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Postgraduate Health and professional development

05 November 2023

Postgraduate study develops your specialist knowledge and adds to your experiences and skills as a health advocate, researcher, and leader. If you have the passion for health, we have the qualifications to take you where you can make a difference. Find out more about postgraduate Health and professional development.


Postgraduate study will develop your specialist knowledge and add to your experiences and skills as a health advocate, researcher and leader.

If you have the passion for health, we have the qualifications to take you where you can make a difference. You'll join our inspiring health graduates in helping to make positive and meaningful change in people’s lives, engaging with whānau, workplaces and communities.

Our postgraduate programmes offer flexibility, with courses offered through a range of delivery methods with block courses, campus and/or distance options available. Both part and full time pathways are available.

Postgraduate certificates

The Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Teaching is designed for health professionals who are responsible for supervising, coaching, and supporting learning in clinical learning environments in a range healthcare settings. Participants develop the skills to become competent clinical educators, establish an identity, and gain leadership skills as a clinical supervisor both within their own profession and as a member of an interprofessional team.

For those wanting to add counselling theory and skills to their health or education profession, the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies (PGCertCounSt) will provide the knowledge and practice to enhance your professional helping skills with a range of clients, students, or colleagues.

The PGCertCounSt is also an ideal pathway into applying for the Master of Counselling, a degree which enables graduates to obtain provisional membership with the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC).

The Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences gives health professionals, non-clinical members of the health workforce, and others interested in the health sector the chance to critically examine a range of significant issues in health sciences, and where relevant to improve their professional practice.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences is a suitable introduction to the health science sector. It can also be a pathway to other postgraduate qualifications at UC.

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 whānau living with a life-limiting condition.

Palliative care has emerged as a speciality that incorporates inter-professional healthcare provision for people who are living with and dying from active, progressive diseases or conditions that are not responsive to curative treatment.  Palliative care embraces the physical, social, emotional and spiritual elements of well being (tinana, whānau, hinengaro and wairua) and embraces a person’s quality of life while they are dying. This field involves people throughout the life span from children through to the elderly and continues on to support the bereaved family/whānau.

The Certificate is made up of the following two courses:

These two palliative care papers support the entry to speciality practice knowledge in palliative care, offering an holistic approach to caring for the person, family and whānau living with a life limiting illness; the practice of palliative care (therapeutic interventions and treatment modalities); understanding and caring for self, and others; and creating and maintaining a culture of excellence. These papers are grounded in clinical practice and support the beginning of your post graduate study.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Science (PGCertSc) is an ideal option for those wanting professional development in their scientific field, and for those with other commitments who cannot complete an extensive science programme.

Subjects with a health focus:

Applied Psychology

Cellular and Molecular Biology

Medical Physics (Clinical)

Medical Physics


Speech and Language Pathology

The Postgraduate Certificate in Sport Science gives students expertise in a career in the sporting industry, or allows those already the in the field an opportunity to upskill and update their sport science knowledge.

Postgraduate diplomas

The Postgraduate Child and Family Psychology programme is unique within New Zealand and taught by academic and clinical staff from the University of Canterbury’s School of Health Sciences with other teaching staff as appropriate. The Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Psychology was designed to meet market demand for registered psychologists specifically trained to work with children, adolescents and families.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology is a professional qualification in Clinical Psychology. It is made up of a strong practical component, which facilitates a greater understanding of real people and their experiences.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences 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. Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (Unendorsed pathway) gives you the flexibility to deisgn your own pathway. If you wish to complete your Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences with an endorsement, check out our Specialist endorsement in Health page to find out the compulsory and recommended courses.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Science offers those with some background in science the opportunity to undertake more advanced and in-depth study in a subject. Over 20 subjects are available, and some can only be studied at postgraduate level, which can allow for specialisation and career pathways for graduates. 

Subjects with a health focus:

Medical Physics


The Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Science requires 120 points, with two compulsory courses and two elective courses. It has both Semester One and Two intakes.

Masters degrees

The Master of Arts or Master of Science in Child and Family Psychology (or an approved Master of Education) 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.

The Master of Audiology (MAud) at UC focuses on training professional clinical audiologists with an emphasis on the development of clinical and administrative skills relating to the practice of audiology. This degree was developed to address the shortage of trained audiologists. It comprises coursework, clinical practice in a variety of settings, and audiological research experience.

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 Master of Health Sciences 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 Master of Health Sciences Professional Practice 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, Health Leadership and Management, 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 Spatial Analysis for Public Health (MSAPH) combines expertise on public health issues with GIS technologies. Spatial health data is fundamental to assess hazards from environmental exposure, and the impact of health intervention towards the well-being of communities.

The Master of Speech and Language Pathology (MSLP) is a graduate-entry professional qualification to practice as a speech language pathologist/therapist. Students generally have a background in science, linguistics, engineering, psychology, education, or health sciences, and this programme provides an opportunity to enter the speech-language profession.


The Master of Science usually consists of two parts: coursework and a thesis, allowing for students to investigate areas of interest to them and conduct independent and original research. Over 30 subjects are available, and some can only be studied at postgraduate level, which can allow for specialisation in academic and career pathways.

Subjects with a health focus:

Applied Psychology

Medical Physics

Clinical Medical Physics


Speech and Hearing Sciences

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

Doctoral study

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research-only degree carried out under expert supervision and using world-class facilities. At UC you can complete a PhD in over 70 subjects, joining over 1000 students from more than 60 nations. For more information see our Doctoral Study webpage

The Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) programme provides an opportunity for you to evaluate an area of health that you are passionate about. It is designed to advance your expertise through evidence-based research and application to your own health practice, including clinical and non-clinical roles.

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