Otago Polytechnic

Otago Polytechnic is authorised by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to deliver programmes leading to qualifications on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).

The NZQF has ten levels of qualifications, each based on complexity. Level one is the least complex and level 10 the most complex. Although it is possible for qualifications to include some credit achieved at levels above and below the overall level at which the qualification is listed, the general levels are: 

Certificate Levels 1-4
Diploma Levels 5-6
Bachelor’s Degree Level 7
Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma Level 7
Bachelor Honours Degree Level 8
Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma Level 8
Master’s Degree Level 9

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications section on the NZQA website for more information.

Targeted Review of Qualifications

Otago Polytechnic certificate and diploma programmes/qualifications are currently being reviewed through the national mandatory reviews conducted by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Please check the individual online page for each programme for the most up-to-date information.

Certificate

Certificate qualifications may be approved at several levels. All certificates must comprise at least 40 credits. Otago Polytechnic delivers certificate qualifications at levels 1-5.

  • Certificate level 1 qualifies you with basic knowledge and skills for work and further learning
  • Certificate level 2 qualifies you with introductory knowledge and skills for a field(s)/areas of work or study
  • Certificate level 3 qualifies you with knowledge and skills for a specific role or roles within fields/areas of work and/or preparation for further study
  • Certificate level 4 qualifies you to work or study in broad or specialised fields or areas
  • Certificate level 5 qualifies you with theoretical and/or technical knowledge and skills within an aspect, or aspects, of a specific field of work or study 

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications - Certificate section on the NZQA website for more information.

Diploma 

Diploma qualifications may be approved at levels 5-7. Diplomas must be at least 120 credits.

Otago Polytechnic delivers diploma qualifications at levels 5 and 6; both one and two year diplomas.

  • Diploma level 5 qualifies you with theoretical and/or technical knowledge and skills within a specific field of work or study. Must contain 72 credits at level 5 and have at least 120 of all credits contributing to the qualification at level 4 or above.
  • Diploma level 6 qualifies you with theoretical and/or technical knowledge and skills in specialised/strategic contexts. Must contain 72 credits at level 6 and have at least 120 of all credits contributing to the qualification at level 5 or above.

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications - Diploma section on the NZQA website for more information.

Degree

A Bachelor’s Degree:

  • gives you a systematic and coherent introduction to a body of knowledge of a recognised major subject or subjects
  • involves at least one sequential study programme, in which content is progressively developed; perhaps forming a basis for postgraduate study and/or professional practice
  • is taught mainly by people engaged in research
  • builds on prior study, work or experience
  • is open to those who have met the specified entrance requirements (normally level 3 on the NZQF)
  • requires a minimum of 360 credits from levels 5 to 7 (for a standard three-year degree)
  • requires a minimum of 72 of the total credits to be at level 7 or higher
  • gives you eligibility to enrol in, or apply for, a Postgraduate qualification.

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications - Bachelor's Degree section on the NZQA website for more information.

Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma

A Graduate Certificate:

  • allows degree students to pursue further study at an advanced undergraduate level
  • is designed as a bridging qualification to postgraduate study for those developing educational, professional or vocational knowledge of a new discipline, profession or subject
  • broadens or deepens skills learnt in an undergraduate degree
  • is open to degree graduates, although those who are able to demonstrate equivalent practical, professional or educational experience may be granted admission
  • requires a minimum of 60 credits, with a minimum of 40 at level 7 or above.

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications - Graduate Certificate section on the NZQA website for more information.

A Graduate Diploma:

  • allows degree graduates to pursue a significant body of study at an advanced undergraduate level
  • is a bridging qualification to postgraduate study
  • broadens knowledge and skills in a familiar subject or discipline, or develops skills in a new area
  • is open to degree graduates, although those who are able to demonstrate equivalent practical, professional or educational experience may be granted admission
  • requires a minimum of 120 credits, of which 72 credits must be at level 7 or above.

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications - Graduate Diploma section on the NZQA website for more information.

Bachelor Honours Degree

A Bachelor Honours Degree:

  • recognises distinguished study at level 8 and may either be a degree in itself, or a discrete postgraduate degree following a Bachelor’s Degree
  • may be termed first class honours, second class honours, first or second divisions, and third class honours
  • is (normally) open to degree graduates who have performed above average within the Bachelor’s Degree that is relevant to the proposed honours study
  • allows you to demonstrate intellectual independence and  analytic rigour, and the ability to understand and evaluate new knowledge and ideas
  • develops an individual’s ability to identify topics for original research, plan and conduct research, analyse results, and communicate the findings to the satisfaction of subject experts  
  • may be either a 480-credit degree, or a discrete 120-credit degree following a Bachelor’s Degree
  • requires a minimum of 120 credits at level 8, with a research component that represents at least 30 credits at that level
  • may enable you to enter further postgraduate study.

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications - Bachelor Honours Degree section on the NZQA website for more information.

Postgraduate Certificate

A Postgraduate Certificate:

  • is designed to extend and deepen an individual’s knowledge and skills
  • involves credits from a specified subject and relevant areas
  • recognises continuing professional development or academic achievement in advance of a Bachelor’s Degree in the same area as the individual’s original degree or Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma
  • is open to those who have achieved a Bachelor’s Degree or Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in a relevant subject, or who have relevant skills and knowledge acquired through appropriate work or professional experience
  • allows you to be able to show evidence of advanced knowledge about a specialist field of enquiry or professional practice
  • requires a minimum of 60 credits at level 8
  • provides the basis for further postgraduate study.

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications - Postgraduate Certificate section on the NZQA website for more information.

Postgraduate Diploma

A Postgraduate Diploma:

  • extends and deepens your knowledge and skills by building on the attainment in the principal subject (or subjects) of your Bachelor’s Degree, Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma
  • prepares you for independent research and scholarship in the principal of the diploma
  • may be awarded with distinction
  • is open to those who have completed all requirements of the relevant Bachelor’s Degree, or Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma, or those who have acquired the relevant skills and knowledge through appropriate work or professional experience
  • may make you eligible to enrol in a Master’s Degree
  • requires a minimum of 120 credits from levels 7 and above, with a minimum of 72 credits from level 8.

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications - Postgraduate Diploma section on the NZQA website for more information.

Master's Degree

A Master’s Degree:

  • qualifies you to apply an advanced body of knowledge of knowledge in a range of contexts for research
  • is a pathway for further learning, professional practice and/or scholarship
  • usually builds on a Bachelor’s Degree, Graduate Diploma or Postgraduate Diploma
  • requires you to engage in research and/or advanced scholarship
  • is constituted in one discipline or coherent programme of study, which may be undertaken by taught courses or research, or by a combination of both
  • must include a minimum of 40 credits at level 9 with the remainder at level 8
  • comprises at least 240 credits in total, except where:
    • it builds on a Bachelor's Degree with Honours or an equivalent qualification, or significant relevant professional experience, in which case it can be fewer than 240 but no fewer than 120 credits
    • it builds on a three-year Bachelor's Degree or an equivalent qualification, in which case it can be fewer than 240 but no fewer than 180 credits 
  • can be structured in three ways: by thesis or primarily by thesis; by coursework and thesis; or by coursework
  • has a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent. For a Master’s Degree of fewer than 240 credits, normally the minimum entry qualification is a Bachelor Honours Degree or a Postgraduate Diploma, or an undergraduate degree followed by relevant professional experience
  • includes a component of supervised research of not fewer than 90 credits at level 9
  • may give you eligibility to apply for admission to a programme of advanced study and/or original research leading to a Doctoral Degree.

Please refer to the Understanding New Zealand Qualifications - Master's Degree section on the NZQA website for more information.