Frequently Asked Questions - College of Education, Health and Human Development - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

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Frequently Asked Questions about Programme Entry

When will I know if I’ve been accepted?

  • You will get an acknowledgment that your application has been received. When all paperwork has been received your application will be sent for assessment. Those who are selected for interview will be contacted before the next interview round. These occur approximately fortnightly in Christchurch (less frequently outside Christchurch) commencing in August.
  • You will be notified normally within two weeks of interview whether your application has been successful. In some cases a waitlist may apply and you may be offered a place if and when places become available.

What do I need to study? Computer/Internet Access and Course Material

  • To study at the UC College of Education, Health and Human Development you must have continual access to a computer with broadband internet access, and access to a printer. Course materials will be provided free of charge in digital form in each course's site within the University’s Learning Management System, Learn. It is your decision whether to print what you require at your cost. Distance Students will need to have the facility to attend Adobe Connect Sessions on the computer.
  • Once you are fully enrolled, UC will use your student email address as your main point of contact. It is also essential for using Library services. You must check your student email once a day. This is a requirement that you will have agreed to as part of your enrolment declaration. It will ensure that you are up to date with all requirements and information from UC. The only exemption from this policy will be if you apply for, and are approved as exempt, by the Manager, Admissions and Enrolments.

Can I change from FLO (distance) study to on-campus (and vice-versa)?

Yes. Where the alternative option is available, you can change your enrolment for future semesters. You need to talk to a Student Advisor prior to changing.

If I said I wanted to study full-time can I change to part-time (and vice-versa)?

Yes (where available). You will need to discuss this with a Student Advisor to work out a degree plan.

What happens in an interview?  Do I need to know anything special for it?

  • The Apply for Teaching and Sport Coaching page includes video help with your application.
  • For Primary and Early Childhood interviews in Christchurch applicants are usually interviewed in groups of three with two or three UC staff and/or school principals or early childhood teachers.
  • GradDipTchLn (Secondary) interviews and interviews for programmes outside of Christchurch are usually on an individual basis.
  • BEd (Physical Education) interviews usually comprise a joint interview with two students and one or two staff members, plus an individual interview component.
  • You will usually be asked about why you want to become a teacher and to talk a little about any relevant experience you may have had. 

Will I have to come to Christchurch for an interview?

All Teacher Education applicants are required to be interviewed. In some cases we organise regional interviews, in others we may use Skype or other technology.

What if I don’t get UE?

You must have university entrance if you are under 20 and wish to study at UC. If you don’t gain UE we recommend that you try to gain some relevant work or voluntary experience while undertaking further NCEA study and reapply for the programme next year.

What courses can I do to help me prepare for tertiary study?

Improve your academic skills - All university students need to be able to take good lecture notes, write effective essays or lab reports, make the best use of university libraries, and revise and prepare for university-level tests and examinations. All students starting at university will need to pick up these key skills, no matter what your chosen area of study. Unless you have obtained good results in a Level 3 English-rich subjects (English, History, Classics, etc), you should consider taking Headstart: Academic Skills. This is a short course of two weeks at the beginning of the year.

If you don't have University Entrance and you are 20 years or age or over - Recent tertiary study is desirable. For example, you may want to consider the Certificate in Learning Support (CertLS) which is available by distance or the Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) prior to applying.

How long will I be on a waitlist for?

A waitlist is sometimes used where we expect to receive more applications than we have places for in a programme. Close to the closing date for applications and up to the start of the programme we will allocate those waitlisted to any places which become available. Unfortunately this does mean that you may have to wait for some time to find out whether you have gained a place.

Is there an age limit?

You must be aged 17 or over to undertake a teacher training programme. There is no upper limit and students of all ages enrol in our programmes.

Is there a mid-year intake?

Our teacher education programmes do not have mid year intakes. A mid-year start in the Bachelor of Sport Coaching is possible. Most of our postgraduate and professional development programmes do have mid-year intakes.

What are the programme start and end dates each year?

Programme specific dates are available at Course Groups, Orientation and Timetables

How long will I be on teaching practice?

Teaching practices generally range from 3-7 weeks each, depending on the programme.  See the relevant programme brochure.

How many hours a week will I be on campus?  What is my timetable?

Hours on campus will depend on the courses that you are taking. Once fully enrolled you will be able to view your personal timetable on line via “My Timetable”  You can also see the timetable for each course on the Christchurch campus. Detailed information for current and continuing students can be found on the Course Groups, Orientation & Timetables page. Students on other campuses usually get their timetables at orientation. Full-time students are expected to spend around 40 hours studying per week in total (on campus plus personal study time). Part-time students are expected to spend 20 hours per week on their studies.

