Master of Professional Practice

If you want to research a significant area or issue at your own workplace and recognise your work with an advanced qualification, this master's programme is for you.

About the programme

Are you an experienced professional facing interesting challenges in your workplace? Advance your career with a postgraduate qualification.

Professional practice is all about you and your work context.

This programme is delivered via our assessment of prior learning centre, Capable NZ.

We base our philosophy on using the real-life experiences from your professional life as rich learning material. Our Master of Professional Practice allows you to identify a challenge or goal in your work environment; this could be developing a new process, entering a new market, responding to stakeholders, fostering innovation or addressing internal organisational culture, for example. You can then research and define this issue, develop an approach for resolving it, and implement processes to achieve your desired outcomes.

This qualification is perfect for advancing your professional career, while also addressing a significant work challenge. What’s more, you can apply a Master of Professional Practice to virtually any discipline or sector.

During this learning experience, you will explore cross-disciplinary boundaries and enjoy greater scope, flexibility and application than traditional prescribed postgraduate programmes. Study is self-paced and occurs within the workplace. Facilitators and academic/professional mentors will support you throughout the process. 

The degree can be gained alongside full-time employment due to the flexible work-based learning (WBL) focus of the programme. Because the programme is closely aligned with your organisation’s goals, it is often strongly supported by employers as a professional development opportunity. 

Is this for me?

The Master of Professional Practice takes approximately 18 months to complete, and is ideal for employees, volunteers, or the self-employed who have an undergraduate qualification and/or relevant and significant professional experience.

The Master of 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 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, occurs within the workplace and facilitators and academic/professional mentors will support you throughout the whole process

What will I learn?

The Master of Professional Practice supports you to become an efficient self-directed learner. You will be capable of managing and critically evaluating your learning, and undertaking work-based projects that meet your needs and those of others. Upon successful completion, you will be able to:

  • design and conduct research relating to an area of inquiry within the professional practice significant to you and your workplace
  • engage in self-appraisal/reflection on practice which leads to significant insights likely to make a lasting impact upon personal and professional understanding
  • undertake complex action-planning leading to effective and appropriate outcomes likely to impact upon the work of others
  • evaluate information and ideas independently; critically evaluate/argue a position concerning alternative approaches; justify evaluations as constituting bases for improvement in practice
  • use wide-ranging resources effectively; communicate successfully and persuasively in writing and orally; and work and learn independently or as part of a team spanning a range of contexts, often in a leadership role

Courses and delivery

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


Name of paper


Course 1

Review of Learning


Course 2

Advanced Practitioner Inquiry


Course 3

Advanced Negotiated Work-based Learning Project



Programme Total


Learning and teaching activities within each course may include:

  • mentoring and facilitation
  • induction and review-of-progress workshops
  • on-campus workshops and seminars
  • online support and course resources through the Polytechnic’s Learning Management System platform (Moodle) and other learning technologies
  • workshops delivered at organisation/in other cities/Otago Polytechnic campus sites
  • online and video link assessment methodologies.

A blended learning approach, incorporating technology to facilitate access to learning activities and resources, means those who are working full-time or not based in Dunedin are fully supported.

We are part of Te Pūkenga

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic, 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.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.