Otago Polytechnic

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Master of Professional Practice - Auckland International Campus



18 months, full-time

On campus with work-based learning project

January, March, May, August and October
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • CapableNZ
    1 January 2019
Are you an experienced professional who would like to gain postgraduate skills in a New Zealand business environment?

Capable NZ's Master of Professional Practice (MPP) is a unique postgraduate business qualification, enabling you to focus on specific development and work innovation goals. These real-life aims are directly used as the basis for your learning.

This programme is designed specifically for international students and enables you to progress professional opportunities in your home country or to gain experience in the New Zealand business environment.

Through course work, mentoring with New Zealand business professionals, and placements and research within New Zealand workplaces, each student's programme is slightly different - tailored to your background, the needs of the organisation you are working for and the professional goals you are aiming to achieve.

For example, your workplace opportunity may have identified a strategic challenge – developing a new process, entering a new market, responding to stakeholders, fostering innovation or addressing internal organisational culture, for example. Through the Master of Professional Practice, you can build your qualification around critically exploring these issues and implementing solutions.

This makes the qualification ideal for professionals in any sector wishing to develop real-world skills that are highly relevant to their workplace. Because the programme is so closely aligned with your organisation’s goals, it is often strongly supported by employers as a professional development opportunity.

This programme is offered by Future Skills Academy due to a sub-contract arrangement with Otago Polytechnic.

How to apply

1. Complete our enquiry form by filling in your details and choosing the qualification that you are interested in.

2. A pre-assessment survey will then be sent out to you to complete.

3. Complete the online application form and submit it with your CV. One of our team at Capable NZ will send you the link to the application form.

4. You will then start the profiling process with one of our facilitators.

5. If you are successful, we will send you a letter of offer – you just need to accept!

Is this for me?

The flexible nature of this degree makes it ideal for a wide range of situations.

  • Are you employed or self-employed in your home country? You can develop your qualification around your existing business needs.
  • Do you want to gain experience in and make a contribution to New Zealand businesses? We can arrange an organisation for you to focus on for your research project.
  • Are you looking to gain greater academic, research and professional credentials?
  • Do you need support in a particular area of your professional practice?
  • Are you keen to cross disciplinary boundaries and enjoy greater scope, flexibility and application than traditional postgraduate programmes? 
Programme outcomes

The Master of Professional Practice supports you to become an effective self-directed learner at postgraduate level. You’ll be capable of managing and critically evaluating your learning, and undertaking work-based projects that meet your needs and those of others. You will gain the skills to:

  • design and conduct research relating to an area of professional practice significant to you and your workplace
  • reflect on practice, leading to significant insights likely to make a lasting impact upon personal and professional understanding
  • undertake complex action-planning, leading to effective outcomes likely to impact upon the work of others
  • evaluate information and ideas independently; critically evaluate and argue a position concerning alternative approaches; justify evaluations as constituting bases for improvement in practice
  • use wide-ranging resources effectively; communicate successfully and persuasively in writing and orally; and work and learn independently or as part of a team spanning a range of contexts, often in a leadership role.
Entry requirements

To apply for this programme, you will need:

  • an undergraduate degree in a relevant field of study; AND
  • 7 years or more of relevant professional experience. 
  • International students will be individually assessed for entry. Click here for equivalent academic entry requirements by country.
  • You will be required to undertake an interview. This will help determine your professional experience and ability to complete the programme. Learners will only be offered a place on the programme if they meet the entry criteria and have a confirmed professional practice context. Please note, the Head of School, Capable NZ makes the final decision on acceptance into the programme.

All students (international and domestic) for whom English is not a first language:

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.5, with no band score lower than 6.0 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country.

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills.


Programme structure

The work-based learning approach centres round the relationship between you, your employer/sponsor and Capable NZ. The programme is divided into three main phases. 

Name of paper


Review of Learning


Project Plan


Work-based Learning Project


Programme Total


Throughout the first six months of the programme all students will be enrolled in two taught courses, delivered using Otago Polytechnic's Auckland International Campus facilities - the Review of Learning and the Project Plan. Students will also be expected to attend industry events relevant to their practice. These two courses will take three months each and total 60 credits. 

On completion of the Review of Learning and Project Plan, you will progress to the final course; Work-based Learning Project. This is a major piece of workplace-related research, aimed at delivering changes and benefits to your host organisation. During this project, you will also undertake classes on work-based research methods and work-based inquiry. 

To support this process, Capable NZ facilitates three types of interaction with New Zealand workplaces, which may vary depending on your background and goals for the programme. These include: 

  1. Coaching and mentoring by New Zealand professionals

  2. Short-term placements

  3. Research-based projects.

Coaching and mentoring by New Zealand professionals 

Members of the New Zealand business community will provide guest lectures during your studies, and work with you on a one-to-one basis throughout the qualification. This mentoring and coaching will take place on campus, and also informally outside the campus. These mentors will become important business connections for you. 

Short-term placements

As a result of the business connections you will make, you will then work towards short-term placements in workplaces of interest. These placements are a starting point for planning your research-based projects. We believe students will come to the programme with the approach of 'testing' and 'exploring' New Zealand workplaces relevant to their practice; the placements will be used in this way so that students can start to design and formulate the design for their Project. 

Guest lectures, coaching and mentoring, and short-term placements will all be completed within the first six months of the Master of Professional Practice. 

Research-based projects

At the end of the first six months, you will embark on a significant piece of work-based research as part of an inquiry that meets your learning goals. Some students may develop their own business in this inquiry, others may look to extend their practice in a New Zealand workplace, while others may engage in a range of workplaces. This course lasts 10 months with submission, assessment (and revision) taking place in the final two months. The outcomes and research outputs of your Projects will be agreed and assessed in your Project Plan. 

Students who bring a development project with them from overseas, and therefore require less formal engagement with New Zealand organisations, will undertake a structured business mentoring programme through the 10 months of the Project.  

Current Master of Professional Practice projects

All Master of Professional Practice projects must propose and deliver change to existing practice in a workplace or organisation. They include a research process including literature reviews, data collection and agreement on research methodology. They require confidentiality agreements, ethics approval and employer or project sponsor approval. All projects must have a set of publishable outputs and these need to conform to the industry and audience standards. We strongly recommend our Master of Professional Practice students produce an academic research output where appropriate.

Some of the projects currently underway include: 

  • Review of community building initiatives in the Christchurch earthquake
  • Business development for a counselling practice
  • Change management in a higher education organisation
  • Iwi leadership development
  • Review of support services for residential aged care in the Canterbury region
  • Strategic review of marketing and product development
  • Curriculum development in higher education
  • Restructuring of procurement processes for food and beverage outlet
  • Construction management in the Pacific Islands
  • Construction management of roading projects NZ
  • Review of NZ health and safety legislation
  • Delivery of new counselling practice and centre
  • Strategic review of high performance sport
  • Design and proposal for a knowledge management system in a complex organisation. 

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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