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Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary)

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū
  • Available via Distance Learning
  • One intake at the start of each year
  • 1 year of full-time study or 2 years of part-time study

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Details you need to know about the structure, courses and requirements for this programme.

View regulations

Entry requirements

To obtain a place within a teacher education programme you must be selected, gain entry into the University and gain admission to the Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) programme. For entry requirements please check the regulations.

In addition to meeting the entrance requirements to Massey University, students selected for the Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) with Massey University must hold the minimum entry level in one of the following qualifications:

  • a Bachelor's degree at level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) consisting of at least 360 credits
  • a Graduate Diploma /or a Diploma for Graduates at level 7 on the NZQF consisting of 120 credits
  • a Bachelor's degree with Honours at level 8 on the NZQF consisting of at least 480 credits
  • a Postgraduate Diploma at level 8 on the NZQF consisting of at least 120 credits
  • a Master's degree at level 9 on the NZQF consisting of 240 credits.

For the Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) you are required to have two teaching subjects appropriate to the secondary school curriculum. Your entry qualification should comprise relevant content-based courses. You will be required to have the academic background to equip you to teach at least one subject at senior level (Years 11 - 13). For this subject you will need at least one course (preferably two) at 300-level, supported by relevant 100- and 200-level courses.

In your second teaching subject you will need at least one course (preferably two) at 200-level, supported by relevant 100-level courses. This is to provide you with the appropriate knowledge in order to be able to teach these subject areas proficiently in the classroom.

Applicants with qualifications obtained overseas must have these qualifications assessed by New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to determine comparability with New Zealand qualifications. The NZQA International Qualifications Assessment must be provided at the time of applying. NZQA Assessments older than three (3) years at the time of applying may not be accepted. If this applies to you, please contact NZQA, Qualification Review Service requesting a review of the original assessment notes. They will inform you if you need to re-apply to NZQA. NZQA accreditation can take up to 35 working days.

For more information on applying to NZQA please refer to:

English Language Requirement

If your first language is not English, you will need to attach a verified copy of your results in the form of an IELTS test with a score of at least 7.0 or higher in all components of the academic version of the IELTS test within the preceding two years, or approved equivalent.

See the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand website for clarification on English Language Requirements.

The only exemptions to this requirement are:

  • If you are a teacher who has registered with the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand, and hold a current Practising Certificate.
  • If you hold a degree (Level 7 or higher) from either a New Zealand or Australian tertiary education organisation, where the medium of instruction was fully in English and studied in a campus model of delivery (attending lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes at the campus) in each year of the degree. For this exemption to apply a minimum of three years of full-time study for a bachelor’s degree or two years for a master’s degree would be required. Doctorate (PhD) qualifications are not considered exempt.
  • If you have studied in New Zealand for a minimum of two years at secondary school and have met University Entrance requirements in Literacy.

Application Process

To begin an initial teacher education programme you must first apply through the student homepage or by clicking on the Apply Now button. There is only one intake at the start of each year, but applications are open throughout the year for future intakes. Applications close on 30 November each year.

During the application process you will be asked to upload the following:

What documents do you need to supply to support your application?

  • A copy of your academic transcript/s.
  • A copy of your current curriculum vitae - please provide a full CV including details for at least the last five years and include brief details on recent formal and/or informal experiences and/or involvement in the following areas: experience with children/young adults; community activities; school activities; sport, music, drama, art, other cultures, travel, teaching/coaching and outdoor education.
  • A supporting statement - please supply a statement in written English, why you chose this programme. List any personal characteristics you have that might strengthen your application.
  • A completed observation report from your observation of a group of secondary school learners. You must visit either a school or kura for at least half a day or a teaching period. You will need to describe the class/classes or activities that you observed, the teaching skills/techniques used and what the children did that illustrated how children learn. Your visit will need to be verified by the Principal, Head Teacher, Kaitiaki or your Supervisor for the day.
  • A consent to disclosure of information for a New Zealand Police check - including two pieces of verified identification (one of which must be photographic). See more details below about safety checks.
  • A copy of a police report from every overseas country you have lived in for more than 12 months in the last 10 years. Please do not supply originals as these will need to be supplied to the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand at a later date.
  • A health and disability declaration - if you have any short or long-term disability (including learning disability), impairment, injury or health issue. If you disclose any disability, health or personal information as part of your application, this will be assessed during the selection process and is confidential to the University staff processing your application.
  • An Academic IELTS test - if English is not your first language (see details above).
  • An NZQA International Qualifications Assessment - if you have an overseas qualification (see details above).
  • Contact details of two referees. We require two people who can act as referees for you and who are able to provide informed responses on your personal suitability for the programme. A referee should be someone who has known you for one year or more in the capacity of employer, educator, work colleague or person of community standing, ie Kaumatua, Minister or similar. Your referee should not be a friend, flatmate, relative or someone who has not known you for at least a year. The information your referee supplies is confidential to those involved in the selection process.

