NZ Diploma in Nutritional Science (Level 6)

Please note that the Diploma in Nutritional Science is being replaced by a new qualification in 2018. 

About Nutritional Science

The focus on nutrition in the western world has heightened in recent years with such trends as escalating obesity and diabetes rates. There has been an enormous amount of research to show that diet has an integral part to play in the prevention and treatment of a large number of common illnesses. As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat”. This simple statement could not better sum up the fact that the tissues that make up our bodies are built on the foods that we put in the supermarket trolley.

This qualification is offered to students who wish to become clinical nutritionists, with a core focus on holistic nutrition. It is designed to provide a sound working knowledge and the skills to work in a wide variety of roles or as an autonomous practitioner.

Please note that students must complete the Certificate in Anatomy and Physiology prior to being accepted onto the nutrition course. For more information see the entry criteria section.

Programme Outline

This qualification provides core knowledge and skills for clinical practice as a Clinical Nutritionist. Subjects studied include:

  • Nutritional sciences
  • Medical sciences
  • Integrative healthcare
  • Therapeutic diagnostics
  • First Light New Zealand Flower Essences
  • Homeobotanical Therapy
  • Tissue salts
  • Iridology
  • Culture, legal and ethical Issues
  • Counselling
  • Research

Upon final graduation, students can register with the Clinical Nutrition Association as a registered Clincial Nutritionist.

This qualification includes the study of the following vibrational medicine modalities - flower essences and homeobotanical therapy. If you are concerned that the study of these may conflict with your belief systems, please contact us to discuss this further prior to enroling.

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Programme Delivery

This diploma is offered as a blended programme of study. The majority of your learning will be based from home, using printed and online materials. However, you will also be required to attend a workshop in New Plymouth each academic year (See the 'Workshop Requirement's section below). You will be sent a set of printed study notes, while assessments will be a combination of online quizzes, practical assessment at workshops and written assessments. Written assessments are downloaded as a Microsoft Word document, completed and submitted via the online campus. As well as offering electronic versions of the the study notes, the online campus contains a number of learning tools, such as videos, quizzes, flashcards and forums, through which you can explore the subject matter both individually and with your classmates.

Outcome Statement

Graduates are able to work independently as a Clinical Nutritionist or seek employment in a wide variety of roles within integrative health care. Students will qualify for a Certificate of Achievement after the completion of their year one studies, and will be awarded the Diploma in Nutritional Science (Level 6) after the completion of their year two studies.

Career Pathways

  • Private clinical practice
  • Integrative practice with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists or other complementary therapists
  • Natural health product company representatives and product consultants
  • Working along side midwives in pre conceptual, pregnancy and post natal health care
  • Teaching workshops and community education
  • Working with businesses on staff wellness programmes
  • Owning and managing health, whole food and organic stores
  • Working as an advisor or consultant to health stores or pharmacies
  • Working in specialist areas such as with elderly care and sports groups.

It should be noted that the majority of the career pathways listed above involve self employment. Graduates will generally need to be prepared to start a professional practice/business on completing their study.

Duration of Study

This diploma is two years full time (approximately 30-40 hours per week) or four years part time (approximately 15-20 hours per week). Please note that part time students are able to undertake study at a faster rate than the normal part time timetable. Where assessments are submitted early, these are marked early so that the student can move forward with their learning. This works well for students who have existing work and home commitments that do not allow them to comfortably commit to full time study, but do not want to take the full part time study duration to achieve their goals.

Workshop Requirements

Workshops are a compulsory and essential part of training, offering students the opportunity to expand and develop their skills, network with fellow students and benefit from the knowledge of our tutors. The workshops are very interactive with lots of practical skills both taught and assessed.

You are required to attend two workshops in New Plymouth, one workshop per year of study for full time students; or one workshop per two years of study for part time students. The year one workshop is one week in duration and the year two workshop is two weeks in duration. 

Students will be booked into the workshop once their programme of study begins, with attendance normally in the second module of each academic year. Before enrolling, please consider the travel and accommodation costs of attending the workshops, as these are not covered by course fees. Consider also if you are able to get leave from work and home commitments to attend these. Students applying for their final year of study must be able to attend their allocated workshop in order to be accepted onto the program of study.

You are also required to sit your practical examination at the College; therefore you must be prepared to come to the College for each year of study and for your practical examination.


At the end of year two students undertake final theory and practical examinations.

