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Otago Polytechnic Ltd

Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

Vision and Mission statements of Otago Polytechnic:

Vision: Our people make a better world. 

CMission: Build capability, Realise potential.

We build the capabilities of individuals, organisations and communities and help them to realise their potential. Our people are our learners, our staff, and the organisations and communities which we serve. We build the capability of our people so that they have the skills, knowledge, aspiration and confidence to make a better world through positive impacts on families, organisations and communities, nationally and globally.


International Role

The School of Design and Dunedin School of Art have approximately 30 active exchange or study abroad agreements across Asia, Europe, Scandinavia and North America. A full list of these collaborations is available. Since the global pandemic in 2020, our attentions have turned to international online collaborations including those with our partners in the Global Polytechnic Alliance (GPA). This initiative started in 2018 with Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand,  Humber College, Toronto, Canada, and VIA University College, Aarhus, Denmark. 

Otago Polytechnic is a partner with ID Dunedin in the ID Dunedin International Emerging Design Awards which has been running since 2004 and attracts hundreds of entries from across the globe each year. This fashion focused event takes place in Dunedin and in 2021 features 43 finalist collections from 16 countries https://www.idfashion.co.nz/home


National Role

Otago Polytechnic makes a significant contribution to New Zealand in terms of design education and applied research. Our national connections include strong relationships with other institutions and agencies particularly: Auckland University of Technology (AUT) – http://www.aut.ac.nz,  DINZ – Designers Institute of New Zealand http://www.dinz.co.nz,  Victoria University – School of Design,  UNITEC School of Design,  Massey University – School of Design,  Wintec School of Design and Media and Ara Institute of Canterbury. Locally, we have developed strong relationships with the City of Dunedin through the Chamber of Commerce, Ara Toi and Dunedin Creative Partnership and local creative industries who are storng supporters of our programmes and graduates.  

Main Focus

Otago Polytechnic has a strong organisational focus on experiential learning and sustainability and cultural responsiveness are embedded into all the programmes we offer and into our own institutional practices. Creative programmes in communication, fashion and product design, architecture, culinary arts, visual arts and fine arts are available at all qualification levels. Teaching and learning is informed by highly research-active academic staff who are connected to research networks both nationally and internationally. 

Faculties and Departments

The School of Design, The School of Architecture and the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic which sit under the College of Creative Practice and Enterprise.

Bachelor Level Programs

Bachelor of Design (Communication) 3 years, Bachelor of Design (Fashion) 3 years, Bachelor of Design (Product), 3 years, Bachelor of Design (Honours) 1 year, Graduate Diploma in Design 1 year

Bachelor of Architectural Studies

Bachelor of Visual Arts 3 years,  Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours), Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts 1 year

Master Level Programs

Postgraduate Certificate in Design 1 semester, Postgraduate Diploma in Design 1 year, Master of Design 1 year, Master of Design Enterprise 1.5 years

Post Grad Certificate in Visual Arts 1 semester, Post Grad Diploma in Visual Arts 1 year, Master of Visual Arts 1 year, Master of Fine Arts 2 years

Research Activity and Main Areas

Otago Polytechnic participates in the NZ Tertiary Education Commission’s Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) process which earns us funds that are then invested back into research via our internal funding processes. Staff teaching at degree level or above are required to be research active and to submit a research portfolio every 6 years as part of the PBRF process. Academic staff in the School of Design and the Design School of Art rank amongst the highest performing researchers at Otago Polytechnic and in their fields nationally. 

Research is supported through seminar programmes, artists in residence and research symposia.

Research focus areas include: Design activism, Teaching and learning in a creative context, Sustainable practices, Critical making, Art and Design histories, Creative work across a wide range of art and design practices.

Otago Polytechnic and the School of Design host one of three DESIS Labs in Oceania, established in 2020. 

Doctorate Level Programs

Doctor of Professional Practice 3 years

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

Industrial/Product Design, Communication Design, Fashion Design, Architectural Studies, Visual Arts, Fine Arts

Application Deadlines

Apply any time – semesters generally run February to June and July to November – each Semester has 2 terms. Postgraduate programmes for full year. 

Teaching Languages


Semester Dates

Semester 1: February – June Semester 2: July – November 

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

Accomodation is approx NZ$165 per week and other costs vary, but generally living in NZ is regarded as moderately expensive.


Bachelor: 400
Master: 25

Exchange Students

Incoming: 15
Outgoing: 12-15

Teaching Staff

Professors: 6
Lectures: 53

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