Study Art, Design and Photography at SIT

Love to create?  Want to immerse yourself in a world of art?  SIT's Art and Design courses will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to establish your career as an artist, designer or photographer. 

Based at the SIT Downtown campus, Art students have their own 'creative hub' where you can mix and collaborate with film, animation, music, audio and fashion students.  The space also incorporates two art galleries in the heart of the city centre where you'll organise and run exhibitions for the public.

If you're looking for an art degree, SIT's three year Bachelor of Visual Arts will equip you with a wide range of practical skills and experience including photography, sculpting and drawing. We also offer a 17 week New Zealand Certificate in Creativity on campus, and the Certificate in Interior Decor and New Zealand Diploma in Photography  via SIT2LRN distance learning.

These courses could lead to careers in fields such as photography, teaching, tourism, screen printing, graphic design, illustration, textiles, visual merchandising, interior design, self-employment and much, much more.

Programmes in Art, Design & Photography

Click on a circle in the table below to see the courses offered in each subject/qualification combination.

Masters Postgraduate Dip/Cert Graduate Dip/Cert Degree Diploma Certificate Short Course STAR / Gateway*


OShort Course33Art, Design & Photography2Gore


OGraduate33Art, Design & Photography1Invercargill
ODegree33Art, Design & Photography1Invercargill
ODiploma33Art, Design & Photography1Invercargill
OCertificate33Art, Design & Photography1Invercargill

SIT2LRN Distance Learning

ODiploma33Art, Design & Photography4SIT2LRN Distance Learning
OCertificate33Art, Design & Photography4SIT2LRN Distance Learning
Masters Postgraduate Dip/Cert Graduate Dip/Cert Degree Diploma Certificate Short Course STAR / Gateway*

* STAR/Gateway programmes are only offered to NZ Secondary Schools

Programmes & Tutor Profiles

Student Profiles

Art, Design & Photography Courses

Click a title below to see more information about that course.

Three years full time

Students undertake inter-disciplinary studies to realise their research questioning alongside core studies in art history, theoretical discourse, life drawing and research-led industry practice. Students are provided with the opportunity to explore and work in and between disciplines, including but not limited to: sculpture, performance, animation, painting, photography, drawing, printmaking and film. Students also complete investigations into the next step in their career development through internships which test the application of learned knowledge and skills in a real world environment while creating valuable professional networks. 

Course Details

One year full-time

Graduates of the Graduate Diploma in Visual Media will be able to:

  • Conceive, execute and promote a project to industry standard.
  • Design and plan effective management tools to evaluate and problem solve to ensure project quality and to promote themselves and their finished projects in the marketplace.
  • Develop an understanding of business and legal aspects of the creative industries.
  • Research and analyse subject related areas for a range of research outputs in both the industry and academic arenas.
  • Engage in strategic, sustainable development across the cultural and creative industries.

Course Details

One year full-time

The aims of the qualification are as follows:

  • Students will further develop their understanding of relevant methodologies and experience implementing, documenting and presenting a practice based investigation
  • Extend their comprehension of relationships between history and practice and begin to articulate the ways in which these practitioners influence their own relative practices
  • Gain an understanding of the role of art criticism and the politics of art making and viewing
  • Build on the foundation of the first year drawing paper to reinforce and expand their observational, analytical and creative skills and knowledge
  • Students will gain an understanding of the practical and theoretical implications of proposing, developing and resolving an art project. They will explore relevant lineages of practice and critically analyse their project’s positioning

Course Details

One year full-time

Up to four years part-time

Intakes are 17 weeks long

Notes for DDP Students:

Returning DDP students should investigate their options for completion of our Diploma in Digital Photography, or transferal into NZDP.

To gain skills and knowledge that are directly relevant to working or further training in the arts/photography sector.

To provide a base for learners to progress to more advanced studies or employment in photography.

To produce dedicated, professional practitioners who hold a qualification which is well regarded by employers in the photography sector

Course Details

1 year full time

Up to 4 years part-time

Intakes are 17 weeks long

Important Information; The Diploma in Digital Photography (Level 5) is expiring at the end of 2018 and is being replaced with the New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 5). 2018 will be the final year of delivery for DDP (the Diploma in Digital Photography) and will require students to either complete their studies in this year, or choose papers which will allow them to cross credit into the new NZ. Dip.

