Otago Polytechnic

Diploma in Advanced Therapeutic Massage (Level 6)


Online and Dunedin 

Two years full-time

Online learning, practical block courses (see dates below) and clincal experience at our Dunedin Campus (360 Cumberland Street)

February, 2018
until start date
The first year of this programme is the New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5). Please apply via the Level 5 programme for this Level 6 Diploma.

Are you passionate about developing a career in healthcare, focused on the hands-on treatment and management of musculo-skeletal conditions?

Develop the skills and knowledge in advanced anatomy and physiology, pathology, assessment techniques, advanced soft-tissue methods, business skills and professional practice.

In addition to formal classes, you will spend a significant amount of time in supervised clinical practice where the skills you are studying will be integrated into practical experiences. This Diploma is studied through a blend of online learning, practical block courses held approximately every three weeks on campus and clinical experience in the Polytechnic’s Massage Therapy Clinic under the supervision of experienced massage therapists.

Upon successful completion of this Diploma, you may be able to move into the second year of our highly regarded Bachelor of Applied Science qualification. 

Relationship with Massage New Zealand (MNZ)  

Otago Polytechnic enjoys a strong relationship with Massage New Zealand, the only massage specific membership body in New Zealand for professional Massage Therapists. Their purpose is to promote massage therapy and the ongoing development of the massage industry in New Zealand through educating the public about the benefits of massage therapy for health and wellness.

Please note: From February 2019, this programme name will change to the New Zealand Diploma in Remedial Massage (Level 6)* (*subject to final approval). This is due to a national review of qualifications that is being carried out by NZQA across all New Zealand tertiary institutions. The February, 2018 intake for the Diploma in Advanced Therapeutic Massage (Level 6) will be the last time this programme is offered.

Career possibilities 
  • Graduates will be eligible to apply for registration with Massage New Zealand as Registered Massage Therapists (RMT).
  • This Diploma prepares you to work as a remedial massage therapist helping clients recover from pain, rehabilitate from injuries or improve sporting performance. Graduates often work alongside doctors, physios and other healthcare providers.    
What will this programme cover? 
  • Relaxation massage
  • The theory of massage
  • Massage practice
  • Stress management
  • Thermal stones
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Communication and customer service
  • Anatomy
  • Bioscience
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Professional practice
  • Practice management
  • Advanced sports massage
  • Clinical massage
  • Assessment techniques
  • Pathophysiology
  • Advanced soft-tissue techniques
  • Healthcare programming. 
2017 block course dates
  • Mon 13 - Fri 17 February, 2017 
  • Tues 28 February - Fri 3 March, 2017 
  • Tues 21 - Fri 24 March, 2017 
  • Tues 11 - Thurs 13 April, 2017 
  • Tues 9 - Fri 12 May, 2017 
  • Tues 30 May - Fri 2 June, 2017 
  • Tues 20 - Fri 23 June, 2017 
  • Tues 25 - Fri 28 July, 2017 
  • Tues 15 - Fri 18 August, 2017 
  • Tues 5 - Fri 8 September, 2017 
  • Tues 19 - Fri 22 September, 2017 
  • Tues 24 - Fri 27 October, 2017 
Further study options 

Upon successful completion of this Diploma, you will be able to move into year two of our highly popular Bachelor of Applied Science (Physical Activity, Health and Wellness).

Alternatively, you could pursue degree-level study in human physiology or physiotherapy at other education institutions, and then progress into postgraduate study in neuromuscular therapy, lymphatic drainage or other bodywork modalities

Entry requirements 
  • Year one of the Diploma in Advanced Therapeutic Massage (Level 6) is the Certificate in Stress Management and Spa Therapies (Level 5) or the New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5). Please apply for the New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage which is being delivered from Feb, 2018. Check the entry requirements and information about this programme by clicking here.
  • For year two of the Diploma in Advanced Therapeutic Massage (Level 6) you must have successfully completed the Certificate in Stress Management and Spa Therapies (Level 5) OR the New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5) OR an equivalent Level 5, 120 credit (minimum) tertiary qualification in Massage Therapy.
  • Applications from mature students (over 20) are welcome.
  • For health and safety reasons, you must declare any health conditions and hold a current first aid certificate (or be prepared to work towards one).
  • Due to the online nature of the programme, you will also need to have some familiarity with the use of computers.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study.
  • If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.0, with no less than 6.0 in writing and speaking, and no less than 5.5 in all other bands.

If you don’t have the entry requirements above, talk to us about whether you have the equivalent skills and knowledge or to determine if this is the right programme for you. 

Please note: this programme is subject to minimum numbers.

Additional documentation 

You must supply certified copies of proof of identity and proof of residency (where appropriate). 

Additional costs 
  • Course-related materials such as massage tables, textbooks and a uniform will come to a maximum cost of $1,000 per year
  • It is also essential that you have a home computer with a broadband connection. 
Student loans and 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.  


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.