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University of Otago
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Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Ecology

This course is available


Level of Study

Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma


1 year

Next start date

Expected Jul 2023


University of Otago


The Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) is a one-year programme which builds on an undergraduate science degree. The diploma encompasses both papers and a research topic, and can be taken full-time. It provides possible to the Master of Science (MSc) degree by thesis only.

Why study Ecology?

Global citizens need to understand our planet's ecology. Ecological information can help us improve our environment, manage our natural resources, protect our biodiversity, and enhance human health.

There are few places equal to Otago when it comes to studying Ecology – the marine inlets, mountains, national parks (Fiordland, Mt Aspiring), and World Heritage Sites (Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand), on our doorstep provide unique and diverse outdoor laboratories in which to work.

Ecology provides broad and transferable training through a range of subjects relating to plants, animals, and the environment. Hands-on and research-based learning means that our graduates are well-placed to take advantage of the wide variety of job opportunities that exist both here and overseas, and that they are up-to-date with global ecological trends and developments.

Our degree programme allows you to maintain a high level of flexibility which allows your interests to evolve. This means you can keep your career options open because you are not required to specialise too early.

Ecological researchers are really active at Otago, so our students are taught be experienced people at the front lines of research in Ecology, evolution, conservation and biodiversity, as well as by researchers from overseas.

Career opportunities

The career opportunities available to Ecology graduates reflect the breadth of training offered. Our graduates are spread far and wide in jobs as diverse as nature guides, resource management consultants, and information technologists. The Department of Conservation, Crown Research Institutes, local and regional councils, tourism operations, secondary and tertiary teaching institutions and a range of environmental non-governmental organisations all employ graduates – here in New Zealand and around the world.

Entry criteria

Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences).

Every applicant shall have fulfilled one of the following condition

  • have been admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Science majoring in the subject or subjects of study proposed
  • have been admitted with the status of one who is entitled to proceed to the diploma
  • have a qualification acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and produce evidence satisfactory to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of ability to proceed to the diploma.

English language requirement

  • IELTS Academic - Score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0). IELTS Online is also accepted.
  • Internet-based TOEFL - Score of 90 with a minimum writing score of 21
  • Paper-based TOEFL - score of 587 (TWE 4.5)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) & Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) - Minimum of 176
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - Overall score of 58 with no communicative skills score below 50.
  • LanguageCert - International ESOL: C1 Expert (LRWS) with a high pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill OR C2 Mastery (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
  • NZCEL - NZCEL 5 Academic endorsement
  • University of Otago Language Centre ‘English for Otago’, English for Postgraduate Academic Purposes (EPAP) - Grade C or higher
  • University of Auckland English Language Academy (ELA) pathway programmes - Successful completion of the English Pathway for Postgraduate Studies (EPPS) with a B Grade
  • University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) - Successful completion of the certificate with a B Grade
  • English NZ's Accredited Pathway Assessment - English NZ’s Accredited Pathway Assessment Level 3 (with no skill lower than Level 2).

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