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What you can study

Pathways to postgraduate study

Most postgraduate students enter programmes already possessing bachelor degrees. However, if you want to change the direction or focus of your study, you may need to begin with a graduate diploma.

Master’s degrees can be one or two year programmes, depending on your entry route. They can also be mainly coursework, a combination of coursework and a research project or thesis, or a thesis only (reporting on substantive research work).

Doctoral degrees are awarded entirely for research reported in your thesis (PhDs) or for a combination of coursework and a thesis (Named Doctorates).

Typical postgraduate study pathways

Diagram representing the typical pathways to postgraduate study

Entry to postgraduate study via professional experience

As well as the typical postgraduate study pathways it is possible to gain entry to some qualifications based purely on work experience. Examples of qualifications which allow direct entry if you have the appropriate experience include the Master of Business Administration and Master of Advanced Leadership Practice.


Programme search

List of programmes

You can view a list of all our programmes.

Types of programmes available

Graduate diploma

Normally one year of full-time study, a graduate diploma lets you specialise in a subject area after you’ve completed your undergraduate qualification. It’s also ideal if you want to prepare for a postgraduate qualification in an area different from your undergraduate degree.

Honours degree

Honours degrees are postgraduate qualifications comprising an additional year of study beyond the bachelor's degree in the discipline. Entry to an Honours degree requires prior high academic performance in undergraduate degree study. Students selected for an Honours degree will enrol in the postgraduate degree after completing the undergraduate degree. Completing an Honours degree may qualify you for doctoral study if your achievement is high enough.

Postgraduate certificate

With a postgraduate certificate you can build on knowledge and skills you’ve already achieved, whether through a degree or equivalent practical or professional experience. You can also use it as a bridging programme for postgraduate study or research in an area different from your prior training, experience or qualifications.

Postgraduate diploma

A postgraduate diploma builds on your prior academic achievement, and generally takes one year of full-time study to complete. It can lead to further study at master's or doctorate level.

Master’s degree

A master’s programme allows you to undertake advanced study – usually on the main subject in your qualifying undergraduate degree. Some master's programmes allow you to move into a different discipline from your undergraduate study.

Doctorate (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is the qualification to kick-start your research career. It is the highest degree Massey offers regularly. It can be acquired in most of the disciplines, including the creative arts. It may involve external supervisors from a CRI, or other research institute. It is Massey’s most supervised, fully research-based degree.

A PhD is awarded for a thesis, which is an integrated and coherent report demonstrating your ability to carry out independent research and analysis at an advanced level in a particular field. Your thesis should make an original contribution to knowledge of the subject it focuses upon.

It will be assessed by three independent examiners in a process that includes thesis assessment reports and an oral examination. It normally takes at least three years of full-time study to complete a PhD. If you’d prefer to study part-time, you need to allow five to six years to complete the research and writing.

Named Doctorates

Massey University offers two named doctoral degrees:

These are specially-designed degrees involving high-level study and research. They are ideal professional development options for existing and prospective senior managers and leaders.

Named doctorates basically comprise one-third course work/practicum and two-thirds supervised research. In all other respects - including the examination procedure - they’re equivalent to a PhD, especially in the standards of discipline, rigour and scholarship required.