Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic)

Gain skills to provide emergency medical care in a range of situations.  Learn how to access, stabilise, treat and refer in the pre-hospital environment.    LEVEL 7



For students with existing National Certificate or National Diploma in Ambulance Practice​ (Level 5) or practising level of EMT or Paramedic we also offer a flexible learning option.  Please refer to the Flexible Learning Stream - (Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) [for existing ambulance officers] for these options.

Programme Overview

The Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) is run in conjunction with Wellington Free Ambulance and approved by the Council of Ambulance Authorities and Paramedics Australasia for entry to paramedic practice in New Zealand and Australia.  

The Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) programme at Whitireia Community Polytechnic (Whitireia) is designed to prepare students for practice as contemporary ambulance paramedics. 

Paramedics provide acute health care and emergency and urgent medical services to the community through a specialised body of professional knowledge, delivering care in variable environments.  Through the use of clinical assessment, advanced medical procedures and treatment, they stabilise patients in clinically challenging environments,  refer to primary and secondary care and  provide on-going emergency medical care during transport.
The programme is full-time and involves considerable study.  Serious thought should be given before a student undertakes paid employment that will make it difficult to maintain sufficient study time, or to attend clinical experience.  It is suggested that no more than ten hours per week is worked.  Attendance at all classes, both theory and clinical, is a requirement for successful completion of the programme.

Due to the hours of work and location of placements, students will require private transport to attend clinical experiences.  Access to a personal computer after hours is essential.

**​Students in simulated exercise

Programme Outline

Year O​ne:​​​​ ​Year One introduces new students to human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and paramedic practice. Utilising context based learning; students explore the structure and function of the ambulance industry; roles and responsibilities of the paramedic; legal and ethical issues, including the implications of te Tiriti o Waitangi on paramedic practice; and the assessment and treatment of medical and trauma patients to a beginning practitioner level.

The time spent on campus is divided between classroom theory and practical sessions in our clinical labs, where ‘hands-on’ skills are practiced and developed before implementation on clinical placements.

Students will attend a variety of clinical placements, including; emergency ambulance, non-emergency ambulance, ambulance communications centre and rest homes. During these placements students are able to apply and develop the knowledge and skills from the classroom whilst under direct supervision.

Year Two: This year consolidates and builds on Year One, with more in-depth exploration of anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and more invasive paramedic practice. The student will transition from task focussed technical skills to critical thinking in relation to patient care as well as continuing to develop skills in academic scholarship and research, and mentoring and supervision.

In a similar structure to Year One, the students will spend time in the classroom, in the clinical labs, and attend clinical placements – this year ranging from emergency ambulance, hospital emergency department, hospital operating theatre, delivery suite, mental health, and frontline police.

Year Three:The structure of Year Three is significantly different to the previous years. All papers in this year are delivered online, with some block weeks spent on campus. Whilst the papers are a mix of clinical and non-clinical papers (as in the previous years), there is a greater focus on clinical reasoning, teamwork and leadership, along with in depth exploration of legal, ethical and sociological issues, and further development of research in relation to paramedic practice. The amount of time spent on clinical placements is increased in Year Three, and is almost exclusively based in an emergency ambulance environment.

Graduates of BHSc Paramedic may apply for postgraduate study at Whitireia and elsewhere.

Entry Requirements

School of Health Degree Entry Requirements

If you do not meet any of the entry criteria, you may be directed to a Foundation programme to assist you in meeting the academic entry requirements.

Advanced Paramedic Practice

The Postgraduate Certificate in Specialty Care – Paramedic Advanced Life Support papers are designed to provide Intermediate Life Support (ILS) Paramedics (or equivalent) with an integrated, supported theoretical and practical programme of study to ensure the development of specialty knowledge and skills required to practice as an Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic in the New Zealand context. For more information click here.

Updated June 2017
Campus Starts on Duration
Porirua 2017: 13 February Three years, full-time

Domestic Fees: $6,587 (per year)

International Fees: $22,950 NZD (per year)


Entry Requirements

Domestic students

Whitireia Degree entry requirements (See Full Course Details), or equivalent academic/work experience; New Zealand Driver License, evidence of suitability based on safety check, medical report, referee reports, interview

International students

Proven equivalence for Domestic Entry Requirements plus IELTS 6.5 (no band lower than 6.0)

Career Opportunities:

Graduates from this programme are prepared for work as ambulance paramedics.

Related Careers

Related Areas of Interest

Related Faculty

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    2017 Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) Brochure

     Download​ printable PDF (3MB)


    Block Courses and Exams

     Semester 2


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