Postgraduate programmes and professional development

The College of Education, Health and Human Development offers a number of online-based postgraduate courses, ideal for teachers who want to upgrade or extend their existing qualifications and other graduate professionals with an interest in education or health.

Our programmes are offered on campus or by distance study.

We offer a highly supportive, vibrant environment in which to undertake postgraduate study, taught by academics who are recognised both nationally and internationally as leading scholars and researchers in their fields. They are dedicated to supporting and mentoring students in all levels of their study and in their research.

Graduate qualifications

The Graduate Certificate in Sport Coaching can be studied full time over six months or part time for up to four years. It is delivered through online distance study, enabling students to fit Sport Coaching studies around their busy professional and personal lives. The GradCertSpC provides practicing coaches and those employed in the sports industry the opportunity to develop their professional coaching skills. The GradCertSpC is also available to students who are not currently employed in the industry, but wish to develop skills and competencies to gain employment in Performance Sports Coaching contexts.

The Honours programme is for students who want another year of specialised study in Education and Human Development after completing a BA degree. It allows students to develop their research skills in preparation for embarking on thesis work within the MA or PhD degrees.

The BTchLn(Hons) is a one-year full-time qualification for BTchLn (or equivalent) graduates with a B-grade average in their 200 and 300-level courses. The BTchLn(Hons) develops knowledge and research skills to equip you for further study and improve your classroom/centre practice, provides you with the opportunity to focus on educational issues or curriculum areas in which you have special interests, and makes you more competitive in the job market.

Postgraduate qualifications

The PGCertEd gives teachers, counsellors and other educational professionals the opportunity to improve their professional practice and examine critically significant issues in education. The certificate can be a pathway to the Postgraduate Diploma in Education and the Master of Education.

UC's Health Sciences qualifications give health professionals, non-clinical members of the health workforce and others interested in the health sector or health issues the opportunity to examine critically a range of significant issues in health sciences, and where relevant to improve their professional practice. Many graduates continue to work within their health profession while others work in health-related fields, the social services, or local or central government. The PGCertHealSc is designed to provide an introduction to the health science sector. The certificate can stand on its own or can be a pathway to the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences and Master of Health Sciences.

The PGCertPC develops health practitioner’s skills in palliative care and introduces palliative care as a research field. Students gain the knowledge and understanding needed to provide a holistic approach to the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of the needs of patients, family and whanau living with a life-limiting condition.

The PGCertSpecTchg certificate provides students with a strong appreciation of specialist teaching as an interdisciplinary field of practice and the ability to apply their specialist teaching knowledge and skills in diverse cultural context. It comprises one compulsory course and one course focusing on either deaf and hard of hearing, early intervention or learning and behaviour.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Sport Science will require 60 points with one compulsory course.  It will have both Semester One and Two intakes.

Master of Sport Science brochure

The Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (PGCertTESOL) is an ideal fast-track qualification for those who may have come to the career of English language education through an indirect route and wish to undertake professional development or for graduates interested in entering the TESOL profession. It is also an ideal pathway to further postgraduate study in this discipline. The programme is composed of two courses:

The courses in the PGCertTertTchg look beyond the focus of a specific department or knowledge area and consider academic practices from various disciplines. Throughout this programme, a process of shared inquiry and collaborative learning is used to explore participants’ teaching practices and their students’ understanding of learning.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching is designed to enable graduates to apply knowledge of research to teaching and learning, develop and justify a repertoire of teaching approaches and assessment practices, and evaluate and advance their teaching practices.

The PGDipChFamPsyc is designed for students who wish to become registered psychologists and practice as child and family psychologists. It is offered as an internship year to students who already hold a (MEd) in Child and Family Psychology. It leads to registration as a psychologist with the New Zealand Psychologists’ Board

The PGDipEd is designed to give teachers, counsellors and other educational professionals the opportunity to improve their professional practice and examine critically significant issues in education. It generally consists of four courses totalling 120 points. Each specialist endorsement has different compulsory and optional courses:

An unendorsed pathway is also available.

Many students of the Postgraduate Diploma in Education make the choice to complete an additional two courses to be awarded the Master of Education. Some PGDipEd courses are exclusively available by distance learning options.

