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Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)


Online with compulsory block courses 

One year full-time

Online with four compulsory block courses (two to three days each) in Dunedin   

By January
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Distance
    1 February 2021
    28 June 2021 - 16 July 2021

Are you keen to deepen your understanding of occupational therapy practice and develop your research skills?

Enhance your professional practice and increase your employment potential with this postgraduate qualification that will prepare you for jobs in research-focused positions or higher-level practice roles. If you want to pursue an academic career, this honours degree provides a pathway to take you to the top of your field.

Why study occupational therapy with us?

You'll achieve a significant understanding of professional and practice issues in terms of their social, political, cultural and historical contexts, and analyse professional and practice issues from a sound theoretical basis. You'll critically evaluate research in professional literature and gain the confidence to engage in evidence-based practice. You'll conduct small-scale research projects Take advantage of the online, flexible delivery that enables you to fit study around other commitments, and enjoy the chance to meet fellow students and staff at the multi-day schools held at the Dunedin campus.   

Entry requirements
  • You must have successfully completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with a grade point average of 5.0 or less across the three years of study OR equivalent.   
  • You must commence the honours programme within three years of completing the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet the entry requirements.  
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Additional documentation

If you are not a graduate from the Otago Polytechnic School of Occupational Therapy and you do not have New Zealand registration you will need to provide a certified copy of your academic transcript.

Selection procedure

Applicants who meet the entry requirements will be accepted into the programme. Should the number of suitable applicants exceed the available places, applicants will be placed on a waiting list in date order.

Those applicants already enrolled at Otago Polytechnic will apply for the honours programme by confirming their intention with the Honours Programme Coordinator. Special circumstances can be considered on application by the student to Postgraduate, Research & Innovation Team.

Additional costs

As this programme is taught via extensive online resources, you must budget for internet access as well as for printing of readings/course materials. There are also compulsory Honours Schools which are either online or in Dunedin.  For the Dunedin Schools you are responsible for all associated costs including transport, accommodation and meals.

Further study options

Advance your skills and increase your career prospects with our Master of Occupational Therapy. If you achieve a first class honours degree, you may also be able to progress straight into a doctoral programme.   

You will study

This degree is made up of two 30 credit Level 8 courses and a 60 credit dissertation, totaling 120 credits. In order to gain the qualification, it is necessary to pass both courses and the dissertation on your first attempt.

Your workload

If enrolled full time you should allocate approximately 36-40 hours per week for study. These hours cover attendance at fortnightly web-based sessions, online discussions and reading, as well as research for your assessments for each course. In the first semester, you will work on your proposal and then ethics application (if required). In the second semester, you will undertake the research project. The average hours per week for semester two are harder to stipulate as the process of completing a dissertation is based very much on the individual.  If enrolled part time the process is extended over a two year period.

Qualification structure

SMS Code

Course Title








Research for Practice




Research Design











Postgraduate academic staff

Jackie Herkt - Academic Leader

Helen Jeffery - Senior Lecturer/Postgraduate Programmes Lead

Debbie Davie - Administrator, Postgraduate Programmes

Assoc. Prof. Linda Robertson - Associate Professor/Research Coordinator

Sian Griffiths - Principal Lecturer/Honours Coordinator

Prof. Mary Butler - Professor/Masters Coordinator

Dr Rita Robinson - Principal Lecturer

Dr Ema Tokolahi



For more details, please visit our staff page. 

Examples of recent dissertation titles


  • Low Vision and Mobility Scooters
  • The impact of using communication books to assist deaf or hard of hearing children in mainstream schools
  • An exploration of occupational therapists' perspectives on emotion regulation at one mental health service
  • The effectiveness of the Pool Activity Level (PAL) Instrument for Occupational Profiling: Clinical and Carer Perspectives
  • Exploring Occupational Therapy Practice within Hospice Palliative Care


  • The nature of New Zealand occupational therapists' use of community gardening in practice
  • Support for family carers of stroke survivors


    • Teachers' perceptions of occupational therapy students' involvement in managing disruptive behaviours
    • Supporting school readiness:  Self-regulation strategies utilised by New Zealand occupational therapists with children aged 3-6 years.
Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.

Links to useful websites

Looking for a job as an occupational therapist? Check out New Zealand Careers or Health Careers.

Fee information

The tuition fees shown in the right-hand column are part of the Government’s Key Information for Students (KIS). This data is pulled from a database that the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) control. It is based on an average fee from the previous year.

This means there is always a difference between the TEC/KIS fee shown and Otago Polytechnic’s current indicative fee (other reasons also affect the KIS data such as fee reductions for students granted Recognition of Prior Learning). Due to this, the indicative fee below is the best guide for prospective students.

  • Domestic fee (first year): $7,534 though you may be eligible for Fees Free 
  • Domestic fee (second year): $7,550
  • Domestic fee (third year): $7,552

Information about compulsory student services levy >

Please note: The KIS data only applies to domestic students. Up-to-date international student fees can be found by clicking the International tab in the top right corner of this page. 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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