1. About the Graduate Diploma of Design

The Graduate Diploma of Design program has an interdisciplinary underlying theoretical basis, as it pertains to contemporary design practices and principles in new emerging professional environments. The core subjects of the course focus on in-depth exploration of design knowledge and an understanding of design and creative thinking practices, complemented with elective subjects from the Master of Business Administration and Global Project Management courses. The combination provides the learner with advanced knowledge and practical skills to operate in a global creative business environment.

The Graduate Diploma of Design requires 5 core and 3 elective subjects to be completed. Students continue with an additional 3 core subjects and 1 elective after completion of the Graduate Certificate. Core subjects are DSGN6031 Social Enterprise, DSGN6028 Design Futures, DSGN6029 Research and Innovation. Whilst the subject Social Enterprise develops the social aspects of design thinking in context of social enterprise, Research and Innovation enables students to articulate their project based on primary and secondary research and provides for feedback and critique before commencement of the project.

Graduate employment opportunities

Graduates may find a range of career pathways and employment opportunities including:

  • International
  • Cross-disciplinary
  • Industry connected
  • Thought leaders, enterprising
  • Problem solvers
  • Problem creators
  • Project leader in business and design
  • Mastery
  • High level thinkers and communicators

Course Overview

Course Title Graduate Diploma of Design (GDDSGN15)
Study Options – Domestic Australian students Face to Face delivery

Online delivery

Full-time and part-time options available.

Study Options – International students International students on a student visa must not enroll into any more than a third or 33% of online subjects over their course and must study at least one subject that is face to face in each trimester.

International students on a student visa are required to study full time, i.e. the student must complete a minimum of 1.0 EFTSL of study per year.

Start Dates February, June, September

For specific dates visit the website.

Course Length Full-time: 1 year

Part-time: 2 years

Payment Options – Domestic Australian students Upfront payment

This means tuition fees will be invoiced each semester and payment is required on or before the due date.


FEE-HELP is Australian Government’s loan scheme for higher education degree courses. It can assist you in paying for all, or part of, your course fees. Repayments commence via the tax system once your income rises above a minimum threshold. Just like with any other debt, a FEE-HELP debt is a real debt that impacts your credit rating.

Payment Options – International students Upfront payment

This means tuition fees will be invoiced each semester and payment is required on or before the due date.

Course study requirements Each subject involves 10 hours of study per week, comprising 3 hours of facilitated study and 7 hours self-directed study. Assessment  Essays, reports, presentations, vision summary, design, research documentation, projects,
Locations Sydney


Delivered by Torrens University Australia
Provider Torrens University Australia Ltd is registered as a self-accrediting Australian university by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). CRICOS Course Code 086073E
Provider obligations Torrens University is responsible for all aspects of the student experience, including the quality of course delivery, in compliance with the Higher Education Standards 2015 Accrediting body Torrens University Australia
Course Fees For details, refer to the website. Any other fees For details, refer to the website.
  1. Essential requirements for admission

The general admission criteria that apply to Torrens University Australia courses can be located by visiting the Torrens University Australia website – /general-admission-information-for-torrens-university-australia-ltd.

  1. Admission Criteria
Title of course of study Graduate Certificate of Design
Applicants with higher education study ·         completion of a Bachelor level degree or Postgraduate study at an Australian university or equivalent from an overseas higher education provider AND

·         a written proposal AND

·         a portfolio of relevant work from area(s) of expertise AND

·         a resume AND

·         a selection interview

Applicants with vocational education and training (VET) study

Applicants with work and life experience Students without an undergraduate degree may be admitted to the Graduate Certificate of Design with:

·         a minimum of 6 years relevant professional experience AND

·         a written proposal AND

·         a portfolio of relevant work from area(s) of expertise AND

·         a resume AND

·         3 letters of recommendation AND

·         a selection interview

English Language Proficiency

(applicable to international students, and in addition to academic or special entry requirements noted above)

Equivalent IELTS 6.5 (Academic) with no skills band less than 6.0
Applicants with recent secondary education (within the past two years) with ATAR or equivalent*

(for applicants who will be selected wholly or partly on the basis of ATAR)


Other admission options

 (For applicants who will be selected on a basis other than ATAR)

