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Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDipBA) – New Zealand Qualification Overview

The Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDipBA) is a postgraduate business management qualification popular in New Zealand among international students who:

Debolina Gupta - Services Analyst, Fujitsu. AIS PGDBA Graduate.

Debolina Gupta – Services Analyst, Fujitsu. AIS PGDBA Graduate.

This qualification is offered as:

Due to their similarities in structure and academic and employment outcomes, in this overview we’re referring to all the above qualifications collectively as: Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDipBA).

Quick facts:

*University of Canterbury’s GradDipBA is a NZQA Level 7 qualification (otherwise identical to others).

Visa grants:

*Does not apply to any NZQA Level 7 business Graduate Diploma in New Zealand (including University of Canterbury’s GradDipBA).

Unique Characteristics

PGDipBA can be seen in one of three ways depending on your goals:

  1. As a standalone postgraduate business management qualification,
  2. As a pathway qualification towards the MBA, and:
  3. An MBA exit qualification*.

*An exit qualification essentially means: if you choose not to complete your MBA (or simply can’t, for whatever reason), you can exit earlier with the PGDipBA (as long as it’s a NZQA Level 8 qualification). Generally this is not recommended as it’s a messy process – instead we recommend for you to start with a PGDipBA first, and then progress towards the MBA.

In any case, the PGDipBA is a lesser part of MBA and typically comprises a number of MBA core courses (aka modules). This means you attend the same lectures as MBA students (mainly in the evenings and on weekends) and follow the same term structure.

Given that completing the PGDipBA grants a 12-month Post-Study Work Visa, you are free to take a year off studies, try get a full-time job, and if it doesn’t work out, return to complete the MBA, hence extending your stay in New Zealand by a further 6-12 months. If it all works out, great! But if you’re still thinking to eventually complete your MBA sometime in the future, that’s also possible. In this case, think of the PGDipBA as a postgraduate business management diploma WITH THE MOST ADVANCEMENT POTENTIAL.

Insider tip: University of Canterbury’s GradDipBA is actually THE MOST POWERFUL business diploma in terms of advancement and employment potential if you think about it. Given that it’s a NZQA Level 7 “graduate” qualification AND a pathway qualification towards the MBA (which is a NZQA Level 9 “postgraduate” qualification), completing the University of Canterbury’s GradDipBA with a further MBA extension grants 2 12-month Post-Study Work Visas (one after completing the GradDipBA, and the second after completing the MBA), hence allowing for a total stay in New Zealand for up to 38 months total (or just over 3 years)! This doesn’t work in the case of extending from an NZQA Level 8 PGDipBA to a Level 9 MBA – as they’re both classed as “postgraduate”.


As mentioned earlier, the PGDipBA comprises a number of MBA core courses (aka modules) covering general topics including:

This makes the programme’s curriculum identical to that of MBA’s first year. The only difference is that the PGDipBA does not offer specialisations (aka concentrations) and any of the capstone courses (such as research projects and internships*).

*AIS’s PGDBA is unique in this case as it offers a compulsory 3-month internship as part of the course (internally dubbed “PGDBA via Internship Pathway”) to all students who do not satisfy the work experience requirements (2 years), but DO hold a Bachelor of Commerce or a Bachelor of Business degree. Students who hold a non-business Bachelor Degree do not get this option and are required to submit proof of 2 years’ worth of work experience.


Once again, being a part of MBA, the PGDipBA inherits accreditations from external bodies common only to the world’s top business schools and universities:

Here’s a quick run-down of the various New Zealand PGDipBA providers and their accreditations:

*Triple-accredited PGDipBA providers.

Tuition Fees

Studying PGDipBA in New Zealand will cost you a total anywhere from NZ$17,198 to NZ$30,940. This does not include insurance and any additional charges from your provider (which usually round up to about NZ$1000 per year).

Here’s a list of 2016 PGDipBA tuition fees (sorted highest to lowest, rounded to the nearest dollar):

Start Dates

The following PGDipBA providers offer only one intake per year:

University of Auckland offers 2 intakes per year:

AIS and AUT offer 6 intakes per year (in 2016):

Admission Requirements

All New Zealand PGDipBA providers have almost the same basic programme entry requirements:

If you’d like more information about provider-specific entry requirements, leave us a message below.

How to Apply

The application process varies slightly from provider to provider, but in most cases its simple:

  1. Submit an enrolment/application form
  2. Attach the required documentation:
    1. Passport copy
    2. Academic transcripts
    3. IELTS certificate (Academic only)
    4. Letter of Intent (sometimes optional)
    5. Evidence of work experience (usually a letter from your most recent employer)
    6. Referee letters (2-3, depends on the provider)
    7. CV (aka résumé)
  3. Wait for an Offer of Place
  4. Pay your tuition fees
  5. You’re in.


If you’re seriously thinking about studying PGDipBA in New Zealand, leave us a message below and a representative from KIWIZONE will get back to you shortly. We welcome your questions, feedback and comments.

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