Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary)


The Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) is for university graduates with a bachelor's degree who wish to become a teacher of children aged between 5-13 years. It is a one-year programme which can be studied on-campus or by distance. 

A significant factor in this programme's success is the emphasis placed on students completing courses in all school curriculum areas. Students who successfully complete the Diploma will meet the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand graduating teachers standards requirements and may be eligible for provisional registration with the Council as a teacher.

UC's College of Education, Health and Human Development has a national and international reputation for producing high-quality teacher graduates based on a 135-year tradition. UC is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world for Education (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2017).

Entry requirements

Graduate 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

Students wishing to enrol in the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) must have one of the following:

  • qualified for an equivalent bachelor's degree, or
  • been admitted ad eundem statum as entitled to enrol for the Graduate Diploma, and
  • approval as a candidate by the Dean of Education, on the recommendation of a Selection Committee.

Selection for entry is not automatic and is based on academic ability, involvement and interest in working with children and young people, community involvement, communication skills and other personal qualities.

The selection process includes a police check and may include an interview.

For full entry requirements see the Regulations for the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) or use the admission requirements checker.

Qualification structure and duration

To qualify for the graduate diploma students must pass courses having a total value of at least 165 points.

Students can study:

  • full-time on campus in Christchurch or
  • full-time or part-time by distance (Flexible Learning Option, FLO). FLO GradDipTchLn(Primary) students are required to attend two residential schools at the Christchurch campus.


The current period of enrolment for a full-time candidate is 12 months. The maximum period of enrolment is two years for a full-time candidate and three years for a part-time candidate.

Note: students who do not complete all the requirements of the graduate diploma can instead complete the Graduate Diploma in Education and Learning

Typical diploma structure for the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary)

Year 1
    Professional Inquiry
    Professional Practice
    Curriculum Studies
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points or more.

Subjects and courses

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

How to apply

Applications open on 1 August and we strongly recommend that you apply as early as possible. Applications close four weeks prior to the commencement of the programme in February, or when places are filled (whichever comes first). 

Download the Application for Programme Entry from the College of Education, Health and Human Development website.

Find out more about how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications.

Further study

There are a range of professional development programmes available for practising teachers at UC – see the list of postgraduate diplomas and master's degrees available. 

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 information:

More information

For full requirements see the Regulations for the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary).

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

Alyssa oconnor

Alyssa O'Connor

'The lecturers at Canterbury clearly enjoy what they teach...'