Otago Polytechnic

Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice in Health (Specialty)


Online for both domestic and international students


Six months full-time; two and a half years part-time

Taught via extensive online resources

February and July
by 31 January or 11 July
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Distance
    18 February 2019
    24 June 2019 - 12 July 2019
    15 April 2019 - 26 April 2019
    9 September 2019 - 20 September 2019
Occupational therapists and other health professionals often utilise the same base knowledge and are increasingly working in teams together to achieve common goals.

In addition, postgraduate qualifications are being required more often by employers.

This high-level programme has been developed specifically to enable both occupational therapists and non-occupational therapists to complete a postgraduate certificate within the School of Occupational Therapy. 

Deepen your theoretical knowledge to support your clinical reasoning, within the constraints of your practice environment, to ensure effective outcomes for clients of your services. Strengthen your academic skills of analysis, synthesis and critique in your research area. All of this will contribute to you being recognised as an expert clinical practitioner. 

The mix of occupational therapists and non-occupational therapists provides a healthy environment for you to hear and learn about the topic with input from people from a wide range of professional backgrounds. Your study and assignments will focus on your specialty area of practice and you will graduate with this specialty reflected in your qualification title. 

Entry requirements
  • You must hold a bachelor's degree OR qualifications accepted by the appropriate professional registration board.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you meet the entry requirements. 

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 6.5, with no band score lower than 6.5 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country.

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills. 

Additional documentation

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

Programme structure

You will work with the Postgraduate Coordinator to tailor an individual study pathway that is right for you. You will undertake existing courses from the School of Occupational Therapy postgraduate programme to complement your current knowledge and experience.

To gain the Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice in Health (Specialty), you must achieve 60 credits at Level 8. You will therefore complete two 30 credit courses from the following postgraduate courses: 




Current courses






Research for Practice






Adventure Therapy







Vocational Rehabilitation







Trauma Informed Practice







Motivation & Behavioural Change





Your workload

For the full-time programme, it is advisable to allow 18 - 19 hours per week, per course. As the full-time qualification involves two courses, you would be expected to spend approximately 30-36 hours per week studying.  

Postgraduate academic staff

Jackie Herkt - Academic Leader


Helen Jeffery- Senior Lecturer/Postgraduate Programmes Lead


Debbie Davie - Administrator, Postgraduate Programmes


Dr. Linda Robertson - Associate Professor/Research Coordinator


Sian Griffiths - Principal Lecturer/Honours Coordinator


Dr. Mary Butler - Principal Lecturer/Masters Coordinator


Rita Robinson - Principal Lecturer


For more details, please visit our staff page. 

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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