Otago Polytechnic

Health Bridging Certificate (Level 3 and 4)


Dunedin or online with compulsory block courses 

One year full-time or two years part-time

A mix of online and face-to-face teaching in Dunedin or online with three compulsory block courses in Dunedin or Porirua (Wellington) per semester. You must have access to the internet to complete this qualification.

3 and 4
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Distance
    22 February 2021
    19 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
    19 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
  • Wellington
    22 February 2021
    19 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
  • Dunedin
    21 February 2022
    18 April 2022 - 29 April 2022

Don't have the academic requirements you need to enter one of our diploma- or degree-level healthcare programmes?

This programme will help you bridge the gap! 

Gain confidence, study skills and knowledge in a supportive environment with the guidance and advice from experienced teachers, and benefit from the blended, flexible delivery format, allowing you to fit study around other commitments.

During semester one (Level 3), you will study core courses such as Communication Skills and Study and Career Skills and progress to courses such as Function of the Human Body and Introduction to Careers in Health in semester two (Level 4).

Successful completion of this programme may help you to meet the academic entry criteria for admission to:

These programmes also have non-academic entry requirements, so you may need to plan ahead!   

This programme is made up of two qualifications:

  1. New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) - studied during semester one starting in February
  2. New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) - studied during semester two starting in July. 
Working as a healthcare professional

Working as a healthcare professional is extremely rewarding as you'll contribute to the wellbeing of your community and have the chance to really make a difference in people's lives. There is a worldwide demand for qualified professionals to care for and work with individuals, and many of our higher level health qualifications are internationally recognised and will allow you to apply for registration in New Zealand as a practitioner in your chosen field. 

Entry requirements
  • Open entry.
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study. Click here for your country's equivalent entry criteria.

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

Entry straight to Level 4

If you meet the below requirements, you will be able to apply for entry straight into Level 4. This six-month certificate starts in July every year and applications will open after our February intake.

New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3), or equivalent. 

Progression to our health-related degrees

Due to the high demand for places, successful completion of the this programme will not automatically guarantee you entry to our health-related degrees.

A minimum B+ average pass, achieved across the four courses during semester two, is required to meet the entry requirements for the Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Midwifery. This must include at least a B+ in Human Biological Science 2.

These programmes also have non-academic entry requirements including language requirements for non-native speakers of English, so you may need to plan ahead!

Please note: Nursing applicants for whom English is a second language will also need to meet the language requirements for the Bachelor of Nursing, which is an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.5. Midwifery applicants for whom English is a second language will also need to meet the language requirements for the Bachelor of Midwifery, which is an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 7.0.

Please contact Otago Polytechnic to discuss your pathway to a health-related degree. Email info@op.ac.nz or phone 0800 762 786.  

Additional documentation

You must supply certified copies of proof of identity and proof of residency (where appropriate). 

Selection procedure

This programme has open entry and students are accepted on receipt of a completed application.

Additional costs

We recommend the text 'Introduction to the Human Body: The Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology'  by Gerard J.Tortora and Bryan Derrickson (7th edition or later). 

Programme specific risks

The Bioscience for Health and Applied Structure and Function of the Human Body courses incorporate practical laboratory sessions, some of which involve chemicals and animal tissue.

You will study

This programme is made up of health and community courses taught by blended delivery. Weekly tutorial attendance is required. Tutorials will be held on campus if you are based in Dunedin and online if you are based elsewhere. If you are studying by distance, you are also required to attend three compulsory block courses per semester, either in Dunedin or at Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Porirua.

SEMESTER ONE (Complete all)    
Course name Level Credits

Communication Skills

Learn how to communicate clearly using a range of appropriate media 

3 15

Personal and Study Skills

Develop focused skills for career and study pathways

3 15

Human Biological Science 1

Gain an underpinning knowledge of chemistry, cell biology, human anatomy and physiology, in terms of normal function within a healthy environment

3 15

Mathematics for Health

Gain essential numeracy skills and statistical knowledge relevant for health professionals in the healthcare sector

3 15
Total   60
SEMESTER TWO (complete all)    
Course name Level Credits

Skills for Successful Tertiary Study 

Learn how to access and use information technologies for academic and/or vocational purposes

4 15

Building Communication Competence

Build the skills to communicate and collaborate as a speaker and a listener in a learning group

4 15

Human Biological Science 2

Understand and apply the basic structure and function of major body systems

4 15

Introduction to Careers in Health

Progress personal goals for career development in the health profession

4 15


Your workload

This is a full-time programme and you should expect to spend around 40 hours per week accessing required learning resources, completing assignments and undertaking self-directed study.

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.


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.

Apply Now