Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice

The course is designed to take your current work environment as the basis of this qualification. It is a self-directed study where you investigate a challenge or an area at your workplace that you want to solve or develop. You can then research and define this issue, develop an approach for resolving it, and implement processes to achieve your desired outcomes.


12 Months Full-time
24 Months Part-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee


12 Months Full-time
24 Months Part-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee

What You Study

The Capable NZ difference

The Capable NZ process centres you and your own career – you’ll reflect on where you’ve come from, where you are now, and where you want to go.

You will:

  • identify early experiences and influences that have shaped you, and how these relate to your working life
  • analyse your work and life experiences and skills, and evaluate your strengths and capabilities
  • identify, access and research relevant practice theories, models, tools, frameworks, and reflect on how these might inform and influence your work
  • propose and complete a project, carried out in an organisation you work for or with, have a key functional relationship with, or in your self-employment.

One key point of difference with Capable NZ study at this level is that you will undertake an in-depth industry-relevant project. This could be an exploratory study to identify best practice nationally or internationally; the development of a resource or resources for a specific area of practice; or creating proposed guidelines for best practice. Your project is primarily to inform you, however it should also contribute to practice knowledge in your sector.

Is this for me?

This programme is ideal for employees, volunteers, or the self-employed who have an undergraduate qualification and/or relevant professional experience.

A Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice:

  • is ideal for those in paid or unpaid work, or self-employed
  • allows you to build a degree around your world. What skills/expertise do you need? What would help you to achieve your career or business aspirations? Do you need support in a particular area of your professional practice?
  • helps you to explore cross-disciplinary boundaries and enjoy greater scope, flexibility and application than traditional pre-prescribed postgraduate programmes
  • provides self-paced learning, and facilitators/academic/professional mentors will support you throughout the whole process

What will I learn?

Our Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice supports you to become an efficient self-directed learner. You’ll be capable of managing and critically evaluating your learning, and undertaking work-based projects that meet your needs and those of others.

When you graduate, you'll be able to: 

1.  Design and conduct an inquiry significant to the learner and their workplace, by:

  • identifying sources of knowledge and evidence and using them appropriately
  • identifying and applying information and ideas which result in the creation of knowledge relevant to self and workplace.

2.  Engage in reflection on practice which leads to insights likely to make a lasting impact upon personal and professional understanding.

3.  Undertake exploration proposing or leading to effective and appropriate action likely to impact upon the practice of self and/or others.

4.  Consider information and ideas independently and evaluate and articulate a position that can justify a basis for improvements in practice.

5.  Communicate effectively and persuasively in writing and orally in an appropriate format to appeal to a particular target audience.

6.  Work and learn autonomously and with others in a range of contexts, with a developing awareness in how this may develop the practices and/or beliefs of others. 


The work-based learning approach centres round the relationship between you, your employer/sponsor or your field of practice, and Capable NZ. The programme is divided into three main phases. 


Name of paper


Course 1

Review of Learning


Course 2

Learning Agreement


Course 3







Your workload 

If you are studying full-time, you'll need to spend about 20 hours a week studying. 

For the part-time option, you'll need to spend about 10 hours a week studying.

How is the programme delivered?

This programme is delivered by a facilitator /academic mentor working with individuals. Learning is self-paced and as communication can be face-to-face or via email, phone or Skype, learners can access the programme from anywhere within New Zealand. 

Learning and teaching activities within each course may include:

  • facilitation and mentoring through distance processes
  • one-to-one meetings and review-of-progress workshops (depending on location)
  • online support and course resources through the Polytechnic’s Learning Management System platform (Moodle) and other learning technologies
  • online and video link assessment methodologies. 



Entry requirements

  • You must hold a bachelor's degree OR equivalent AND/OR 7-10 years of professional practice experience.
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.  


Domestic fees

Full tuition

International fees

Full tuition

Fees Free 

If you’re a domestic student and this is your first time doing tertiary study in New Zealand (over 60 credits at Level 3 or higher), you may be able to get free tuition fees for this programme. 

All the details and criteria are on the Fees Free website and you can check whether you’re going to be able to access funding by entering your National Student Number. 

If you can access it, we’ll organise your fees with the Tertiary Education Commission when you’re enrolled to study with us. This funding doesn’t include additional costs or living costs.   

Check whether you can access funding here >

Tuition fees

The tuition fees shown above are approximate only. There may be a slight fee increase per year once Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) rules and guidelines are applied. These fees also don’t include additional costs or living costs.


How to apply

1. If you want to find out a little more about this programme, send us an enquiry and we'll be in touch! 

2. If you know that you just want to apply, click on the blue apply button at the top of this page and complete our online application form. 

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people, and you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Get in touch

0800 762 786
International +64 3 477 3014