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Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice with a focus on Occupational Health and Safety


Throughout New Zealand via Capable NZ, our assessment of prior learning centre. Learn more > 

One year full-time

Delivered by a facilitator/academic mentor. Learning is self-paced and as communication can be face-to-face or via email, phone or Skype, you can access this programme from anywhere within New Zealand

  • Location
    Study breaks
  • CapableNZ
    1 January 2021
  • CapableNZ
    1 February 2021
  • CapableNZ
    1 March 2021
  • CapableNZ
    1 June 2021
  • CapableNZ
    1 August 2021
  • Dunedin
    1 February 2021
  • Dunedin
    1 April 2021
  • Dunedin
    1 May 2021
  • Dunedin
    1 July 2021

Delivered via Capable NZ and offered in conjunction with the New Zealand Institute for Safety Management (NZISM)

Are you an experienced Health and Safety practitioner who wants an academic qualification to validate your knowledge? 

If you have many years of experience but no academic qualification to back your knowledge, this programme is a great way to achieve graduate status within the NZISM accreditation programme.

It’s project-based and is carried out in an organisation you work for, play a leadership role within or have a key functional relationship with. Alternatively, you may be self-employed and want to use this programme to extend your practice. In some cases, learners may use multiple work and community contexts to complete their learning.

To achieve the Graduate Diploma, you’ll need to complete a self-assessment tool prior to enrolment (or early in your enrolment in Course One). This will identify gaps in your learning and practice. During Course One, you will then be able to summarise the new learning needed to address these gaps.   

Upon successfully completing this programme, you’ll graduate with a Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice.

Please note: To complete the self-assessment tool, you’ll need to be a member of NZISM. If you’re not a member, you’ll need to register with them. This will cost $125.00 which is not included in the programme cost. Register with NZISM here >  

Is this for me?

In the process of achieving the Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice (OHS), you will:

  • acknowledge your professional practice
  • integrate and formalise your experience
  • develop higher-level academic learning skills at a graduate level. 

The professional benefits of completing the qualification are:

  • clarification and transparency of your status as a Generalist Health and Safety Practitioner
  • achieving NZISM accreditation membership status of 'Graduate'
  • qualifying for the option to list on the Health and Safety Association of New Zealand (HASANZ) register. 
Programme outcomes

At the end of the 12 months, you will have achieved:

  • new learning in your professional field
  • new skills of professional self-reflection
  • increased confidence in your professional practice.
Entry requirements 
  • You must hold a bachelor's degree OR degree equivalent AND/OR relevant practical, professional or educational experience. 
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you meet the entry requirements. 
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.  

COVID-19 vaccination information
  • As this programme is delivered through distance learning and is based in your workplace, you do not need to provide us with a My Vaccine Pass. Please ensure you follow your workplace vaccination guidelines. 
  • You will need to provide us with a valid My Vaccine Pass if you want to visit an Otago Polytechnic site for any reason while you are studying with us (e.g. meetings, events, presentations) or attend graduation in person at the end of this programme.
  • You do not need to provide a valid My Vaccine Pass if you are attending on campus health services (e.g. student health, Kowhai Centre).
  • In exceptional circumstances, exemptions may be granted to this. You can find out more about this in our vaccination policy. If you think you have grounds to be exempt from our vaccination requirements, please email    

You can find more information about our vaccination requirements here. And, if you still have further questions, please visit our FAQs page which you can find here.

Programme structure

The work-based learning approach centres round the relationship between you, your employer/sponsor or field of practice and Capable NZ. The programme is divided into three main phases. The first is a review of your professional learning to date reviewed against a core body of knowledge recognised for the generalist occupational health and safety practitioner. The second is an agreement on what new learning you would like to achieve for professional development against the core body of knowledge. The final stage is completing a project designed to capture these new ideas of insights and to enhance your personal and professional development.


Name of paper


Course 1

Review of Learning


Course 2

Learning Agreement


Course 3




Programme Total


How is the programme delivered?

Learning and teaching activities within each course may include:

  • mentoring and facilitation via distance processes
  • on-campus workshops and seminars depending on locations
  • online support and course resources through the Polytechnic’s Learning Management System platform (Moodle) and other learning technologies
  • online and video link assessment methodologies. 
How to apply

1. If you want to find out a little more about this programme, send us an enquiry and we'll be in touch! 

2. If you know that you just want to apply, click on the light blue APPLY button in the top right section of this page and complete our online application form. 

Student loans/allowances

Domestic students are eligible for student loans and allowances (dependent on other eligibility criteria). Please contact Studylink for additional information. Phone 0800 88 99 00 or visit the Studylink website.


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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