Application information for the Dunedin School of Art

On each of the programme information pages, you will see the date applications are preferred by. Early applications are welcomed to register interest, and late applications will be considered if there are places available.

You will find our online application process here or downloadable paper-based application forms here.

To apply online, simply fill in and submit the online form. The form allows you to upload your portfolio and any supporting documents, but if you have any trouble with this, just submit the form and email the supporting material to

Alternatively you can send in or drop off your application form and portfolio to:

Dunedin School of Art
Otago Polytechnic
Riego Street
Private Bag 9010, Dunedin

How to compile your portfolio

As part of the application process, we require examples of your artwork which show how you develop your ideas. Your examples need to show us your working processes and your ability to use a range of materials. Alongside your artwork, we also require a written submission. 

Please read the instructions about your Portfolio and Writing Requirements for your application in the next section.

Are you a mature student needing guidance on preparing your portfolio?

Those who have recently done art at high school level will have developmental and workbook drawings that show how they arrived at a finished artwork. You will need to provide us with evidence of both your technical skills and your ability to develop ideas and plan and work towards finished artworks. To help create a strong portfolio, we recommend the following.

  1. Clear a large space and spread out all your artwork (including finished work, previous folios, works-in-progress, sketches and rough drafts).
  2. Divide the artwork into three piles: pieces you love and definitely want to include; pieces you consider okay; and pieces you don’t like.
  3. Discard the third pile and consider how many works you have in the first pile – you are aiming for between 12-18 works. If your ‘favourites’ pile isn’t large enough, keep adding from the second pile until you have reached the right number.
  4. Select only the best but remember that they all do not have to be finished works – we recommend works-in-progress that show off your potential. Choose from a range of mediums (including sculpture, ceramics, jewellery etc.) and this will showcase your skills.
  5. Take photos of your chosen works (we recommend photographs, although colour photocopies are acceptable). Include these with your application and make sure all material (including CDs if you are submitting any work digitally)are clearly labelled with your name and address. Please note, there is a 15 MB file size limit if you upload your portfolio online.
  6. Put all copies of your artwork into a clearly labelled A4 Clear File. It is a good idea to mount the photographs on paper and write the title, medium, size and year of production underneath.

Please contact us if you would like more advice on preparing your portfolio, or have any questions about our programmes.

Portfolio and writing requirements

Artwork Requirement

We require examples of your artwork and the ways that you develop your ideas. Your examples need to show us your working processes and your ability to use a range of materials.

  • If you have been working in the NCEA system, please send us twelve (12) examples of your finished works and of your working processes from your folders.
  • If you have not been working within the NCEA system, please send us six (6) examples of finished work and six (6) pages of sketches or workbook pages.
  • Please submit your portfolio digitally or in an A4 folder. Please do not submit originals as we do not return application folders. There is a 15MB file size limit for the portfolio if you are applying online.

Thank you. We are looking forward to seeing your artwork.

Writing Requirement

Please include the following written material with your portfolio:

  1. An essay or a written text of at least a page (300 words). You may include writing produced for any of your NCEA subjects or if you don’t have these, you may write a new piece on any topic of your choice
  2. A double-spaced letter of not more than one page (300 words) explaining why you want to come to art school and what your experiences of art may have been to date. This may include all or some of the following:
  • Why art is important to you, the community and the wider world
  • Your expectations for your own future after your studies
  • Art galleries you may be familiar with
  • Artists whose work you may know
  • Art skills that you may have gained already.

All late applications will be considered.

Please contact us if you would like further information or assistance with your portfolio.


Some scholarships are available for Dunedin School of Art graduates for postgraduate study. Please contact Alexandra Kennedy (Postgraduate Coordinator) to register your interest or to find out more.