Otago Polytechnic

Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education (Level 7)

Want to have a career teaching adult learners at tertiary institutes? This flexible and stimulating programme enables you to gain a formal teaching and adult education qualification via two different learner pathways.

Either by using our Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) process to measure your existing experience or by studying by distance, using online resources and working with an experienced facilitator.  

Experienced tertiary educators can opt for the Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) pathway, a one year programme of adult education courses where, with the help of an experienced facilitator, you gather and present evidence that you can meet the Graduate Profile for this qualification.

For people who are new to teaching at tertiary level and live outside of Dunedin, we offer a flexible distance pathway (one or two years) which will fit into your busy work schedule. You will work with an experienced facilitator using online resources that have been specifically designed for this programme.  

This qualification is founded on work-based learning principles so what you study has a direct impact on your day-to-day practices as a tertiary educator or adult education trainer. 

Entry requirements
  • You must be currently engaged in ongoing tertiary teaching activities and be able to devote time to your studies.
  • If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.0, with no band score less than 6.0.
Additional documentation

You must supply certified copies of proof of identity, academic records, proof of residency (where appropriate) and a curriculum vitae.

Selection procedure

Applicants who meet the entry requirements will be accepted.

Further study options

Progress into the Master of Professional Practice to advance your skills and employment potential.

You will study

The Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education (Level 7) is a 120 credit programme. 

Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) pathway: You will work individually (or as part of a team) and be guided by an experienced facilitator (face-to-face or online). You will learn how to gather the evidence that you need to show that you meet the attributes in the Graduate Profile for the Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education (Level 7). You design your own personal curriculum to identify any gaps in your learning and plan to address these, with the help of your facilitator. This flexible process can take up to a year, or less if you are experienced and motivated.

Distance pathway: Taking either one year (full-time) or two years (part-time), you will work through flexible online courses, using resources specially designed for the Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education (Level 7). You will work individually with a facilitator and 'meet' through Skype, Adobe Classroom or other appropriate means.     

Your workload

This 120-credit programme is equal to 1,200 hours of study (approximately) over one year full-time or 600 hours per year over two years. 

Assessment of Prior Learning (APL): You have already 'learned' most of the content through your job as a tertiary educator so it is difficult to give an exact time. Your time will be spent on new learning identified (if any) and in gathering and presenting the evidence that proves how you have learned from your experiences.   

Distance pathway: This depends on whether you take one or two years and which online courses or projects you decide to take. 

Student loans and allowances

Please contact Studylink to determine your eligibility for student loans and allowances. Phone 0800 88 99 00 or visit the Studylink website.


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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