Design involves creativity, art, technology and the communication of ideas. It encourages students to reach beyond the boundaries of traditional graphic design and explore the huge potential of the digital environment.

If you have an interest in design, you can study with us towards a Bachelor of Design (BDes). The style of the BDes qualification meets the ever-increasing international demand for high-quality designers in a variety of media. The programme has been developed in collaboration with the design industry, with the aim of meeting the needs of international markets.

In the first year, you have the opportunity to develop a firm foundation in the core elements and principles of design, in both two and three dimensions. You will also learn essential techniques that will assist you in broadening your visual and verbal skills. The second year offers motion graphics and the chance to explore the relationship between visual communication and screen-based technologies. In the third year, you will undertake a real-world design project where you collaborate with your peers and with members of the professional design industry. This collaboration will be displayed at the annual Design Degree Show.

At a higher level, we offer the Master of Design (MDes). This one-year degree emphasises graphic design theory and original research, and involves further collaboration with your peers and members of the professional design industry.


If you have an interest in Design, you can study towards the following qualifications:

Career Options

Find out more about the number of career options available in design.

Student Profile

Jessamy Topping

BCGD (now the BDes)

Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design (BCGD) student Jessamy Topping is not only a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, but she is also a Computer Graphic Design Fees Scholarship recipient, which helped her in her first year of study.

Collaborating with fellow BCGD students and being able to design and code her own websites are some of the highlights for Jessamy so far in her studies.

Watch her video below to find out more.

School subjects required

Art (design, painting, photography, sculpture or printmaking), graphic design and mathematics to Year 12. English is recommended.


Papers Overview

Design papers provide a specialised programme of study in computer graphic design, a creative process that utilises art and technology to communicate ideas. The papers offered comprise a core of studio based design skills, together with contemporary computer software and a context of design history and liberal arts.

Under the BDes, you can major in Communication DesignIndustrial DesignInterface Design or Media Design. To see the regulations and available papers for each subject, please visit the Catalogue of Papers. To see the degree regulations for the BDes, visit the Calendar.

The Master of Design regulations are also available in the Calendar with papers listed in the Catalogue of Papers.


There are a number of scholarships, prizes and awards offered by the Faculty that can help you with your study towards a BCGD degree, in particular the Computer Science Undergraduate Scholarship.

For more information on the available scholarships for Computing & Mathematical Sciences click here. You can also visit the Scholarships Office.

Contact Us

For more information on studying Design at the University of Waikato, please contact the Department of Computer Science or the School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences.