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Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design (BCGD)

The Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design (BCGD) combines highly creative design and visual communication papers with computer programming papers from our computer science department.

The intention is to empower a new generation of designers with the ability to redefine the boundaries of graphic design by working across mediums and linking powerful visual communication with effective, innovative use of technology.

This style of qualification meets the ever-increasing demand for high quality designers who are expert in the design of work that crosses many media. The programme has been developed in collaboration with the design industry, with an eye to international and local markets seeking students with on and offline media experience.

BCGD Career Opportunities

  • 3D Modeller
  • Advertising Designer
  • Animator
  • Computer Games Designer
  • Computer Illustrator
  • Interactive Designer
  • Motion Graphics Designer
  • TV Graphics Designer
  • Visual Effects Artist
  • Web Designer

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. By the time students enter the third year they are ready to push the boundaries of visual communication, taking on the more professional challenges of internship as well as complex, cross media projects.

BCGD students have 24-hour access to computer labs, including dedicated Apple Mac-based design labs, running industry-standard design software. Students also have access to other computer labs within the Faculty.

See below for information on your degree options or if you have any queries, contact us or call 0800 924 528.

Practical Experience

In addition to the practical experience gained throughout the programme, you have the opportunity to undertake a real-world design project in the 300 level paper CGRD350. In this project you work relatively independently and collaborate with your peers and with members of the professional design industry. The final semester 300 level paper CGRD360 involves a self-directed brief which culminates each year in a Degree Show Exhibition. This exhibition is open to the public and is popular with people considering the BCGD.

If you have University Entrance you are eligible to apply for this degree. Ideal NCEA subject credits would include Art (Design, Painting, Photography, Sculpture or Printmaking), or Graphics and Design.

Because of the computer programming component in the degree, if you do not have at least 14 credits in NCEA Level 2 Mathematics you may be offered a supporting mathematics paper. A good standard of English is also important.

A selection process applies and you must submit 10 portfolio pieces. Submit your portfolio with your application form. The portfolio pieces are submitted to demonstrate your creative and visual communication abilities. You may be required to attend an interview in Hamilton with CGD teaching staff.

Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If necessary we can give you advice on suitable bridging papers.

BCGD applicants are required to submit a portfolio with their enrolment application. We will not be evaluating your design abilities as these skills will be taught during the degree. We are interested in seeing your creative ideas, originality, curiosity and imagination, and how you implement this within your creative visual work.

The portfolio of creative work (at least 10 items, max 20) should include finished pieces and pieces still under development. We would like to see work in progress or work developed during planning a project as well as finished work to help us understand your creative thinking process.

The items might include:

  • Drawings
  • Computer-generated images
  • Sketches
  • Photography
  • Websites
  • Animation
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Fashion
  • Digital story-telling etc.

You can submit your portfolio as digital files on a USB stick or by email.

Please do not submit originals. Original pieces can be photographed and submitted as digital files by email, with individual works clearly labelled.

Each of the 10 or more pieces should be accompanied by a title for each piece and a short (100 word max.) description of the work and its purpose and process of production.

Please send your portfolio to:


Receptionist, The School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences
The University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240

3 years - 360 points

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
120 Points 120 Points 120 Points
Compulsory Design Papers Compulsory Computing Papers Elective Papers
Design 1
Computer Graphic Design 1
Computer Graphic Design 3
Design 2
Computer Graphic Design 2
Computer Graphic Design 4
Design Processes and the Construction of Meaning
Critical Studies in Design
Intern Project
A History of Visual Communication
200* LEVEL CGRD360
Degree Project
Visual Computing
200* LEVEL 300** LEVEL
Computing Media
Introduction to Computer Science 1
100 LEVEL    


Students who complete the three-year Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design may also be invited to enrol in a Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design with Honours (BCGD (Hons)) degree.


There are a number of scholarships, prizes and awards that can help you with your study towards a BCGD degree – in particular the Computer Graphic Design Scholarship.

For further information contact the Scholarships Office:

Meet our students: Jessamy Topping

Meet our graduates: Ellen Clarkson

Ellen works on a wide variety of projects including refining existing IT systems and processes, and custom-designing brand new ones such as building an Android app for honey healthcare company Comvita.

Find out more about BCGD student Ellen Clarkson.


Scott Alonzo, Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design


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