Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching

AUT School of Art + Design
Student Profile - Che Muller
"As part of my graduate diploma I had four, four-week placements in different schools, among them Kelston Boys High School. A practicum placement is such a great way to meet staff in the school," says Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching graduate Che Muller. Read Che's story here.
Want to teach your favourite secondary school subjects to a new generation of New Zealanders, and embark on a career that will inspire and make a difference to young people's lives? The Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching will give you practical techniques based on sound research to teach your curriculum subject(s) in secondary schools. This is a professional qualification with strong emphasis on practical experience and applied learning.
  • Develop confidence in public speaking and establish your own teaching pedagogy.
  • Significant classroom experience with half of the programme based in secondary schools.
  • Staff with extensive experience in the secondary sector and in teacher education.

Programme code: AK3515
Level: 7
Points: 120
Duration: 1 year full-time
Venue: North and South Campuses
Start date: 29 February 2016 (North Campus) / 18 July 2016 (South Campus)

Entry requirements

  • A bachelor's degree in a subject considered relevant for teaching in a New Zealand secondary schools (see Teaching Subjects below).
  • Meet the New Zealand Teachers Council requirements of good character*
  • Meet the literacy and numeracy competency standard appropriate for teaching at secondary schools.
  • All applicants must ensure they meet the New Zealand Teachers Council requirements for English Language Proficiency prior to admission to the programme. The requirements changed on 1 January 2015. View the new requirements. The IELTS test (academic version) score required is 7.0 (or above) in all bands.

*Please note: Applicants with overseas qualifications must have these assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) as equivalent to a New Zealand Level 7 bachelor's degree or above. Please visit the NZQA website for further information.

Applicants are required to make a declaration about any convictions, health and other issues that may affect their fitness to be a teacher. A New Zealand police vet will be conducted prior to admission into the Programme. Applicants are also required to provide overseas police clearance from any country they have lived for 12 months or more in the last 10 years. Only in exceptional circumstances will a student awaiting police clearance be offered a place in the programme.

Application process

  1. Apply to enrol at AUT University.
  2. Provide additional information to the School of Education for selection purpose:
    • A certified academic transcript of all official records of tertiary qualifications not obtained from AUT. Students who are completing their degree should provide a transcript showing results of papers completed so far and including papers currently enrolled.
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Indication of teaching subjects
    • Name and contact details of two referees
  3. Selected students will be invited to attend an interview (in person or via Skype). At this stage you will also sit a numeracy and literacy assessment, and complete the following forms:

Teaching subjects

  • All applicants must have a senior (Year 11-13) and a junior (Year 9-10) teaching subject area supported by relevant papers in their degree.
  • Applicants must have at least one appropriate 300-level paper in their senior area and one 200-level paper in their junior area.
  • However, in practice applicants need a range of appropriate papers to teach in their subject areas. We will work with applicants to identify appropriate teaching subjects.
  • View a list of subject areas commonly available in secondary schools (1 page/50kb).
  • If you are a current AUT student and are thinking of a career as a secondary teacher, see if your degree would be suitable for entry to this programme (9 pages/0.3mb).

Useful websites on the New Zealand education system and Curriculum

Structure and content

The Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching integrates theory and practice to ensure that graduates are able to apply the principles of effective learning and teaching in the classroom.

The programme is made up of five taught papers, and 15 weeks of practicum placements in a secondary school, giving you the opportunity to build confidence and experience as a teacher in the classroom. Our small classes ensure a supportive collegial environment.

In addition, during campus-based papers, students attend curriculum studies tutorials in their teaching subjects. Many tutorials are run by practising teachers on allocated afternoons.

Students will be assessed on their academic and professional learning. A variety of types of assessment are used, ranging from evidence of scholarship in academic essays and research presentations to the professional application of learning in complex unit plans and blogs. The eportfolio is used as an integrating assessment tool across the programme, particularly lined to the Graduating Teacher Standards.

Professional practice
Due to the professional nature of the qualification, students are expected to demonstrate appropriate standards of professional behaviour at all times. This includes aspects such as dress, punctuality and attendance.


EDST701 Towards a Personal Philosophy of Teaching & Learning
EDST702 Provocations in Educational Thinking
EDST703 Curriculum Theory and Practice
EDST704 Assessment Theory and Practice
EDST601 Practicum 1
EDST705 Practicum 2
EDST706 The Emerging Professional

Career opportunities

Student teachers who successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching are eligible to seek provisional registration as a teacher and apply for teaching positions in secondary schools.

Last updated: 22-Jun-2015 3.45pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.