General regulations for postgraduate degrees, postgraduate diplomas, and postgraduate certificates

View the general regulations for our postgraduate qualifications.

These General Regulations are to be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University and the Qualification Regulations specific to each Postgraduate Degree, Diploma and Certificate offered by the University.


16. Admission to a Postgraduate certificate, Postgraduate diploma, 120-credit Bachelor (Honours) or a Master’s degree requires that the student will:

(a) have made formal application for admission to postgraduate study for the specified programme; and


(i) have qualified for the award of a relevant Bachelor’s degree with a grade average that demonstrates an adequate level of preparation for the postgraduate programme; or

(ii) have an approved academic qualification of similar standing to the relevant Bachelor’s degree; or

(iii) have been granted admission with equivalent status as entitled to proceed to the specified Postgraduate degree, diploma or certificate; and

where appropriate to a specific qualification:


(i) provide evidence of practical/professional experience of an acceptable standard in an area(s) relevant to the qualification; or

(ii) on the request of the Head of School or Programme Director, carry out such work and satisfy such assessments as the Board may determine to be necessary for admission.

Academic Requirements


(a) A postgraduate qualification will consist of a number of credits accumulated from taught courses and/or research courses, at 700-level or above, as specified in the Qualification Regulations.

(b) For the award of the degree, diploma or certificate a pass is required in each course in the qualification. A student may re-enrol and be re-examined only once in a failed course.

Research Reports and Theses


(a) A research report will consist of a minimum of 30 credits; a thesis will consist of a minimum of 90 credits.

(b) The research component of postgraduate programmes will be 0, 30, 45, 60, 90 or 120 credits with the proviso that the Bachelor (Honours) degree will have a minimum research component of 30 credits and those Master’s degrees that require a research component will have a minimum of 45 credits of research.

(c) Postgraduate diplomas and certificates may have a research component of zero credits and consist entirely of taught courses.

(d) For thesis courses that are offered for enrolment as Part One and Part Two, candidates are required to precede their enrolment in Part Two with enrolment in Part One.

Student Progression


(a) Students will have completed their 700-level course requirements prior to enrolling in the thesis course.

(b) (i) 120-credit Bachelor (Honours) degrees will be awarded as First Class Honours, Second Class Honours Division I, Second Class Honours Division II or Third Class Honours. Bachelor (Honours) degrees must be completed within one year of first enrolling in full-time study or within three years of first enrolling in part-time study.

(ii) Postgraduate diplomas and 120-credit Master’s degrees will carry the award of Distinction if completed at a superior standard (equivalent to First Class Honours), or Merit (equivalent to Second Class Honours, Division One) within one year of first enrolling in full-time study or within three years of first enrolling in part-time study.

(iii) 180-credit Master’s degrees will carry the award of Distinction if completed at a superior standard (equivalent to First Class Honours), or Merit (equivalent to Second Class Honours, Division One) within eighteen months of first enrolling in full-time study or within four years of first enrolling in part-time study.

(iv) 240-credit Master’s degrees will be awarded with First Class Honours, Second Class Honours Division I, Second Class Honours Division II or a pass. To qualify for the award of honours, 240-credit Master’s degrees must be completed within two years of first enrolling for full-time study or within five years of first enrolling for part-time study.

(v) These periods may, in special circumstances, be amended/extended by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (or delegate). The Pro Vice-Chancellor (or delegate) may also in special circumstances permit students to suspend their programme of studies for an approved period.

20. The Academic Board (or delegate) may, under such conditions as it may determine and taking into account the recommendations of the Chief Examiner(s), admit any candidate to a supplementary assessment in a course in which the candidate failed to gain a pass.

21. Students who wish to take a course for which they do not have the prerequisite(s) may make a case for admission to the relevant Head of School or Programme Director concerned.

Academic Progress

22. All students are expected to achieve at least Satisfactory Academic Progress in each enrolment period. Unsatisfactory Academic Progress is governed by the Academic Progress Regulations and the Academic Progress Policy which sets out the minimum (satisfactory) thresholds.


