Otago Polytechnic

Bachelor of Midwifery


Satellites in Dunedin, Southland, Central Otago (unavailable 2019), Wellington, Palmerston North and Whanganui

Three years full-time (45 weeks per year)

Blended delivery with weekly face-to-face tutorials at local satellites, midwifery practice experiences, online learning and block courses in Dunedin or Kapiti (Whitireia Kapiti campus).

From June 2019 for our 2020 intake



If you want to provide woman-centred health care to women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth and the early weeks of a baby's life – you've come to the right place!

Enrol in our ground-breaking and internationally-renowned Bachelor of Midwifery programme.

You will gain knowledge and skills and learn the professional practices to prepare you for health and maternity careers in New Zealand and the world.

When you study with us you get a world-class education in midwifery theory and practice. We give you all the learning support to be able to succeed.

  • You gain significant midwifery practice in a variety of settings, providing care and support at births, and antenatal and postnatal care to women and whānau.
  • Your degree leads to registration with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand
  • This programme aligns with European Union and UK midwifery education requirements, which can lead to registration with professional bodies overseas.

When you're a registered midwife you can work as a:

  • Lead Maternity Care – working with women and families in the community
  • Core Midwife – working at a hospital or birthing centre.
Why you should become a midwife
You can make a real difference in people's lives

As a midwife you will provide great health care to women and their families. You will guide them through pregnancy, childbirth and the weeks that follow – welcoming babies into the world.

You can do advanced study in Midwifery 

Study our postgraduate Midwifery programmes and continue to learn, grow your skills, knowledge and expertise.

Your community needs you

Midwives are the main providers of maternity services in New Zealand, but we don't have enough of you. We need more midwives in rural and provincial areas and we need more Māori and Pasifika practitioners.

Did you know we have a scholarship to offer Māori applicants to this programme?
The Irihapeti Ramsden Memorial Midwifery Scholarship offers fees subsidies to the successful applicant for each year of the Bachelor of Midwifery programme. Applications are considered by both the Otago Polytechnic School of Midwifery and Nga Maia o Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu (Nga Maia).

Find out more about this scholarship.

How you can study midwifery

We teach the Bachelor of Midwifery by blended delivery so you can study close to home.

What blended delivery means

Blended delivery means that you learn through a combination of practical experience, online learning and traditional classroom teaching.

Our programme is delivered this way in all of our satellite areas, including Dunedin.

It consists of:

  • Weekly ākonga (face-to-face tutorials in small groups)
  • Online learning
  • Online tutorials with lecturers
  • Midwifery practice experiences (such as hospital shifts and community-based midwifery experience)
  • Intensive seminar blocks held on campus in Dunedin and in Kapiti
    • 5 one-week seminar blocks each year in Year One and Year Two
    • 1 two-week seminar block and 2 one-week blocks in Year Three

In Year One you will also follow the experiences of at least 5 women through pregnancy to childbirth.

Where you can study

You can choose to study at one of our 6 satellite areas. All our areas have a designated Midwifery lecturer who provides support and runs the face-to-face ākonga. 

Please note due to the current reduced practice opportunities with Registered Midwives in Central Otago we are unable to accept full-time applicants in this satellite for 2019.  Interested applicants may consider studying year one part time over 2 years, commencing with the theoretical courses in 2019. Alternatively applicants may consider full time study based in Dunedin or Southland for 2019.

Our South Island satellite areas


Our North Island satellite areas


            • Southland
            • Dunedin
            • Central Otago (unavailable 2019)

            • Whanganui
            • Palmerston North
            • Greater Wellington

If you're based in the South Island, you must attend your block courses in Dunedin.

If you're based in the North Island, you must attend:

  • a one-week block course in Dunedin at the start of Year One
  • your remaining block courses in Kāpiti.
Your workload and time commitment

Midwifery is a very rewarding, but very demanding study programme.

It is a four-year degree taught in three years, so the academic expectations and the demands of practice placements in this programme will have an impact on your family and personal life.

Before you apply, we recommend that you have a discussion with your whānau/family about how they can support you to succeed in this programme.

How the credits are structured in the Bachelor of Midwifery:

  • 3-year programme. Each year has 45 programme weeks at an average of 35.5 hours per week
    This works out to be a minimum of 4800 total programme hours* (480 credits).
  • Within the 4800 hours is:
    • a minimum of 2400 midwifery practice hours (240 credits)
      (1,280 hours or 128 credits minimum in Year Three) AND
    • a minimum of 1920 theory hours (192 credits).
  • Years One and Two are each structured as three 15-week trimesters and 7 weeks of break per year.
  • There are 5 compulsory intensives in both Years One and Two.
  • Year Three is structured individually to suit your needs and provides 34 weeks of midwifery practice experience at an average of 35.5 hours per week.
  • There are 3 compulsory intensives in the final year.

Please note: Placements last from 4 to 14 weeks. In Year Three you may have to relocate for 3 out of your 4 placements. You will have extra costs if you have to travel or relocate.

*Travel time is not included in the programme hours so any travel is in addition to the hours stated.

Additional costs 
  • Immune status testing and vaccinations (should you choose to be vaccinated)
  • Textbooks
  • A laptop or computer and mobile phone
  • Midwifery equipment
  • Travel, petrol and accommodation
  • Professional membership fees
  • National Midwifery Exam fees
  • Midwifery Council registration fees

Click here for more information about the additional costs associated with this programme.

Programme specific risks

The nature of midwifery practice means that, at times, you may be at risk of:

  • Physical injuries that may occur as a result of hazards in the classroom, laboratory or practice setting
  • Allergic reactions through contact with latex, exposure to drugs or chemicals
  • Issues affecting your emotional and physical wellbeing
  • Infection or cross-infection through contact with infective agents in the laboratory or practice setting.
How we manage these risks

We will provide health and safety information relating to computer use and to practice equipment, and advise you how to reduce any risk of injury. You will have access to copies of relevant hazards registers and processes for reporting accidents and injuries so our Health and Safety Officers can follow them up.

You are required to undergo screening tests for infectious diseases and immune status prior to the commencement of the programme.

Programme content

The Bachelor of Midwifery degree is 3 years of full-time study, but the credit value is equivalent to 4 years of full-time study (compressed into 3 calendar years).


Year One focuses on the woman/wahine and her family/whānau and explores the wider context of New Zealand's maternity services and the options and choices available to women and families. It provides a context for midwifery practice and development of specific midwifery knowledge and skills.

Gain practice experience in maternity facilities and through one-on-one continuity of care with women and midwives, where you provide a support role for women throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period.


Year Two focuses on the midwife and her developing professional framework for practice. It provides the opportunity for you to develop specific midwifery practice knowledge and skills. Courses focus on the knowledge and skills required for you to work in the Midwifery Scope of Practice and to work collaboratively with other health professionals when required.

Gain experience in a variety of settings including one-on-one continuity of care experiences with women and midwives, and undertake placements in a range of maternity facilities, particularly secondary and tertiary facilities.


Year Three focuses on the partnership between each midwife and woman in the shared experiences of pregnancy and childbirth. It enables you to integrate and consolidate your learning from Years One and Two and demonstrate your readiness to meet the Competencies for Entry to the Register of Midwives.

Qualification structure

Course Code

Course Name












Midwifery Ways of Knowing






Midwifery Assessment and  Practice Skills






Sharing the Woman's Experience of Childbirth






Women in Aotearoa New Zealand






Bioscience Foundations






Hauora Maori






Integrated Midwifery Practice 1


All first year courses




Pharmacology Foundations











Midwifery Ways of Knowing 2






Midwifery Scope of Practice

BM102104, BM102204, BM105104





The Midwife and Collaborative Practice






The Midwife, Newborn and Breastfeeding

BM102104, BM102204





Bioscience in Pregnancy and Childbirth






Pharmacology and Prescribing






Integrated Midwifery Practice 2

All first year courses

All second year courses




Women's Health












Midwifery Ways of Knowing 3






Rural Midwifery Practice

BM202104; BM202604;BM202304; BM205104; BM205204





Continuity Midwifery Practice

BM202104; BM202604; BM202304;BM205104; BM205204





Elective Midwifery Practice

BM202104; BM202204;BM202304; BM205104; BM205204





Secondary/Tertiary Midwifery Practice

BM202104; BM202204;BM202304; BM205104; BM20604





Sustainable Midwifery Practice





Entry requirements

University Entrance as defined by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority:

  • NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at Level 3 and 20 credits at Level 2 or higher) which must include:
    • 18 credits at Level 3 in each of biology or chemistry**
    • a minimum of 16 credits at Level 3 in an English language rich subject such as English, history, art history, classical studies, geography or economics
    • a further 16 credits at Level 3 in one other subject from the list of NZQA approved subjects^
  • Literacy^ - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing, AND
  • Numeracy^ - 10 credits at Level 1 or above (specified achievement standards, or unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627).

**We recommend that if you don't have a minimum of 18 credits at Level 3 in BOTH biology and chemistry, you have at least 16 credits at Level 2 in your secondary subject.