Special Entry Applicants in any category whose study, work or life experiences have been impacted by disability, illness or family disruption will be given special consideration for admission. Each application will be considered on its merit, based on the evidence supplied by the applicant attesting to the circumstances of the applicant. Applicants for special entry may need to complete written or numerical tasks to assist with assessing eligibility for admission.
  1. How to apply

Via direct application to the institution

  1. Advanced standing/academic credit/recognition of prior learning (RPL)

You may be entitled to credit for prior learning, whether formal or informal. Formal learning can include previous study in higher education, vocational education, or adult and community education. Informal learning can include on the job learning or various kinds of work and life experience. Credit can reduce the amount of study needed to complete a degree.

Applicants admitted based on prior higher education study may be eligible for Advanced Standing in the form of credit and/or recognition of prior learning (RPL) under the Torrens University Australia Credit Policy – (/policies-and-forms).

  • Students with completed subjects may be eligible for specified credit and/or elective exemptions
  • Students who have completed a qualification at AQF level 5 (diploma) or above may be eligible for block credit (where a block credit agreement exists)
  • Students with a mix of formal study and informal and/or non-formal learning may be eligible for recognition of prior learning in addition to any credit approved.

Credit will not be applied automatically. Applicants must apply for credit and/or RPL as early as possible prior to each study period, with applications not accepted after week 2.

For further information about credit and recognition of prior learning please see /apply-online/course-credits.

  1. Where to get further information
  1. Additional Information

Course Structure

The course comprises of 8 subjects that are required to complete: 5 core subjects and 3 elective subjects.

* Electives available to students may be chosen from the elective bank (please refer to the course structure on the Student HUB) or can be taken from any Torrens University course at the appropriate level with approval from the Program Director (or delegate).

Course Rules

To be awarded the Graduate Diploma of Design, students will need to complete 80 credit points over 8 subjects as outlined in the course structure. All subjects have a value of 10 credit points.


DSGN6026 Design Identity

This subject introduces students to philosophical and theoretical for interpreting the various contexts of reception within which their designs will be encountered, engaged with, experienced or consumed. Design Identity, focuses specifically on ‘the connections of text as a stimulus to design approaches and understanding but more importantly on new ways of seeing. In this subject students engage with texts that are, or have been, influential in shaping ways in which designers and design theory engages the worlds that designed things enter into and subsequently re-define. A range of differing texts, including theoretical, literary and designed texts, and texts utilizing different media, are introduced and explored.

DSGN6027 Design Contexts

This subject provides a suite of cross disciplinary, practice based topics for designers in the areas of, time, space, motion and interaction. Designers will explore conceptual challenges and questions of visual expression in the quest to develop useful, usable and resonant designs for good. This will include understanding and articulating ‘user experience’, the role of design in humanizing information, the aesthetic and conceptual dynamics of effective communication, branding and communication within the international industry landscape.

DSGN6028 Design Futures

This subject introduces designers to research methodologies as a basis for identifying problems which can be the catalyst to bring about change. Students gain skills in the analysis of research data using grounded theory and phenomenography, in addition to visual research methods used as a foundation for creative and design solutions inherent in cross-disciplinary creative practice. By means of reflection, analysis and contextualization an identified culture—their own or others— and by drawing on its philosophies, typical behaviors and patterns, designers explore, elicit and assess problems to instigate creative group projects. As a starting point to the creative process designers identify problems with beneficial outcomes, which are critiqued and refined during the group collaboration. Through deductive reasoning the groups defines the boundaries of the problems and present these to the group in a “quick fire pitch” for critique and feedback, after which students refine and draw closer to their final inventions or solutions. The technologies used for the final design presentations enable the exploration of contexts by means of audio, visual and textual dimensions. The design practices foster understanding of, and connection with, the contexts that designed things participate in, enrich and often transform. The additional emphasis is on problem identification that informs and leads to enhanced futures based on successful creative outcomes.

DSGN6031 Social Enterprise

The theoretical base of this subject focuses on developing the students’ understanding of fundamental contemporary theories of social entrepreneurship and a variety of applicable business models. The course will explore cross-discipline material encompassing design, business and technology and how to acquire and combine knowledge and skills in all three areas to amplify the potential for success in 21st century society. At the core of this subject will be a focus on customer experience design, both theory and skill, and why user centric principles are increasingly used in business today.