23. Qualifications for which specialisations, such as endorsements or subjects, are listed may have these specified as specialisations at the time of programme approval. The degree, diploma, or certificate completed by the student will state the specialisation.

Maximum Time to Completion

24. Unless otherwise specified in the Qualification Regulations there will be time limits for completion as follows:

(a) 60-credit Postgraduate Certificates must be completed within a maximum of two years.

(b) 120-credit Postgraduate Diplomas must be completed within a maximum of four years.

(c) 120-credit Masterates must be completed within a maximum of four years.

(d) 180-credit Masterates must be completed within a maximum of five years.

(e) 240-credit Masterates must be completed within a maximum of six years.

(f) 120-credit Bachelor (Honours) must be completed within a maximum of three years.

Where credit has been transferred in accordance with the Recognition of Prior Learning Regulations, the above time limits may be pro-rated when calculating maximum time limits for completion.

Time limits may be waived, at the discretion of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (or delegate), where a student exits with a qualification of lesser credit.

25. Students who have not been enrolled for a period of three consecutive years will be deemed to have abandoned their qualification. Abandonment releases the University from its obligation to ensure a qualification can be completed. Students may be permitted to be readmitted to a subsequent current qualification should they meet the entry requirements at the time of readmission; credits previously achieved will be assessed and applied in accordance with current regulations.

Variations and Personal Programme Approvals

26. The Pro Vice-Chancellor (or delegate) may, in such cases as they think fit, approve a personal programme of study which does not conform with the General Regulations or the Regulations for that degree, diploma or certificate while still conforming to the academic standards of the qualification (subject to specific rules).

The following rules will apply:

(a) There must be a compelling academic case to merit the variation, or;

(b) There must be evidence of exceptional circumstances and/or hardship to the student.

(c) Variations will receive appropriate academic authorisation under delegation from Academic Board and be formally documented.

(d) The variation will be recorded on the student’s academic record.

(e) Personal programme approvals will not permit a reduction in the total amount of credit required to complete a qualification.

(f) The extent of variation cannot jeopardise the integrity of the qualification. To this end there will be a limit on the extent to which a qualification can be varied. The maximum amount of credit variation permitted for qualifications which have a total credit value higher than 60 credits is 30 credits.

(g) Variations will not be permitted in qualifications which have a total credit value of 60 credits or lower.

(h) Except where the special circumstances apply to a cohort of students (for example when transitioning students as a result of programme closure or course unavailability) variations will only be considered on a case-by-case basis and will not set a precedent.

27. Subject to any Maximum Time to Completion and Abandonment of Studies provisions specified in the Part I qualification regulations, where a student has completed a course towards a qualification or specialisation and that course has subsequently been removed from the schedule, unless otherwise specified in the regulations, the student will be permitted to substitute the completed course for a non-compulsory, elective/subject course(s) at the same or lower level and of the same total credit value, included in the schedule.

Transitional Provisions

28. The University reserves the right to introduce such changes as it may judge to be necessary or desirable, including the addition, restructuring or withdrawal of qualifications, regulations and/or courses. Reasonable provisions will be made to enable students to complete any qualification which is discontinued or has its structure substantially altered, but such provision will not extend beyond the permitted time for completion.

Limitation of Entry

29. For any programmes of study offered by the University, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (or delegate) may limit the number of students enrolled in the programmes of study or training each year because of insufficiency of staff, accommodation, or equipment, or for other reasons that may arise. Accordingly, where the number of applications for the particular programmes exceeds the number of places available, then Massey University will select from the applicants the students to be enrolled in the programme of study.

Public Health Considerations

30. Where required under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021, or by any additional Government orders or Massey University Council requirements, admission to specified programmes of study within Massey University, and continued enrolment and progression in those programmes, requires evidence of full and current COVID-19 vaccination status. This requirement will be applied to any and all programmes in accordance with Government orders or Massey University mandates.