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Hands-On Masters Degree Boosts Graduation

5 APRIL 2004

Hands-on masters degree boosts graduation

Seventeen people will officially become the country's first New Zealand-trained osteopaths when they receive their masters degrees at the Unitec graduation ceremony this week.

The Master of Osteopathy students are among the 837 people graduating from Unitec New Zealand this year, a record number for the institute, with the ceremony shifting from its usual venue on Unitec's Mt Albert campus to the larger Auckland Town Hall to accommodate everyone.

Unitec President Dr John Webster said that having the first group from the masters degree at the ceremony was exciting for the institute. "Every graduation is a cause for celebration, as it is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice for our students and their families. But having the graduation procession up Queen Street for the first time, the record number of graduands, and the first group graduating from a programme as unique as the Master of Osteopathy makes this year something special.

"The osteopathy programme is the type of higher qualification we specialise in delivering - it was developed in response to a specific need from the profession and contains an large component of real-world learning experience, while maintaining the academic rigour we expect from all of our postgraduate programmes."

Prior to the establishment of the Unitec osteopathy programme, the only way to become a fully-qualified osteopath was to study overseas.

The head of the programme Associate Professor Clive Standen said that the discipline had been accepted by other medical professions as a credible alternative to traditional medicine. "GPs are positive towards osteopathy. They appreciate that fact that we can help patients with certain chronic problems for which they have no cure."

Dr Standen said public awareness of the discipline and demand for treatment had skyrocketed in recent years, with the institute's on-campus osteopathy clinic doing steady business. "The masters students get supervised, hands-on experience treating patients at the clinic. Local osteopaths often refer patients to us when they have more than they can handle."

What: Unitec Graduation When: Wednesday 7 April, with the procession from Albert Park starting at 9.30am Where: Auckland Town Hall


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