Graduate Certificate in Communication (Public Sector)

Graduate Certificate in Communication (Public Sector)

Graduate Certificate in Communication (Public Sector)

Graduate Certificate in Communication (Public Sector)

Study the Graduate Certificate in Communication (Public Sector) to develop necessary skills that will allow you to manage specific issues, events and tasks within the public sector environment. This qualification provides a professional development opportunity for a communications professional who wants to specialise in local government working at a higher level.

Find out more about the changes to the Bachelor of Professional Communication and its associated Graduate Certificates and Degrees, please click here

Key Details
SIT2LRN Distance Learning
Graduate Certificate

17 weeks full-time

Up to three years part-time

Intakes are 17 weeks long

Study Modes:
Distance Learning

2024 Intake 1: 12 February 7 June- Applications Close 29 January 2024

2024 Intake 2: 18 March to 12 July - Applications Close 11 March 2024

2024 Intake 3: 24 June to 18 October- Applications Close 10 June 2024

2024 Intake 4: 29 July to 22 November - Applications Close 15 July 2024


Fees Free

First year of tertiary study

Tuition Fee: $0    Check eligibility


SIT Zero Fees Scheme

  • Tuition Fee: $0   Check eligibility
  • Direct material Cost: $7.00 per credit (incl GST)

(e.g. $700 for 100 credit course)


International Fees



Unsure which one is for me? Check Fees Eligibility Check my options



The Graduate Certificate in Communication (Public Sector) gives more experienced communications practitioners the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to manage specific issues, events and tasks which may occur within that environment and draw on the theory which underpins these.

This qualification provides a professional development opportunity for a communications practitioner with a generic or similar undergraduate degree who wishes to specialise in local government working at a higher level.

Graduates of the Graduate Certificate in Communication (PS) will be media-savvy communication practitioners who know the local government environment and understand how it works. They will be able to plan for internal and external change or crises utilising new media as well as traditional means. They will also be able to take a lead role in engaging with communities, managing events and protecting their organisation through adverse situations.

You will learn to:

  • Develop and maintain good relationships with the media, local and nationalPlan for events, good or adverse, which may impact on the local authority and its community
  • Advise senior management and Council when required
  • Utilise a variety of communication methods including new media
  • Be able to communicate effectively - internally and externally
  • Be able to keep pace with and communicate changes in local government.

The Graduate Diploma/Certificate in Local Government has now been changed to Public Sector. These changes have been made to reflect changes to both cultural and communication environments and the market place for communication professionals. If you are part way through this qualification, please see the attached transition table to see what papers you need to complete. If you are not sure, please contact the course administrator for assistance.



Public Sector


BPC230 The Political Environment (15 credits)

Students will understand the political framework of local and central government in New Zealand, including election processes, roles and responsibilities. Students will be able to explain and assess the roles of management and governance, the implications of same, and their inter-relationship. Students will also understand the legislative process at a central Government level and the consultative process at a local government level.

Choose three from the list below:

BPC328 Advanced Media Studies (15 credits)

This paper provides students with a critical understanding of the effects of culture, language and political correctness on the contemporary media landscape and vice versa.

BPC350 Online and Advanced Technologies (15 credits)

This paper provides students with an understanding of the use and application of current and emerging web technologies for publishing effective messages in the corporate, political or public sector working environment.

BPC313 Crisis and Emergency Communication (15 credits)

Students will be able to identify potential crises for organisations, and transfer the threat into an opportunity with pro-active crisis planning and the use of PR practices. They will be able to manage crises for various organisations and develop the necessary knowledge to evaluate the results, assessing ethical issues and social responsibilities.

MGT709 Relationships, Influence and Leadership (15 credits)

This paper presents insights to enable students to recognise their role in influencing decision makers and understand how to use influential tactics.

Graduates of the Graduate Certificate in Communication (Public Sector) will be able to guide local authorities through the key areas relating to change and crises, both internally and externally.

Recent graduates of the Graduate Certificate in Communication (Public Sector) have gained employment in areas including education, HR, media and law.


Entry is open to degree graduates who have graduated successfully from a relevant Bachelor’s degree programme, or can demonstrate equivalent, relevant, practical professional or educational experience in a related discipline.

English Language Requirements

Applicants, whose first language is not English, or who come from a country where the language of instruction in schools is not English, are required to provide evidence of having achieved one of the following

NCEA Level 3 with University Entrance, or

an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Cambridge A- level qualification for which the teaching and assessment was conducted in English; or

Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA),or Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL);or

Successful completion of all primary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand primary school years 1 to 8) and at least three years of secondary education (being the equivalent of three years from New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools in either New Zealand,,Australia,Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States one of the countries listed in Rule 18.5 where the student was taught using English as the language of instruction; or

Successful completion of at least five years of secondary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools in either New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States where the student was taught using English as the language of instruction; or

Successful completion of a Bachelor's Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Bachelor Honours degree, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Masters' Degree or Doctoral Degree, the language of instruction of which must be in English and which must be from a tertiary education provider from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States or

Successful completion of one of the following internationally recognised proficiency tests listed below to the level required of the programme of study and with all scores achieved in a single test during the two years preceding the proposed date of enrolment

