Diploma in Marine Studies (Level 6)

People travel from around the world to study this highly respected marine diploma, which is the only course of its type in New Zealand. They recognise the fantastic opportunity to learn and work in our stunning marine environments.

Programme info for International Students

On this course you'll visit remote marine and freshwater environments around the country studying the fascinating range of plants, invertebrates, mammals, birds and fish that live above and below the water and the vital role they play in a healthy ecosystem.

You'll also enjoy incredible field trips to the tropics for coral reef ecology.You'll swim with sharks and turtles, undertake night dives, and even learn how to save beached whales.

Graduates can choose from a wide range of job opportunities in areas such as aquaculture business, scientific research, marine based tourism, marine education, biosecurity and fishery regulation enforcement.

When you’ve graduated, you’re able to complete just one more year to get the Bachelor of Science (University of Waikato) with a major in Biological Sciences, right here in Tauranga.

Introductory Presentation

 Frequently Asked Questions


Content Details

Year One

  • Coastal Botany: Biology and ecology of coastal New Zealand plants.
  • Marine Invertebrates: Biology, ecology and classification of marine invertebrates.
  • Marine Mammals, Birds and Fish: Biology, ecology and behaviour of marine mammals, birds and fish.
  • Marine Science and Ecology: General marine science, particularly aspects of marine ecology.
  • Marine Surveying: Survey and underwater data collection methods.
  • Fisheries Management Aotearoa, New Zealand: The New Zealand fishing industry and management of the resource.
  • Conservation Issues and Perspective: Conservation issues, and cultural and ideological philosophies relevant to the marine environment.
  • Practical skills 1:
    PADI Open Water Diver
    PADI Advanced Diver
    PADI Rescue Diver
    First Aid/DAN Oxygen
  • Practical Skills 2:
    New Zealand Coastguard Day Skipper
    PADI Divemaster
    Maritime Restricted Operator's Certificate

Year Two

Core Courses

  • Marine Ecology and Monitoring: Biology, ecology and behaviour of marine flora and fauna; conducting and organising sub-tidal marine surveys.
  • Sampling and Surveying Techniques: Introduction to survey techniques, emphasising computer-assisted presentation and analysis of data. Design experiments and marine sampling programmes.
  • Freshwater Ecology and Monitoring: The freshwater environment; establishing correct sampling techniques for freshwater systems and examining monitoring regimes for lakes and rivers.
  • Coastal Management: Key legislation and planning documents. Organisations important in the management of New Zealand's marine resources, and options and methods available for resolving conflict regarding the use of these resources.
  • Marine Reporting: You'll spend four weeks undertaking/investigating a research topic of your choice in New Zealand or places such as Vanuatu, Tonga and Australia.

Options - You'll complete at least three options from:

  • PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor
  • Aquaculture 1 - System Design and Maintenance
  • Aquaculture 2 - Growth, Feeds and Nutrition
  • Marine Tourism
  • Biosecurity
  • Coral Reef Ecology and Monitoring
  • Flexi option

Check out the awesome Marine Studies Photos and Field Trips page 


Two years; each year is 34 weeks with classes scheduled for approximately 24 hours per week. You will be required to undertake self-directed study beyond scheduled class time. There will be some blocks of time when you will be away on field trips, ranging from overnight to two weeks.

7 Feb 201710 Nov 2017Full-timeTauranga (Windermere Campus)Two years

Indicative Fees

2017 domestic students Year 1 $6,728

2017 domestic students Year 2 $3,870 + elective course fees (min. 3 from Aquaculture $744; Growth Feeds & Nutrition $744; Marine Tourism: $673; PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor $2,869*; Biosecurity $744; Coral Reef Ecology $681**

2017 international students Year 1 $19,950

2017 international students Year 2 $12,465 + elective course fees (min. 3 from Aquaculture $2,495; Growth Feeds & Nutrition $2,495; Marine Tourism $2,495; PADI Open Water Scuba Instr. $2,495*; Biosecurity $2,493; Coral Reef Ecol. $3,325

*PLUS $650 for PADI Instructor materials, Emergency First Instructor materials and external exam fees

**If you choose this option you will need to budget for an additional $4,200 for an overseas field trip

If you already have diving certifications you'll receive credit for these courses however $194.67 will be retained to cover a SCUBA tune-up programme

The fee shown for domestic students is applicable to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents. If an international fee is not listed above please refer to the international fees page. All fees are indicative only and subject to change.

You MAY be eligible for a StudyLink Student Loan for your tuition fees.

Find out if your programme qualifies by visiting the Studylink website.

If you also need to pay course related costs, i.e. if outlined in programme costs above, you need to apply separately to StudyLink (up to $1,000/academic year for eligible students). Note course related costs are paid directly into your bank account by StudyLink and you will be required to pay this to Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Qualifications Gained

Upon successful completion of the relevant courses you will receive:

  • Diploma in Marine Studies (Level 6)

Year One

  • Comprehensive First Aid Certificate
  • Maritime Restricted Operator’s Certificate
  • New Zealand Coastguard Day Skipper Certificate
  • PADI Open Water Diver Certificate
  • PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Certificate
  • PADI Rescue Diver Certificate
  • Project Jonah Marine Mammal Medic’s Certificate
  • DAN Oxygen Provider Certificate

Year Two

Dependent on the options you choose:

  • PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor’s Certificate
  • Others depending on flexi option

Career Opportunities

Have a look at your Marine career opportunities.

From the Diploma in Marine Studies you can pathway into:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science at AUT University - two years credit towards the three year degree
  • Bachelor of Science (Fisheries Management and Aquaculture) at Deakin University in Australia - one and half years credit towards the three year degree
  • Bachelor of Science at Victoria University

Further study includes postgraduate degrees, masters and PhD.

Study Pathways

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Pathways

Bachelor of Science (BSc) with a major in Biological Sciences

Entry Criteria

Entry is based on evidence supplied by applicants of their ability to undertake the programme with a reasonable likelihood of success. Applicants should provide academic, work and life experience evidence and will be required to attend an interview. For entry into the two year diploma, all applicants must:

  1. Be at least 17 years of age at date of application.
  2. Provide a doctor's certificate within two weeks of the course start date stating you are fit to dive. This should be certified by a doctor with training in hyperbaric medicine.
  3. A minimum of 42 credits at level 3 including; 14 credits at level 3 or above in each of two approved subjects; and 14 credits at level 3 in no more than two domains or two approved subjects (we suggest English, Mathematics and Biology/Sciences).

Full time certificates
Students who have successfully completed an approved full time certificate at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic will gain preferred entry. This includes the Certificate in Fitness (Level 4) and the Certificate in Maritime and Fishing Technology.

Mature aged students (20 years and over)
Mature applicants are encouraged to apply provided they show evidence of the ability to undertake the programme with a reasonable chance of success such as participation in class activities and completion of assessments.

Special Admission
Students who do not satisfy the standard academic entry requirements of a programme will be considered for special admission if, in the opinion of the Programme Coordinator, they are capable of achieving the programme outcomes.


International applicants for whom English is not their first language will be required to show evidence of language competency, issued within the last two years, before being eligible to enrol in any non-English programme. The level of competency required is outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013. And below under the title English Competency.

English Competency

Level 6 certificate or diploma IELTS Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5 or completed NZ Certificate in English Language L4 with the Academic Endorsement or meets a relevant English Proficiency Outcome as outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013.

For domestic applicants for whom English is not their first language, evidence of language competency may be required.