The PGDipHealSc is aimed at people who are currently employed in, or seeking employment in, a health-related field, the social services, or local or central government. An inter-disciplinary programme, students will complete a programme of advanced study in the Health Sciences choosing from courses in over twenty disciplines, with the option of a particular focus in environment and health, early intervention, health behaviour change or health information management.

The University of Canterbury in partnership with Massey University now offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching. This qualification adopts an inquiry-based interprofessional learning model. It employs a range of distance and blended delivery options that provide a range of flexible learning options for all students regardless of location. Five specialist endorsements will be offered - Early Intervention; Deaf and Hard of Hearing; Learning and Behaviour; Complex Educational Needs; Autism Spectrum Disorder; and Blind and Vision Impaired.

The PGDipSpTch employs a range of distance and blended delivery options that provide flexible learning options for all students regardless of location.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Science (*subject to CUAP approval, due August 2017) will require 120 points, with two compulsory courses and two elective courses. It will have both Semester One and Two intakes.

Masters degrees

The MA in Education consists of four courses and a thesis. It is designed to give students the opportunity to develop and extend their research skills to address questions of interest in education.

This 180-point Master of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (MCALL) prepares language teachers to make optimal, research-informed use of technology in their classrooms, and paves the way for further development. Students anywhere in the world can study this online programme either full time or part time. In just 12 months of full time study (part time options are available) graduates can gain a level 9 Master degree at the University of Canterbury. MCALL students will learn about the history and current state of technology-enhanced language learning and teaching and critically evaluate the body of research that has investigated this important shift in the way we can learn, teach and use languages.

Graduates of the programme will have the knowledge and skills they require to be able to judiciously introduce technology-enhanced learning of languages in a variety of educational settings from early childhood to tertiary. As education settings and the wider community gain unprecedented access to connectivity and technology, the challenge is the increased need for educators who are able to use the technology for learning. There is a demand from educators in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in NZ and worldwide for knowledge about and skills in the use of technology.

Find out more here

The MEd degree is designed to give teachers, counsellors or other educational professionals the opportunity to improve their professional practice, examine critically significant issues in education or undertake research in their fields of interest.

Specialist endorsements

The MEd has seven specialist endorsements. Each specialist endorsement has different compulsory and optional courses:

The Master of Education can be completed either by coursework or a combination of courses and thesis. Each specialist endorsement has different compulsory and optional courses which can be viewed in each endorsement brochure.

For more information and initial endorsement, inquiries email educationadvice@canterbury.ac.nz or phone +64 3 369 3333 to make an appointment.

The Master of Counselling degree comprises five postgraduate papers and a three-paper professional research portfolio or thesis. A solution-focused model of counselling forms the basis of the Master of Counselling at UC. You will learn about the theoretical underpinnings of solution-focused counselling; social constructionism and become skilled in using appropriate solution-focused thinking and techniques.

Graduates work as school counsellors, family therapists, health counsellors, career counsellors, tertiary counsellors, consultants, managers and counsellor educators. They work in community agencies, private practice, medical centres and schools.

The MHealSc is aimed at people who are currently employed in, or seeking employment in, a health-related field, the social services, or local or central government. An inter-disciplinary programme, students will complete a programme of advanced study in the Health Sciences choosing from courses in over twenty disciplines, with the option of a particular focus in environment and health, early intervention, health behaviour change or health information management.

The MHealScProfPr is a 180-point, professionally focused, coursework-based master's degree. This degree will appeal to those already employed in the health sector or those wishing to enter health-related employment, with students examining a range of significant issues in health sciences, and looking to improve their professional practice as a result. Students will be asked to critically reflect, to link theory to policy and practice in their own work contexts, and to develop strategies and skills that will help them to identify improvements to their own health practices.

Students may either follow a general programme, or focus on a specialisation and receive their qualification endorsed in Environment and Health, Health Behaviour Change, Health and Community, Health Information Management, Nursing or Palliative Care. These endorsements allow professionals to gain a highly specialised, discipline-specific knowledge related to their work or area of interest. 

