Faculty of Architecture and Design


Media Design

Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2016 academic year unless otherwise specified.

On this page:

This subject is taught by the School of Design.


Digital media technology has opened up new and exciting opportunities within the design world. Media Design explores the diverse ways people interact with digital technology today – through web experiences, visual and audio communication, augmented and virtual reality, gaming and mobile media.

These areas present special challenges for designers, addressing issues of communication, work, play and daily life in this rapidly expanding field.

Our Media Design programme will equip you to enter a career in:

  • visual and audio communication
  • game design
  • interaction design
  • wearable and ubiquitous technologies
  • embedded and portable computing
  • web and internet development
  • augmented and virtual reality

You will approach real-world problems in the studio through a variety of course briefs, engaging in experimentation, innovation, research and interdisciplinary collaboration to obtain the creative solutions needed for the future of the design industry.

Media Design sits alongside the design majors Industrial Design and Culture+Context Design within the School of Design and can be combined with other disciplines, such as Film, Media Studies, Computer Science or Music, in the form of a minor subject. A BDI in Media Design can be undertaken with a specialisation in 3D Design and Animation, Computer Graphics, Game Design, Interactive Design and Video Design through selection of the appropriate courses.

All Media Design students have access to the Media Lab, a state-of-the-art facility with its own technical support staff. The Media Lab has 54 high end Apple Mac computers, running 2D and 3D graphic applications including the Adobe Production Suite, Autodesk Maya, and many other industry-standard and open source design and web applications.

Media Design is a major in the Bachelor of Design Innovation (BDI) degree. This undergraduate programme leads into a 180 point Master of Design Innovation (MDI) degree in Media Design for those seeking a postgraduate qualification in Design.

The MDI programme in Computer Graphics is available to students who have completed appropriate courses through a BDI in Media Design with a specialisation in Computer Graphics.

For more detailed information on these programmes, see the School of Design website.

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Undergraduate information

Secondary school subjects you will need

Useful background subjects are creative subjects such as Art, Design or Graphics and essay-based subjects, such as English, History, Art History, Classics, Geography or Economics. Students wanting to pursue a Computer Science minor or the postgraduate programme in Computer Graphics are strongly advised to include NCEA Level 3 Mathematics.

Degree requirements

The BDI in Media Design is a three-year undergraduate degree consisting of 360 points and is structured in two parts. In addition to core courses at each level, students do elective courses which provide opportunity to either include one or more specialisations, or a minor in a related subject, or to engage with the wide range of courses offered within the BDI or other undergraduate programmes

Credit assessment of prior tertiary study

If you have completed any study previously at another tertiary institute you may be eligible for some transferred credit towards your Victoria University qualification. Please check with the Faculty Office if you think this applies to you.

BDI in Media Design with Computer Graphics focus

Media Design students planning for the Masters programme in Computer Graphics should specialise in Computer Graphics during their BDI studies in order to systematically build the unique skill set and knowledge base required as preparation for the postgraduate Computer Graphics programme.

Visit the Computer Graphics website for more information.

Part 1

Part 1 is the first year of the Design Innovation programme (120 points). This year you take the courses alongside students in the Industrial Design and Culture+Context Design programmes.

In Part 1 you will investigate a broad range of essential design ideas, principles, histories, theories, practices and strategies. The first-year Design programme offers a highly structured learning environment that supports creative exploration and helps students to develop the discipline necessary for working in an innovative design practice. Study is structured around the concept of ‘designing by making’ where students develop design confidence and commitment through a series of strategically formulated and progressively complex design challenges. All students are encouraged and assisted to develop a strong, individual approach to design that allows them to engage with both the physical and the digital while evolving a commitment to a specific design discipline.  The core design courses will best equip you to enter Part 2.

Students complete 6 core courses and 2 elective courses as follows:

Core courses:

*If you have achieved 14 or more NCEA Level 3 credits in English, History, Art History, Classics, Geography or Economics you may substitute WRIT 101 or WRIT 151 with an additional elective course.

Note: Students wanting to specialise in 3D Design and Animation, Computer Graphics, Game Design or Video Design must include DSDN 132 3D Modelling and Animation I in their first year of study.

Part 2

Part 2 comprises the second and third years of the BDI degree, and requires 240 points - normally 120 points each year.

Note: Entry into Part 2 is based on your academic performance in Part 1.

In Part 2 you will gain a sound knowledge of the key theoretical and practical approaches in Media Design, as well as its boundaries and its relationships with other design disciplines.