Entry Criteria

Applicants must have completed and passed Year 11 or equivalent secondary school education, must be at least aged 18, and able to read, speak and comprehend English language (for international non-English speaking applicants a level 6.5 IELTS). Where English is a second language, applicants will be asked to provide evidence of the above English proficiency. To be eligible to study at NCNZ and receive government subsidised tuition you must be:

  • A citizen of New Zealand (including students from the Cook Islands, Tokelau, or Niue who have New Zealand citizenship)
  • Or a resident or permanent resident of New Zealand
  • Or a citizen or permanent resident of Australia residing in New Zealand.

NCNZ is not able to enrol international students who do not meet the above criteria.

It is necessary to have a previous knowledge of anatomy and physiology. A prerequisite is for students to have completed the NZQA approved level four Certificate in Anatomy and Physiology or equivalent. This can be studied through NCNZ and is a 15 week full time or 30 week part time course.

Students must have completed year one of the Diploma in Nutritional Science to gain entry into year two.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Where transfer of credit for previous study is being applied for, an Recognition of Prior Learning Form (RPL) must be submitted on the same day as the enrolment form, along with supporting documentation. See the  Recognition of Prior Learning section for full RPL criteria and details on on how to undertake an application.


Individual study plans are available for returning students.


Tuition Fees $4,176 per year
Materials Fee - Year 1 $250
Materials and Examination Fee - Year 2 $350
Administration Fees
First Aid Course
Prices vary. Must be NZQA approved

Text Books and Equipment

Please note that the following list is for students enrolling into the first year of the Diploma in Nutritional Science from this date forward. If you are an existing student please contact us for details on your next year's book list.

Year 1 Text Books Year 1 Equipment
Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine (Murray & Pizzorno, 3rd Edition)
Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Haas & Levin, 21st Century Edition)
Visual Textbook of Nutritional Medicine (Tabrizian, 2012)
Magnifying glass
Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease (Ross, 11th Edition)
Human Anatomy & Physiology (Marieb & Hoehn, 9th Edition)
Understanding Pathophysiology (Craft, Gordon & Tiziani, 2nd Edition)
Year 2 Text Books
Year 2 Equipment
Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods (Murray & Pizzorno, 2006)
Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis (Weatherby & Ferguson, 2002)

Iridology Flashbook

Herbs and Natural Supplements (Braun & Cohen, 4th Edition two book set)
Sports Nutrition Guidebook (Nancy Clark, 5th Edition)
Adrenal Fatigue (Wilson, 1st Edition)

Course Curriculum

Please note that the following curriculum is for students enrolling into the first year of the diploma from this date forward. If you are an existing student please contact us for details on your next year's curriculum.

Year 1 - Module 1

Factors Influencing Nutrition

Developing Communication Skills

The Digestive System


The Endocrine System

Flower Essences


Legislation, regulations, codes of conduct and ethical behaviour for professional practice

Fluid, Electrolyte and Acid Balance

Biochemic Tissue Salts

Year 1 - Module 2

Developing Client Case Taking – Written

Developing Client Case Taking – Practical


Pathophysiology II

Digestion and Metabolism of Nutrients

The Lymphatic System

The Urinary System

Theoretical Approaches to Nutrition

The Respiratory System

Year 1 - Module 3

Culture and Health

Human Immune Response and Resistance to Disease

Special Health Requirements and Life Stages

Developing Research Skills

Drug, Herb and Supplement Interactions

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and Wellness to Individual, Groups, and Communities

Year 2 - Module 4

Analysis of using relevant diagnostic testing in complementary therapies

Application of relevant diagnostic tests in taking a client case

Demonstrate practical application of diagnostic testing in complementary therapies

Pathophysiology III

Nutritional Biochemistry


The Reproductive System


Case Studies 1-10

Year 2 - Module 5

Nutritional Aspects of Culinary Herbs and Spices

Developing Counselling Skills

Stress Management and Relaxation

Therapeutic Treatment of Disease

Introduction to Homeobotanical Therapy

Physical Examinations and Health Assessments

Year 2 - Module 6

Nutritional Biochemistry II

Public Health Nutrition

Sports Nutrition

Developing Clinical Practice Skills

Business Development

Infant Case Study

Child Case Study

Adolescent Case Study

Adult Male or Female (not pregnant or breastfeeding) Case Study

Pregnant or Breastfeeding Woman Case Study

Older Person Case Study

Additional Case Study Any Age Group 1

Additional Case Study Any Age Group 2

Case Studies 11-20

Theory Examination

Practical Examination

To gain the Diploma in Nutritional Science you are required to hold a current First Aid certificate. You are required to complete a comprehensive two day First Aid course or refresher training as appropriate, covering unit standards 6400, 6401 and 6402. The cost of any training is the responsibility of the student. A copy of your valid First Aid certificate must be sent into the College. 

The total credits for this course is 240. All modules are compulsory.

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