Otago Polytechnic

Diploma in Horticulture (Level 5)


Central Otago or online with block courses

One year full-time; three years part-time while employed in the horticulture industry

Domestic: Online with block courses in Central Otago* or full-time at the Central Otago campus. International: On campus. Both domestic and international students will be required to undertake extensive work experience.

February and July, 2018
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Central Otago
    12 February 2018
    30 June 2018 - 22 July 2018
    14 April 2018 - 29 April 2018
    29 September 2018 - 14 October 2018
  • Central Otago
    23 July 2018
    26 November 2018 - 15 February 2019
    1 October 2018 - 12 October 2018
    15 April 2019 - 26 April 2019
  • Central Otago
    30 April 2018
    1 October 2018 - 12 October 2018
    2 July 2018 - 20 July 2018
    26 November 2018 - 15 February 2019
Want to develop the technical and supervisory skills required to work in the horticulture industry?

This is a diverse industry where qualified workers assist in the design, production and maintenance of plants, gardens and landscapes for both local and international markets. Qualified students are also in demand in fruit orchards and vineyards.

Gain hands-on experience within our unrivalled practical horticultural facilities including the campus nursery, modern glasshouses, hydroponics unit and ten hectare crop production facility. Extensive work experience is built into this programme enabling you to develop technical skills and establish industry contacts.

All certificate and diploma qualifications are currently being reviewed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Qualification titles and content may be altered as a result of the review but any changes will be introduced and communicated over a transitional period so that there is minimal impact on students.

2018 domestic fees (indicative)
  • $7,073
Skills required
  • An enjoyment of working outdoors
  • Physical fitness
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Good communication skills
  • An eye for detail.
Entry requirements
  • National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4) OR equivalent qualifications/experience. 
  • You must have access to the internet.  
  • If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.0 (writing and speaking score no less than 6.0 and reading and listening bands no less than 5.5).

International students are subject to specific immigration regulations.

Additional documentation

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

Selection procedure

Professional judgement of academic staff will be used to determine those applicants who meet the entry criteria. All applicants who meet the entry criteria will be accepted for the programme.

Additional costs

Some texts are recommended and these will cost approximately $150. It is recommended that you have a laptop computer to access study material.

Further study options

Continue your learning with degree and postgraduate-level horticulture programmes at Lincoln and Massey Universities in New Zealand.

You will study

This programme focuses on the technical and management skills required in the horticulture industry. You will develop your project skills by moving from directed to self-directed learning during the programme.

Diploma in Horticulture (Level 5) course examples

Site evaluation

Weather and climate management

Soil and fertility management

Plant physiology

Pest, disease and disorder management

Weed management,

Supervisory skills

Irrigation management

Sustainable production and organic certification

Horticulture organisations and geography

Practical horticulture

Elective 1  Horticulture production planning OR  Overseas study review

Elective 2  Landscape and nursery management OR  Fruit crop production and packhouse operations OR Amenity horticulture

If you choose to study online (domestic students ONLY), we will support your learning by providing:

  • Programme planning support from our programme coordinator
  • Regular coordinator support through email, phone and workplace visits
  • Comprehensive resource packs
  • Tutorials
  • Block courses for some modules (one/two per year)
  • Library resources.
Your workload

This programme is flexible to meet your needs and we will help you to plan a path of study and a timetable. Extensive workplace experience is needed to meet the requirements of the Practical Horticulture module. Case studies are often used to apply knowledge to real situations.

Programme specific risks

All prospective students are advised of the physical risks and requirements of the programme.

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.


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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