In the 2nd year of Media Design study students complete courses as listed below, to a total of 120 points:

  • Three 200-level MDDN courses
  • CCDN 271
  • Elective courses or courses for a specialisation (40 points)

In the 3rd year of Media Design study students complete courses as listed below, to a total of 120 points:

  • Three 300-level MDDN courses
  • One course in CCDN, DSDN, INDN at 300 level
  • Elective courses or courses to complete a specialisation (40 points)

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Media Design elective course requirements

When selecting your electives in Part 1 and 2 you need to plan your programme to ensure your BDI includes:

  • at least 240 points from the BDI schedule
  • at least 200 points at 200 or 300-level

You can also choose to use your elective courses to satisfy the requirements of a specialisation


A student completing a major in Media Design may obtain a specialisation by including the following courses:

3D Design and Animation: DSDN 132, MDDN 211, 241, 311

Computer Graphics: DSDN 132, MDDN 211, 241, 242, 311, 342

Game Design: DSDN 132, MDDN 241, 243, 343

Interactive Design: MDDN 251, either MDDN 201 or MDDN 242, either MDDN 351 or 352

Video Design: DSDN 132, 144, CCDN 244, MDDN 211, 314, 311 


Minors for students majoring in Media Design

The BDI allows an optional minor to be taken alongside the Media Design major. A minor can be another subject offered within the BDI programme, or can be a subject offered by another Faculty or School within the University.

A minor requires 60 points at 200- and 300-level, including at least 15 points at 300-level. You need to plan ahead to ensure that you do any prerequisite 100-level courses as your first year electives.

Recommended minors include:

Minor in Music focusing on Sonic Arts and Music Technology

Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music offers courses in music technology and sonic arts that can be done as a Music minor within your BDI.

Courses in sonic arts engage with music technology—such as computer music programming, recording, production and digital interface design—with the goal of using this technology to create new sound-based art.

Some courses are focused primarily on technological proficiency, while others place greater emphasis on developing the aesthetic and conceptual perspectives of the student as well as more substantial creative work.

In order to enter the 200-level sonic arts or music technology courses you need:

And for the courses with a stronger creative focus (CMPO 210 or 211) you also need:

List of Music courses available:

200-level CMPO courses are 15 points and the 300-level CMPO courses are 20 points.

Contact the relevant Faculty or School for course information relating to your choice of minor.

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Postgraduate information

Please visit our postgraduate study pages on the School of Design website for information about postgraduate qualifications in Media Design.

Postgraduate programme in Computer Graphics

The School of Design, in association with the School of Engineering and Computer Science, offer Computer Graphics as an option within the Master of Design Innovation (MDI). Uniting design and computation, this degree blends computer programming and scripting processes with studio approaches to deliver cutting edge computer graphics compositions.

Visit the Computer Graphics website for more information.

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How to find out more

Want to find out more about studying at Victoria? Register now to find out more about your study options and keep updated on application and enrolment information, open days and events.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 VICTORIA (842 867) or email course-advice@vuw.ac.nz.

If you’re a returning or transferring student, contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.

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Related subjects and careers

The Media Design major in the BDI programme can lead to a variety of careers.

Graduates of the Media Design specialisation have career opportunities that include:

  • art director
  • 3D modeller/character artist/animator
  • computer graphics developer
  • technical director
  • user experience designer
  • game designer/programmer
  • interaction designer
  • media installation designer
  • mobile applications designer
  • motion graphics designer
  • visual effects artist
  • compositor
  • video production specialist

Media Design students who complete the one-year Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) after their BDI can become visual arts teachers.

Media students who complete specialisations can look forward to the following careers:

Specialisation Career
3D Design and Animation 3D modeler/character artist/animator, visual effects artist, motion graphics designer, art director
Computer Graphics Computer graphics developer, visual effects artist, game programmer, art director, technical director
Game Design game designer/programmer, art director 
Interactive Design interaction designer, user-experience designer, mobile applications designer, media installation designer, technical director, art director
Video Design video production specialist, compositor, motion graphics designer, art director

 The following list gives examples of how various minors can lead to a range of careers:

Minor Career
Film Filmmaker, videographer, screen-writer
Media Studies Media critic, curator, TV producer, art director
Computer Science Computer graphics developer, technical director, game developer, visual effects specialist
Music Musician, audio-visual designer, video production specialist
Art History Curator, exhibition designer, art director

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List of courses

All courses are taught at Victoria's Te Aro Campus.

200 Level Courses

MDDN 201 – Internet Design

MDDN 211 – Digital Video Creation

MDDN 241 – 3D Modelling and Animation

MDDN 242 – Creative Coding II

MDDN 243 – Introduction to Computer Game Design

MDDN 251 – Physical Computing

300 Level Courses

MDDN 311 – Postproduction and Special Effects

MDDN 314 – Audio-Visual Space

MDDN 343 – Advanced Computer Game Design

MDDN 351 – Wearable Technology

MDDN 352 – Mobile Media

MDDN 381 – Independent Study

MDDN 382 – Independent Study