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Graduate in high demand
You’ll be a sought-after graduate in a field that’s integral to the safety of New Zealand.
- Undergraduate, NZQF Level 7
- 3 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
- Available for international students via distance learning
- Not all courses are available on all campuses.
Massey’s Bachelor of Arts (Defence Studies) offers industry input, practical experience and specialised knowledge to develop the skills employers seek.
Get a powerful combination of skills
You’ll follow a unique programme that combines the study of modern defence studies and military history with broad and transferable critical-thinking skills.
The only major of its kind in New Zealand
The contemporary world of modern defence is the core of this specialised major. You’ll examine its impact on media, technology and conflict resolution at local and global levels. Massey is the only university in New Zealand where you can study defence studies and military history at undergraduate level.
Learn from the best
Massey has long delivered New Zealand’s only defence studies programme. You’ll be taught by staff with academic knowledge in the area and/or military, defence and security experience.
The BA (Defence Studies) is designed in collaboration with an advisory board of New Zealand’s top defence and security officials. Our programme partners are government agencies that contribute to national, regional and global security, as well as peace and humanitarian aid initiatives. You may have the opportunity to do an internship with one of these agencies.
You choose what to study
You can choose from a mix of military history, strategy, tactics, intelligence, 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.
Careers and further study
There’s increasing demand for defence professionals, both military and civilian. Employers are looking for people with the intelligence, initiative and determination to work in a wide range of complex defence environments.
You could work not just for the military, but also in areas such as public education, peacekeeping and intelligence. These roles are integral to the safety of New Zealand, and the demand for qualified people who can fill these is exceptionally strong.
Get ready for a great career in New Zealand or the international community, in a broad range of areas such as:
- civil defence and disaster relief
- diplomacy and conflict resolution
- peacekeeping and truce monitoring
- policy analysis
- journalism and the media
- management and planning
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
There are no specific entry requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (Defence Studies), outside of university admission regulations.
English language requirements
To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.
Prior learning, credit and exemptions
For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:
- review the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations
- contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
If you do not have the entry requirements
English language and foundation courses
If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and programmes that may help.
- English Language Proficiency
- Foundation Certificate in Academic English
- Foundation Certificate in Advanced Academic English
- Full Foundation - Certificate in Foundation Studies
If you need to do a course before you start your programme, there may be options for you in Summer School.
Courses and planning
- Core courses – 75 credits
- Major courses – 120 credits
- Electives from the Schedule – 45 credits
- Other electives – 120 credits
Ensure that overall, you have:
- Not more than 165 credits at 100 level
- At least 75 credits at 300 level
- All majors require 120 credits except:
- Business Psychology (195 credits)
- Mathematics (135 credits)
You could replace electives with a second BA major, or some electives with a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Business, or the Bachelor of Science.
Courses for this specialisation
|No more than 15 credits from|
|294115||War and Society||15|
|294151||History of Warfare||15|
|At least 30 credits from|
|294215||Global Defence Challenges||15|
|At least 45 credits from|
|200301||Contemporary International Conflict||15|
|294301||Legacies of War||15|
|294304||Cyber and Information Security||15|
|294325||Contemporary Peace Operations||15|
|294350||The History of Defence and Security Intelligence||15|
Planning your programme
If you study full-time, in your first year, you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.
If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.
About this major
The Defence Studies major consists of 120 credits (eight courses).
Completing a minor is optional. Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.
A minor must be in a different subject from your major.
A Bachelor of Arts (Defence Studies) with a minor
You may choose a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business or Bachelor of Science. If the minor is from another degree the regulations of that programme will apply.
A defence studies minor (for students who are studying a different degree)
If you are not studying towards a BA (Defence Studies) and wish to complete a minor in defence studies see the BA regulations for requirements.
Fees and scholarships
Fees and finance
Fees, student loans and free fees scheme
Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.
There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.
- Get an estimate of the tuition fees for your qualification
- View a list of non-tuition fees that may be payable
Already know which courses you're going to choose?
You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.
Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme
You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.
The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.
Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.
A good fit if you:
- wonder why wars start, who draws the battle-lines and why military force is used
- want to understand why war seems to be an unavoidable part of human existence
- want a career that contributes to world peace and stability.
Meet our students
The defence and security programme changed my perspective on how the world works.” Megan Bockholt
Key information for students
Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.
Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.
Applying and enrolling
Applying for the programme
Check you are ready
If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.
Choose your programme and click on Apply now
You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.
Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.
Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place
You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.
Enrolling in courses
You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.
When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:
- prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
- corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
- restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
- location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.
Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.
More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.
You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.
We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!
If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
What are courses and credits?
What are courses and credits?
Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).
You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.
Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.
There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.
- See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
- Courses search
Understanding course numbers
The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.
The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:
- sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
- undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
- as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study
|Subject area||Level||Course ID number|
Electives are courses that are not compulsory. Certain guidelines are usually provided on courses you may take. Elective courses contribute to the programme, but not to your major or specialisation.
Workload and time management
Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.
For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.
In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may be no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.
Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
Scholarships and awards
Scholarships related to this programme
There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.