What will I learn?

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is a prestigious degree that will give you a broad knowledge in visual arts, multimedia, and design before you specialise in one studio area.

The four-year degree is based within purpose-built facilities and students enjoy being part of a supportive community of practitioners.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts requires a total of 480 points:

  • 90 points of compulsory Fine Arts courses
  • 45 points of compulsory Art History and Theory and/or Cinema Studies courses
  • 270 points towards a specialist studio subject
  • 75 points from courses in Arts or other degrees.

Double degrees

It is possible to study a BFA with another degree.

Graphic Design

Initial studies in this subject deal with the pragmatic processes and components of graphic design, with a focus on typography. Advancing studies become more self-motivated as students define areas of research that interest them. Seminars given by staff, visiting professionals and other students address current issues in graphic design and help students locate their interests within the tradition and trajectory of contemporary design.

Students are introduced to current technology throughout their courses. Alongside digital processes and artefacts, students are also encouraged to investigate other more traditional processes, such as screen printing.

Further study

Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts; Master of Fine Arts; Postgraduate Diploma in Art Curatorship

A UC Fine Arts degree is accepted as an entry qualification to postgraduate studies in other tertiary institutions in New Zealand and overseas. UC graduates have been accepted into the best graduate programmes in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, the United States and Australia.

Career opportunities

Students majoring in Graphic Design have positions as graphic designers, professional artists, consultants, illustrators, publishers, marketers, advertisers, lecturers and art teachers.

Which department am I in?

College of Arts

Study options

Full Time (4 years)

Tuition fees
NZ$32,200.00 (US$ 23,020) per year
First 120 points

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Application deadline

Expected October 2021

More details

Start date

Expected February 2022


University of Canterbury

Warehouse, 20 Kirkwood Ave,



Upper Riccarton,

8041, New Zealand

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants must have completed New Zealand University Entrance through NCEA or any other equivalent overseas qualification. 3 A-levels with one A-level at Grade C or above. English language requirements: IELTS academic 6.0 overall (no section < 5.5); TOEFL (iBT) total minimum score of 80, with at least 19 in reading, writing and listening; English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at CCEL - EAP 2 grade C+; Pearsons (Academic) - Overall score of 50 (no section < 42).

For international students

General Admission to enrol for a bachelor's degree is University Entrance, or equivalent qualification.

To apply for admission to the Intermediate Year (first year) of the BFA directly from secondary school, you need to have met University Entrance requirements and:

  • achieve NCEA Level 3 Visual Arts in one or more subjects; and
  • have at least 14 credits in each of two other NCEA Level 3 subjects (that are not practical art subjects) is also strongly recommended; or
  • the equivalent standards in other secondary school qualifications.

All applicants also need to submit an application form, a letter of introduction and a portfolio.

Applicants must also satisfy our English language entry requirements:

  • IELTS (Academic): Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no band score lower than 5.5.
  • TOEFL (IBT): Minimum overall score of 80, with a minimum score of 19 in Reading, Listening and Writing.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic): Overall score of 50, and no communicative skills score below 42.

Undergraduate application deadline: Semester 1 (February start) by 31 October.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

Pathways options

Offered by other partners

This university accepts pathways courses from

About University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury’s alumni include popular personalities such as Karl Popper, one of the greatest twentieth-century science philosophers.

  • Ranked among the world’s top 250
  • Among the top 1% cent of universities worldwide
  • 5-Star QS rating for its excellent research & teaching methods
  • Based in Christchurch - New Zealand’s most affordable city