What can I do to increase my chances of being selected?

Selection for entry is not automatic and is based on:

  • academic ability
  • experience and interest in working with children (age appropriate for your selected programme) and in facilitating their learning, volunteering in schools or holiday programmes, teacher aiding
  • community involvement
  • communication skills – your ability to communicate your ideas clearly, confidently and coherently, and to listen and respond to others appropriately
  • a police check and an interview.

Programmes are open to any student with University Entrance. However, if you are planning to study with us shortly after gaining UE, we recommend to include the following subjects in your final year of secondary schooling:

  • English
  • Maths.

If you are 20 years of age or over, recent tertiary study is desirable. For example, you may want to consider the Certificate in Learning Support (CertLS) which is available by distance or the Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) prior to applying.

Note that satisfying these criteria does not guarantee entry to the programme.

Do I need a police check if I’ve lived overseas?

If you have lived in another country for 12 months continuously in the past 10 years and were over 16 years of age, you need to provide a police report from that country. For assistance on obtaining overseas police clearance, check

What are my chances of getting a job in Christchurch?

UC graduates are viewed favourably by the Christchurch teaching profession and regularly gain employment locally. However, employers in other regions are also keen to employ our students and we have graduates working in all kinds of schools and centres around the country. Our sport coaching graduates gain employment in a range of sport-related positions within and outside of Christchurch.

How do I find out whata classroom is like?

Contact a school/centre and indicate that you are keen to pursue a teaching career. Ask whether it would be possible for you to spend some time with them to see what the environment is like.

How much does it cost?

Fees are calculated on the courses you take, plus a Student Services Levy. More information on fees and costs can be found as part of the University website. As an example, costs for a year of study in 2017 in most programmes are around $6,500 for a New Zealand student. Costs for intensive programmes including the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) and the Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching are higher due to more courses being taken, approximately $8,100 in 2017.

Will my existing qualifications make me eligible for this programme?

Your qualifications are one area that we take into account in deciding whether to offer you a place. Students entering undergraduate degree programmes who are aged under 20 must have University Entrance. Graduate teacher education students must have a degree equivalent to a New Zealand degree. If you completed your previous degree overseas and intend to become a registered teacher in New Zealand, the NZTC will require that your overseas degree has been assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). To ensure that your entry qualification from overseas meets NZTC requirements, we recommend strongly that you obtain this assessment before starting your Initial Teacher Education programme with us. See here for how to request an assessment.

Can I get credit into your programme?

Credit transfer can sometimes be considered if there is a direct match between courses that you have completed and UC courses. Contact a student advisor for more information

Can I study from overseas?

Teacher education students must attend On-site Intensives and complete teaching placements in NZ.

What is FLO / distance study?

Students undertake the same courses as on-campus students but study mainly via online resources and interactions. Distance library services are available. Assessment is usually the same as on-campus and is submitted and returned via the Learning Management System (Learn).

Will this qualification be recognised / can I teach overseas?

This is at the discretion of the teacher registration body in the country in which you wish to teach. We advise that you keep copies of all documentation about courses (including details on each course's Learning Outcomes, available from the Course Information System), duration and location of placements as this information is often required to gain authorisation to teach in other countries.

What countries can I teach in with this qualification?

New Zealand and, at the time of writing, Australia, England, parts of Canada, Hong Kong, Dubai, parts of the US. If you have a specific need to teach overseas we suggest you talk to the appropriate teaching body in the country/ state you wish to visit.

What is teacher registration?  Can I gain teacher registration while working part-time?

Please refer to the New Zealand Teachers Council for information

How do I go about getting a student loan? Is this programme eligible for loans?

Almost all Education programmes are eligible for loans if the applicant meets the requirements of Studylink.

Do I have to do IELTS? Where can I get them?

Anyone for whom English is not their first language must provide evidence of their English language proficiency:

Ara has an IELTS examination centre.

Can I work while studying?

A full-time study load is equivalent to a full-time job. You should expect to study 40 hours per week during term-time. You need to ensure that you are able to balance work, study and family/ personal commitments. In some cases part-time study is the best option.

More Information

Freephone in NZ: 0800 VARSITY (827 748)

Telephone: +64 3 364 2555


Student Advisors are available to assist with academic advice to students.