Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Geospatial Science)


  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 8
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • Duration

  • 1 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
  • International

  • Available for international students via distance learning

Geospatial science is a cross-disciplinary field that deals with the use of spatial information technologies to understand people, places and earth processes. It has application in a breadth of disciplines including:

  • urban and regional planning
  • agriculture
  • public health and policy
  • land management
  • social work
  • information management
  • business marketing.

Practising geospatial science involves collecting, managing, analysing and disseminating geospatial data.

Follow your interests

Many of our students have a degree in social or physical sciences but little or no previous knowledge of geospatial science. Through our programme you’ll receive a solid education in the fundamentals of geospatial science at a postgraduate level, with courses in:

  • geographic information systems (GIS)
  • cartography and web-based mapping
  • geoinformatics
  • Python programming for GIS
  • remote sensing
  • geospatial analytics.

With one core course and a choice of electives, you have the opportunity to select a programme of study suited to your needs. The programme structure also offers you the flexibility to integrate geospatial science with an outside interest through a one-semester research report course.

Take your study to the next level

The role of geospatial science in research is firmly established. It is expected to grow as more academic disciplines adopt geospatial science methods to address important research questions of the 21st century. You may be able to take your interest to master’s level.

Careers and further study


Great job opportunities

New Zealand has a shortage of workers with knowledge and skills in geospatial science, so completing this programme offers great job opportunities. The geospatial industry is particularly well established in New Zealand’s government sector. However, as a rapidly growing discipline based on new and evolving technologies, there’s significant potential for entrepreneurship and innovation, and an increasing number of people work in the private sector or are self-employed.

A wide range of careers

You can combine your Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Geospatial Science) with knowledge gained from your work experience, or with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline, to open up a wide range of career opportunities, including:

  • geospatial analytics
  • conservation management
  • urban and environmental planning
  • energy development
  • natural resource management
  • public policy and community service
  • public health
  • international development
  • business and market research
  • information management
  • teaching and training
  • tourism.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission


To enter the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Geospatial Science) you will have been awarded or qualified for the Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in the intended postgraduate subject, or equivalent.

You will need to have achieved a grade average in your bachelor degree that demonstrates an adequate level of preparation for the postgraduate programme. This normally means that a B- grade average or above is required.

You will need to provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.

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:

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 qualifications that may help.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

120 credits

  • Courses from an endorsement – 120 credits

Courses for this specialisation

Compulsory course

145739 GIS Principles and Applications 30

Subject courses

90 credits
145740 GIS Programming and Practice 30
145799 Research Report (30) 30
158740 Location Systems: Spatial Databases, Tools and Applications 15
158741 Location Data: Mapping, Analysis and Visualisation 15
189761 Applied Remote Sensing 30
233706 Environmental Geographical Information Systems 30
233707 Environmental Remote Sensing 30

Planning your programme

Planning overview

From 2022 the following course replacements are available:

  • 233.712 Environmental Geographic Information Systems is replacing 233.706
  • 233.713 Environmental Remote Sensing is replacing 233.707.

When you enrol in these courses on the Course enrolment page in your portal, you will need to add them using the Special request > Special permission button. 

Completing an endorsement is compulsory. A Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Geospatial Science) requires 120 credits.

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

You will take a compulsory course in GIS Principles and Applications and 90 credits from a choice of courses. For these 90 credits it is possible to take a combination of courses in GIS, GIS Programming, Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing. Alternatively, you can choose to focus on GIS or Remote Sensing and you can even include an individual project in your area of interest.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit. 

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.

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:

  • have an undergraduate degree in social or physical sciences
  • want to develop technical skills to boost your career
  • are interested in land and natural resource issues.

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.

Postgraduate regulations

General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

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.
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

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

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships