Otago Polytechnic

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)


Online with compulsory block courses 

One year full-time

Online with four compulsory block courses (two to three days each) in Dunedin   

by January
Are you keen to deepen your understanding of occupational therapy practice and develop your research skills?

Enhance your professional practice and increase your employment potential with this postgraduate qualification. Prepare for jobs in research-orientated positions or more responsible roles in occupational therapy practice, both within New Zealand and overseas. Alternatively, you may choose to pursue an academic career and this degree provides a pathway to take you to the top of your field.

Achieve a significant understanding of professional and practice issues in terms of their social, political, cultural and historical contexts, and analyse professional and practice issues from a sound theoretical basis. Critically evaluate research in professional literature and gain the confidence to engage in evidence-based practice. In addition, you will initiate and conduct small-scale research. Benefit from the online, flexible delivery, allowing you to fit your study around other work commitments and enjoy the chance to meet fellow students and staff at the multi-day schools held at the Dunedin campus.       

2018 domestic fees (indicative)
  • $8,466
Entry requirements
  • You must have successfully completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with a grade point average of 5.0 or less across the three years of study, OR equivalent.   
  • You must commence the honours programme within three years of completing the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure they 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 6.5.   
Additional documentation

If you are not a graduate from the Otago Polytechnic School of Occupational Therapy and you do not have New Zealand registration you will need to provide a certified copy of your academic transcript.

Selection procedure

Applicants who meet the entry requirements will be accepted into the programme. Should the number of suitable applicants exceed the available places, applicants will be placed on a waiting list in date order.

Those applicants already enrolled at Otago Polytechnic will apply for the honours programme by confirming their intention with the Honours Programme Coordinator by the end of the first week in December of their third year. Special circumstances can be considered on application by the student to Postgraduate, Research & Innovation Team.

Additional costs

As this programme is taught via extensive online resources, you must budget for internet access as well as for printing of readings/course materials. There are also four compulsory two-three day schools held in Dunedin for which you are responsible for all associated costs including transport, accommodation and meals.

Further study options

Advance your skills and increase your career prospects with the Master of Occupational Therapy at Otago Polytechnic. If you achieve a first class honours degree, you may also be able to progress straight into a doctoral programme.   

You will study

This degree is made up of two 30 credit Level 8 courses and a 60 credit dissertation, totaling 120 credits. In order to gain the qualification, it is necessary to pass both courses and the dissertation on your first attempt.

Your workload

If enrolled full time you should allocate approximately 36-40 hours per week for study. These hours cover attendance at fortnightly web-based sessions, online discussions and reading, as well as research for your assessments for each course. In the first semester, you will work on your proposal and then ethics application (if required). In the second semester, you will undertake the research project. The average hours per week for semester two are harder to stipulate as the process of completing a dissertation is based very much on the individual.  If enrolled part time the process is extended over a two year period.

Qualification structure

SMS Code

Course Title








Research for Practice




Research Design











Postgraduate academic staff

Jackie Herkt - Academic Leader


Helen Jeffery - Senior Lecturer/Postgraduate Programmes Coordinator


Debbie Davie - Administrator, Postgraduate Programmes


Dr. Linda Robertson - Associate Professor/Research Coordinator Linda.robertson@op.ac.nz

Sian Griffiths - Principal Lecturer/Honours Coordinator


Dr. Mary Butler - Principal Lecturer/Masters Coordinator


Alexa Andrew - Senior Lecturer


Rita Robinson - Senior Lecturer


For more details, please visit our staff page. 

Postgrad Post newsletter

Check out our latest issue. If you would like to see any earlier issues, please contact Debbie.davie@op.ac.nz

Examples of recent dissertation titles


  • Perspectives of Graduates on Their Learning During an International Occupational Therapy Experience.
  • A new point of view:  The impact of vision impairment on adjult occupations in New Zealand.
  • What are staff perspectives on the value of a cafe on the premises of an aged care facility?.
  • The Introduction of Occupational Therapy in Primary Mental Health Care - An ABC Approach.


  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of current services and community groups accessed by adolescents (aged between twelve and eighteen years) with Developmental Coordination (DCD); the perspectives of parents and occupational therapists.
  • Occupational influences in the transition of older people from the community to residential aged-care in New Zealand:  Family members' perspectives.
  • What are the perspecives of occupational therapists on introducing the Able-X into a variety of occupational therapy settings in New Zealand?  A feasibility study. 
Student loans/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. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.

Links to useful websites

Looking for a job as an occupational therapist? Check out New Zealand Careers or Health Careers.


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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