Otago Polytechnic

Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Practice


Blended delivery via Capable NZ; a combination of face to-face through block courses and supported video conferencing

One year full-time; three years part-time
2018 block courses: Awhi farm, Turangi (14-17 Feb); Southern, either Quarantine Island (Dunedin) or Bluff Marae (Invercargill) (3-5 May); Northern, Raglan (10-12 May); Dunedin (18-22 July); Motueka (includes past graduands) (17-21 Oct)    


February, May or July
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • CapableNZ
    26 February 2018
    21 May 2018 - 8 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 27 April 2017
    1 October 2017 - 12 October 2017
Delivered via Capable NZ
If you are committed to transformation, to making and leading real change, complete this qualification and apply your learning to any discipline, business or situation.

This programme is designed to deliver real change through practical action. You will develop a deep understanding of the trajectory from degeneration towards regeneration and will learn a systems approach to applying sustainability principles. You will examine the social, economic, political and environmental implications that underpin sustainability through theory and project-based learning. This programme offers the grounding to implement sustainable practice leadership in any situation. 

Learning is maximised through collaboration and the use of online tools. Weekly webinars attended by full-time and part-time students and occasional block courses make for a dynamic study environment. As a participant of this programme, you’ll join a community of students and alumni that is working to shift societal systems to ones that support people and the planet.

Fee information

The tuition fees shown in the right-hand column are part of the Government’s Key Information for Students (KIS). This data is pulled from a database that the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) control. It is based on an average fee from the previous year.

This means there is always a difference between the TEC/KIS fee shown and Otago Polytechnic’s current indicative fee (other reasons also affect the KIS data such as fee reductions for students granted Recognition of Prior Learning). Due to this, the indicative fee below is the best guide for prospective students.

Information about compulsory student services levy >

Please note: The KIS data only applies to domestic students. Up-to-date international student fees can be found by clicking the International tab in the top right corner of this page.  

Skills required
  • Experience using computers
  • Good communication skills
  • Commitment to sustainable practices
Entry requirements
  • You must hold a bachelor's degree OR equivalent skills/experience.
  • You may not enrol in this programme if you have already completed a Sustainable Practice degree major.
  • You must have access to the internet.

International students for whom English is not a first language, who come from countries with a visa decline rate of more than 20%

Domestic students for whom English is not a first language and international students from countries with a visa decline rate of less than 20%

View visa decline rates by country here.

If you need to improve your English, we offer a range of English language programmes.  

Additional documentation

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

Selection procedure

The selection procedure will be by personal interview, either face-to-face or by phone. If the number of applications exceeds the number of places available, applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

Additional costs

Due to the requirement to attend block courses, you will need to cover the cost of travel and any associated costs that this may incur.

You will study

This programme offers a good balance of project-based implementation of sustainable practice and theory.

Case studies are completed in your workplace or community, and support is provided through online material and by attending block courses.

The programme is hands-on to allow the delivery of practical projects as a part of your study. The programme is also customised for each student allowing you to:

  • focus your chosen learning through real projects
  • balance theory with applied learning in your workplace or host organisation
  • tailor your studies accordingly to your interest with emphasis on the economic, social, environmental or political success. 
Your workload

The programme is delivered through a combination of block courses supported by weekly webinars and recorded presentation material. Block courses occur throughout the year and learners must attend at least 3 over the course of their study. These are held in locations throughout New Zealand.

Qualification structure 




A systems approach to sustainable practice

Understanding the interrelationship of nature and human systems


Implementing sustainable practice

The “how to” using best practice methodology and success stories


Evaluating sustainable practice

Evaluate how effective a project’s intervention has been


Social media and engagement

Learn and then carry out engagement and dialogue techniques for a chosen project


Major project

Research and collaborate to implement a chosen project





Sustainable business

Implement sustainable practice in an organisation


Sustainable community development

Implement sustainable initiatives in a chosen community


Creating living buildings

Learn and then apply an international living building standard to a chosen project


Special topic

Choose your project and get support to implement it


The first two compulsory courses are completed first to provide you with the background for all future courses. 

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.

Apply Now