Students will explore the application of entrepreneurship business strategies and apply this knowledge in a philanthropic context and come up with solution to a real world problem they can execute to the pitch ready stage for investment. The project will entail some type of ‘design for good’ aspect in either a profit or non-for-profit business model.

The course will also cover the latest neuro-leadership principles and explore why EQ can be just as important as IQ in both design and business. Students will be expected to think critically as they evaluate complex ideas and learn the patterns, frameworks and mechanics or storytelling, behavior design, game design and platform design.

Students will be expected to:

·         Identify and analyse a social problem that needs to be solved

·         Plan and progress an idea through a business development lifecycle

·         Conduct face to face user interviews utilising a self-constructed questionnaire

·         Synthesise and visualise quantitative and qualitative data in order to communicate the patterns they discover in the data collected

·         Learning the basics of using a business model and value proposition canvas as tools for design

·         Create, present, and communicate a professional-level business deck along with a functional prototype in order to demonstrate their understanding of theoretical and practical concepts

·         Learn and practice lean start-up and design thinking principles in the validation of their business idea along with validation of the prototype for the product or service they create.

DSGN6029 Research and Innovation

This subject culminates in a synthesised project proposal as foundation for the Cap-stone Project. Consideration of ethics and approaches to potentially sensitive research are identified before, where required, approvals of the research approach by the University Ethics Committee. During this subject designers develop and consolidate their understanding of research practices as well as findings in order to thoroughly analyse and review collected information gathered without any demographic constraints. The proposal stipulates the problem and the solution as it appears, the research focus group (if any) as well as the type of research to be conducted. Creative and societal innovation founded on research but also reflexive practice is to be considered in the proposal for the Cap-stone Project. At the end of this subject designers will have proposed the foundations of a self-initiated project that exhibits a sophisticated understanding of contemporary design practice based on triple line philosophy:

·         environmental sustainability;

·         social, ethics and creative responsibility combined with;

·         financial responsibility.


The Graduate Diploma of Design can be studied fully online or at the below Torrens University Campuses:

  • Sydney: Level 1, 46-52 Mountain Street, Ultimo NSW Australia 2007

Campus Facilities and Services

All campuses are designed to provide students with professional spaces in which to learn and work. They have been planned with student study needs in mind with well-equipped accessible learning spaces as well as student breakout areas for group work and spending time with friends.

Facilities and Services include:

  • The Customer Service Hub – our friendly and experienced staff can give help and advice about courses, your enrolment and campus life, including all services and activities on campus.
  • Counsellors are available for students to consult with on a range of personal issues
  • Student wireless access throughout the Campus
  • Student break-out and relaxed study spaces for group work
  • Student lounge areas – most with microwaves, kitchenette facilities and vending machines
  • The Learning Hub, home to the Learning Support Team, encompasses Learning Skills Advisors, Learning Technology Advisors, and Library & Learning Skills Officers. It provides an integrated, holistic support program for students throughout the study lifecycle within a library/collaborative study environment.

The service includes:

  • Support and workshops with highly qualified staff in the areas of Academic skills, Library skills, and Technology skills, both on campus and online.
  • Physical and digital resources relevant to studies, such as books, journals, multimedia, databases
  • Self-check kiosks for library loans and print and copy facilities

A positive student experience

Torrens University Australia values the importance of a positive student experience, and therefore has robust processes to resolve student complaints.  The Student Complaints Policy, and associated procedures, can be accessed from the website (/policies-and-forms).

Paying for your qualification

We offer two payment options for this course:

  • Upfront payment

If you want to complete your qualification debt-free you can choose to pay as you go. This means tuition fees will be invoiced each semester and payment is required on or before the due date using EFTPOS, credit card or direct transfer.


FEE-HELP is Australian Government’s loan scheme for higher education degree courses. It can assist you in paying for all, or part of, your course fees. Repayments commence via the tax system once your income rises above a minimum threshold ($45, 881 in 2019-20). Just like with any other debt,
a FEE-HELP debt is a real debt that impacts your credit rating.

Further information about FEE-HELP, including eligibility, is available at:

Austudy and Abstudy

Students enrolled in this course may be eligible for government assistance, such as Austudy or Abstudy.