Geography – Diploma in Arts

With Massey's Diploma of Arts (Geography) you’ll learn how we interact with our cultural, social, and physical environments.

Where you can study

Distance and online
Manawatū campus (Palmerston North)

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand
Note: Note that not all courses are available in any one year.

Specialise in Geography for your Diploma in Arts at Massey

Geography involves understanding the processes shaping the changing relationships between people and Earth.

Geography investigates the physical and social environments we inhabit. It looks at those environments’ interaction at global, regional, and local levels.

It is based on the idea that all places are the product of social and natural processes that occur there, but that also connect them to other places.

Planning information

If you study full-time you’ll take eight 15-credit courses (120 credits) in one year, or 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school.

If you later proceed to the Bachelor of Arts degree, all of the courses in your Diploma of Arts can be transferred to the Bachelor of Arts.

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

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 qualification 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 qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Courses you can enrol in

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Subject courses

Choose no more than 15 credits from
Course code: 145111 Society, Environment and Place 15 credits

An introduction to the diversity of human geography focusing on themes such as state and economy; geography of consumption; identity and exclusion; agrifood; migration; geographies of the lifecourse.

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Course code: 145120 Geographies of Aotearoa/New Zealand 15 credits

An introduction to the changing social and environmental geographies of Aotearoa New Zealand. Highlighting the spatial outcomes of local, national and global processes, the course will cover themes such as the spatial distribution of climate change effects, the diverse social and physical landscapes of Aotearoa, and local and regional economies. Key geographical concepts – place, space, flows and connections – will be introduced and drawn on to deepen understanding of the ways in which the landscapes of Aotearoa – as integrated human and physical environments – have changed, and continue to change. A decolonial lens – meaning one that honours Te Tiriti relationships and obligations, and explicitly contests the ongoing impacts and legacies of Aotearoa’s colonial history in terms of society, landscapes and knowledge construction – will help illuminate the contemporary challenges facing the diverse peoples and landscapes of Aotearoa.

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Course code: 230121 Future State: New Zealand in the 21st Century 15 credits

An inter-disciplinary exploration of the pressing social, political and economic issues (present and future) facing New Zealand in the 21st century such as globalisation, inequality and environmental challenges from the perspectives of the social science disciplines of geography, anthropology, sociology and politics.

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Course code: 233105 Our Dynamic Earth 15 credits

An introductory course exploring the dynamics of Earth and how it changes through time, from the core to the atmosphere, plate tectonics to volcanoes, glaciers to rivers, mountains to oceans, and mass extinctions to the evolution of life. Through exploration of these processes and their interrelationships with environments and society, including natural hazards, climate change, and earth resources, students will develop their practical, problem solving, and communication skills.

Restrictions: 233101 and 145121

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Choose at least 45 credits from
Course code: 121213 Land and Water Science 15 credits

How river catchments work and how they are affected by human activity. The environmental effects of land and water management practices, including land use, irrigation, drainage and nutrient loss, on river channels, flows and water quality, framed within an understanding of catchment geomorphology and hydrological processes.

Prerequisites: (189151 OR 145111) AND (233105 OR 117153 OR 199103) Restrictions: 145222

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Course code: 121313 Applied River Management 15 credits

The course covers the principles and methodology of river resource management. It integrates ecology, hydrology, geomorphology and water quality to understand how river ecosystems function and how they may be managed to maximise societal and environmental benefit.

Prerequisites: 121213 or 145222

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Course code: 145202 Working With Geographic Data 15 credits

An exploration of techniques for the collection, interpretation, analysis and representation of social and environmental geographic data using geographic information systems (GIS).

Restrictions: 132106

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Course code: 145203 Geographies of Inequality 15 credits

This course will consider how economic and social inequality is reproduced across space.

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Course code: 145213 Resource Conservation and Sustainability 15 credits

Various distinctly geographical approaches to resource conservation are discussed. Topics include: environmental change, human impact, renewable and non-renewable resource conservation, and the role of the state.

Restrictions: 145313

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Course code: 145214 Social Change and Environment 15 credits

Exploration of the theme of social change and environment with reference to world systems and imperialism studied from a historical geography perspective and focusing on New Zealand.

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Course code: 145216 Urban Environments 15 credits

An examination of aspects of the social, economic and political geographies of urban life, drawing upon various approaches in Human Geography.

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Course code: 145300 Cartography and Data Visualisation 15 credits

A course in geographic information systems (GIS) focusing on the use of digital geospatial information for cartographic presentation and data visualisation.

Prerequisites: 145202 or 145213 or 233214

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Course code: 145301 Research Practice in Human Geography 15 credits

An introduction to theoretical approaches in human geography, research design and qualitative methodology and techniques. There is a compulsory fieldwork component.

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Course code: 145311 Geographies of Globalisation 15 credits

The course explores processes of globalisation emphasising spaces and agents of global change, and global-local connections across a variety of topics.

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Course code: 145318 Geopolitics 15 credits

An advanced study of geopolitics, emphasising geographical processes across a variety of topics.

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Course code: 233212 Earth Surface Processes 15 credits

This course explores surface processes across Earth’s dynamic landscapes. Focusing on mountain, hillslope, river and coastal environments, the course investigates how and why these landscapes change over time. The course introduces methods for analysing and predicting landform change, and provides a foundation for managing geomorphic issues impacting society and the environment.

Prerequisites: 233105 or (233101 and 145121)

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Course code: 233312 Natural Hazards 15 credits

An exploration and analysis of the nature, causes, impacts, and management of natural hazards, covering earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, weather, floods and coastal hazards. How climate change and human activity influence the hazards facing society.

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Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for this qualification, outside of university admission regulations.

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.


If you have already completed a bachelor degree

If you have already completed a bachelor degree you may replace 230111 Tū Kupu: Writing and Inquiry or 230112 Tū Arohae: Critical Thinking with courses of your choice. You will need to apply for replacement courses via a Special permission request in your portal and you will need to attach evidence of your completed degree with the request.