^ For NZQA approved subjects, visit http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/qualifications-standards/awards/university-entrance

  • OR for applicants over 20, you have a Level 4 Health Science bridging course qualification (this includes any Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation). This qualification must be from a semester long course and include academic writing and a biology laboratory component. A Level 4 B+ average is required for entry including a B+ in a Level 4 bioscience course.
  • OR you have a bachelor's degree in any discipline (additional bioscience courses may be recommended).
  • OR you can demonstrate equivalence to the above academic entry criteria.

You must also:

  • provide testimony of two referees.  One referee report should be provided by an employer or community group representative and the other must be from someone who can comment on your academic ability. Referees must be people of standing in the community who are not friends or relatives of the applicant. If you have not studied in the last five years a second professional referee may be contacted instead of an academic referee.. Please see more information about the referee reports in the completing your application section below. 
  • submit your curriculum vitae and an application essay (topic available during application period) demonstrating your commitment to midwifery and any life experience relevant to midwifery and/or women’s health.
  • demonstrate self-responsibility in relation to learning and practice and the personal qualities appropriate for midwifery practice such as strong communication skills and a demonstrated interest in women's and childrens health. 
  • provide a health declaration and current comprehensive First Aid Certificate (including proficiency in CPR – NQF unit standards 6401 and 6402 OR equivalent).
  • provide a conviction declaration and you will be required to provide permission for a Police Check to ensure you meet the requirements of the Vulnerable Children's Act 2014.
  • provide a copy of your full driver’s license. 
  • have good computer skills.

All students (international and domestic) for whom English is not a first language:

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 7.0, with no band score lower than 6.5 in reading and writing, and no less than 7.0 in speaking and listening

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. 

Bridging options if you don't meet the entry requirements

The Health Bridging Certificate offered by the School of Social Services acts as a bridging programme into this midwifery qualification. A minimum B+/75 average pass, achieved across four courses during semester two, is required to meet the academic entry requirements into the Bachelor of Midwifery. This MUST include a B+/75 in Bioscience 2.

The Health Bridging Certificate is also ideal if you need to update specific knowledge and skills, and demonstrate your academic ability. Distance options are available.

Please note: Due to the high demand for places, successful completion of the Health Bridging Certificate (Level 4) will not automatically guarantee you entry into the Bachelor of Midwifery programme.

How to apply

There are 3 parts to applying for the Bachelor of Midwifery:

1. Download and complete the Bachelor of Midwifery Applicant Information form, then either:

    • scan it, save it as a PDF and upload it when you complete the Otago Polytechnic online application form, OR
    • scan it, save it as a PDF and email it to: ebsMID@op.ac.nz

2. Complete the Otago Polytechnic online application form

    • Click the APPLY button in the top right-hand corner of this page to open the Otago Polytechnic online application form

3. Select 2 referees and send them each a Referee Report form to complete

    • Your referees must each complete the report and send it directly to: studentadmin@op.ac.nz
      You can find guidelines for the referee report in the Bachelor of Midwifery Applicant Information form.

Please use this Application checklist to ensure you have provided all of the required information.

Please read the Application Process for a step-by-step guide on how to apply for Bachelor of Midwifery.

Apply early!

Applications to study in 2019 are now open.

We begin evaluating applications in August and continue until all places are full. Applicants will be notified within 4-6 weeks of their completed application being forwarded to the School.

We cannot assess your application until we have received all your application documents and your referees have sent us their reports.

Selection procedure

We assess completed applications according to our application guide. You may be required to have a phone interview. Final selection is based on academic and other entry criteria.

Please note: Each satellite site has a maximum number of places available. When places are full, we will begin a waiting list. Late applications may be accepted.

Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students who have lived in New Zealand for three years. 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. 

Links to useful websites

Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic: an insight into midwifery at Otago Polytechnic, this video series will help give you a greater understanding of midwifery careers and the Otago Polytechnic programme.

Midwifery Council of New Zealand (MCNZ): the regulatory body for New Zealand midwives and midwifery nursing in New Zealand. It is responsible for the protection of the health and safety of women and babies during the childbirth process by providing mechanisms to ensure that midwives are competent and fit to practise midwifery.

New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM): the professional organisation, and recognised 'voice', for midwives and student midwives in New Zealand, and represents over 2800 members.

Nga Maia o Aotearoa me to Wai Pounamu (Nga Maia): the national organisation representing Maori birthing. The kaupapa of Nga Maia focuses on Mama, Pepi and Whanau and promoting Matauranga Maori in pregnancy and childbirth.

International Confederation of Midwives (ICM): supports, represents and works to strengthen professional associations of midwives on a global basis. At present ICM has over 90 member associations in more than 70 countries. The ICM works with midwives and midwifery associations globally to secure women's right and access to midwifery care before, during and after childbirth.

or (for those over 20 years):



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.