Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching


The Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching provides students with a strong appreciation of specialist teaching as an interdisciplinary field of practice and the ability to apply their knowledge and skills in diverse cultural contexts.

The learning model is inquiry-based and employs a range of distance and other flexible learning options. Communities of interprofessional practice both within and beyond New Zealand will be developed.

Entry requirements

Postgraduate certificates and diplomas require a relevant bachelor's degree. If you gained your qualifications overseas, these will need to be assessed to ensure they are of an equivalent standard. You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

Qualification specific requirements

Candidates wishing to enrol in the Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching must have either:

  • qualified for a New Zealand teacher education degree; and/or
  • qualified for a recognised three year diploma in early childhood, primary, or secondary teaching in New Zealand; and either
    hold current teacher registration in New Zealand*; and
        - normally acquired at least two years relevant experience as a teacher or educator in a recognised educational work-place or community setting; or
        - been admitted ad eundem statum to enrol for the Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching; and
  • been approved as a candidate for the Diploma by the Dean of Education.

The relevance and standard of undergraduate studies and any subsequent professional work experience are the main criteria of approval.

Note: In order to graduate with the Diploma endorsed in Deaf and Hard of Hearing, students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in New Zealand Sign Language.

* Candidates who do not hold current New Zealand professional Registration will be required to undergo police vetting prior to gaining entry into the programme. They must meet requirements equivalent to those set down by the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand for registration as a teacher in terms of character and fitness to be a teacher.

For full entry requirements see the Regulations for the Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching or use the admission requirements checker.

Qualification structure and duration

The course of study for the Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching is made up of courses equivalent to 120 points.

The PGDipSpecTchg is studied over a minimum of one year full-time or up to four years part-time. Most commonly, this diploma is studied over two years part-time.

Subjects and courses

The PGDipSpecTchg is made up of:

  • one compulsory course 
  • three courses from the student’s chosen endorsement
  • practical experience.


The diploma can be awarded endorsed in:

  • Complex Educational Needs
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Early Intervention
  • Learning and Behaviour.

For the up-to-date schedule of courses, visit our University Regulations website.

How to apply

You can apply online with myUC. Find out how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications.

Further study

UC also offers a Master of Specialist Teaching.

Career opportunities

Postgraduate study can bring many career benefits eg, specialist skills and enhanced knowledge, entry into specific occupations, higher starting salary/progression rates, research capability/achievement and evidence of high academic attainment/self-discipline. 

Useful resources:

More information

For full requirements see the Regulations for the Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching.

For study planning help contact:

College of Education, Health and Human Development
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Ōrakipaoa Building
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Phone +64 3 369 3333
Email education@canterbury.ac.nz