Think about the big questions in life
Tackle the questions that have always gripped humanity.
- Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
- 1.5 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
- Available for international students via distance learning
With the Master of Arts (Philosophy) you’ll tackle the big questions. Like what kind of beings we are and how we interact with the world in which we live.
You can develop your interests and skills with a research report or a thesis.
Benefit at work and at home
Philosophy isn’t just about abstract thinking. Studying philosophy develops your critical thinking skills: your ability to assess whether arguments are rationally compelling and to make your arguments compelling to others. This skill is important in the workplace, and is consistently ranked by employers among the most desirable attributes in an employee.
It helps you in your day-to-day life too, such as when watching the news or reading stories on the internet. Through your study of philosophy you’ll learn how to understand and evaluate what you read rather than just remembering it. You’ll become more aware of the reasons why you hold the views you do.
Complete your MA in three semesters
Massey’s Master of Arts is 180 credits. This means you can complete an MA in three semesters of full-time study. If you study part-time, an MA will normally take three years to complete.
Careers and further study
A Massey MA (Philosophy) gives you experience in handling unusual and difficult ideas, communicating your thinking with clarity, and being aware of the reasons for your views while being flexible and adaptive. You’ll cope with new challenges as the needs of your work change. That adaptability and the ability to think on your feet will be a big advantage.
These skills are highly prized by employers and this means you can explore a wide range of career options. Recent graduates in philosophy have gone into jobs as diverse as:
- policy analysis
- The Treasury.
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
Master of Arts 180 credits
To enter the Master of Arts 180 credits you will:
- have been awarded or qualified for a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Philosophy, with at least a B grade average across the 200/300 -level major courses.
Master of Arts 120 credits
To enter the Master of Arts 120 credits you will:
- have been awarded or qualified for a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts with a specialisation in Philosophy, or equivalent.
To enter the pathways for the 120-credit option you will need the following:
- Research pathway: a B+ grade average area allows entry to the research pathway
- Coursework pathway: a B grade average allows entry to the coursework pathway.
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:
- 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.
Courses and planning
- Part One subject courses (may include compulsory courses) – 120 credits
- Part Two research report – 60 credits
- Part One subject courses (may include compulsory courses) – 60 or 90 credits
- Part Two thesis course(s) – 90 or 120 credits
- Completion of Part One and Two
- Completion of a subject
- Coursework pathway (including a 60-credit research report), or
- Research pathway (including a 90 or 120-credit thesis)
Advanced entry: Those who have already completed specified qualifications in advance of the minimum entry requirements may be able to complete this degree in 120 credits.
This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.
Courses for this specialisation
Part One: Coursework Pathway (120 credits) or Research Pathway (90 credits)
|134740||Advanced Study of Philosophical Topics||30|
|134750||Advanced Study of Philosophical Texts||30|
|134760||Advanced Philosophical Inquiry||30|
|134799||Research Report (60)||60|
Part Two: Coursework Pathway
|134873||Research Report Philosophy (60)||60|
Part Two: Research Pathway
|134816||Thesis 120 Credit Part 1||60|
|134817||Thesis 120 Credit Part 2||60|
|134881||Thesis 90 Credit Part 1||45|
|134882||Thesis 90 Credit Part 2||45|
Planning your programme
The Master of Arts (Philosophy) is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second.
If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.
Not all courses are available in each semester.
Grades achieved in the first 60 credits will determine eligibility for progression to Part Two.
- For the coursework pathway a minimum B grade average is required.
- For the research pathway a minimum B+ grade average is required.
Master of Arts 120 credits
If you enrol in a thesis, you commence with Part One, followed by Part Two in the next enrolment period. Both parts combine to meet the thesis requirements with a single grade assigned to each part.
If the thesis cannot be submitted at the end of the initial Part Two enrolment, you must re-enrol in Part Two (and pay fees) each semester until submission is made.
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.
- Look for information under ‘Student Progression’ in the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.
- Contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
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?
If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.
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 will find their National Student Number on their student homepage.
A good fit if you:
- have an undergraduate degree in philosophy
- wish to stay relevant to current discussions in philosophy
- want to investigate a particular aspect of philosophy.
Meet our students
The value that development studies brought to my law practice is a testament to the significant impact that Massey instilled in my professional life.” Melanie Pimentel
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|
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 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.