Part time students should be aware of this when choosing papers.

No new students will be accepted into DDP

If you have not previously studied Digital Photography or Film with us please refer to the New Zealand Diploma in Photography for application details.

For returning students that will not complete in 2018, there are five DDP papers that will be cross creditable into the NZ. Dip. They are DDP103, DDP106, DDP108, and DDP111 or DDF110. DDP111 and DDF110 are electives in the NZ. Dip. and as such only one must be completed to complete the course.

From beginners through to experienced photographers, this course will teach comprehensive digital photography theory and practices as well as offering elective papers in a range of specialist topics.

The compulsory section includes knowledge and application of:

  • photographic practice, techniques and tools
  • understanding the aesthetics of photographic design and practice
  • understanding of the relationships between different photographic equipment and tools

The elective sections include skills and knowledge relevant to still and moving image photography, including:

  • advanced studies in photographic tools and techniques
  • principles and practices of auteur photography
  • the choice of additional still and moving image applied studies

Course Details

One year full-time

The aims of the qualification are as follows:

  • Awareness of the business and legal issues confronting visual practitioners in visual and screen art, implications of copyright and how to claim and obtain the rights to copyright material
  • Gain an understanding of the major movements, historical periods and key ideas which gave context to art practice
  • Develop fundamental drawing skills essential as an analytical, descriptive and creative tool and explore form, tone and composition of the human figure
  • Students will build on their understanding of the history of art through engagement with an overview of art in the Pacific with particular focus on its bicultural and emerging multicultural character
  • Investigate and analyse key theorists and critics relevant to student's research questioning

Course Details

17 weeks full-time

This qualification is for people wanting to gain foundation skills in creativity, including the ability to explore ideas in a range of conventions and media.

Industries and other communities in Nui Tireni New Zealand will benefit by having people who can use creative processes to experiment, communicate ideas and solve problems.

Graduates will be able to apply skills with some guidance in experimentation, communication of ideas, problem solving, risk-taking and self-evaluation in different areas of work and communities.

Course Details

One year fulltime

Up to three years part-time

Intakes are 17 weeks long.

Important Information; The Certificate in Interior Decor (Level 4) is expiring at the end of 2019 and is being replaced with the New Zealand Certificate in Interior Decor (Level 4).  2019 will be the final year of delivery for the current certificate and will require students to either complete their studies in 2018, 2019, or choose papers which will allow them to cross credit into the new NZ Certificate.

The new NZ Certificate will be shorter, 60 credits, or one full-time intake, compared to 120 credits, or two full-time intakes required for the current Certificate.  Part-time studies can take place over a longer period.

New students will be accepted into the existing Certificate for 2019 studies in Intake 1 and 2 only.

For returning students that will not be able to complete in 2019, there are a number of CID papers that are planned to be cross creditable into the new NZ Certificate.  These papers are: CID1, CID2, CID3, DID4, DID6, CID7, and CID11.

Further information on cross credits and the new programme will be provided when available.

This course will equip you with the ability to undertake interior design work to satisfy your personal needs and/or plan a career or enter into further study in areas which specialise in interior design.

Course Details

24 weeks full-time

This programme teaches students how to produce design ideas and images using computer graphics programs, create illustrations and advertising graphics and use digital communication technologies within animation projects.

This course will provide learners with relevant skills and work ready attributes to prepare them to enter a range of industries in entry level positions, or progress to further study.

It will also provide new ways for learners to achieve NCEA Level 2 and develop pathways that progress to further study, training and employment.

Course Details

Four weeks

Tuesday 10am - 1pm

This is an Adult Community Education programme which endeavours to make art accessible and enjoyable to everyone.

By attending this course, you will learn and develop painting techniques using different mediums, as well as meet new people in a relaxed and social atmosphere.

Course Details

Part time

Learn to develop painting techniques and meet people in a relaxed and social atmosphere. Artists of all stages can learn the techniques involved in painting using watercolour, oil or acrylic paints. This is an Adult Community Education programme which endeavours to make art accessible and enjoyable for everyone, young and old.

Course Details