New Zealand

1. New Zealand International Scholarships: These scholarships are provided by the New Zealand government to attract international students to pursue higher education in New Zealand. They include the New Zealand Development Scholarship and New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship. These scholarships cover tuition fees, living expenses, travel costs, and other allowances.

2. University-specific Scholarships: Many universities in New Zealand offer scholarships specifically for M.Des students. These scholarships can provide partial or full tuition fee waivers or financial assistance towards living expenses. Examples include the University of Auckland International Student Excellence Scholarship, Victoria University of Wellington Master's by Thesis Scholarship, and Massey University Creative Arts International Excellence Scholarship.

3. Fulbright New Zealand Scholarships: The Fulbright program offers scholarships for New Zealand and American citizens, including students pursuing postgraduate studies. They provide financial support for tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs. The Fulbright New Zealand General Graduate Awards and Fulbright New Zealand Scholar Awards are relevant for M.Des students.

4. Rotary Peace Fellowships: The Rotary Peace Fellowships program provides fully funded scholarships for individuals pursuing master's degree programs in fields related to peace and conflict resolution. These fellowships cover tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs. The program is highly competitive, but it is worth considering if your M.Des specialization intersects with peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

5. Professional Associations and Organizations: Some professional associations and organizations in the design field may offer scholarships or grants to support M.Des students. For example, the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) provides the Blumhardt/Creative New Zealand Fellowship for research and innovation in the field of design.

Jobs and Salary after M.Des (Master of Design) in New Zealand

1. Design Manager: Design managers oversee design projects, coordinate teams, and ensure the successful execution of design strategies. Salary ranges for design managers in New Zealand can vary from NZD 60,000 to NZD 120,000 per year, depending on the level of experience and the size of the organization.

2. UX/UI Designer: UX/UI designers focus on creating user-centered design experiences for digital interfaces. Salaries for UX/UI designers in New Zealand typically range from NZD 50,000 to NZD 90,000 per year, with senior-level designers potentially earning higher salaries.

3. Graphic Designer: Graphic designers create visual concepts and designs for various mediums such as print, digital, and branding. Graphic designers in New Zealand can earn salaries ranging from NZD 40,000 to NZD 70,000 per year, depending on experience and expertise.

4. Industrial Designer: Industrial designers develop concepts and designs for consumer products, furniture, and other industrial goods. Salaries for industrial designers in New Zealand generally range from NZD 45,000 to NZD 80,000 per year.

5. Design Researcher: Design researchers conduct research to inform design decisions and strategies. Salary ranges for design researchers in New Zealand can vary from NZD 50,000 to NZD 90,000 per year, depending on experience and the nature of the role.

6. Creative Director: Creative directors provide artistic direction and leadership in creative projects, overseeing the visual and conceptual aspects of design. Salaries for creative directors in New Zealand can range from NZD 80,000 to NZD 150,000 per year, depending on the industry and organization.

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