Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary)


The Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary) is for university graduates with a bachelor's degree who wish to enter the teaching profession and work with young adults in Years 7-13 (ages 11-18). In addition to subject curriculum knowledge, this programme will equip students with educational theory, classroom practice, and the management tools needed to excel as an intermediate or secondary school teacher.

The GradDipTchLn(Secondary) is currently offered on campus in Christchurch with an intake in early February.

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 (Secondary) must have one of the following:

  • qualified for an equivalent bachelor's degree, with study to at least 300-level in a secondary school curriculum area, or
  • master's degree or bachelor's degree with honours, to a specified NZQF level, 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 (Secondary) or use the admission requirements checker.

Qualification structure and duration

The year is made up of the following components:

Professional and educational studies – Professional and educational studies include the study of foundation education, professional issues and critical enquiry in relation to development as an effective teacher. Topics covered include the secondary school student, presentation skills, lesson planning, classroom management, questioning skills, learning theories and teaching strategies. Courses help prepare student teachers to deal with problems that are often social, political and ethical in nature. They also consider strategies for using ICT in education and e-learning.

Professional practice – Professional practice is the school-based requirement of the programme and provides the contexts in which students develop skills and gain experience in practical situations. For those studying in Christchurch, one of the practice placements is likely to be away from Christchurch.

Curriculum studies – All curriculum studies courses have direct links to the essential learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum and to school programmes. Courses focus on curriculum statements, examination prescriptions, unit and achievement standards, teaching and management approaches, assessment practices and curriculum resources.

Applicants need to have studied at least two teaching subjects from the teaching studies list as part of their degree. Degree specialisation (preferably to 300-level) is required for your main teaching subject and 200-level study is preferred for a second teaching subject.


The Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary) is a one-year, full-time qualification although part-time options are available. The maximum period for completion is three years.

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 (Secondary)

Year 1
    Professional and Educational Studies
    Professional Practice
    Curriculum Studies
(1) See the regulations at www.canterbury.ac.nz/regulations/award/graddiptchln_sec_regs.shtml
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).

Subjects and courses

Teaching studies are available in the following subjects:

  • Art
  • English
  • Health
  • International Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Outdoor and Environmental Education
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Science with Biology
  • Science with Chemistry
  • Science with Physics
  • Social Studies with Classical Studies
  • Social Studies with Economics
  • Social Studies with Geography
  • Social Studies with History
  • Technology
  • Te Reo Māori

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 (Secondary).

For more information on this diploma, see the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary) brochure.

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

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