The Master of Health Sciences and Bachelor of Nursing joint initiative between the University of Canterbury (UC) and Ara gives the opportunity for students who already hold a degree relevant to health sciences to gain two further qualifications in just two years. Students will be full-time UC Master of Health Sciences (MHealSc) and part-time Bachelor of Nursing (BN) students for the first 18 months after which they will be full-time Ara students for the remaining part of the programme. Students will be eligible to attend graduation ceremonies with both institutions. This initiative will be of interest to anyone who wishes to become a nurse. Students are normally required to have a recognised degree which is considered relevant to health sciences and the proposed course of study or an appropriate health or allied professional qualification requiring at least three years equivalent full-time tertiary study at an appropriate level.  

For more information download the Master of Health Sciences and Bachelor of Nursing brochure‌.

The MA or MSc in Child and Family Psychology (or an approved MEd) are postgraduate degrees which can be completed alone or in combination with the limited entry Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Psychology (PGDipChFamPsyc). The limited entry PGDipChFamPsyc can be started after the first year of the masters is completed and has been designed for students who wish to become registered psychologists working with children, adolescents and families.

Masters Thesis Students should also refer to the Masters Thesis Enrolment Process.

The Master of Specialist Teaching programme provides the opportunity for students to focus their postgraduate studies on specialist teaching. This 180 point programme is relevant for educators working with children and learners who have special educational needs in early childhood, primary and secondary sectors.

If you have a PGDipSpTch - to graduate with a master's degree you will need to complete an additional 60 points of study including one of either EDEM637, EDEM638 or EDEM669, and one optional 30 point course.

The degree will be awarded unendorsed or endorsed in one of the following endorsement areas: Complex Educational Needs, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Early Intervention or Learning and Behaviour. 

The Master of Sport Science will require 180 points of which 90 points (three courses) will be compulsory. Students will normally be required to have achieved a B average in their undergraduate degree. There will be intakes in both Semesters One and Two.

Master of Sport Science brochure

The Master of Teaching and Learning is innovative new programme which combines research-informed professional knowledge, evidence-based inquiry and embedded practice based experiences in schools and early childhood settings. It has a particular focus on knowledge and practice that supports Māori and diverse learners, including Pasifika youth and children, students for whom English is a second language, students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds and those who experience special learning needs.

Pre-service teachers in the MTchgLn programme will work in two different local partnership schools that serve significant numbers of priority learners. The first semester placement will be completed in a local early childhood, primary or secondary context and consist of 1–2 days a week across the semester, as well as a 2-3 week intensive experience where candidates will take leadership responsibility for teaching. In the second semester the pre-service educator will move to another local partnership school or early childhood setting and complete a more intensive practice-based learning experience. This will include the 1–2 days a week, and 7 weeks of increased responsibility for leading teaching and learning in a classroom.

The delivery model is designed as an early childhood setting/school and university community of practice. It is undertaken within a digitally enriched learning environment that reflects and supports modern learning pedagogies that are necessary for current and future professional practice in education.

Three endorsements are available:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Primary
  • Secondary

Students who successfully complete the programme may be eligible for provisional registration as a teacher.

The Journal of Initial Teacher Inquiry showcases 2015 MTchgLn students developing contexts. The 23 research articles relate to a mix of both primary and secondary school-based contexts.

The Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MTESOL) is a one-year professional qualification aimed at producing skilful English language educators for a wide variety of educational settings in the 21st century, from early childhood through to tertiary level. With its future focus, this master's programme will give students the skills, knowledge and capabilities to be adaptable in the face of future English language developments, as well as technological and pedagogical advances.  

This programme is ideal for:

  • New Zealand English language educators, or those who wish to specialise in English language education to emergent bilingual speakers of other languages in New Zealand
  • Graduates of New Zealand universities who may currently teach or plan to teach English in other countries
  • Teachers of English throughout the world who want or need to develop their language teaching.

This programme is available to study by distance, with teaching and learning conducted online. 

Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages brochure

Research and specialisations

More information

For more information about doctoral enrolment email us (not education advice)

For more information about master’s enrolment email us

More information regarding undertaking a postgraduate research at UC can be found at the Postgraduate website. Enrolment details for domestic and international students is at Postgraduate Student Enrolment.

More information about Postgraduate programmes and their courses is available in the Postgraduate Prospectus which can be obtained by emailing education@canterbury.ac.nz or phoning 0800 VARSITY (827 748).