Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching

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The Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching will equip you with the skill and confidence to teach specialised content in a dynamic and interesting way. Watch this video and find out why Paul Stevens chose AUT to get career ready.
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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.
  • Gain significant classroom experience - half of the programme is based in secondary schools.
  • Be taught by staff with extensive experience in the secondary sector and in teacher education.
  • Kupe scholarship opportunities are available for Māori or Pacific graduates. Find out more.

Programme code: AK3515
Level: 7
Points: 120
Duration: 1 year full-time
Venues: North Campus [will also be offered at South Campus in Semester 1, 2018]
Start date: 26 February 2018 / 16 July 2018

Career opportunities

Student teachers who successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching are eligible to seek registration as a teacher and apply for teaching positions in secondary schools. Find out more about secondary teaching career opportunities and salary expectations in this guide pdf icon

Entry requirements

  • Applicants must have one of the following qualifications with a range of papers relevant to the New Zealand secondary school curriculum (see Teaching Subjects below).
  • A Bachelor's degree at level 7 on the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) consisting of at least 360 credits; or
  • A Graduate Diploma / or a Diploma for Graduates at Level 7 on the NZQF consisting of 120 credits; or
  • A Postgraduate Diploma at Level 8 on the NZQF consisting of at least 120 credits; or
  • A Master's degree at Level 9 on the NZQF consisting of 240 credits

AUT will evaluate whether overseas qualifications meet the above entry requirements.

  • All applicants must ensure they meet the requirements of Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand for English Language Proficiency prior to admission to the programme. 
  • Students whose first language is not English are required to pass the Academic IELTS with a band score of 7 in each component OR have a Level 7 degree from a New Zealand or Australian university OR two years of college in New Zealand and UE literacy at Level 2 NCEA with 5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing. No admission until IELTS scores are evidenced.
  • Applicants also need to meet the Education Council's Good Character and Fit to be a Teacher requirements.
  • A safety check will be completed to ensure applicants meet all the requirements as set out in section 31 of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. Here is a statement from the School of Education regarding the Vulnerable Children Act (1 July 2015 update).
  • 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 check 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.

*Please note: Applicants with overseas qualifications may need to have these assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) as equivalent to a New Zealand Level 7 bachelor's degree or above for teacher registration and/or salary assessment purposes. Please visit the NZQA website for further information.

Application process

  1. Apply to enrol at AUT.
  2. Provide official academic transcripts of your qualifications to AUT Admissions Office. Students who are completing their degree should provide a transcript showing results of papers completed so far and currently enrolled papers.
  3. You will then be requested to provide additional information to the School of Education through the following supplementary forms:
  4. 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. You are also expected to have good grades. We will work with applicants to identify appropriate teaching subjects.
  • Subjects offered at the South Campus in 2018 are: English, Mathematics, PE, Health, Science (Junior Science, Physics, Chemistry and Biology) and Social Sciences (Social Studies, History and Geography and Classics). Other subjects may be available if there is a demand.
  • View a list of subject areas commonly available in secondary schools pdf icon
  • 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 pdf icon

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 portfolio 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 and 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


Every year TeachNZ offers a range of scholarships, including the Science, Technology and Maths (STM) Secondary Scholarships, the Kupe Scholarships for Maori and Pasifika High Achievers, Career Changer Scholarships and Maori Medium and Te Reo Maori Scholarships, etc. Find out more information about these scholarships.

More information about becoming a teacher

Read about studying to be a teacher on the Education Council website.

Last updated: 13-Dec-2017 3.52pm

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