Postgraduate Diploma in Design


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Program Description

The Postgraduate Diploma is ideal for anyone who has completed a Bachelors degree in a design-related field or a Postgraduate Certificate in Design.

Take the next step in your academic career by exploring the latest, most relevant professional practice in design. You'll also develop the tools to interpret, analyse and critique design principles and create new interdisciplinary design strategies.

Graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma in Design will be able to progress into Media Design School's Master of Design programme.

Career Pathways

Possible career pathways for graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma in Design include both strategic and design positions within design studios, companies and consultancy agencies:

Design project manager; Systems designer; Merchandising and branding developer or strategist; Sustainability designer; Interactive designer; Mobile technologies designer; User experience designer; Design analyst; Screen designer; Digital animator; Information designer; Product designer and developer; Service designer; Transmedia designer; Packaging designer; Secondary design teacher; Design consultant; Design manager.

Course Components

To complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Design, you must complete any four of the following components:

PGD001 Design Research: Connecting Texts, Deciphering Context

30 credits

Discover the ways different types of ‘texts’ (not just the written kind!) can be linked to understand the range of situations in which a designer operates. Research design by exploring these possible connections within the framework of a real-world project. Working in a replicated work environment on actual industry briefs will add a practical focus to your learning. You’ll gain relevant experience and build valuable professional portfolio skills and content.

This course will be offered in Trimester 1

PGD002 Interdisciplinary Design Project: Emerging Contexts

30 credits

In this component, you’ll gain skills in the analysis of research data for application in visual research and design. Here, emerging technologies across a range of design disciplines are used to study both people and cultural phenomena (such as target audiences). In turn, these tools are utilised to inform your design decisions. Because emphasis is placed on gaining understanding through making, you’ll use audio, visual and textual elements (and more!) in your designed communication responses to a real-world project.

This course will be offered in Trimester 1

PGD003 Contemporary Design Issue: Creative Futures

30 credits

A live brief is used to explore how design interventions can have profound and ongoing effects on the world - both intended and unintended. This component investigates the ways that designed things such as equipment, services, interfaces or environments shape environments, behaviours and attitudes. Drawing upon contemporary philosophies of technology and theories of practice, you’ll learn about the tools that are critical to design and that can richly engage with the complexity of living. You’ll gain a reflective awareness of the ways in which design can reconfigure ways to produce more considerate and sustainable products, services and approaches that benefit both people and the planet.

This course will be offered in Trimester 2

PGD004 Special Topic Project: Creative Entrepreneurship

30 credits

Step out of your comfort zone by crossing the boundaries of your known discipline to contribute to a real-world project that requires a fresh solution. This component explores the potential of design thinking as a generator of state-of-the-art and entrepreneurial strategies, practices and designed things through innovation challenges. This requires the application of both corporate and academic research in conjunction with savvy design methodology. You’ll work both independently and in a team to respond to a client’s requirements and you’ll need to consider the effect of your choices on outcomes throughout the process. Successful results will be risk-taking tactical and effective responses to the brief provided.

This course will be offered in Trimester 2

PGD005 Special Topic Project: Design and Economies

30 credits

Design is profoundly affected by the economy in which it is embedded. In this component you’ll take a real-world project brief and employ it to rethink assumptions about the unsustainable growth-based and unstable economies of the 21st Century. The outcome of this project is to survey critical approaches to an economy using design thinking to address such concerns as the implications of this economy for design; how more sustainable approaches to the economy might open new possibilities for design; and what role design might play in a transition to a different economic model.

This course will be offered in Trimester 3

PGD006 Interdisciplinary Design Theories: Dialogues

30 credits

When one type of design intersects with another, the result can be a more comprehensive solution than a singular, traditional approach might provide. Working in diverse teams of designers from a range of disciplines can build ground-breaking outcomes. This component will introduce you to texts, conversations and viewpoints drawn from assorted disciplinary contexts that are of relevance to design, including philosophy, sociology, anthropology, technology, history, and a range of media. Here, you’ll work in teams to engage with ideas that are (or have been) influential in shaping ways in which designers can ideate in order to unpack solutions to interdisciplinary real-world problems.

This course will be offered in Trimester 3

If you have completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Design at Media Design School, then the 60 credits that you have already completed will be applied to the Postgraduate Diploma of Design, which means that you will only be required to complete an additional two components.


This course is ideal for anyone who has recently completed their Bachelors degree, a Postgraduate Certificate in Design with Media Design School, or as a form of professional development for those who are currently working in the design industry.

In order to be eligible for the Postgraduate Diploma, you must have:

A New Zealand Bachelor's degree that is of relevance to design; OR An appropriate international equivalent design qualification requiring at least three years of full-time tertiary study as approved by the Media Design School Academic Board.

Last updated Jan 2018

About the School

Media Design School is New Zealand’s most-awarded tertiary institute for digital and creative technology qualifications

Media Design School is New Zealand’s most-awarded tertiary institute for digital and creative technology qualifications Read less
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