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Health Courses in New Zealand

Health is a very diverse area of study, with many options for international students wishing to pursue a healthcare-related programme in New Zealand. Course options are available in health and its related disciplines, as well as in clinical practice in the fields of dentistry, medicine and nursing.

There are some very big differences between these fields, so it is important to read about courses carefully to make sure they will lead to the career you are interested in.

For more information about studying health in New Zealand, visit the following website:

  • Health Careers NZ
  • Public Health Association of New Zealand

What you can study

Health programmes are available at vocational, undergraduate and postgraduate level. In the vocational sector, certificates and diplomas prepare students to assist other healthcare professionals in a range of areas. Certificates are available in areas such as advanced healthcare assistance, health sciences, health support, public health and trauma studies, and diplomas cover fields such as applied mental health, health promotion, health sciences, paramedic practice, rehabilitation studies and trauma management.

At undergraduate level, the most popular study option is the bachelor of health science. This is a general health programme that offers students an in-depth understanding of health care, while also providing a range of specialisations. Although many students choose to study the general health sciences stream, specialisations such as counselling, environmental health, health education, health promotion and public health are also available. In addition, you can try out a clinical specialisation such as nursing or midwifery (see the Nursing profile), occupational therapy, oral health (see the Dentistry profile), paramedicine, physiotherapy and podiatry. Specialisations and courses vary greatly between institutions.

Postgraduate programmes provide an opportunity for students to undertake research or pursue a new specialisation after completing a related degree, such as science or health science. There are many options available, from postgraduate certificate to research level, in areas such as emergency management, health sciences, medical science, optometry, public health, physical activity and nutrition, speech and language therapy, and rehabilitation.

Where to study

You can study health across New Zealand, with options at polytechnics and institutes of technology as well as universities. As a practical field of study, it is important that you get plenty of ‘hands-on’ experience. When researching potential institutions, look at the facilities available on campus and try to find out about the expertise and background of potential teachers. This is particularly important at postgraduate level.

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