Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Certificate in English Language (Level 3) and (Level 4)

Want to improve your English language skills? Learning English at Otago Polytechnic means that you can prepare for further study, make new friends and experience New Zealand culture.

You will learn English from experienced teachers who are very patient and understanding. Class sizes are small and you will be able to take part in small groups to practise your speaking. You will also meet native speakers and listen to guest speakers.

The New Zealand Certificates in English Language are nationally-recognised qualifications. This means that you can use them to transfer to other institutes in New Zealand. They also provide a good pathway into academic study at Otago Polytechnic.

When you pass Level 3, you will be able to enter most of our certificate programmes. When you pass Level 4, you will be able to enter most of our diploma or degree qualifications.

At Levels 3 and 4, there are strands in General English, English for the Workplace and English for Academic Purposes. Academic writing and study skills are also included.

Each level offers a flexible study programme of English language/ESOL courses so you can start at any time during the semester.

Please note: Our Dunedin Campus offers Level 3 and Level 4. Our Auckland International Campus offer Level 4 only.

Entry requirements
  • We do not require an English language test result.
  • You will be tested and placed at the right level when you arrive.
  • If you plan to study with us for more than three months, international students will need a visa.
You will study

We will help you find the level that’s right for you.


If you can use English in everyday settings, but you want to improve so you can study in English

When you graduate, you will have the English language skills to:

  • understand the main points and key supporting detail in extended oral interaction and factual information in familiar contexts
  • speak with some coherence, fluency and spontaneity to express personal ideas and sustain interaction in familiar contexts
  • read and understand a range of texts on familiar topics; scan, locate and gather information to fulfil a specific task
  • write comprehensible, connected texts on familiar topics with reasonable linguistic accuracy, using a range of text types.

If you can use English with accuracy and want to prepare for higher-level academic study. When you have completed this level, you can enter most academic programmes at certificate, diploma, degree or graduate diploma levels.

When you graduate, you will have the English language skills to:

  • understand the main ideas and key supporting details of complex oral texts on familiar and sometimes unfamiliar topics
  • read and understand complex texts with a large degree of independence on familiar and sometimes unfamiliar topics
  • locate, organise and summarise important information in texts
  • speak with fluency and spontaneity to communicate with some degree of elaboration in a range of familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • write coherent texts appropriate to audience and purpose, with few linguistic errors in a range of text types, synthesising and evaluating information and arguments from a number of sources.
Your workload

You will learn for 23 hours a week with your teacher. You will also learn for 10 hours a week by yourself, guided by your teacher.

Student loans and allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 


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.

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