Otago Polytechnic

National Certificate in Horticulture (Advanced) (Level 4) Amenity Horticulture, Landscape or Nursery Production

Already decided you want a career in horticulture and looking to branch out into a specialist field?

After successfully completing the National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4), build upon your existing knowledge and develop the theory and practical skills in your chosen area of Amenity Horticulture, Landscape or Nursery Production. New Zealand's diverse and robust horticulture and related industries have experienced steady growth in recent years and this means that qualified and experienced horticultural specialists are in demand across the country. With motivation and a responsible attitude, you could even consider self-employment or consultancy roles.

Gain a wide range of horticultural skills at an advanced tradesperson level to equip you for the technical and operational demands of the horticultural industry. Make use of the productive campus nursery facilities, benefit from our close proximity to the internationally-acclaimed Dunedin Botanic Garden and undertake learning in an industry sector.

Please note: The length of this programme varies depending on the number of credits you may already hold from the National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4). Each programme duration is tailored to the individual.

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. 

Skills required
  • An enjoyment of working outdoors
  • Physical fitness
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Good communication skills
  • An eye for detail.
Entry requirements
  • There are no academic entry requirements. However, we prefer applicants to hold the National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4) OR equivalent qualifications/experience.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet the entry requirements.
  • If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5, with no band score less than 5.0.
Additional documentation

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

Selection procedure

Applications will be processed as they are received. If the number of applications exceeds the number of places available, applicants will be placed on to a waiting list in the order that they applied.

Additional costs

You will be required to have your own steel toecap boots ($100-$150) and secateurs ($40-$90). The cost of textbooks and equipment will vary depending on the modules chosen.

Further study options

Acquire higher-level horticultural skills with our Diploma in Horticulture (Level 5) or Diploma in Viticulture (Level 5). Horticulture may also be studied at degree-level in New Zealand.

Programme specific risks

Risks include injury to the body due to the physical nature of horticultural work (manual labour, lifting, bending, working at heights, eyesight) and from using sharp tools (secateurs, saws, spades, lawn mowers etc.) and machinery. There is a risk from poisonous plants, insect stings, the physical environment (excessive heat or cold, wet weather), working in isolation, chemical handling (limited on this programme) and machinery noise.

You will study

The subjects in this advanced programme will be drawn from the areas of Amenity Horticulture, Landscape, Nursery Production and Production Horticulture depending on your individual study programme. Subjects may include pruning, landscape construction, landscape site analysis, soil studies, tree planting, gardening techniques, re-vegetation studies, plant propagation, pest, disease and weed control, plant identification and organics.

Your workload

You are expected to attend classes three to four days a week and then to spend one to two days per week focused on self-directed study. 

Qualification structure

This qualification does not have a set delivery schedule as the study schedule is flexible and designed to fit with your specific area of interest.

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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