Secondary Teaching - College of Education, Health and Human Development - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Apply Now

Secondary Teacher Education

What is Secondary Teacher Education?

Secondary teachers work with young adults in Years 7 – 13 (ages 11 – 18) in intermediate, middle, area and secondary schools. As a Secondary teacher you teach one or more subjects that you are passionate about, you inspire your students, encouraging them and giving them the skills and enthusiasm they need to make a positive difference in the world.

Is Secondary Teaching for me?

Secondary teacher education students:

  • are interested in working with young adults (Years 7–13; ages 11–18)
  • are passionate about the subjects they teach
  • are organized and well prepared
  • promote their students' social, emotional, intellectual and physical development
  • enjoy cultivating a love of learning in others.

If that sounds like you, read on to find out more about taking these programmes at UC.

What and how will I learn at UC?

You'll learn about the theory, practice and management of teaching, including the place and role of education, the characteristics of learners and the teaching-learning process.

You’ll spend significant time working in classrooms where you can practice and refine your planning, teaching and management skills. By the end of your studies at UC you will have learnt and developed all the professional teaching knowledge and skills required to be a teacher in New Zealand intermediate, middle, area and secondary schools.

UC offers internationally recognised qualifications for students who wish to train as secondary school teachers.

  • If you already have a Bachelor degree (with study to 300 level in a NZ school curriculum subject as well as an additional teaching subject) you can enrol in the one-year (Feb-Nov) Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary). This programme can be undertaken full-time or part-time on campus in Christchurch. This option is suited to those looking for a well-respected pathway to teaching, including practica in schools and research-based coursework. It is the recommended pathway for International students and caters to the full range of Secondary teaching subjects.
  • If you already have a Bachelor degree (with study to 300 level from a specified selection of the NZ school curriculum subject list) you can enrol in the Master of Teaching and Learning. You will complete a 180 point master’s degree within one calendar year (Jan-Dec) of fulltime study on campus in Christchurch. The MTchgLn programme is a new qualification that is leading-edge in its focus on classroom practices that cater for diverse learners needs for the New Zealand Aotearoa context. Research and theory will develop your understanding of learning processes, providing you with a robust academic backdrop to apply in working inclusively with Maori, Pasifika and other priority learners. This option is suited to those looking for the challenge of post-graduate level study (a B+ average in your major 300 level courses is required), that is practice-based and research-informed. The rewards of this more intensive programme include the opportunity for year-long engagement with local partner schools, and a higher entry point salary on entering the teaching profession. The Journal of Initial Teacher Inquiry showcases MTchgLn students' research articles which relate to a mix of both primary and secondary school-based contexts.
    Download a brochure on the MTchgLn (PDF, 262KB).
  • The Bachelor of Education (Physical Education)*** is a four-year undergraduate qualification for those wishing to specialise in teaching Physical Education. This can be studied full-time or part-time on campus in Christchurch.
    ***This qualification is not offered in 2017.

Successful completion of either of these pathways lead to eligibility to apply for NZTC registration. However, there are differences in the duration, focus and qualification awarded. Below is a quick overview of these differences.

  BEd(PE)*** GradDipTchg MTchgLn
Level of qualification Undergraduate Graduate Postgraduate
Qualification Duration 4 years full-time or up to 6 years part-time 1 year full-time or up to 3 years part-time 1 year full-time
2017 Course dates This qualification is not offered in 2017. 30 Jan – 16 Nov 2017 16 Jan- 8 Dec 2017
Fees (full-time)* - $6,580 $10,650
Loans Yes Yes Yes
Allowance Yes Yes No
Starting salary point – secondary** Salary Group 3+ Salary Group 3+ Salary Group 5

* These domestic fees are for 2017.

** Source - www.minedu.govt.nz

***This qualification is not offered in 2017.

Why is UC the place to study?

The UC College of Education, Health and Human Development has a national and international reputation for producing high-quality secondary teaching graduates based on over 130 years of experience.

The UC Education campus in Christchurch has well equipped buildings and teaching rooms. These are complemented by Collective, the student cafe, and the Education Library which has plenty of study space and provides support for all students.

At the beginning of each year orientation activities enable you to meet other students studying Secondary Teaching and UC offers plenty of social and recreational activities for you to choose from when you need a break from studying.

Enrolment

The GradDipTchLn (Secondary) has one intake each February. Applications open in July and are due four weeks prior to commencement of the programme.

The MTchgLn programme begins in mid January. Applications need to be received by early December.

Apply now

What should I take at school?

At school, you should choose subjects you enjoy which will lead you into a University degree in a New Zealand school curriculum subject (see list below).

Graduate Diploma - You must have a Bachelor’s degree which includes study to 300 level in a New Zealand school curriculum subject (your major) as well as an additional teaching subject. For example, with a degree in Biology including courses in Maths to 200 level, you can Major in Science with Biology and take Maths for your Additional Teaching Subject. Teaching Studies are available in the following subjects:

  • Art
  • Economics
  • English
  • Health Education
  • International Languages (French, German, Japanese, Spanish)
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Outdoor and Environmental Education
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Science with Biology
  • Science with Chemistry
  • Science with Physics
  • Social Studies with Classical Studies
  • Social Studies with Economics
  • Social Studies with Geography
  • Social Studies with History
  • Technology
  • Te Reo Māori.

Masters - You must have a Bachelor’s degree which includes study to 300 level in a New Zealand school curriculum subject (your major). For the Masters you require one teaching subject. For example, with a degree in Biology you can Major in Science with Biology. Not all teaching subjects from the list above are supported by the Masters of Teaching and Learning.

Overseas degrees must be assessed as equivalent to a New Zealand degree.

Selection for entry is not automatic and is based on:

  • academic ability
  • involvement, interest and experience in dealing with children
  • Commitment to Te Reo and Tikanga Māori
  • communication skills – you need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly, confidently and coherently, and to listen and respond to others appropriately
  • a police check and an interview.

Students for whom English is an additional language and who are applying for the Graduate Diploma must provide evidence of their English language ability as follows:

  • IELTS (Academic) 7.0, with no individual score below 7.0; or
  • at least two years of successful study in a New Zealand secondary school, with at least eight Level 2 NCEA credits in English (four reading and four writing) or equivalent; or
  • a degree from a NZ or Australian tertiary education organisation where the medium of instruction was fully in English.

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

Entry requirements for the Master of Teaching and Learning are available here.

If applying for a TeachNZ scholarship, you should also check their requirements (visit www.teachnz.govt.nz).


What jobs do Secondary Teaching graduates do?

Graduates of this programme will be eligible for provisional registration as a teacher. This enables you to apply for teaching positions in New Zealand and many countries overseas. Please contact the relevant authorities for international requirements.

Teaching gives you entry into careers beyond the classroom; it is an excellent background for a wide range of jobs including careers in the public sector, business and industry training.

Additional jobs you may be able to do include special education teacher, private tutor, education advisor, education publisher, secondary school Dean, Deputy Principal and Principal. Some of these jobs may require further study at postgraduate level.

For more information about the skills you will learn and the jobs and activities our graduates do visit the UC Careers Hub What can I do with a degree in Secondary Teacher Education?

Current and past students' experiences


  • Kevin Barron, Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary)
  • Louisa Vickers, studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary)

Further study

Postgraduate options include: