Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing – PGDipNurs

Keen to take the next step in your nursing career? The Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (PGDipNurs) will advance your practice and prepare you for further development towards senior nursing roles.

Type of qualification

Postgraduate diploma

Level of study

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equal experience – you can study at the postgraduate level. Doctoral qualifications require additional entry requirements.

More about study levels

NZQF level 8

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

1 year full-time (120 credits)
Up to 4 years part-time
Part-time available

Where you can study

Distance and online

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Not open to international students
Note: Courses have compulsory contact workshops. Available via Distance learning.

Study a Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing – PGDipNurs

Most students undertaking postgraduate study in nursing are in full-time practice and study part-time. Several postgraduate courses in nursing are delivered via ‘distance learning’ and/or ‘block mode’.  These can include compulsory face-to-face teaching in on-campus contact workshops, web-based teaching, relevant readings and other study material. It means the courses are available if you are in employment and located at a distance from the university.

Workforce development funding for comprehensive primary and community care

Applications are open for funding to cover one course for Semester Two, 2024. This is to support nurses on a Nurse Prescriber or Nurse Practitioner pathway:

Workforce development funding application form

The Postgraduate Nursing Handbook will help you make sure you are selecting a course that is relevant to your study. 

Postgraduate Nursing Handbook

For a study plan or more information about your eligibility for this development funding, please contact us:

Learn from the best in your field

You’ll learn from academics and professional clinicians who are experienced registered nurses. Their expertise in practice and research drives the development of relevant, up-to-date course content, teaching, and assessment of your work.

You’ll be supported all the way

There is always plenty of help at hand. Along with contact with your lecturers, learning consultants in the Centre for Learner Success are available to support your study and academic writing skills. Each library has a subject librarian who supports you on campus or at a distance.

Find out more about nursing at Massey

See the Study nursing page for more information.

Further study

You can progress to a Master of Nursing as preparation for advanced practice roles and/or Nurse Practitioner registration.

A PGDipNurs is a good fit if you:

  • successfully completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • wish to develop and advance your professional practice
  • seek to enhance your contribution to people’s health and wellbeing.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

To enter the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing you will:

  • have been awarded or qualified for a relevant bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification, and
  • have New Zealand Nursing Council registration or equivalent.

You will need to provide copies of all official academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.

Admission criteria for course 168750 Registered Nurse Prescribing Practicum:

Note that in order to be admitted to the Registered Nurse Prescribing Practicum course, which is part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing, you will have:

  • completed course 168733 Physiology and Pathophysiology, and
  • achieved at least a B grade in courses 168728 Assessment and Clinical Decision-Making and 168734 Clinical Pharmacology, and
  • the Nursing Council requires you to have completed three years’ equivalent full time practice in the area of practice being prescribed in.

You may need to upload a revised CV ensuring your practice areas are fully detailed, before you will be approved into this course.

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with Distinction or Merit. 

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Meeting requirements for industry membership

Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing for Nurse Prescriber training

After you have finished the Postgraduate Diploma you must apply to the Nursing Council, pay the fee and submit all portfolios, etc before you can become a Nurse Prescriber.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the qualification if you wish to continue your studies.

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may be no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Structure of the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing

The School of Nursing recommends that you study the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing part-time. If you want to study full-time, it is recommended that you contact the School to discuss your options.

Some postgraduate courses in nursing are delivered via ‘distance or block mode’ with compulsory or recommended face-to-face teaching in on-campus contact workshops, web-based teaching, relevant readings and other study material. This is designed to make the courses available if you are in employment and located at a distance from the university.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing is awarded without a specialisation (endorsement).

Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing for Nurse Prescriber training

The courses for this pathway are:

  • 168733 Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • 168728 Assessment and Clinical Decision-Making
  • 168734 Clinical Pharmacology
  • 168750 Registered Nurse Prescribing Practicum

Before you enrol in 168750 you will have passed the other three courses and have achieved at least a B grade in both of 168728 and 168734. You will also have completed three years’ equivalent full time practice in the area of practice being prescribed in, in accordance with the requirements of the Nursing Council.

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

120 credits

  • Core course(s) from Schedule A – At least 30 credits
  • Elective courses from Schedule C – Up to 90 credits

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Schedule A: Core courses (Choose at least 30 credits from)

Choose at least 30 credits from
Course code: 168711 Health Research Design and Method 30 credits

Philosophical, ethical and methodological issues in relation to health research are examined. Selected quantitative and qualitative methods are explored in depth, in preparation for developing a research proposal for a thesis, or research project.

Restrictions: 168810, 168710

View full course details
Course code: 168713 Evidence-Based Practice 30 credits

Evidence based practice (EBP) is an approach to problem solving and service provision based on the integration of “best evidence” with expert opinion and client/consumer perspectives. Students will develop EBP skills needed to critically evaluate information available from research findings, professional consensus statements and other sources of information, as well as communicating the results.

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Course code: 168733 Physiology and Pathophysiology 30 credits

Translational and clinically relevant physiological and pathophysiological concepts as they apply to nursing practice are examined. Selected signs/symptoms are considered in terms of physiological processes at biochemical, cellular and functional levels. The emphasis is on normal physiological processes and their possible subsequent development to pathophysiological phenomena.

View full course details

Schedule B: Elective courses

Course code: 152742 Health Systems Management 30 credits

The health care systems of New Zealand and selected nations are compared and critically analysed from a management perspective.

Restrictions: 250742

View full course details
Course code: 152746 Contemporary Issues in Health Service Management 30 credits

Issues relevant to the efficient and effective delivery of health services are identified and examined.

Restrictions: 250746

View full course details
Course code: 168702 Issues in Nursing 30 credits

Topics relevant to study and/or research into selected aspects of Nursing are investigated.

View full course details
Course code: 168703 Managing Long Term Conditions 30 credits

The multidimensional aspects of managing long term conditions within contemporary society, including self-management and models of chronic care, are examined and applied to improve health service delivery, and optimise health and independence.

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Course code: 168709 Contemporary Clinical Teaching 30 credits

An examination of a range of theoretical perspectives and sociopolitical factors underlying approaches to clinical teaching and learning. Alternative approaches to the design and delivery of practice-based education are explored.

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Course code: 168712 Pain Management 30 credits

The multidimensional aspects of pain management including physiological and psychological components are examined. This knowledge is applied to refine nursing interventions in order to manage the pain experienced by people with acute or chronic ill-health conditions and those receiving palliative care.

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Course code: 168714 Advanced Assessment and Therapeutic Intervention in Mental Health 30 credits

Health assessment across the age continuum including physical assessment, assessment of mental status and the selection and application of diagnostic tools for clinical decision-making. A range of therapeutic modalities for working with people in crisis and those living with enduring mental illness is introduced (includes 25 hours lab/practicum).

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Course code: 168717 Applied Ethics for Professional Practice 30 credits

Critique of a range of philosophical approaches and practical ethical decision-making frameworks, focussed on practice application across diverse nursing roles. Particular attention is brought to nurses’ role as moral agents in ‘everyday’ practice. Significant themes include social justice; links between biculturalism, cultural safety and ethics; and the ethical implications of the socio-political context of contemporary healthcare.

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Course code: 168719 Clinical Specialty: Older Persons' Health 30 credits

Selected modules related to providing a health service to older people are offered. The specialist knowledge base and skills for working in a variety of older persons' health settings will be critically examined and their application in particular practice contexts explored.

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Course code: 168720 Clinical Specialty: Mental Health 30 credits

A range of therapeutic modalities including family therapy and cognitive therapy are examined and their application in particular practice contexts explored. Optional modules are offered in selected areas of advanced speciality practice, e.g. youth and adolescent services, alcohol and drug services, Māori or Pacific Island services, and the knowledge base and skills for practice in each setting are examined.

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Course code: 168721 Māori Centred Practice 30 credits

Strategies for the development of a Māori-centred approach to nursing practice will be examined. Partnership frameworks will be developed based on Māori aspirations and strengths with the aim to achieve positive health outcomes for Māori.

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Course code: 168722 Wound Management 30 credits

The multidimensional aspects of wound management including physiological, pathophysiological and psychological components are examined and applied in the clinical practice setting.

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Course code: 168724 Primary Health Care Nursing 30 credits

A critical examination of primary health care nursing practice in the New Zealand context. The course addresses the notion of aligning nursing practice with community need as understood through the lens of the social determinants of health.

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Course code: 168728 Assessment and Clinical Decision-Making 30 credits

Development of advanced nursing practice knowledge and skills and comprehensive holistic health assessment and clinical decision-making.

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Course code: 168731 Leadership in Nursing 30 credits

Leadership in professional practice is explored within the broader context of health care. The course critically examines the political, legislative, economic, ethical and cultural issues influencing nursing leadership and the provision of health services within particular scopes of practice.

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Course code: 168734 Clinical Pharmacology 30 credits

Pharmacology topics relevant to advanced nursing practice are critically examined. These include pharmaceutics, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and a range of pharmacotherapeutic topics.

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Course code: 168736 Critical Care 30 credits

The development of advanced nursing knowledge and practice to safely care for critically ill patients and their family. Students studying this course must be working in a critical care department and must have done so for at least six months prior to enrolment.

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Course code: 168750 Registered Nurse Prescribing Practicum 30 credits

A supervised placement in an approved setting in which assessment, clinical decision-making and prescribing is undertaken in accordance with the Nursing Council of New Zealand competencies for registered nurse prescribing practice.

Prerequisites: 168733 and 168734 (B grade), and either 168728 (B grade) or 168714 (B grade) Restrictions: 168850

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Course code: 168796 Health and Well-being of Children and Young People 30 credits

A course designed to equip nurses with knowledge and skills to address the inequities in health that children and young people face on an individual level, nationally and internationally, and to understand the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for future generations.

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Course code: 251731 Advanced Occupational Health and Safety 30 credits

An examination of current issues in Occupational Safety and Health and issues commonly found in the work environment.

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Course code: 252701 Sleep and Circadian Science for Health Practitioners 30 credits

An examination of sleep and circadian science in relation to health and healthcare, including healthy sleep, sleep disorders and sleep in those with medical conditions.

Restrictions: 252702

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Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Scholarship and award opportunities

Search our scholarships and awards

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

The Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (PGDipNurs) prepares nurses like you for advanced practice and to develop towards senior nursing roles or becoming a registered nurse practitioner.

What our students say

“I chose to pursue my postgraduate studies at Massey because it offered distance learning. It meant I was able to balance my study life around work and family. Having that option to study via distance and part-time has definitely helped me to be successful in my studies.”
Catherine Tu'akalau

I hail from the Kingdom of Tonga Ma’uafanga and Kolofalahola, Vavau. Also the beautiful Island of Samoa-Luatanu'u

Nurse Practitioner

Master of Nursing

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Nursing

Massey nursing is ranked in the world's top 150 universities by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

Learn more

ShanghaiRanking - nursing

Massey University is ranked in the top 150 universities in the world and first in New Zealand in the subject area of nursing by the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

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