General planning information for distance students

At Massey University we refer to programmes and courses. A programme is your overall qualification (for example, degree, diploma and certificate) whereas courses are the individual modules that you take to complete your chosen programme. For example, the "Bachelor of Business Studies" is a programme whereas "115.101 Statistics for Business" is a course that is part of the Bachelor of Business programme.

Each programme has its own structure which is explained in the Programmes and courses web pages. When you select your individual courses you need to ensure that you are on track to fulfil all of your programme requirements to be able to graduate.

Planning guide

This guide provides you with an overview of the things you need to take into consideration which include:

Step 1

Ensure you are aware of university requirements

Step 2

Research the programme requirements and create a study plan

Each programme has its own structure and requirements. A study plan can help you map out your courses and help you identify:
  • How many credits you need to earn and how these credits need to be distributed. For example, most undergraduate degrees are made up of 360 credits, whereas certificates can range from 60-120 credits.
  • Any compulsory courses. These are courses that you must take in order to achieve your qualification.
  • The requirements of majors, endorsements or minors (if your programme has them). This may include the number of courses and specific courses that you need to include.
  • Courses that must be passed before other courses. These are known as prerequisites. In general students study 100-level courses in their first year of study and then move on to 200-level courses. This is because a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level courses as prerequisites. The fourth number in a course number represents the level of the course. For example, for course 219.306 the fourth number is a 3, so it is a 300-level course.
  • Courses that must be taken at the same time as other courses, unless you have already passed them. These are known as corequisites courses.
  • Restrictions, which are when some courses, similar in content, are restricted against each other. With these courses you can not credit both courses to a qualification but may study either one course or the other. 

For more information including what prerequisites like "Permission of Head of Department" mean see prerequisites, corequisites and restrictions.

For requirements for all our programmes see the Programmes and courses web pages

Step 3

Review your study workload

Study at university requires a significant time investment. Students often comment that balancing their everyday commitments with study requirements can be quite challenging. So it is important to carefully consider how many courses you should take, especially when beginning your study. 

  • You should be realistic about the number of courses you can take in a semester and consider all your existing commitments. You will need to spend approximately 10 to 12.5 hours each week for a 15 credit single semester course, or about 5 to 6.25 hours per week for a 15 credit double semester course.
  • If you are new to university study or returning after a long gap, try one or two courses to start with. Once you are confident and have good study routines in place, you might find you can take on a heavier workload.
  • If you are working full time (or have a young family that you look after full time), we recommend that you take no more than 30 credits (two courses) in a semester.

To help you identify how you could fit study into your regular routine, we have provided the following tools: 

  • Workload planning tool - an interactive tool which displays a list of every day activities and asks you to estimate how much time you spend on each activity each week. It also asks you how many courses you want to take and will provide you with some helpful feedback on your results.
     
  • Weekly Planner (380 KB)  - a daily appointment view that allows you to fill in your activities based on your current schedule. An example is provided to show you how you might consider moving some activities around to fit the recommended study time in. File format is Word 2003.
Step 4

Identify and review the specific requirements for each course

As well as the overall programme requirements, you will also need to ensure you understand the requirements for each individual course that you want to enrol in. In particular, it is very important you understand:

  • If the course has an online component and specific technology requirements
  • If you need to attend an on-campus contact workshop. Some of these on-campus contact workshops are compulsory and you will need to ensure that you can travel to the venue on the dates and times specified.
  • If the course has an exam and when the exams are for each of the courses you want to enrol in. You will need to ensure that there are no clashes with other courses you want to enrol in or any existing personal commitments (for example weddings and holidays). Special arrangements may be possible, but only in rare circumstances, so it is your responsibility to ensure that you have planned these out carefully.

All of this information can be found within the course description information on the Programme and courses web pages

Step 5

Consider your options for recognition of prior learning

Massey University recognises prior learning achieved within both formal and informal settings. Credit may be awarded for:

  • completed tertiary qualifications,
  • incomplete tertiary qualifications, and
  • informal learning.

For more information see recognition of prior learning or contact us.

Step 6

Ensure you are aware of the costs

It is important to consider all the costs involved in the study process. When studying at a distance as well as the tuition fees you should also take into consideration other costs involved in attending on-campus contact workshops, postage for assignments and so on. See fees and costs for more information on these costs, as well as information on possible funding sources.

Step 7

Ask one of our advisers for assistance

We would like to help you make the right decisions when choosing and planning your study with us. We have people who can give you study advice to create an individual pathway for your programme.

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