All documentation needs to be provided prior to the closing date for applications.

Safety checks and disclosure of criminal convictions

All applicants are required to undergo a number of safety checks. This includes police vetting (including confirmation of identity) and further checks required under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014, Vulnerable Children Regulations 2015 and the Children’s Action Plan. You will be required to permit the Institute of Education to ask the New Zealand Police to disclose any information held on the Police record system.

Selection Process

All initial teacher education programmes at Massey University require students to be selected into the programme. Selection, and the subsequent offer of a place in the programme, is determined by the information submitted in the application process and the interview process. The first part of the selection process involves assessment by academic staff within the Institute of Education.

If the selection committee feel you potentially meet the 'fit character' and 'fit to be a teacher' criteria, you may be invited to an interview. This is the second part of the selection process. Interviews are held face-to-face in Palmerston North and by Skype. You will be advised of the date, time and venue of your interview along with other important information. You are welcome to bring Whanau or support people to the interview if you choose.

The interview undertaken by Institute staff focuses on the following criteria:

  • Disposition for Teaching
  • Communication Skills
  • Achievement and Potential for Professional Full Time Study
  • Awareness of Teaching and Learning in Aotearoa New Zealand

All applicants will also be required to undertake a short Numeracy test at the time of interview.

If the interview panel is satisfied that you are a suitable candidate for the GradDipTchg (Secondary) programme and you meet the entry and admission criteria into the University you will be sent an Offer of Place.

Once you have accepted your Offer of Place you can apply for courses if the enrolment year is open. When your application for enrolment in your courses is approved, you will receive an Offer of Enrolment notification that you will need to accept. The Offer of Enrolment will contain information about fees and may have conditions on it. Once you accept your Offer of Enrolment you will be enrolled and will receive a Confirmation of Enrolment notification if you have no outstanding conditions ie pending completion of your degree.

If you are not offered a place in the programme of your choice, you may like to get in touch with our Contact Centre to discuss other qualifications.

Important Dates

Selected Entry application closing date: 30 November each year 

Programme Start/End Dates

Semester 1: Start date 27 January 2020
Semester 2: Start date 20 July 2020
Semester 2: Ends 13 November 2020

Please visit the TeachNZ website to see closing dates for TeachNZ Scholarships.

For general entry requirements see Massey University entry requirements.

Credits and prior learning

Unfortunately no credit can be granted towards the GradDipTchg (Secondary) due to the specialised nature of this qualification (8 compulsory courses). The University cross credit regulations also state: "Courses may not be cross-credited to or from a postgraduate diploma, postgraduate certificate, graduate diploma or a graduate certificate unless specifically stated otherwise in the Regulations for that diploma or certificate."

Planning your programme

To find out how to plan your study and/or see what courses are necessary to complete your programme, please check the regulations. It will display the regulatory information for the programme you have selected.

If you would like to find out more about individual course requirements, please use our Course search.


Whilst this programmes is offered via Distance Learning, we do require that you are in New Zealand for the duration. The programme and Practicum Placements within it are relevant to the NZ curriculum (as it is New Zealand teacher registration that is the ultimate goal) and hence must be done within New Zealand.

Also, as practical and theoretical courses are intertwined you cannot do the theory/pedagogy courses first and then return to do the practical courses at a later date. Without full access to the New Zealand curriculum you would also be hugely disadvantaged in your assignments

Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) structure

  • Blended learning is a hallmark of this qualification.
  • You are actively encouraged to be learners in an electronic environment, as well as a real-world environment. Class work is grounded in demonstration and application of teaching performance. Problem-solving approaches to learning are emphasized.

