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Occupational health and safety is taught by distance learning from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. The emphasis is on the practical application of best practice models to health and safety in New Zealand workplaces.

Environmental and quality systems are also considered within the health and safety context, and teaching staff are all actively involved in providing health and safety services to a variety of businesses.

The courses may be undertaken part-time or full-time. Students may also undertake single papers if desired.


Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma must either be graduates or hold an appropriate health professional qualification requiring at least three years of tertiary study. Admission is always subject to the approval of the Board of the Division of Health Sciences, which will require evidence of ability to undertake advanced academic study.

International students

If you are an overseas student wishing to enrol in a Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma in Health Sciences endorsed in Occupational Health, you should first contact the International Office for advice about studying at the University of Otago:

University of Otago International Office enquiry form


Postgraduate Certificate (PGCertHealSc)

The PGCertHealSc endorsed in Occupational Health consists of two occupational health and safety papers:

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDipHealSc)

The PGDipHealSc endorsed in Occupational Health consists of:

  • The Postgraduate Certificate's two occupational health and safety papers (above), and
  • An approved research methods paper or papers (to the value of 30 points), and
  • One other paper at 400-level or higher

This equates to 120 points, or one year of full-time equivalent study.


  • OCCH 401 Occupational Health
    • Epidemiology of occupational disease in New Zealand
    • Occupational history taking and workplace assessment
    • Relevant legislation
    • Toxicology and risk assessment
    • Musculoskeletal diseases, ergonomics, and rehabilitation
    • Diseases arising from physical, biological, chemical, and psychosocial hazards
    • DOL Occupational Health Action Plan to 2013
  • OCCH 402 Occupational Safety
    • Relevant legislation
    • Hazard identification, assessment, and control (including occupational hygiene and toxicology)
    • Relevant legislation
    • Theory and practice of safety management
    • Theory and practice of incident investigation
    • Occupational health and safety training methods

Further information


Research Student Administrator
Tel 64 3 479 7201

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2023 Calendar and supplementary material.

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