Otago Polytechnic

Certificate in Outdoor Pursuits (Level 4)



One year full-time (34 teaching weeks)

On and off campus with overnight field trips throughout the year.

February, 2018

First year of the Diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management (Level 5)

Gain the core skills and knowledge you need to work in the outdoor adventure industry.

A great first step into outdoor education, this one-year Certificate programme includes white water kayaking, rock climbing and sea kayaking, nutrition, physical conditioning, psychological skills training, environmental science, and tramping.

With the spectacular and world-renowned adventure playground of Otago as your classroom, embrace the chance to work with some of the most qualified instructors in New Zealand. Take your gap year within New Zealand, and enjoy the chance to grow your personal and life skills.

This programme will also enhance your understanding and skills in leadership, personal communication, group interaction and sustainable practice. Upon successful completion, you will be eligible for entry into the Diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management (Level 5) which will take a further year of full-time study to complete.

Skills required
  • The ability to self-motivate and work independantly
  • An excellent level of health and fitness
  • Good people skills
  • The ability to motivate people
  • A mature approach and good decision-making skills
Entry requirements

Minimum academic entry requirements:

Academic Entry Criteria

Minimum academic entry criteria are:

  • As a guide 48 credits level 2 with at least 8 credits at level 2 in an English rich subject, or equivalent work and/or life experience.

International students

Minimum entry criteria are:

  • Overall band score (Academic) of 6.0 IELTS (writing and speaking score no less than 6.0 and reading and listening bands no less than 5.5) or recognised equivalent.

English language requirements for students of non-English speaking backgrounds

Minimum entry criteria are:

  • Overall band score (Academic) of 6.0 IELTS (writing and speaking score no less than 6.0 and all other bands no less than 5.5) or equivalent.

Applicants for the Certificate must also:

  • Submit a log demonstrating they have completed 30hrs of outdoor experience of an applicable outdoor recreation experience
  • Be able to show in their application they have a keen interest in or experience with outdoor recreation.  
Bridging options/pathways to this programme

Want to develop the skills to prepare you for more study or to help you get a job? 

The New Zealand Certificate in Foundation Skills (Level 2) and New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) will let you explore a range of options and will give you a taste of what Polytechnic study is all about. You will learn in groups in a supportive environment with teachers who are approachable and interested in what you want to achieve as an individual. 

No matter what your situation, they can help you to reach your goals! 

Additional costs

You will need to supply some of your own equipment during this programme. You will be sent a detailed equipment list as part of your enrolment pack.

Selection procedure

All applicants who meet the entry criteria are eligible for selection. Applications received after the preferred closing date will be considered if places are available.

Further study options

Students who pass the Certificate in Outdoor Pursuits (Level 4) will be eligible for entry into the Diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management (Level 5)Opportunities exist for you to bridge across into other Institute of Sport and Adventure qualifications. Increase your career prospects with our Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

You will study

The aim of this year is to develop your personal skills by introducing you to a selection of pursuits from the following: sea kayaking, white-water kayaking, tramping, alpine tramping and rock climbing. You will enhance your understanding and skills in leadership, personal communication, group interaction and sustainable practice.

Your workload

This is a full-time programme and a typical week may involve between 20-30 contact hours. These contact hours may include online components. You should commit yourself to a 9.00am-4.30pm day but these times may vary (especially during daylight saving months). There are field trips throughout the year when you will be required to be away for one or more nights.

Qualification structure

Course/Unit Title






Physical conditioning for an event



Psychological skills training



Leadership 1



Environmental Science and education 1



Tramping/Alpine 1



White water kayaking 1



Rock climbing 1



Sea Kayaking 1



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

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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