The aims of this diploma programme are to:

  • develop the academic and personal competence of the student;
  • assist students to formulate a vision of teaching for excellence in the performance of their work;
  • provide a study of knowledge and curriculum requirements at secondary school level;
  • provide the student with the opportunity to develop practical competence in the classroom.


The two Teaching Experience courses include a total of 15 weeks of practica, which students will complete three blocks of practica in three different schools. Students living in the Palmerston North area will be required to complete at least one practicum outside the area.
Note: Travel for practica is the responsibility of the student teacher.

2020 Practicum Dates

Full-time students

Practicum 1:  Monday 9 March – Friday 3 April 
Practicum 2: Monday 18 May – Friday 19 June
Practicum 3: Monday 17 August – Friday 25 Sept

Part-time year 1 students

Practicum 1: Monday 25 May – Friday 19 June
Practicum 2: Monday 24 August – Friday 25 September

Part-time year 2 students

Practicum 3 : Monday 11 May – Friday 19 June 

Mid-semester break for all students Friday 10 April – Friday 24 April 

2020 Contact Workshops

Full-time students:

Monday 10 - Friday 21 February
Monday 29 June – Friday 3 July

Year 1 part-time students:

Monday 10 - Friday 21 February
Monday 29 June – Friday 3 July 2020

Year 2 part-time students:

Monday 17 – Friday 21 Feb 2020
Monday 29 – Friday 3 July 2020

Mid-year break Monday 6 – Friday 17 July 2020. All students
Mid-semester break Monday 28 Sept - Friday 9 Oct 2020. All students

These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates


Courses focus on you as a teacher and facilitator of learning. You will investigate and discuss a wide range of educational issues, examine current theories about learning and teaching and the way in which these are applied in school settings. You will need to take five compulsory courses and three Curriculum Subject Studies courses.

Five compulsory courses (75 credits)

260.483 Secondary Teaching Experience I
260.484 Secondary Teaching Experience II
260.490 Teaching in Context I
260.491 Teaching in Context II
260.492 Teaching and Learning in a Secondary Context

Curriculum subjects studies courses (45 credits)

Select at least one Subject Studies course from:

253.353 Guidance Principles and Practice
260.420 Teaching Mathematics
260.422 Teaching Science
260.426 Teaching Technology
260.429 Teaching Languages
260.431 Teaching English
260.434 Teaching Social Studies
260.438 Teaching Music
260.441 Teaching Health and Physical Education
260.444 Teaching Visual Arts

Select at least one Subject Studies course from:

260.421 Teaching Senior Mathematics
260.423 Teaching Senior Agriculture/Biology/Horticulture
260.424 Teaching Senior Chemistry
260.425 Teaching Senior Physics
260.427 Teaching Senior Technology
260.428 Teaching Graphics
260.430 Teaching Senior Languages
260.432 Teaching Senior English
260.433 Teaching Drama
260.435 Teaching Senior History
260.436 Teaching Senior Geography
260.437 Teaching Senior Commerce
260.439 Teaching Senior Music
260.440 Musicianship for School Instrumental Music Teachers
260.442 Teaching Senior Physical Education
260.443 Teaching Health
260.445 Teaching Senior Visual Arts
260.446 Teaching Senior Art History
260.447 Teaching Performing Arts
260.448 Teaching Senior Social Sciences

Part-time Year 1

260.483 Secondary Teaching Experience I (Double Semester)
260.490 Teaching in Context I
1 x Senior Subject Studies course
1 x Subject Studies course
Practicum 1: 25 May to 19 June 
Practicum 2: 24 of Aug to the 25 September 

Part-time Year 2

260.484 Secondary Teaching Experience II (Semester 1)
260.491 Teaching in Context II
260.492 Teaching and Learning in a Secondary Context
1 x Subject Studies course
Practicum 3: 11 May to 19 June

How much will it cost?

We can't tell you the exact cost until you have chosen your courses, as the tuition fees you pay each year vary depending on the courses you choose. There will also be compulsory non-tuition fees you have to pay in addition to your tuition fees. For some courses there may be other charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

To get an approximate idea of tuition costs for typical study areas, you can use our quick guide to programme fees.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our Fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.

Financial assistance

You might be eligible to apply for a scholarship or award. You can use our scholarship search to see what is available. You may also be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

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