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New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 6)

Level 6

The New Zealand Diploma in Photography Level 6 prepares you for a professional photography career. Benefit from the long term success of photographic training at UCOL, setting the benchmark for professional photographic imaging across New Zealand

A person standing in a photography studio holding a camera
Quick info

Level: 6

Locations: Palmerston North

Duration: 1 year, full-time (part-time options are available)

26 Feb 2018 - 23 Nov 2018

Domestic Fees:*
$7,308.00Scholarship info

Find out if you're eligible for fees-free study

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

Focusing on the exciting diversity of contemporary professional photography, you will develop advanced knowledge and in solving visual problems through idea generation, composition, lighting and using various equipment.

We’ll introduce you to a range of photographic ideas from fashion and advertising through to wedding and portrait, product and still life, documentary and video, architecture and food. You’ll build your industry portfolio and develop your creative talent in a practical, career focused way. 

UCOL brings you strong links with the photographic industry and opportunities to showcase your work on a local, national and global stage. UCOL Photography students have attained unprecedented success at the NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards, achieving New Zealand Student of the Year for twelve consecutive years, New Zealand Tertiary Institution of the Year for eight consecutive years and winner of the Canon Eyecon Award for six consecutive years.  

Past students have gone on to craft successful careers in areas of fashion, wedding, portrait, newspaper and architecture, here and abroad.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Graduates of this qualification will be able to work in entry-level professional photography practitioner roles or as self-employed/freelance practitioners.
  • Portrait photographer
  • Fashion photographer
  • Wedding photographer
  • Food photographer
  • Architectural photographer
  • Photo-journalist
  • Product photographer
  • Newspaper photographer
  • Photoshop retoucher
  • Videographer
  • Photographic assistant
  • Production manager
  • Studio manager
To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Photographers.

 Course Information

  • Photographic Practice
  • Digital Practice

 Industry Connections

The programme has strong industry connections in New Zealand and overseas:

  • Canon New Zealand
  • New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP)
  • AIPA (Advertising & Illustrative Photographers Association)
  • INFOCUS – The Iris Awards
  • Manawatu Standard
  • New Zealand Police Forensic Department
  • New Zealand Army
  • Te Manawa Museum
  • Palmerston North Airport
  • Horizons Palmerston North
  • BCC (Building Clever Companies), Palmerston North 

 Learning Facilities

UCOL provides students with a learning environment that enables individuals to master the craft and business of photography. Each campus contains large-scale commercial shooting studios, equipped with professional lighting systems, modification accessories, and studio props. 

Specialised equipment is available to borrow throughout your studies, including 35mm and medium format digital solutions and accessories; moving image cameras, sound recording equipment and accessories, and portable lighting systems. 

The computer suites and professional imaging work stations are furnished with Apple iMacs and up-to-date Adobe Creative Suite software, to optimize the digital workflow process. We also provide an in-house professional printing and finishing suite equipped with large format printers. 

Additionally, we have a bright and airy student lounge, lockers and a kitchenette designed to add comfort.  

 Domestic Entry Requirements

Students must have successfully completed the New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 5).


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants.

English language proficiency
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre.

 Advice & Guidance

Prospective students should understand that the New Zealand Diploma in Photography, Level 6 requires motivation, organisational skills and commitment.

Where class content is delivered on campus, a high level of attendance is recommended if students are to satisfactorily meet the learning outcomes. If a student misses a key session or significant portion of the programme, progress may be hampered. It is highly recommended that consistent attendance levels are maintained and notified key sessions are attended.

Where programme content is delivered on-line it is necessary that students maintain a high level of commitment to completing the programme content and that regular communication is maintained with lecturers.

The New Zealand Diploma in Photography, Level 6 comprises 120 credits. 

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a weekly commitment of:
  • 15 hours  of lecturer supported learning in class
  • 23 hours of self-directed learning (your own time spent working to complete your assignments)
Please be aware there will probably be at least one night class a week for the programme in Palmerston North and Auckland.  In the case of UCOL's New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 6) in Auckland, classes are run over four full days a week - lecturer supported hours. In either location if you choose to do part-time work, we recommend a maximum of 10 hours a week.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course or unit standards have already been met.

 Additional Costs

Compulsory course costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Diploma in Photography Level 6 of up to $787.00 dependent on the workshops you choose as follows:
  • 1TB hard drive - up to $85.00
  • x2 8GB pen drive - $26.00
  • 4 GB SD card - $20.00
  • CF 32G high speed - extreme pro memory card - $126.00
  • Equipment bond for using cameras, tripods, tablets etc outside of class time - $80.00
  • Printing - $200.00
  • Mounting boards - $100.00
  • 3M spray mount glue or double-sided tape - up to $60.00
  • x2 A4 visual diaries - $30.00

Optional course costs

  • Stationery and art supplies - the cost is dependent on what you'd like to use
  • Hard drive - if you'd like a hard drive as a back up, you could get a 1TB hard drive - $85.00
  • A2 portfolio case for carrying works in a safe manner - form $20.00 for a manilla version
  • Field trips - various trips will have optional costs associated with them. They are recommended for expanding your knowledge. For example, once a month the video students will be going to the movies.
  • Polaris light meter - $300.00
  • Ipad Air 2, Wacom tablet or Android tablet for drawing - $180.00 - $1,300.00
  • Computers or laptops with solid state for safety with bumping, 8GB RAM with 256 Flash Memory - up to $4,000.00
  • Adobe Creative Cloud education license - $370.00


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.