Faculty of Education and Social Work

Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

If you already have a bachelors degree, this one-year programme can qualify you to be an early childhood teacher.

Quick facts
1 year
Taught at
Epsom Campus and nationwide through flexible learning mode
Points per degree 150 (intensive programme)
Early start date Note that this programme has an early start date of 18 January 2016
Photo of student Adeline Kim
Student profile: Meet Adeline Kim


  • Gain the skills and qualification to get into a rewarding career supporting under-five-year olds in their learning and development, and help give them the best start possible to their education.
  • Strong emphasis placed on practical experience in a variety of early childhood services and centres.
  • May qualify you for a higher pay scale as it recognises your previous qualification.
  • Flexible study options available through online delivery for flexible learning mode students and lecture-free days in the on-campus programme.

Flexible learning mode through online/study guide

By studying through flexi, you will have the flexibility to study whenever and wherever you want. You can study from home and at times that suit you – evenings, weekends, or while the kids are away at school.

You will need good internet connection and a computer with multimedia capability so you can access study materials and interact with your lecturers and peers from wherever you are.

There will be on-campus requirements of up to 7 days a semester.

What you'll be studying

This is an intensive programme equivalent to 1.25 years of full-time study completed within a 12-month period.

During the course of your study you will:

  • Be introduced to the ECE curriculum and learn about social and learning contexts specific to early childhood education.
  • Study educational theory and practice via tutorials, lectures and group work.
  • Undertake practical experience in early childhood settings and work alongside experienced teachers to develop your teaching practice.

View full list of courses

Choose your career

This qualification prepares you to teach in all early childhood services in New Zealand, including early childhood care and education centres, crèches and kindergartens. You can also work overseas.

You will be eligible to apply for provisional registration as a practising professional early childhood teacher, possibly leading to leadership or management positions in an early childhood centre in the future.

With a three-year bachelors degree and a graduate diploma you’ll be eligible to start on a higher step of the salary scale in services covered by the NZEI teaching collective agreement for early childhood teachers.

More Careers in Early Childhood Education

How do you get in?

The academic requirement for the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) is a minimum of a:

  • Bachelor’s degree at level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) consisting of at least 360 credits; or
  • Bachelor’s degree with Honours at level 8 on the NZQF consisting of at least 480 credits; or
  • Master’s degree at level 9 on the NZQF consisting of 240 credits

Overseas qualifications will need to be assessed by the University for equivalence with New Zealand degree qualifications.

Personal references, a literacy and numeracy assessment and an interview are part of the selection process. Contact the faculty for further information.

For more information about registration requirements visit the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand website

English language requirements

Applicants who have English as an additional language and are not a graduate at degree level (Level 7 or higher) from a New Zealand or Australian higher education institution will need to provide an Academic IELTS assessment. The Academic IELTS assessment must have a minimum score of at least 7.0 or higher in each of the IELTS modules. If you have studied at secondary school in New Zealand for at least two years, and have achieved, Level 2 NCEA University Entrance literacy credits, you will be exempted from the ITE Academic IELTS requirement. For University Entrance literacy you must have eight credits (4 in reading, 4 in writing) if gained prior to 2014 else ten credits (5 in reading, 5 in writing) from 2014 onwards.

International students - for IELTS entry requirements, refer to English language requirements.

Interested in further study?

With a GradDipTchg you could go on to postgraduate study (eg, Postgraduate Diploma in Education, which offers a number of specialisations). This can lead to study in education at masters and doctoral level. With three years of teaching experience, it is also possible to enter directly into the Master of Professional Studies in Education.

Application for Admission

To apply for admission into this programme, visit Applying and enrolling