Secondary teacher education

Secondary Science teaching

Secondary teachers work with young adults in Years 7 to 13 (ages 11-18) in intermediate, middle, area and secondary schools.

Share your passion and enthusiasm

As a Secondary teacher you teach one or more subjects that you are passionate about, you inspire your students, encouraging them and giving them the skills and enthusiasm they need to make a positive difference in the world.

Secondary teacher education students:

  • Are interested in working with young adults (Years 7–13; ages 11–18)
  • Are passionate about the subjects they teach
  • Are organised and well prepared
  • Promote their students' social, emotional, intellectual and physical development
  • Enjoy cultivating a love of learning in others

If that sounds like you, read on to find out more about taking these programmes at UC.

You'll learn about the theory, practice and management of teaching, including the place and role of education, the characteristics of learners and the teaching-learning process.

You’ll spend significant time working in classrooms where you can practice and refine your planning, teaching and management skills. By the end of your studies at UC you will have learnt and developed all the professional teaching knowledge and skills required to be a teacher in New Zealand intermediate, middle, area and secondary schools.

UC offers internationally recognised qualifications for students who wish to train as secondary school teachers:

  • If you already have a Level 7 Bachelor degree or equivalent with study to 300 level from a specified selection of the NZ school curriculum subject list, you can enrol in the one-year Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary) (GradDipTchLn). This programme can be undertaken full-time on campus in Christchurch and full-time or by distance study. This option is suited to those looking for a well-respected pathway to teaching, including practice in schools and research-based coursework. It is the recommended pathway for International students and caters to the full range of secondary teaching subjects, including Physical Education.
  • If you already have a Level 7 Bachelor degree or equivalentwith a B average at 300-level and study to 300 level from a specified selection of the NZ school curriculum subject list, you can enrol in the one-year  Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (PGDipTchgLn) or  Master of Teaching and Learning (MTchgLn). The PGDipTchgLn is a pathway to the Master of Teaching and Learning (MTchgLn). By completing the PGDipTchgLn plus an additional 30-point course, students can achieve the MTchgLn. To transfer from the PGDipTchgLn to the MTchgLn, you must achieve a B average or better in the PGDipTchgLn. These pathways combine research-informed knowledge and critical inquiry with practice-based experiences in schools to prepare you for a career in teaching. 
  • The pathway to becoming a Physical Education teacher has changed. Find out more.
  • From 2022 we are offering an alternative entry pathway into the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary endorsement) in Technology and Te Reo only. Find out more.

Successful completion of either of these pathways lead to eligibility to apply for NZTC registration. However, there are differences in the duration, focus and qualification awarded. Below is a quick overview of these differences.

 GradDipTchgPGDipTchLnMTchgLn
Level of qualification Graduate (NZQA level 7) Postgraduate (NZQA level 8) Postgraduate (NZQA Level 9)
Points 150 150 180
Course dates      
Student Loan Eligibility* Yes Yes Yes
Student Allowance Eligibility* Yes No No
Starting salary point – secondary** Salary Group G3+ Salary Group G4 Salary Group G5

*Source - https://www.studylink.govt.nz/
** Source - https://education.govt.nz/

All Initial Teacher Education programmes have one intake each, starting in January or February. 

Applications for teacher education programmes will close on 1 December each year for domestic applicants (31 October each year for international applicants). While we process applications as they are received, many of our programmes have a limited capacity for places and applications may close earlier if this capacity has been reached. 

Our teacher education programmes have specialised application processes. Please read the Guide to applying section and complete the steps, before applying through myUC

For the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary) you must have a Bachelor’s degree which includes study to 300 level in a New Zealand school curriculum subject (your major) as well as an additional teaching subject. For example, with a degree in Biology including courses in Maths to 200 level, you can Major in Science with Biology and take Maths for your additional teaching subject.

For the Master of Teaching and Learning you must have a Bachelor’s degree which includes study to 300 level in a New Zealand school curriculum subject (your major). For the Masters you require one teaching subject. For example, with a degree in Biology you can Major in Science with Biology. Not all teaching subjects from the list above are supported by the Masters of Teaching and Learning.

Selection for entry is not automatic and is based on:

  • Academic ability
  • Involvement, interest and experience in dealing with children
  • Commitment to Te Reo and Tikanga Māori
  • Communication skills – you need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly, confidently and coherently, and to listen and respond to others appropriately
  • A police check and an interview

IELTS requirements for Initial Teacher Education programmes

All students for whom English is an additional language must provide evidence of their English language ability.

Please note that the IELTS requirements for entry to Initial Teacher Education programmes are set by the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and are higher than the standard University requirements. IELTS academic scores are the only acceptable English language test for teacher education.

Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood), Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary), Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching, Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary), or the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary):

  • IELTS (Academic) with a minimum score of 7.0 in all bands.
  • Applicants who have completed at least two years of successful study in a New Zealand secondary school and achieved a minimum number of NCEA level 2 credits in Literacy, or who have completed a tertiary qualification in New Zealand at NZQA level 7 or higher, may be eligible for an exemption from the requirement to sit IELTS.

