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Study Sport, Exercise and Recreation today

New Zealand Diploma in Sport, Recreation and Exercise (Multi-Sector) - Exercise pathway

Have you been thinking about a qualification in sport and exercise? Whether you’re currently working in the industry, or if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, this programme will give you the skills and competencies required to take that next big step. 

120 (1.0 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
February or July
Full-time for one year, part-time for two years

Programme overview

The New Zealand Diploma in Sport, Recreation, and Exercise is a contemporary and career-focused programme that provides a mix of practical sessions, classroom-based activities, and industry learning. You’ll enjoy interactions with a variety of organisations within the sector who have been key employers of our graduates for over twenty years. You may even work with some of them through organised work placements.  

In the exercise pathway, it's easy to fit your study around your work and whānau commitments. You’ll learn how to create personalised exercise programmes, then deliver them to clients to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. You'll gain an understanding of how to design and deliver small-group programmes, and you'll also be able to turn your passion into a business by utilizing key marketing and business skills. 

By completing this pathway, you'll be eligible to apply for a listing on to the NZ Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs).

If you've already successfully completed the New Zealand Certificate in Exercise, you only need to complete an additional four courses of the diploma!

What you'll learn

  • Hauora (health and wellness)
  • Personal training (PT)
  • Fitness instruction
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Sport psychology
  • Movement and physical activity


  • Upon successful completion, you'll be eligible to apply for a listing on to the NZ Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)
  • Flexibility in how you complete this programme, with both full-time (1 year) and part-time (2 years) options available
  • You’ll learn really practical skills like designing and delivering personalised exercise programmes so that you can get going immediately once you graduate  
  • You’ll develop transferable skills like event management, leadership, and digital skills, so you’ll be able to work in many different areas of the fitness industry, as well as other industries 
  • You’ll be taught by knowledgeable and passionate staff who are highly connected to the industry
  • You'll graduate with high Māori and Pasifika cultural competencies
  • Throughout the programme, you'll have the opportunity to experience 50+ hours of work-based learning across multiple sport, exercise and recreation organisations
  • You’ll have access to a range of sport and gym facilities while you study
  • We have two scholarships available for new students, with priority given to Māori and Pasifika applicants

REPs registration

Upon successful completion of this programme, you’ll be eligible to be listed on REPs, which operates a registration body for exercise professionals (as well as exercise facilities and educational providers) in Aotearoa New Zealand. Both Exercise New Zealand and the International Confederation of Registers of Exercise Professionals (ICREPs) recognises REPs as a universal standard to ensure that clients receive safe and effective exercise advice.

Some of the key benefits of being REPs registered are:

  • It’s a publically recognisable, promotable and marketable quality mark;
  • You’ll have access to marketing material that you can use to promote yourself and your business;
  • REPs is internationally recognised, which means you’ll be able to operate from anywhere in the world;
  • You’ll be listed on a publically-searchable database;
  • You’ll have access to continuing professional development courses and further education;
  • You’ll have access to other valuable tools and resources.

A few important things to know:

You can find out more about REPs and its benefits here


We have 2 NZ Diploma in Sport, Recreation and Exercise scholarships available, worth $1,500 each. Find out more information below!

Sport, Recreation and Exercise scholarships

Work and earn with Auckland Council while you study Sport, Recreation and Exercise

At Unitec, we are excited to announce our new partnership with Auckland Council which provides an opportunity for students to work while they are studying in Sport, Recreation and Exercise.  This work-connected pathway will give you the opportunity to earn while you learn, similar to a paid internship or an apprenticeship. 

Auckland Council offers a variety of part-time positions that you can apply for. Being employed in the field in which you are studying provides up-to-date knowledge, financial support, and helps to develop your personal skills, your professional skills and your CV right from the start.

Need more information?
All Auckland Council Pathway applicants will be asked to be part of an interview conversation to develop an individual plan for study/work and to begin the application process for employment at Auckland Council.
If you would like a conversation about this programme, please contact:

Want More Information?

Feel free to contact the team with any further questions!

Contact us

Admission requirements

This is a very popular programme, so we encourage you to apply as soon as possible to avoid missing out.  

Academic requirements

You will need to provide the following at different points of your application process.

  • Have at least 48 credits at NCEA Level 2 (or equivalent) in your 4 best subjects; or
  • A maximum total of 20 in best 4 Sixth Form Certificate subjects; or
  • Successful completion of an approved qualification at Level 3 

If you don’t meet the academic criteria above, we have a range of Foundation and Bridging Education programmes which will help you prepare for further academic study.

English requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need one or more of the following:

  • A minimum of 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in English; or
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency; or
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years. 

If you don’t meet the English criteria above, we have a range of English Language programmes available, depending on your current level of ability.

If you don’t meet these requirements, you may still apply under special or discretionary entrance.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Courses Credits Aim
Contemporary Learning Options (SPOR5100) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To equip students with a range of practical skills that will enable them to operate effectively as a professional in a variety of sport, recreation, and exercise settings.
Applied Digital Skills (SPOR5102) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will develop digital literacy and the skills required to create content and lead and manage tasks in a range of sport and exercise contexts. Students will be able to apply these skills utilising a range of current and emerging technologies.
Concepts of Sport and Exercise Science (SPOR5104) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will introduce underlying principles of sport and exercise science as and allow students to apply them in a variety of contexts related to health, well-being, physical activity, and performance.
Initiatives for Health and Fitness (SPOR5106) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the factors that contribute to general health and fitness in order to design, implement, and evaluate initiatives and programmes for improving health and/or fitness outcomes.
Introduction to Exercise (SPOR5107) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course equips students to design safe and effective personalised exercise programmes. The student will be equipped to engage with clients in a professional and culturally appropriate manner This course also gives students the opportunity to develop skills in, and knowledge of, cultural-competence and professional communication.
Professional Practice (SPOR5109) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The purpose of this course is to explore contemporary practice in a range of sport, recreation and exercise contexts to develop the learners’ professional capabilities for this sector.
Courses Credits Aim
Coaching in Action (SPOR5101) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The course will introduce students to the principles and concepts of coaching and allow opportunities to apply these in a practical learning environment.
Community Sport and Recreation (SPOR5103) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will explore how sport and recreation can contribute to holistic health and social development within local and national communities. Students will have the opportunity to critically evaluate the impact of socio-cultural factors on human development and wellbeing and gain a basic understanding of effective population level approaches that use physical activity.
Event Leadership (SPOR5105) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course develops students’ knowledge and understanding of principles and concepts of sport event management. Students will also have an opportunity to develop foundational knowledge and skills needed to plan and implement community-based sport events.
Developing Athletes (SPOR5108) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will introduce students to the principles and concepts of athlete development. It will enable students to develop a contemporary understanding of athlete development and provide opportunities for students to apply learning to authentic contexts.