Providers and partners

Approving a Level 7 diploma

NZQA will accept applications for approval of a Level 7 diploma from NZQA-recognised education organisations. Before starting the work to develop a level 7 diploma, talk to Approval and Accreditation contact person for your education organisation (listed under 'NZQA Contacts' on the TEO profile).

Programmes leading to diploma qualifications at Level 7 must include information on the qualification as well as the programme.

Providers must apply for approval of a Level 7 diploma using the online process.

NZQA uses the criteria in Rule 4.1 of the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2021 to determine whether or not to approve an application.

Demonstrating acceptability and need for the Level 7 diploma

Education organisations must provide relevant information from a wide range of sources, including industry or community stakeholders, demonstrating the need for the qualification.

Providers must submit a focused analysis that:

  • considers the supply and demand of graduates in the field
  • identifies current skill gaps
  • takes into account social and cultural considerations of both Māori and Pasifika people, if appropriate.

Engaging with stakeholders

The involvement and engagement of a wide range of relevant stakeholders is necessary to ensure the qualification will be fit-for-purpose.

Stakeholders must be appropriate, credible, representative, and recognised by their industry or community as able to speak with authority on behalf of the sector they represent.

The application should include:

  • a description of the extent and method(s) of consultation at various stages of development
  • how feedback and key findings have been considered and incorporated into the design of the diploma
  • notes of meetings with external advisors and/or stakeholders
  • any letters of support received from stakeholders.

Workforce Development Councils (WDCs)

There are six WDCs. You can find out more about them on the Tertiary Education Commission website.

Programmes must be endorsed by the WDC where they:

  • lead to qualifications developed by the WDC (or being maintained by the WDC) or
  • lead to any other qualification at level 3-7 (non-degree) that -
    • is designed to be, or that acts as, an entry point to or a way to advance within, an industry under the coverage of a WDCs
    • appear on a list of such qualifications authorised by the WDC.

Providers that require endorsement by a WDC under section 366(1)(g) of the Act must include a Letter of Endorsement from a WDC with their NZQA Proramme Approval applications.

This is required for new programmes and for Type 2 changes to an existing programme.

WDCs focus on the question 'How well does the programme meet industry need?'.

All WDCs have the same six considerations:

  • Programme content
  • Equity for learners
  • Programme engagement and consultation
  • Te Ao Māori context
  • Pacific languages and learners
  • Disabled people

If the WDC has concerns about the programme, it will work with the education organisation to help resolve those concerns.

Find more details under each of the WDCs on the WDC website.

Requirements for Level 7 diploma applications

Providers need to submit two sets of information:

  • a self-assessment report
  • the programme document.

Self-assessment report

This report illustrates how the education organisation is confident it has included sufficient information to meet the criteria and to answer the evaluation question:

How well does the programme design match the needs of learners and relevant stakeholders?

The report should describe why the education organisation meets the requirements based on its own comprehensive, authentic, robust and transparent self-assessment processes.

Evidence of programme approval within the education organisation is required, for example, through the Academic Board, Board of Trustees or similar group.

Programme document

The programme document must demonstrate, with relevant evidence, how the programme is acceptable to end users (including relevant communities and other key stakeholders) and has been designed to meet the needs of the target learner group.

The document must:

  • reflect the Level 7 diploma qualification definition, including all requirements for listing the qualification on the NZQF
  • include the learning outcomes of the components that make up the programme
  • show how the components are structured in a coherent way to achieve the purpose statement, graduate profile, level and credit value of the qualification and give the diploma programme its unique focus
  • describe the delivery approaches intended to be used, including any practical or work-based learning
  • include the programme regulations
  • outline the approach to assessment and moderation of learning
  • how the organisation intends to review the qualification and programme and maintain its relevance.

The following sections provide guidance and further information on how to meet the requirements for a Level 7 diploma.

Qualification definition

The details of qualification types can be found at Understanding NZ qualifications.


The title of the programme must provide an accurate indication of the subject area of the Level 7 diploma and meet NZQF nomenclature requirements.

Strategic purpose statement

A statement of Strategic Purpose identifies the purpose of the qualification and justifies why it should be listed on the NZQF.

The strategic purpose statement should clearly identify:

  • the target group of learners and describe how the programme has been developed to match the needs of the target learners
  • how the qualification is useful and relevant to learners, industry and relevant communities, including the cultural and social aspirations of Māori, Pasifika and other communities
  • the standard the graduate will operate at or a definition of the scope of practice where this is relevant. This would refer to any industry or professional standards, licensing or professional registration requirements.

Outcome statement

The Level 7 diploma must specify an outcome statement for the qualification which includes a graduate profile, and education and employment pathways.

The qualification outcome statement should:

  • use plain English to present a complete and easily understood picture for learners, whānau, employers and other educational organisations of what the graduate is expected to do, be and know, as a result of the learning 
  • describe the range of functions and/or scope of practice the graduate of the qualification is able to perform
  • explain the education and employment pathways, or contribution to the community, resulting from achievement of the qualification.


The stated aims of the programme must:

  • be clearly defined
  • be appropriate to the nature and level of the programme.

The aims must include identification of any specifically targeted learner body, and the relationship between the programme and any industrial, professional or community need.

Learning outcomes of components

A programme is made up of components (units of learning). These components may include papers, projects, courses, modules, practicums and the outcomes of assessment standards.

The programme document should include a brief description of each component:

  • an overview of the purpose or aim of the component
  • learning outcomes or outcomes of assessment standards
  • level
  • credits
  • delivery modes
  • approach to assessment of each outcome that is valid for the target learner group and the learning context.

Programme coherence

Within the programme components must:

  • be arranged and presented in a logical, progressive and coherent way
  • demonstrate learners’ development of knowledge, skills and attitudes
  • show how learners achieve programme aims and the graduate profile.

Programme delivery modes

The document must include:

  • an explanation and justification for the intended programme’s delivery modes (e.g. face-to-face, online/distance, blended) and methods
  • specification of any specialist resources that may be required to deliver the programme
  • identifying risks and risk mitigation arising from the intended delivery modes, in particular where there is practical, field-based or work-based learning
  • the management, monitoring and resourcing of practice-based learning.

Programme regulations

The regulations must include:

  • admission criteria (including English language entry requirements, police checks and any additional criteria for international learners)
  • any provisions and procedures for the awarding of recognition of prior learning and credit recognition transfer
  • any articulation agreements
  • progression through the programme
  • how award of qualification is made, including the award of any strands or qualifiers.

Assessment and moderation

The document describes how the education organisation’s quality assurance system includes the assessment process, the internal and external moderation of the programme, assessment materials and decisions.

Assessment methods should be appropriate for the:

  • programme
  • mode(s) of delivery
  • level of learning
  •  qualification outcome.

Programme review 

The education organisation must describe:

  • Processes for the ongoing review and updating of the diploma qualification and programme
  • monitoring the quality of outcomes for learners and other stakeholders.
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