Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Defence Studies)

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Defend democracy

With Massey’s Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Defence Studies) you can take your undergraduate study of defence studies further.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) parent structure

What is it like?

You’ll follow a unique programme that combines the study of modern defence and the military with broad and transferable critical-thinking skills.

The core of this specialised programme is the the contemporary world of modern defence, including its impact on media, technology and conflict resolution at local and global levels.

The only honours degree of its kind in New Zealand

Massey offers New Zealand’s only specialist education in defence studies. If you want to go on to postgraduate study, it serves as a pathway to a higher research degree.

Learn from the best

The Centre for Defence and Security Studies is an educational partnership between Massey University and key government agencies in international security, including the New Zealand Customs Service, the New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police. Massey’s BA Honours (Defence Studies) is designed in collaboration with an advisory board of New Zealand’s top defence and security officials. You may have the opportunity to do an internship with a Government agency.

You choose what to study

You can choose from a mix of military history, strategy, tactics, command and technology courses. These courses aren’t just for people working in the defence forces, they’re for anyone interested in understanding the world of modern defence.

A good fit if you:

  • Were a high-achieving undergraduate
  • Are interested in going on to postgraduate study
  • Want to understand how New Zealand’s forces protect the nation and contribute to international peace and stability
  • Wish to advance your interests in contemporary defence or military history while contributing to a career
  • Are keen to investigate a particular aspect of defence studies and progress to a higher research qualification
Jordan Taumaa
Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Defence Studies)

“The lecturers were consistently supportive of me so that I could achieve academic success…”

My study proved to be an incredible opportunity for me to gain invaluable insight into what might often be considered the mysterious world of defence and security, without the immediate commitment to a defence service or security agency.

The undergraduate programme offered by the CDSS is unique within New Zealand. The quality of the course material was excellent and the content was exciting.  The lecturers included a mix of academics and personnel who have had distinguished careers in the defence and security services.  They offered a wealth of knowledge that enabled me to reach my full potential.

On par with classroom lectures was the distance learning offered by the CDSS. The content and resources available were substantial, and the lecturers were consistently supportive of me so that I could achieve academic success.

Upon completion of the BA Defence Studies programme I recognised that I was well equipped to begin a career; however I opted to continue with honours study and I continued to learn and thrive in the university environment.  I wanted to pursue my academic interest in terrorism, but had previously thought that this interest could not be pursued academically from within New Zealand, however I was proved wrong.

The main contrast between the undergraduate degree and the Honours programme was the thesis component.  My research skills improved immeasurably from undergraduate level, but I knew that I could gain further from postgraduate study.


Your BA Hons (Defence Studies) will give you the knowledge, skills and experience to pursue a successful career in defence and international relations in New Zealand or the international community. Defence studies is a great choice for a career in:

  • Civil defence
  • Diplomacy and conflict resolution
  • Disaster relief
  • Peacekeeping
  • Policy analysis
  • Truce monitoring
  • Education
  • Journalism and the media
  • Management
  • Planning
  • Politics

Academic advice

Do you need help choosing your courses, or would you like to speak to an Adviser about your study? We would love to help you so please contact us.

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