IELTS test - Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5 
TOEFL Paper based test (pBT) - Score of 550 (with an essay score 5 TWE) 
TOEFL Internet based test (iBT) - Score of 60 (with a writing score of 18) 
Cambridge English Examination - B2 First or B2 First for schools or C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill. 
OET - Minimum of Grade C or 200 in all sub-tests 
NZCEL - a) Expiring Level b) Current: a) Level 4 (Academic) b) Level 4 (Academic) 
Pearson Test of English (Academic) - PTE (Academic) score of 50 with no band score lower than 42 
Language Cert - C1 Expert International ESOL Written (LRW) PASS with no less than 25/50 in each skill and Spoken (S) PASS 
Trinity ISE - ISE II with no less than distinction in any band

* New versions of some NZCEL qualifications, and in some cases new qualifications, were published on 13 June 2017. These are intended to replace pre-existing versions and qualifications, which have been given expiring status until discontinued on 31 December 2019. (a) denotes expiring (b) denotes current

All SIT2LRN courses require you to have a computer and Internet access. Students are required to use their SIT webmail only for all SIT2LRN communications. All course materials and information, including assessments and due dates, are located on the online Blackboard system. Once you have been accepted into a programme you will receive an Important Information Booklet that includes information that you can use to familiarise yourself with our online Blackboard learning environment. From the intake start date you will have access to the online course materials to work through.

Facilitator Assistance: During the enrolled intake period, students have email access to Facilitators, who endeavour to respond to emails within 48 hours (week days only). All students are required, within the first two weeks of an intake, to send an email to their Facilitator confirming their start on the programme of study. Students who have not emailed their facilitator or embarked upon their course of study by the end of the 2nd week of an intake, will be Faculty Withdrawn from the programme. Such withdrawals may impact on future access to SIT Zero Fees Scheme and Student Direct Material Costs are still liable for payment.

Progress reports are sent out 6-8 weeks after the end of each intake.

We recommend students new to SIT2LRN read through the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website for further study and enrolment information.

Please use the following checklist to ensure that all relevant information and documentation has been included. Remember, your application will be assessed based on the information that you provide us with.  Processing of your application will be delayed if we need to come back to you for missing information.

  • I have read all sections of the Programme Information on this page
  • I have read the SIT2LRN Frequently Asked Question ssection
  • I have met all admission criteria for the programme (found under "Application Criteria")
  • I have met all the criteria for individual papers (found under "Course Content").
  • I have selected the paper(s) I wish to study
  • I have selected intake(s) (I have selected alternate intakes rather than overlapping intakes)
  • I know my intended payment method
  • If my organisation/company is paying for my studies, I have a completed and approved purchase order to attach to my online application.  I am aware that should my organisation or company not pay my fees, these will become my responsibility.
  • New students – I have provided an active NSN in the name I am enrolling in or I have verified ID and will attach it to my online application.
  • New students – I will attach academic documentation (NZQA record of achievement/academic transcripts/certificates).  These do not need to be verified. (If you do not have any academic documentation to support your application, please attach a comprehensive CV outlining your education and work experience).
  • I have computer access,  an Internet connection and access to software to create electronic documents e.g. Microsoft Word or Open Office

What is the Zero Fees Scheme?

The Zero Fees Scheme means we do not charge tuition fees. However, there is a Student Direct Material Cost that you need to pay. The administration fee is for processing your application and the Student Direct Material Cost gives you secure access to Blackboard® our online learning environment and to student support services throughout your study with us.

Who qualifies for the Zero Fees Scheme?

  • A New Zealand citizen completing the full qualification or 
  • An Australian citizen/New Zealand Resident or Permanent Resident who will be residing in New Zealand for the duration of your enrolment.

Instructions to help you with your application:

  1. Read the Programme Information on this page and the SIT2LRN Frequently Asked Questions and find out if you meet the application criteria for both the programme and the unit/s you wish to study.
  2. Check your eligibility for Zero Fees. If you are not eligible to study under this scheme, please call 
    0800 748 257 for further options.
  3. Complete your online enrolment checking that:

If you are a new student …

  • Provide an active NSN number in the name you are enrolling in (contact NZQA on 0800 697 296 to get your NSN number if you do not know it);
  • If you do not have an active NSN, then attach a copy of your verified ID in the name you are enrolling in.
  • If you are a Resident or Permanent resident of NZ, please provide a copy of proof of residency;
  • Attach all academic documentation to support your application including copies of any certificates of courses you have undertaken / NZQA record of achievement / transcripts / CV;

Attach supporting documents as required and outlined on the previous page.

  1. Please check that you have included all the required information and supporting documents.  Your application will be assessed based on the information that you provide.  Missing information will delay the processing of your application.
  2. Please scan and email all additional documentation to

What happens next?

  • You will receive an automatic email confirmation when we receive your online application. Processing may take up to three weeks. However, we will get in touch with you sooner if we require further documentation.
  • Once your application has been accepted you will be sent a conditional offer of acceptance with an invoice and instructions on how to make payment.
  • Once we have received your payment (or if you have opted to pay by Credit Card, Student Loan or Purchase Order) you will be sent an Enrolment Confirmation Letter and Important Information Booklet. Closer to the start of the intake you will receive a Time To Get Started Letter which will give you all the necessary information, tools and guidance to start your study with us.

For students to be considered to have satisfactorily completed this programme and be eligible for the awarding of the qualification Graduate Certificate in Communication (Public Sector), they must have completed all scheduled course work requirements and assessments, successfully completed assessment requirements for all papers, and achieved a total of 60 credits as specified in the programme schedule. The timeframe for completion of this programme is three years.

Assessments for this programme may include written assessments, presentations, reports and online examinations.

For more information on required and recommended textbooks for this course please refer to the textbook list here

Please note that textbooks need to be ordered at least 3-4 weeks prior to the commencement of your study

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