Bachelor of Fine Arts

The four majors offered within the Bachelor of Fine Arts are FINE ARTS, PHOTO MEDIA, FASHION DESIGN and GRAPHIC DESIGN.

Students have the opportunity to experience all areas of specialisation offered at Whitecliffe in Semester One before moving into their chosen specialist areas in Semester Two of Year One.

This broad initiation into the range of disciplines in the first year increases  appreciation of the arts and helps students make an informed choice of major.

Duration: 3 years
EFTs: 4.0
National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level: 7
Qualification: Bachelor of Fine Arts 
Intakes: Mid February and Mid July each year
Application DEADLINE: 31st October (February intake - late applications considered)
Campus: Main Campus, 24 Balfour Road, Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand


Specialist study is supported at every level by theoretical and professional practice papers. Students are encouraged to exhibit to develop professional skills of planning, executing and presenting work within a critical environment. The programme's philosophy is to combine creative research skills with solid awareness of the public and professional requirements of visual arts professions. It's a liberating, exciting and challenging way to learn.

The final year culminates in graduating exhibitions by students from Fine Arts, Photo Media Fashion Design and Graphic Design.

Creativity requires a combination of imagination, focus and flexibility. Increasingly, fine arts graduates are receiving recognition as creative thinkers and innovative problem solvers who can successfully adapt to many industries and roles through utilising the transferable skills they accrue in their arts or design degree programme.

The Whitecliffe Bachelor of Fine Arts programmes are based on a uniquely student-centred approach that recognises and nurtures diverse needs and passions. Through these programmes students are exposed to a combination of new media and contemporary concepts while building up knowledge of traditional materials, skills and attitudes. Problem-solving skills and creative responses are emphasised and encouraged. As well as further developing individual creative talents, students learn critical thinking, research, communication and presentation skills. Study is supported at every level by theoretical and professional practice courses.


Lecturers are practicing artists, designers, administrators, therapists, educators and researchers who bring with them their expertise, networks and experience. They are skilled at tapping into student creativity to nurture and expand knowledge and ability. As part of our encouragement of careers in the arts, Whitecliffe also provides comprehensive professional grounding in areas such as business, marketing and ethics.

Small class sizes mean lecturers and students interact at a personal level on a daily basis. This close-knit relationship further enhances learning and the exchange of ideas and knowledge.

Entry Requirements

NCEA University Entrance or equivalent CIE/IB award (preferably including practical art and/or design and English). Discretionary Entrance is available to students who have gained exceptional marks in NCEA Level 2/Year 12 and wish to embark on higher level study. These students must display a high level of motivation and maturity. Students who do not meet these requirements are advised to undertake the Foundation Certificate in preparation for application to the BFA programme.

Domestic Students must be at least 17 years of age during their first year of study

International Students must turn 18 during their first year of study  and have  a minimum English language of level 6.0 IELTS level or equivalent

Portfolio (see the Admissions section for advice on this)

(Some of the above requirements may be waived for students over 20 years of age)


The preferential application deadline for the February intake of the BFA is 31 October. Late applications will be considered, subject to availability.

There is no application deadline for Domestic students for the July intake.

Find out how to apply for the BFA

Interested in continuing your Bachelor of Fine Arts? 

The BFA (Hons) degree programme is a stand-alone postgraduate qualification, directly following on from the Level 7 BFA degree. Its purpose is to consolidate the learning and achievements of BFA undergraduate study through the realisation of a sustained practice-based, studio-centred, research inquiry. Subject pathways include Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, and Photo Media. The Honours degree prepares students for professional life as creative practitioners in the wider arts and design industries, and for further postgraduate study.

Duration: 1 year
EFTs: 1
National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level: 8
Qualification: Bachelor of Fine Arts (HONOURS) 
Intakes: Mid February and Mid July each year
Application DEADLINE: 31st October (February intake - late applications considered)
Campus: Main Campus, 67 SYMONDS STREET, Auckland 1010, New Zealand