Otago Polytechnic

Master of Professional Practice or Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice


Throughout New Zealand 

One year full-time (Graduate Diploma); two years full-time (Master)

These programmes are delivered by a facilitator and academic mentor working with individuals/groups and occur within the workplace. 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

120 (Graduate Diploma); 180 (Master)
7 (Graduate Diploma); 9 (Master)
Delivered through Capable NZ
Are you ready to advance your career through postgraduate education? Are you an experienced professional facing interesting challenges in your workplace?

In a liberating approach to education, and a first of its kind in New Zealand, this postgraduate programme supports your ambitions by focusing on your development and work innovation goals. These real-life aims are directly used as the basis for your learning.

You may have identified a strategic challenge – developing a new process, entering a new market, responding to stakeholders, fostering innovation or addressing internal organisational culture, for example. At Capable NZ, we recognise how powerful the real world of work is as a learning environment. Rather than requiring you to take time out of your career to pursue higher education, our Master of Professional Practice enables you to build a qualification around critically exploring and addressing the issues facing you.

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 so closely aligned with your organisation’s goals, it is often strongly supported by employers as a professional development opportunity.

Access our online self-assessment tool to see if Capable NZ is right for you: www.capablenz.co.nz/pre-assessment-survey
Apply for this programme at www.capablenz.co.nz 
Is this for me?
  • Ideal for those in paid or unpaid work, or self-employed
  • 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?
  • Explore cross-disciplinary boundaries and enjoy greater scope, flexibility and application than traditional pre-prescribed postgraduate programmes
  • Learning is self-paced, occurs within the workplace and facilitators and academic/professional mentors will support you throughout the whole process
Programme outcomes

The Master of 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. 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
Entry requirements

Graduate Diploma entry

  • You must hold a bachelor's degree OR degree equivalent AND relevant practical, professional or educational experience.

Master entry

  • You must hold an undergraduate degree in a relevant field of study, and/or degree equivalent professional experience.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you meet the entry requirements.
  • If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.5, with no band score less than 6.0.
Programme structure

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

Name of paper


Review of Learning


Advanced Practitioner Inquiry


Advanced Negotiated Work-based Learning Project


Programme Total


A smaller, less complex project can be undertaken within one year to complete a Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice. Please contact us for further information.

How is the programme delivered?

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 and action learning sets 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

Student loans/allowances

Domestic students of the Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice programme are eligible for student loans and allowances (dependent on other eligibility criteria). Domestic students of the Master of Professional Practice are ONLY eligible for student loans. Please contact Studylink for additional information. Phone: 0800 88 99 00 or visit the Studylink website.

Links to useful websites

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.