Diploma in Interior Design (Residential) Diploma in Interior Design (Residential)

A-Z study guide
A photo of drawing designs.

DiplomaFull time - 1 year

Annual Fees(indicative 2019)

Programme code



$6,300 - $7,100







Course related costs




Domestic Applications due

Received all year

International Applications due

20 January for February start


Christchurch - Madras Street


Turn your talent for design into a career in the diverse world of residential interior design.

Our qualification is ideal for you if you want to enter the interior design industry or are already working in the industry but do not hold a formal qualification.

You will study both the theory and practical elements of interior design for work as a qualified interior design consultant with studies in western architecture and interiors; New Zealand art and the principles of ergonomics.

Practical elements of your study include kitchen and bathroom design, colour principles, paint systems, creative application of colour, residential interior design, building technology and services, materials and finishes, lighting, soft furnishings, visual communication, manual drafting and computer aided design (CAD).

Personal and business presentation and business management are also covered and will give you the skills necessary to help run a successful interior design practice.

The workload for this programme comprises of about 20 hours per week class time. All courses consist of a mix of classroom work, and practical or research-based assignments. This programme offers flexible study and most courses can be studied full time or part time, however, if you choose to study part time, you will have up to four consecutive years to complete your courses.

To succeed in this programme you need word processing skills and the ability to format documents, if you do not currently have these skills you can enrol in an Ara Computing for Free course while completing this certificate.

You also need to recognise and differentiate colours, if you have difficulty with colour perception you will be advised of the programme and future employment implications.

Credit recognition

If you have work experience in this area, or a relevant prior qualification, you may be eligible for credit recognition towards this qualification.

Programme structure

To complete this Diploma you are required to complete a minimum total of 120 credits. Please browse the guide below to view the course options currently available within this qualification.

Core courses
Elective Courses

To be a full time student you need to maintain a workload of 120 credits per year. We recommend you talk with us to ensure you choose electives to benefit your future career.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
  • 12 credits in NCEA English Level 1, 12 credits in NCEA mathematics (or Pangarau) Level 1 and 36 credits in NCEA Level 2.
Alternative requirements
  • Evidence of literacy, numeracy and an ability to study at the appropriate level. This can be through study, work and/or life experience. Literacy and numeracy assessments are available.

Additional requirements
  • Portfolio If applying under alternative criteria applicants must provide a portfolio demonstrating design, graphic design and/or art skills . Contact us for portfolio requirements.
English requirements
  • If English is not your first language you may also be required to provide evidence of your English language skills as listed below. If you have no evidence of your English language skills and are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, contact us for an assessment.

    Note: If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance requirements you are not required to provide evidence of English Language Skills.










Acceptable Alternatives Chart

Next steps

To apply for this programme please:

  • complete an Admission and Enrolment Form or an International Application Form

If you don't meet the criteria for entry into this programme, we can help you meet entry level with our foundation and bridging programmes.

Alternatively, if you feel you have gained your learning through on the job experience talk to us about recognition or assessment of prior learning .

Application documents

Career opportunities

You may choose to join an interior design practice or businesses associated with interior design or potentially set up your own company.

Study pathways

This programme provides a natural progression to our Bachelor of Architectural Studies programme.

Recommended school subjects

  • Mathematics
  • Art
  • Design
  • ICT
  • Technology
  • Graphics
  • English-rich subjects
  • Relevant industry experience