New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Electrical Engineering)

This is a practical programme using real-life scenarios as part of your learning. You will graduate ready to undertake a wide variety of work ranging from designing and programming PLCs in industrial applications to designing and commissioning complex building services or electrical distribution installations. Employers often headhunt directly from this programme.

About the programme

Get a career as an Electrical Engineering Technician.

Electrical engineers design, develop, manage and maintain circuitry and equipment for power generation and distribution, building services, machine control and robotics.  

There is presently a significant shortage of trained engineers and qualified technicians are in high demand for their skills and experience. 

Accredited by Engineering New Zealand, this practical programme meets the standards required for the Dublin and Sydney international Engineering accords - meaning it's highly respected and recognised nationally, and internationally. Plus, New Zealand-trained engineering graduates have a great reputation around the world for their work readiness and high calibre.  

Studying in our first-rate facilities and learning from experienced lecturers using real-life scenarios, you'll gain a great understanding of engineering processes and theory. Initial courses include Engineering Fundamentals and Engineering Mathematics and then you'll branch out into specialty courses such as Power Engineering, Electronic Principles, Instrumentation and Controls, and Sustainable Energy. 

Graduates can look forward to careers including an Electrical Designer, PLC Programmer, Fault Finder, Contract Manager, Project Manager, Maintenance Manager or Energy Auditor. Or, you could move into our Bachelor of Engineering Technology to deepen your learning and widen your career options.

Studying part-time 

We know full-time study isn't always possible. We offer this programme part-time, studied over four years (but this can also be flexible). Our July intake is only available part-time.


The New Zealand Diploma in Engineering has been designed to provide skilled and competent engineering technicians who:

  • Apply engineering theory to practice and competently perform technical operations to the standards, ethical and professional responsibilities required by the engineering profession
  • Have a knowledge sufficient to permit informed, rational decision making in a specialist field of engineering and to implement these decisions
  • Will work collaboratively with construction workers, clients, authorities, agencies, industry, and other professionals to provide a comprehensive engineering service in the relevant specialist area
  • Have an understanding of all cultures and, in particular, an awareness and clear understanding of the tangata whenua and the implications of the Treaty of Waitangi and the Resource Management Act.

As these courses have high practical content, relevant work experience would be an advantage. You will also learn through theoretical study, project work, and laboratory sessions.

Please note: An Electrical Service Person course is also available from 2016 and is recommended for diploma students. This is administrated by the EWRB. Please visit for more information.

Course Code  Course Title Level Credit Pre-requisite
Year One  Compulsory Courses      
DE4101  Engineering Fundamentals 4 15  
DE4102  Engineering Mathematics 1 - FULL YEAR 4 15  
DE4103  Technical Literacy 4 15  
DE4401  Electrical Principles 4 15  
DE4402  Electrical and Electronic Applications 4 15 DE4401
DE5401  Power Engineering 5 15 DE4401
DE5403  Electronic Principles 5 15  
DE5423  Computer-aided Electrical Drawing 5 15  
   Year One Total   120  
 Year Two  Compulsory Courses      
 DE5402  PLC Programming 1 15  
 DE5404  Electrical Machines 15  DE4401 & DE5403
 DE6101  Engineering Management 15   
 DE6102  Engineering Project (Electrical) 15   
   Electives (Choose two)      
   Automation and Control Option      
 DE5417  Instrumentation and Controls 1 5 15  DE4101 & DE5403
 DE5418  Engineering Mathematics 2 15   DE4102
 DE6411  PLC Programming 2 15   DE5402
 DE6409  Electrical Building Services 15   
 DE6419  Maintenance Engineering Management (Required) 15   
   Power Option      
 DE5418  Engineering Mathematics 2 5 15 DE4102
 DE6401  Power Systems 1 (Required) 15  DE4401 
 DE6411  PLC Programming 2 15  DE5402 
 DE6420  Protection 15  DE4401 
 DE6409  Electrical Building Services 15   
 DE6421  Sustainable Energy and Power Electronics 15  DE4401, DE5403
   Year Two Total   120  
   Total Credits    240   

Note: In addition, CISCO Networking 1 and 2 courses are available. These courses are useful if you are likely to be engaged in employment where networking of computers would be undertaken. Additional fees would apply.

An Electrical Service Person course is also available and is recommended for Diploma students. This is administrated by the EWRB. Please visit for more information.

Further study options

Upon successful completion of this qualification, there are opportunities for you to move into the Bachelor of Engineering Technology at Otago Polytechnic or degree programmes at either Canterbury or Auckland Universities. Completion of the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering can reduce the length of these engineering degrees by a year, or with appropriate experience, two years on application. NZDE forms part of the pathway to becoming registered as an Electrical Engineer with EWRB ( 

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.