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Programme list > Master of International Development

Master of International Development


Help solve the world’s development problems

This programme will broaden your knowledge of the world’s key development issues to shape a positive future for those in need. Our postgraduate students come from a wide range of academic, cultural and professional backgrounds, and our programme is enriched by this diversity.

  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
  • Campus

  • Manawatū
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • Credits

  • 180
  • Duration

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

  • Available for international students studying in NZ

In the Master of International Development, you’ll learn how global economic, social, political and environmental forces affect people and shape different parts of the world. These insights will allow you to recognise where inequalities lie. You’ll identify strategies to help overcome poverty and enhance human wellbeing.

When you graduate from the Master of International Development you will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and skills that can be applied in developing policy and strategies, and in managing and evaluating international development programmes
  • critically and rigorously evaluate contemporary international development theories, policies and approaches
  • conduct independent research and analysis of international development issues, collect relevant data, and be able to write persuasively about this
  • demonstrate mastery of social science research approaches and techniques and be able to undertake independent research in a well-planned and ethical manner
  • interpret research findings and draw out relevant implications for development theory, policy and practice.

Learn from experts in the field

Massey University, in 1989, was the first in New Zealand to offer courses leading to recognised qualifications in Development Studies. In 2019 we celebrated our 30th anniversary! We’ve built on that reputation by developing world-class courses in international development.

Our professors and lecturers are scholars and active researchers. They also have experience in development policy and practice in diverse contexts.

Careers and further study


Enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling career

You’ll get the skills and experience to begin or progress your career in a wide range of government, NGO, multilateral and private sector spheres including organisations such as Red Cross, World Vision, the New Zealand Aid Programme, United Nations Development Program and Caritas.

Our graduates work all over the world providing humanitarian assistance, sustainable development and peace keeping. Careers include positions such as:

  • advisor in tourism, health, education or agriculture
  • advocacy officer
  • community affairs officer
  • monitoring and evaluation officer
  • foreign diplomat
  • human rights advisor
  • policy analyst.

Overseas  students  (from countries  such as  Brazil, Timor Leste,  Viet Nam, Indonesia, Pakistan, Laos, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Philippines, Kenya and Tanzania) are typically junior to mid-career government employees or from NGOs, who are funded by NZAID and other scholarships.

Postgraduate education will give you the skills you need for a satisfying and rewarding career.

A Ministry of Education report found that:

  • earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • five years after leaving study, most young domestic graduates will be earning above the national median earnings
  • young master’s graduates earn 86 per cent more than the national median
  • good careers are associated with better health, better wellbeing and more satisfying lives.

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

Entry requirements

University admission

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

Programme admission


To enter the Master of International Development you will have been awarded or qualified for:

  • a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Development Studies, or equivalent, with a minimum B average across the 200 and 300 level major courses, or
  • a bachelor’s degree with a B average across the relevant 200 and 300 level courses and relevant field or industry experience of an appropriate kind and duration, or
  • a Postgraduate Diploma in International Development, or equivalent, with a B average.

If you have a Postgraduate Diploma in International Development as outlined above, you may apply for credit towards Part One of the qualification in accordance with the limits specified in the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations

Field experience includes:

  • voluntary work (eg refugee resettlement with Red Cross, or supporting a disadvantaged community group in New Zealand)
  • other relevant work or experience (eg a social worker, nurse or teacher in New Zealand or overseas)
  • specific development experience (eg an engineer who worked in Nepal).

In this instance you will need to provide your curriculum vitae outlining this experience.


If you take the Research Pathway, you must supply a research proposal for your thesis when you apply.

You must 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

180-240 credits

Coursework Pathway (180 credits)

  • Part One compulsory courses – 90 credits
  • Part One courses selected from the Schedule – 30 credits
  • Part Two research report – 60 credits

Research Pathway (240 credits)

  • Part One compulsory courses – 90 credits
  • Part One courses selected from the Schedule – 30 credits
  • Part Two thesis – 120 credits

Advanced entry: Those who have already completed specified qualifications in advance of the minimum entry requirements and have been granted credit for it, may be able to complete this degree in 60 - 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 programme

Part One (120 credits)

Compulsory courses

90 credits
131701 Development and Underdevelopment 30
131702 Development Management 30
131707 Development Research Design 30

Subject courses

30 credits
131703 Gender and Development 30
131704 Sustainable Development 30
131706 Globalisation and Development 30
131708 Development Practicum 30
294717 Human Security in Application 30

Part Two: Coursework Pathway

60 credits
131897 Research Report International Development (60) 60

Part Two: Research Pathway

120 credits
131816 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 60
131817 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 60
131899 Thesis 120

Planning your programme

Planning overview

The Master of International Development 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.

This master’s can be completed in one of two ways:

Coursework pathway (180 credits)

  • 120 credits coursework and a 60 credit research report.
  • Progression to Part Two of the coursework pathway requires a minimum B average in in Part One.

Research pathway (240 credits)

  • 120 credits coursework and a 120 credit thesis.
  • Progression to Part Two of the research pathway requires a minimum B+ average in Part One.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions about this programme or would like further information.

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:

  • want advanced knowledge and skills in international development
  • value cultural awareness, sensitivity and empathy
  • take ideas about ethics, engagement and citizenship seriously.

Meet our students

Meet our lecturers

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 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