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New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) (Nursing Pathway)

New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) (Nursing Pathway)

Level 4

Learn the skills required for higher level study in nursing with UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) (Nursing Pathway).

A photograph of a UCOL trainee nurses caring for a dummy patient
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North, UCOL Whanganui, UCOL Wairarapa in Masterton

Duration: 19 weeks, full-time

Palmerston North & Whanganui intake
17 Feb 2020 - 26 Jun 2020
20 Jul 2020 - 27 Nov 2020

Masterton intake (domestic only)
20 Jul 2020 - 27 Nov 2020

Domestic Fees: *
$3,046.00Scholarship info

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

If you're aspiring to study nursing at tertiary level, but don't have the entry requirements, consider studying UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) (Nursing Pathway). 

Students will sharpen study techniques, written and oral communication skills and research their chosen pathway. Numeracy skills relevant to health and science are covered as well as background theory and practice in biology, microbiology and chemistry. 

This course will also suit students who are returning to study, and wish to revise their science and health knowledge before embarking on a nursing degree. 

 Career & Study Outcomes

Successful completion of this programme enables graduates to be considered for entry to UCOL's Bachelor of Nursing.

Those students who do not meet the entry requirements for this L4 programme may wish to do the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) (Health Pathway).

If you are not sure of which course to begin your pathway to nursing, contact us.

 Course Information

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) (Nursing Pathway) covers a variety of subjects that will equip you with academic skills for higher-level study in nursing, including:

Skills for Academic Study (Level 4)
In this course you will discover the best way for you to learn in the health sciences area. Topics cover skills considered essential for nursing students and include aspects of learning, exam and test preparation, time management, research skills, written and oral communication as well as interview and CV preparation. Classes will include work in a PC computer laboratory.  You will research a health condition, infection or disease that is caused by a microorganism and present this information both in a written essay and oral presentation. You will also create a professional health portfolio of the area of health care that you are interested in working in. This portfolio includes interviewing a health professional and researching the history, academic pathway, professional associations and the significance of this health profession for future health care in New Zealand.

Mastering Mathematical Calculations (Level 3)
Students will acquire and practice numeracy skills relevant to health sciences. This will include science calculations such as concentration and pH calculations and metric conversions. You will also look at health related numeracy such as BMI and drug calculations. Statistics is a key part of understanding health related data so you will learn to create, interpret graphs and understand basic statistics from selected health data.

Human Body and Microbes
Students will examine the structure and function of the human body and prepare a poster to demonstrate their knowledge. The main body systems are covered in more detail and laboratory classes will enable a closer look especially at the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. You will explore the area of microbiology and investigate selected microorganisms, including beneficial, harmful and opportunistic effects on human health. Genetics and inheritance introduce how cells replicate, can make mistakes, and produce the mutants we all are, thus connecting the chemistry of the body to inheritable diseases.

Chemistry and Cell Biology
Students will review basic principles of chemistry including bonding, chemical formulae and chemical equations including respiration and ATP synthesis. You will explore the properties of acids and buffers to introduce how the chemistry in our blood works to keep our metabolism functioning correctly and what happens when it does not. The basics of biochemistry are covered including the interpretation of chemical structures including alcohols and natural acids, as well as carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids and their role in biological systems. In cell biology you will investigate the basic structure and function of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, then examine the basic tissue types, microorganism growth, and antibiotic resistance. All of these topics will include theory classes and laboratory investigations.

Previous Related Programmes

The New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) (Nursing Pathway) supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:
  • Certificate in Science and Health

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Learning Facilities

This programme is taught using class, laboratory, PC-classes and online (blended) delivery. Students who are unable to access online material will be able to use UCOL based facilities.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 2



Equivalent academic achievement 


On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean.


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants:

English Proficiency Entry Requirements
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS General or Academic Level 5.5 with no band lower than 5, (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre.

Under 20 years of age
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.


 Advice & Guidance

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) (Nursing Pathway) comprises 60 credits.

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a weekly commitment of approximately:
  • 16 hours of class time
  • 20 hours of self-directed learning (your own time spent on research and study to complete your written assignments)
Blended learning
Students are welcome to use UCOL's facilities (computers, Internet) to access the online learning.

Recognition of Prior Learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course or unit standards have already been met. 

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email.


 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with this programme:


  • Protective labcoats will be supplied by UCOL, however you will be required to wear covered shoes (eg sneakers) in the laboratory classes.


  • Scientific calculator - approximately $35
  • Printed workbooks will be supplied, however you should provide your own pens, pencils, ruler, paper etc.
  • It's advisable that students have headphones (microphone included) - approximately $20


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.