Massey University terminology

This page provides a basic introduction to university terminology. For a full list of university terms see the Massey University Calendar.

Programme

A programme is a set of courses that must be passed to meet the requirements of a qualification.

Endorsement

An endorsement is a combination of prescribed courses in a specific subject that comprise most or all of the qualification requirements.

Major

A major is a combination of prescribed courses that make up the specialisation within a degree.

Course

A course is a module of work in a particular subject. Each course carries its own credit value.

Qualification

A qualification is an official award given in recognition of the successful completion of a programme of study.

Certificate

A certificate is a qualification that usually requires 60-120 credits at undergraduate or sub-degree level, and 60 credits at postgraduate level.

Diploma

Three different types of diplomas exist:

  1. A diploma is a qualification at the undergraduate or non-degree level that builds on defined prior qualifications or experience and includes a sequential series of courses as part of the programme.
  2. A graduate diploma is a qualification at the undergraduate or non-degree level that builds on defined prior qualifications or experience and includes a sequential series of courses as part of the programme. A graduate diploma comprises a coherent programme which includes the requirement that one-half or more of the courses or other work prescribed shall be at the 300-level or higher.
  3. A postgraduate diploma is a qualification that builds on attainment in the prior degree and is open to graduates (or those granted admission equivalent to a graduate on the basis of their completed academic work). A postgraduate diploma comprises a coherent programme which includes the requirement that the courses or other work prescribed shall be in advance of the 300-level.

Degree

A degree is a qualification awarded on the completion of a programme of study that meets requirements set down by the University and as approved by the Committee on University Academic Programmes.

Honours degree

Honours degrees are postgraduate qualifications comprising an additional year of study beyond the bachelor's degree in the discipline.

Master's degree

A master's degree is a postgraduate qualification awarded for advanced study that normally builds on the principal subject(s) of a qualifying undergraduate degree and involves a research report and/or thesis.

Doctoral degree

The doctoral degree is the most advanced postgraduate qualification offered. A doctoral degree requires the completion of a research thesis that makes an original contribution to new knowledge.

Undergraduate

An undergraduate student is someone who has yet to complete the requirements of a bachelor's degree.

Postgraduate

Postgraduate study is normally undertaken when a bachelor's degree has been completed. Postgraduate study involves study at 700-, 800- or 900-level, or a combination of these levels, normally for an honours degree, master's degree or doctoral degree, a postgraduate certificate or a postgraduate diploma.

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