Master of Arts – MA

If you have achieved a high standard of academic performance in your Bachelor of Arts or BA (Hons), shift up a gear and complete an MA. It will stretch your horizons and take your prospects up a whole level.

Type of qualification

Master's degree

Level of study

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equal experience – you can study at the postgraduate level. Doctoral qualifications require additional entry requirements.

NZQF level 9

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

2 year(s) full-time (180 credits)
Up to 5 years part-time
Part-time available

Where you can study

Auckland campus
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, or studying on-line out
Note: Some courses are offered in block mode.

Study a Master of Arts – MA

Go beyond your bachelor’s degree and delve deep into a subject that interests you.

Thrive in a world of constant change

Studying the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences is transformative. More than ever, the world needs people who can thrive in an ever-changing global environment and who are able to effectively challenge and critique new ideas. Advancing your study to master’s level will further enhance your communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills so you emerge and thrive as a leader in your field.

Shape future innovation

The arts are your passport to all the world’s wonderful places. Studying at a higher level will open doors to new cultures, communities and opportunities, driving your ability to champion creative and innovative solutions for complex global issues. You will have the opportunity to pursue advanced study in a humanities or social sciences subject of your choice through a research report or a thesis.

Develop your future

The arts examine the social and cultural issues that affect people and places. Your advanced understanding of these issues will take your professional development to new heights and equip you to lead New Zealand into the future.

A MA is a good fit if you:

  • want to stretch your intellectual horizons
  • aspire to change things for the better
  • seek new solutions to world problems.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

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

  • a Bachelor of Arts degree (or equivalent) with a major in the intended postgraduate subject, with at least a B grade average across the 200/300 level major courses

  • a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with a subject in the intended postgraduate subject or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts with an endorsement in the intended postgraduate subject, or an equivalent qualification,with at least a B+ grade average across the 700-level courses for entry to the Research Pathway or a B grade average across the 700-level courses for entry to the Coursework Pathway.

If you have a BA (Hons) or PGDipArts in the intended Master of Arts subject 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.

To enter the Master of Arts (Psychology) you will have been awarded or qualified for a bachelor’s degree with a major in Psychology having achieved at least a B grade average in the 300-level Psychology specialisation courses, 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.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

English language skills

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

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 qualification 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. 

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 Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate 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 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.

Structure of the Master of Arts

The Master of Arts 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.

Not all courses are available in each semester.

Grades achieved in the first 60 credits will determine eligibility for progression to Part Two.

  • For the coursework pathway a minimum B grade average is required.
  • For the research pathway a minimum B+ grade average is required.

If you enrol in a thesis, you commence with Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 1, followed by Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 2 in the next enrolment period. Both parts combine to meet the thesis requirements with a single grade assigned to each part.

If the thesis cannot be submitted at the end of the initial Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 2 enrolment, you must re-enrol in Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 2 and pay fees each semester until submission is made.

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Courses
Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Credits
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Specialisations
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

180 credits

Coursework Pathway

  • Part One subject courses (may include compulsory courses) – 120 credits
  • Part Two research report – 60 credits

Research Pathway

  • Part One subject courses (may include compulsory courses) – 60 or 90 credits
  • Part Two thesis course(s) – 90 or 120 credits

Requires:

  • Completion of Part One and Two
  • Completion of a subject

Choose a:

  • Coursework pathway (including a 60-credit research report), or
  • Research pathway (including a 90 or 120-credit thesis)

Advanced entry: Those who have already completed specified qualifications in advance of the minimum entry requirements may be able to complete this degree in 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.

Course planning key

Prerequisites
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.
Corequisites
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Restrictions
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.

Subjects

Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Completing a subject is compulsory. 

Find out more about subject requirements in the regulations for this programme.

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

Graduates of the MA are adaptable and versatile. You will be able to work across a broad range of sectors and roles including:

  • advertising
  • aid and disaster relief workers
  • business managers
  • communications
  • conflict resolution
  • customs / immigration officers
  • defence forces
  • disaster relief
  • education
  • family therapists
  • foreign affairs
  • human resources
  • international business
  • media production
  • mental health practitioners
  • novelists
  • peacekeeping
  • policy developers
  • policy development and analysis
  • politics
  • project management
  • public relations
  • research managers
  • risk management
  • school principals
  • sign language interpreters
  • special education needs
  • specialist teachers
  • speechwriters
  • teaching English overseas
  • translation
  • travel and hospitality.

Earn more

A 2016 Ministry of Education report, The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates, found that in New Zealand:

  • young master’s graduates earn more than one and a half times more than the national median (five years after study)
  • earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • five years after completion the median earnings of young master’s graduates are 19% higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree.

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