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Victoria University of Wellington

Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation

New Zealand Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

The School of Design Innovation at Victoria University of Wellington is New Zealand’s cutting-edge option for launching a career in design. We lead the way with our critical approach to design thinking and investigations into new technologies that are changing the nature of our discipline. Whether designing physical objects, services, or digital narratives, we excel at progressing creative experiences and critical impact.

The School of Design Innovation is committed to providing our students access to the latest developments in design education and engagement with local, national, and global design leaders. We use experimental studio practices, embrace an outlook based on design research, and foster cross-disciplinary collaborations.

International Role

We have a comprehensive exchange program with multiple worldwide institutions such as Rhode Island School of Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Design Academy Einhoven, Carnegie Mellon University and Aalto University. List of all exchange institutions under Design: https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/victoria-abroad/partner-universities

National Role

While based mainly at our Te Aro campus in the centre of Wellinton, the School now has facilities at Courtenay Place and in Miramar at the Miramar Creative Centre—a multimillion dollar complex integrally connected to New Zealand’s internationally recognised film, gaming, and visual effects community: https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/mcc

Main Focus

The School offers eight majors that are well-defined domains by their industry alignment and broad career prospects. Our majors include Design for Social Innovation, Industrial Design, and Media Design, Animation and Visual Effects, Communication Design, Fashion Design Technology, Interaction Design with Game Design added in 2022.

Faculties and Departments

School of Design Innovation

Bachelor Level Programs

3 year undergraduate degrees of Bachelor of Design Innovation in 

  • Animation and Visual Effects
  • Communication Design
  • Design for Social Innovation
  • Game Design
  • Fashion Design Technology
  • Industrial Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Media Design

Master Level Programs

1 year postgraduate degrees:

Master of Design Innovation

Get the specialist skills and knowledge you need to be a successful professional in the design industry. In this programme, you'll learn the art of bringing ideas to life—from conception to design to construction. The Master of Design Innovation (MDI) is focused on research and innovation with a 90-point thesis. Ideal students will be interested in independent research towards changing the status quo of design through disruptive or breakthrough innovation exemplified through a thesis.

Master of Design Technology

Want to tell interesting stories using time-based digital media? The Master of Design Technology (MDT) is designed to build upon the existing digital media skills you’ve acquired in an undergraduate degree. Learn industry leading software, techniques and professional practices from our experienced lecturers in visual effects (VFX), game design, animation, extended reality (XR), exhibition design and multimedia design. https://wellingtonict.ac.nz/programmes/master-of-design-technology/

Master of User Experience

User experience design is one of the largest growing design fields that addresses all aspects of user experience from understanding the identity of the users to the creation of the designs they interact with. The Master of User Experience Design (MUXD) is aimed particularly at industry professionals and/or recent graduates without an undergraduate qualification in media design, i.e. a conversion master’s degree. The degree will build on the relevant skills these students have developed during their professional careers and/or undergraduate university study, such as problem solving, critical thinking and verbal and written communication. https://wellingtonict.ac.nz/programmes/master-of-user-experience-design/

 Master of Design

Advance your knowledge in the area of design that interests you, and enhance your theoretical and practical design expertise. You'll further develop your critical thinking and discussion skills, increase your understanding of design and learn to express your own ideas and conclusions within a theoretical framework.The Master of Design degree is a research based degree focusing on structured independent investigations of topics relevant to design and outlined in a research proposal. Prospective candidates should contact staff members about the possibility of supervision before applying.

Master of Fine Art

The MFA takes advantage of our creative capital city location and study at Victoria University of Wellington and is a collaboration between our Film and Music/Sound programmes who also get to use a new purpose-refitted facility at the Miramar Creative Centre. The MFA hones leadership, collaborative, creative, and business skills as a practising artist over an intensive 12-month programme. Our Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) is an industry-focused, practical degree that will help you build new contacts and networks in Wellington’s creative industries.https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/explore/postgraduate-programmes/master-of-fine-arts-creative-practice/overview

Research Activity and Main Areas

Design for Social Innovation, Industrial Design, and Media Design, Animation and Visual Effects, Communication Design, Fashion Design Technology, Interaction Design with Game Design . Our current areas of research focus and expertise: https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/design/research

Doctorate Level Programs

PhD in Design 3 – 5 years

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in our School focuses on a thesis that produces an original body of research that expands the design discipline. Students work closely with two supervisors on largely independently driven work. Typically on-site, the PhD may be studied by distance in suitable cases. The program has three areas of concentration: Design for Social Innovation, Industrial Design and Media Design.

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

The Study Abroad and Exchange programme allows you to spend a trimester or a year studying design at Victoria University of Wellington, while earning credits towards your home university qualification.

Application Deadlines

See enrollment information and application deadlines: https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/exchange

Teaching Languages


Semester Dates

First Trimester: February – June Second Trimester: July – November Third Trimester: (optional) December – February 

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

Living costs will depend on your needs and habits. For 20 weeks (one trimester) in Wellington, you might need:

  • Essential living costs (keeping it basic but comfortable): NZD$9,000. (which equals NZD$1,800 / month)
  • Generous living costs (weekend trips and enjoying the nightlife): NZD$13,000. (which equals NZD$2,600 / month)

Exchange students pay tuition fees to their home university.


Bachelor: 715
Master: 65
Doctorate: 10

Exchange Students

Incoming: 16 -20
Outgoing: 16-20

Teaching Staff

Professors: 6
Lectures: 30
Other permanent teachers: 6

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