Concept design art by Weta Workshop

Steps to apply

Applications to start study in February 2021 close on 30 November 2020.

Step 1: Check you meet the entry requirements

Applicants must have a four-year undergraduate degree in design, visual communication, fine art, or equivalent (such as US four-year Bachelor degree), or significant concept design experience in the entertainment industry.

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide your verified IELTS score of at least 6.5 (with no score lower than 6.0 in any category), or equivalent results in another English language test that Massey accepts. Find out more about Massey's English requirements.

Step 2: Make sure you have all your documents ready

As part of your application, you will need to provide a transcript of your past academic results. You'll also need to send us a research proposal, portfolio and CV.

International applicants will need to provide further documentation.

Research Proposal

A 1000 word outline which explains the intended line of enquiry/research that will be the primary design practice for the Masters project. This proposal can be supported by imagery and diagrams, and needs to include the following:

A project working title

This should be brief, and accurately reflect the nature of the project.

Abstract (250 words)

This should include a central proposition which defines the significance and context of the design issue, or area of concept design interest. Include your ideas regarding the project, topic or issue, and a suggestion of your intended design result.

Research question(s)

Outline your research question(s) or the focus that will guide your empirical investigation or review. This should have been formulated from your reading of relevant literature.

Literature review (500 words)

  • A concise statement of the problem area and why you have chosen it. This will include an introduction to an existing licence that will frame your design project, or an original IP, or type of creature/character, world or story construct you wish to explore.
  • The research aims for the project. What questions do you want your to research to answer?
  • Theories relevant to the design issue, or area of concept design interest.
  • An explanation of relevant case study examples.

Methodology (250 words)

Outline the design framework to be used, specific objectives and a preliminary timetable for stages of your work.

Reference list

A preliminary bibliography of central texts and precedent designs that could influence your project. The preferred reference style is APA.

Schedule and funds

A schedule for how the project could develop over the year, and how you will fund your study.


A portfolio of artwork between 15-20 pages that includes the following:

Concept design

This section needs to reinforce your capability and understanding of concept design and how it is applied to the entertainment industry.

  • A selection of your best work that ideally showcases your conceptual thinking and technical execution across character and costume design, creature design, environment design and key-scene illustrations. This could be personal and/or professional work.
  • Please include at least three examples of design that show how you take a design from an idea through to a range of options and on to a selected final.

Personal work

This is to showcase your personal artistic passion and technical ability. We are interested in seeing the depth of artistic mediums and creativity you engage with outside of concept design.

A selection of your personal artwork. This could include, life drawing and painting, sculpture, model-making, toy or doll making, traditional painting, graphic design, animation.

The approximate split between your concept design and personal work in your portfolio should be 70% concept design and 30% personal work.

CV or resumé

Provide a CV or resumé showing previous education and your work experience.

Step 3: Apply for the Master of Design programme

Click 'Apply now' on the Master of Design programme page and choose Master of Design (no specialisation).

When you reach the 'Support Document(s)' section, please upload your passport size photo and academic transcript to complete the application, then proceed to Step 4 below.

Step 4: Submit your portfolio, research proposal and CV to SlideRoom

Upload your portfolio, research proposal and CV to SlideRoom. There will be $10USD application fee.

What's next?

You will receive an acknowledgment of your submission and its acceptance based upon the criteria listed above.

All submissions will be given due consideration. Once applications close on 30 November 2020 shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview, and offers will be made upon completion of this stage. Interviews will be conducted online via Skype.

All applicants will be notified by mid-November whether they have been accepted into the programme.

Please note: Due to entertainment industry confidentiality considerations, all successful students must sign a non disclosure agreement with Weta Workshop.