Master of Journalism

A unique qualification

This world-leading degree in journalism is the only one of its kind in New Zealand. It is the only Master of Journalism qualification in Australia or New Zealand accredited by US organisation the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

What is it like?

The Master of Journalism at Massey will give you a qualification of top international standing. Based on leading overseas qualifications, it blends practical skills with the academic study of journalism. It will build a foundation for a career in journalism, or, if you are already a journalist, help you move to the next stage of your career.

Lecturers leading the way

Massey’s lecturers are experienced journalists and educators. They have a proven track record in mentoring students to become professional journalists, and mentoring journalists to reach higher levels of the profession. Massey students have an unmatched record in winning the top journalism awards.

Industry and international recognition and accreditation

The Massey University course is the oldest continuously operating journalism school in New Zealand. In 2016, it won an award for outstanding contribution to the industry. The prize citation said: “no institution can claim to have had a greater role in shaping journalists in this country than the Wellington course.” 

Our journalism programme is the only one in Australia and New Zealand to be recognised by the US-based Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Top US accredited programmes include the Missouri School of Journalism, and the Columbia School of Journalism. Accreditation recognises the Massey course's top international standing, excellent connections with industry, commitment to constant improvement, strong leadership and quality research output.

Massey University’s communication and media studies ranks in the top 200 world-wide (by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings).

Study options

There are two options for your study during this qualification, dependent upon your level of experience. Both qualifications take 18 months full-time. You may be:

Entering the journalism industry

If you have an undergraduate degree and wish to enter the journalism industry, your first two semesters (one year full-time study) will be on Massey University’s Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism programme. The remaining semester (six months full-time) is focussed on an extended, in-depth piece of journalism suitable for publication, with an additional academic component. This is known as Pathway One. 

You will learn the skills you need to be a successful journalist:  news reporting, feature writing, radio and television reporting. You will produce a portfolio of stories covering breaking news, politics, sports, arts and general news, which will help you get the job you want. The course effectively has a 100 per cent employment rate.

An experienced journalist looking to advance your career

The Master of Journalism offers another option for those who have journalism experience (three or more years) as well as an undergraduate degree. You may be a mid-career journalist who wishes to learn how to undertake an advanced investigation and publish a long-form piece of journalism; you may be interested in gaining a higher-qualification as a step to gaining a PhD and entering the world of academic research and teaching. This qualification will help you make the next step in your professional development.

The first year of your study will consist of courses that make up Massey’s Postgraduate Diploma in Communication or Massey’s Postgraduate Diploma in Business. You will then progress to a project-based semester (six months full-time) to complete an extended, in-depth piece of journalism with an additional academic component which completes your Master of Journalism. This option is known as Pathway Two.

Close connections with industry

The Massey journalism programme enjoys a close working relationship with the country’s leading news organisations. Stuff, for instance, has hired many of our graduates, hosts our students on work internships and funds prizes, such as the Alex Veysey Memorial Prize, for our top students.

Practical, relevant experience, while you study

For those just entering the industry, one of the most important features of the programme is the many weeks of on-the-job work experience that form part of the first year. If your first year is the Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism, you will spend time over several weeks working at a leading news organisation such as Stuff, NZME, Radio New Zealand or TVNZ.

Read more about the Master of Journalism

A good fit if you:

  • Have an undergraduate degree (or complete by time course starts)
  • Want to become a journalist in New Zealand
  • Want a degree recognised in the U.S. and U.K.
  • Want to do advanced and/or investigative journalism
  • Want to write in-depth long-form journalism
  • Are already a journalist and want to develop your research and story-telling skills
  • Want to gain the academic skills and knowledge that will prepare you for a PhD
Jess Roden
Master of Journalism
Producer - Radio New Zealand

“In daily newspaper reporting it is easy to forget the effect of your stories, studying the literature around health reporting reminded me about journalism’s influence on people…”

After completing her Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism, Jess completed the Master of Journalism by researching and writing a piece of long-form journalism and an academic research report critically reflecting on the experience. Jess’s long-form journalism was on Pharmac’s funding of expensive drugs for people with rare diseases.

“I liked the idea of doing the Master of Journalism as I could do a topic I’m passionate about,” she said. “It gave me the chance to research and develop the topic in a meaningful way.”  

She also saw the qualification as an important step in her plan to work overseas as a journalist.

“I’ve travelled overseas and studied in the United States. Diploma qualifications aren’t well understood overseas, but a masters is. As I want to work overseas eventually, this was a good opportunity to get a qualification they understand. A masters carries a lot of weight.”

She found the academic element of the Master of Journalism challenging, but interesting. “I looked at the pressures health reporters are under and how influential journalism can be. In daily newspaper reporting it is easy to forget the effect of your stories, studying the literature around health reporting reminded me about journalism’s influence on people.”

Her advice to others planning to do the Master of Journalism is to find a topic you are passionate about and to enjoy the experience.

Initially Jess worked as a reporter at a regional newspaper. She is now a producer for Morning Report at Radio New Zealand.


Graduates of our programme have gone on to work at New Zealand's top newspapers, news websites, magazines, radio and television stations, as well as at the BBC, CNN, SBS in Australia and countless overseas newspapers and magazines. One of our graduates, Alison McCulloch, was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize in journalism for its coverage of the Columbine killings.

Earn more

A Ministry of Education report ‘Moving on up: What young people earn after their tertiary education’ found that in New Zealand:

  • Earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • Young masters graduates earn 86 per cent more than the national median
  • Good careers are associated with better health, better wellbeing and more satisfying lives.

World-leading lecturers and supervisors

Massey’s journalism staff are experts in journalism research and teaching. They have all had many years experience as professional journalists or journalism researchers, and as journalism teachers.

Dr James Hollings

James heads the master's journalism programme at Massey.

He has worked in senior roles in newspapers and radio. His doctoral dissertation was on the decision-making processes of reluctant witnesses, and he has published on the characteristics and attitudes of New Zealand journalists, media reporting of suicide, disaster reporting, and the practice of investigative journalism. He is also interested in journalism psychology, photojournalism, and contemporary journalism practice. He is also co-founder of the New Zealand Centre for Investigative Journalism.

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