Otago Polytechnic

Postgraduate Certificate in Occupational Therapy Practice

Are you seeking a way to improve your theoretical knowledge and develop expertise in a particular area of your occupational therapy practice? Look no further!

Develop confidence in your ability to articulate your clinical reasoning and increase your knowledge in various aspects of your practice. Become equipped with the academic skills relevant to the 'art' and 'science' of occupational therapy practice and confidently demonstrate intellectual curiosity. Critically evaluate ideas in professional literature, analyse practice problems and develop creative solutions. Taught via extensive online resources, benefit from the flexible delivery allowing you to fit study around other work commitments.

Available if you have been, or are currently registered as an occupational therapist, the skills you gain during this postgraduate programme will enable you to apply for employment positions that may require clinical expertise, both within New Zealand and overseas. Alternatively, you may choose to pursue a career in academia or policy development and this qualification enables you to staircase into the Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Therapy Practice or Master of Occupational Therapy (academic entry criteria applies for entry into the Masters programme).

Please note: It is possible to enrol in individual courses from this qualification for professional development reasons. This option is available for occupational therapists and non-occupational therapists and you will be awarded a Certificate of Proficiency upon successful completion. 

Entry requirements
  • You must hold a Diploma OR Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from a World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) approved programme (OR equivalent), OR a Certificate of Registration (New Zealand).
  • If you hold a Diploma or Certificate of Registration, you must also provide evidence of commitment to further education and two confidential referees attesting to your ability to manage postgraduate study.
  • You must provide evidence of registration as an occupational therapist (Annual Practising Certificate), although this can be waived in certain circumstances.
  • 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

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

Selection procedure

Applicants will apply for their selected course(s)/programme using the Otago Polytechnic online application form. Each application is assessed against the entry requirements. Should the number of applicants who meet the entry requirements exceed the available places, applicant will be placed on a waiting list in date order.

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.

You will study

This Postgraduate Certificate consists of two courses of your own choice. Plan your own progress through the programme choosing which courses you prefer to take first.

All courses are at Level 8 of the National Qualifications Framework. Course electives change from year to year. You will be advised as to which elective courses you can take.

Further study options

You can choose to move in to the Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Therapy Practice or Master of Occupational Therapy at any point as you progress through the Postgraduate Certificate courses. Your path of study will be discussed with the Postgraduate Programme Coordinator to ensure that you have completed the required academic criteria for the subsequent programme.

Your workload

Each course is worth 30 credits, equating to approximately 300 study hours. If you are completing one course a semester, you should allocate approximately 18 - 19 hours per week for attendance at fortnightly web based conferencing sessions, online discussions and reading, as well as research for your assessments.

Qualification structure

Please note: Not all electives are offered every year. Please contact the School of Occupational Therapy for more information. 

SMS Code

Course Title




Electives- choose two from:




Clinical Reasoning




 Research for Practice




Negotiated Study




Client Education




Motivation and Behavioural Change




Occupational Therapy in Primary and Population Health




Using Sensory Processing Principles with Diverse Populations




Specialty Practice




Vocational Rehabilitation




Low Vision Rehabilitation







Postgraduate academic staff

Jackie Herkt - Academic Leader


Helen Jeffery - Lecturer/Postgraduate Programmes Coordinator


Debbie Davie - Administrator, Postgraduate Programmes


Dr. Linda Robertson - Principal Lecturer


Sian Griffiths - Senior Lecturer/Honours Coordinator


Dr. Mary Butler - Senior Lecturer/Masters Coordinator


Rita Robinson - 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

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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