Defence Studies – Graduate Diploma in Arts

The Graduate Diploma in Arts (Defence Studies) will give you the equivalent of an undergraduate major in defence studies without completing a second bachelor’s degree.

Where you can study

Distance and online

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students studying online from outside New Zealand

Specialise in Defence Studies for your Graduate Diploma in Arts at Massey

The Graduate Diploma in Arts (Defence Studies) is a bridging tool for graduates in other subjects to get the equivalent of a major in defence studies. You can then apply for a postgraduate qualification in defence studies if you wish.

Get a powerful combination of skills

The Graduate Diploma in Arts (Defence Studies) is a unique qualification that combines the study of modern defence studies and military history with broad and transferable critical-thinking skills.

Unique in New Zealand

You’ll examine the contemporary world of modern defence. This includes its impact on media, technology and conflict resolution at local and global levels. This is at the core of this diploma.

Massey is the only university in New Zealand where you can study defence studies and military history at undergraduate level.

Learn from the best

You’ll be taught by staff with academic knowledge of defence studies and/or military, defence and security experience. The qualification is designed in collaboration with an advisory board of New Zealand’s top defence and security officials.

Our qualification partners are government agencies that contribute to national, regional and global security, as well as peace and humanitarian aid initiatives.

You choose what to study

You can choose from a mix of military history, strategy, tactics, intelligence, command and technology courses. These courses aren’t only for people working in the defence forces, they’re for anyone interested in understanding the world of modern defence.

Further study

If you successfully complete your Graduate Diploma in Arts, you could go on to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts or a Master of Arts.

A Graduate Diploma in Arts in Defence Studies is a good fit if you:

  • wonder why wars start, who draws the battle-lines and why military force is used
  • want to understand why war seems to be an unavoidable part of human existence
  • want a career that contributes to world peace and stability.

Planning information

If you study full-time, in your first year, you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.

If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.

Not all courses will be offered in all modes or across all campuses in any given year

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

Course code: 294215 Global Defence Challenges 15 credits

An examination of emerging and re-emerging defence challenges within the global environment, in particular their impact on the character of contemporary warfare and the employment of military forces.

View full course details
Course code: 294245 Irregular Warfare 15 credits

The theory and conduct of irregular warfare including in joint (interservice), combined (multinational) and interagency environments, and incorporating both historical and contemporary case studies.

View full course details
Course code: 294255 Conventional Warfare 15 credits

An examination of the theory and conduct of contemporary conventional warfare by studying the combat and non-combat use of military forces within joint (inter-service), combined (multinational) and interagency environments.

View full course details
Choose at least 60 credits from
Course code: 200301 Contemporary International Conflict 15 credits

An examination of contemporary international conflict drawing on case studies from around the world.

View full course details
Course code: 294301 Legacies of War 15 credits

This course explores the legacies of war remaining after war and violent conflict ends, using case studies to examine the social, cultural and political responses to those legacies.

View full course details
Course code: 294304 Cyber and Information Security 15 credits

This course examines the threats posed by Cyber Crime, Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Intelligence, Cyber Infrastructure and Cyber Warfare to individuals, organisations and government agencies. Studies include the origins of threats, the evolution of technologies, the role of the state in offensive and defensive applications, and ethical considerations.

Restrictions: 149295

View full course details
Course code: 294325 Contemporary Peace Operations 15 credits

A critical examination of the theories, concepts, evolution, and contemporary practice of peacekeeping (including peace-making, peace support, and humanitarian interventions) with application to the regional and global environments.

View full course details
Course code: 294350 The History of Defence and Security Intelligence 15 credits

A study of defence and security intelligence from ancient times through to today, with emphasis on the evolution of intelligence organisations and activities, the impact of technological advances, and the wider political, social and ethical issues surrounding its practice.

View full course details

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

To enter the Graduate Diploma in Arts (Defence Studies) you will have been awarded or qualified for a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

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

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Can't meet the entry requirements?

If you need to do a course before you start your qualification, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Fees and scholarships

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.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

With a Graduate Diploma in Arts (Defence Studies) you’ll graduate in high demand.

There’s an increasing need for defence professionals, both military and civilian. Employers are looking for people with the intelligence, initiative and determination to work in a wide range of complex defence environments. These roles are integral to the safety of New Zealand, and the demand for qualified people who can fill these is exceptionally strong.

Our graduates are employed in a broad range of areas such as border control, law, policing, management, defence, immigration, intelligence, foreign affairs and trade, business, and international relations.

Defence studies is a great choice for a career in:

  • civil defence and disaster relief
  • diplomacy and conflict resolution
  • peacekeeping and truce monitoring
  • policy analysis
  • education
  • journalism and the media
  • management and planning
  • politics.

Related study options