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Master of Design

If you are an international student who is not currently in New Zealand, you can start this programme online in A Trimester 2022 (March) until you are able to join us on campus in New Zealand. See how to apply.

The Master of Design (MDes) is an advanced degree focusing on design theory, technology and original research.  It builds on the unique combination of design skills developed during the Bachelor of Design (BDes).

A central aim of the MDes is to allow you to specialise in your chosen area of the design and creative practices industry and prepare you for the next steps in a career in academia or industry.

The MDes provides an opportunity for you to undertake taught courses, design research, and develop your understanding of advanced design theory and practice. You will be supported to plan, develop and carry out a large scale design research project.

Research topics are tailored to suit your interests, providing an opportunity for you to hone a particular aspect of design further, which could be a pathway to your chosen career. You will also have the full support, guidance and expertise of your supervisor during your research project. During your MDes at the University of Waikato you will collaborate with other students and academics, and have opportunities to work with members of the professional design industry.

Design Facilities at Waikato

Graduate Design students have a dedicated design lab space and access to all undergraduate facilities which include several labs fully equipped with Mac computers .

Apply to enrol

Key information

Years: 1.5
Points: 120 or 180
Study Locations:Hamilton
Start Dates: Trimester A (March) and Trimester B (July)
Estimated Fees* (Domestic): $7,416 - $8,888 per year
See if you're eligible for fees-free study in your first year
Estimated Fees* (International): $41,730 (120 pts)
$62,600 (180 pts)
Entry Requirements: Postgraduate International
Area of Study:
*Tuition fees shown are indicative only and may change. There are additional fees and charges related to enrolment please see the Table of Fees and Charges for more information. You will be sent an enrolment agreement which will confirm your fees.

Degree Planner

Degree planner — Master of Design (MDes)

180 points

90 or 120 point
Design Thesis

60 or 30 points from
500 level taught papers**

  • Compulsory
  • Thesis
  • Elective

Choose a main subject

Career opportunities

  • Advertising Designer
  • Interactive Designer
  • Motion Graphics Designer
  • TV Graphics Designer
  • Web Designer

To enrol in the MDes you should have completed a Bachelor of Design (BDes) (or equivalent) and have achieved a B average over the course of your study.

If you are applying with an undergraduate or graduate qualification from another university you must also complete a portfolio containing ten pieces of art or design work. Please include the ID Number that you will receive during this online application process when naming your portfolio. Submit your Portfolio after you have completed an online application to enrol.

It is helpful if you can discuss the choice of your actual programme of study – that is, the courses you are going to take and the area in which you plan to write a thesis or dissertation with the graduate advisor in Design. We will go over your entire proposed graduate programme with you, not just the courses you plan to take in the first year. If you cannot come to the University in person, we can discuss your proposed programme by email or on the phone.

New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

University of Waikato Summer Research Scholarship  Not currently accepting applications

For students who are enrolled at a NZ University in an undergraduate degree, final year honours degree or a first-year master's degree (taught papers only). The scholarship provides students with opportunities to experience the challenges and rewards of research. The scholarship will have a value of $8,000 and will include enrolment in a paper, normally at no cost to the student.

University of Waikato Taught Postgraduate Scholarship  Accepting applications

For students enrolling in at least one taught paper at 500-level or above (some 400-level taught papers are also eligible; see regulations for further information). Applications must be submitted prior to the commencement of the papers for which funding is being sought. A minimum GPA of A- is required. International students must have completed at least 120-points of study at a NZ university.
Closing Date: 31 October 2023

Looking for more scholarships?

Visit our Scholarship Finder

Practical experience

The MDes provides an opportunity for you to plan, develop and carry out a large scale design research project.  This will enable you to collaborate with other students and academics, and to work with members of the professional design industry.


School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences
Phone: 0800 924 528 or +64 7 838 4625
Email: [email protected]

Have a chat with one of our friendly advisers to help you plan your degree.

Phone: +64 7 807 9275
Email: [email protected]

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