Master of Teaching and Learning (all endorsements):

  • IELTS (Academic) with a minimum score of 7.5 in all bands.
  • Applicants who have completed at least two years of successful study in a New Zealand secondary school and achieved a minimum number of NCEA level 2 credits in Literacy, or who have completed a tertiary qualification in New Zealand at NZQA level 7 or higher, may be eligible for an exemption from the requirement to sit IELTS.

The course pathway for prospective PE teachers has changed. See our Sport Coaching webpages for more information.

From 2022 we are offering an alternative entry pathway for applicants seeking to be teachers of Technology and Te Reo Māori that do not hold a level 7 qualification which is typically required for a graduate diploma course of study. This pathway is for individuals who have a minimum of 5 years of recent employment within a trade or with high levels of te reo Māori language use; work qualifications and professional development; experience relating to leadership and/or management skills; and evidence of work in a coaching, mentoring, or teaching role.

This information should be provided in a CV alongside the regular University of Canterbury application form and referee reports.

Candidates who wish to apply for this entry pathway will also need to provide some additional information through a mapping of work experience against the curriculum area they seek to teach. If selected a candidate will be invited to an on-site interview process.

This alternative entry pathway at the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary endorsement) is available via campus-based or distance study. The Distance option is available at the Graduate Diploma pathway only and can be completed full time in one year or part time over 2 years. Note, only the distance option has a part-time pathway.

Distance pathway for the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning for Secondary endorsement in Technology and Te Reo Māori

Selected students in the Graduate Diploma for Teaching and Learning in secondary education with suitable experience in Technology and/or Te Reo Māori can apply to study via distance. The existing campus-based options in these teaching areas also remain in place.

The Distance option is available at the Graduate Diploma pathway only and can be completed full time in one year or part time over 2 years. (Campus-based options are still available for the PGDipTchgLn and MTchgLn). Note, only the distance option has a part-time pathway.

For further information please contact:

Ceri de Boo ceri.deboo@canterbury.ac.nz (Technology Education Lecturer) or

Te Hurinui Clarke tehurinui.clarke@canterbury.ac.nz (Māori Education Senior Lecturer)

Rachel Maitland rachel.maitland@canterbury.ac.nz (Programme Co-ordinator 2022)

Graduates of this programme will be eligible for provisional registration as a teacher. This enables you to apply for teaching positions in New Zealand and many countries overseas. Please contact the relevant authorities for international requirements.

Teaching gives you entry into careers beyond the classroom; it is an excellent background for a wide range of jobs including careers in the public sector, business and industry training. Other jobs include special education teacher, private tutor, education advisor, education publisher, secondary school Dean, Deputy Principal and Principal. Some of these jobs may require further study at postgraduate level.

There is a wide range of study options available to Secondary teaching students, with separate timetable and course group information for each option. Find out more about the requirements for your preferred study option.

  • Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary)
  • Master of Teaching and Learning (Primary Education)

Our Teaching qualifications require students to undertake placements in the community, including in schools/kura, early childhood centres, or health/medical facilities. For these qualifications you will be required to be vaccinated in line with the NZ Government regulations, and supply evidence of your vaccination status.

Qualifications

The Graduate Diploma Teaching and Learning consists of 150 points of coursework and includes 80 days of professional practice in schools. The programme can be studied full-time in one year on-campus. 

Students with an Aotearoa New Zealand bachelor's degree (or other qualifications of an equivalent standard) are able to apply for the GradDipTchgLn. Those entering the Secondary Education endorsement will need a body of knowledge from their previous studies in a subject relevant to the secondary school curriculum eg, te reo Māori, English, mathematics, chemistry, history, etc.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary Education) combines research-informed knowledge and critical inquiry with practice-based experiences in schools to prepare you for a career in teaching. The programme can be studied full-time in one year.

Students with an Aotearoa New Zealand bachelor's degree (or other qualifications of an equivalent standard) are able to apply for the PGDipTchLn. Those entering the Secondary Education endorsement will need a body of knowledge from their previous studies in a subject relevant to the secondary school curriculum eg, te reo Māori, English, mathematics, chemistry, history, etc.

The PGDipTchgLn is a pathway to the Master of Teaching and Learning (MTchgLn). By completing the PGDipTchgLn plus an additional 30-point course, students can achieve the MTchgLn.

The Master of Teaching and Learning (Secondary Education) will equip participants with enhanced research-based knowledge and inquiry skills, experiences of contemporary educational theory and professional practice so they can become teachers with the expertise essential to schools in the 21st century. 

Students with an Aotearoa New Zealand bachelor's degree (or other qualifications of an equivalent standard) are able to apply for the MTchgLn. Those entering the Secondary Education endorsement will need a body of knowledge from their previous studies in a subject relevant to the secondary school curriculum eg, te reo Māori, English, mathematics, chemistry, history, etc.

Learn from our students' experiences