Taught course


University of Otago · Division of Health Sciences

Entry requirements

Bachelor’s degree or an appropriate health professional qualification requiring at least three years of full-time tertiary study. If your first language is not English you need to meet our English language requirements as follows: IELTS score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0); we also accept a number of other English language tests. Due to COVID-19, we currently accept Duolingo English Test (DET), IELTS Indicator Test, and TOEFL iBT Special home Edition.

Don’t meet the English language requirements? The University of Otago Language Centre "English for Otago" programme offers a pathway for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to meet the English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Months of entry

February, July

Course content

In general, this qualification is intended for health professionals who have completed three years of tertiary study and already have experience in the field. The Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (PGDipHealSc) may be taken either as a generic qualification or, more usually, with an endorsement in a specific area of specialisation.

New birth technologies, genetic modification of organisms, patient confidentiality and environmental concerns are some of the diverse topics explored in the field of Bioethics. There is an increasing recognition of the need to expand our understanding of the ethical issues being raised by advances in medicine, health care, science and technology and by changes in society.

The Bioethics Centre, established at the University of Otago in 1988, aims to encourage and coordinate teaching and research in ethics, to stimulate informed public debate and to provide a consultation and resource service for health professionals and others in the community. As New Zealand's only centre for applied ethics, the Centre offers you unique opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate study in Bioethics.

Students come from a range of academic disciplines - including Law, Nursing, Medicine, Science, Philosophy and Theology.


  • BITC 401 Theories of Biomedical Ethics
  • Other 400-level BITC papers to a total value of 120 points

A candidate, with the approval of the Board of Graduate Studies in Health Sciences, may substitute alternative papers to the value of 30 points.

Structure of the Programme

  • The programme of study shall consist of approved papers, to the value of 120 points, which must be as specified in the schedule of endorsed options if the diploma is to be endorsed in an area of specialisation.
  • With prior approval, up to two 400-level papers in a relevant or related subject offered by another university or tertiary institution may be credited to the diploma.
  • The papers shall constitute a coherent and integrated programme of study in the Health Sciences discipline.

Information for international students

Otago offers students an unrivalled campus experience and a vibrant, social student culture. The majority of Otago’s 21,000 students live, work and play in Dunedin - New Zealand’s only true university city. Otago is home to over 3,000 students, from over 100 countries.

Fees and funding

International students
NZ $42,696

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PGDip(HealSc)
    full time
    12 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details