Philosophy – Master of Arts

Tackle the questions that have always gripped humanity. With Massey’s Master of Arts (Philosophy), you can build on your undergraduate study and complete advanced research of an aspect of philosophy that interests you.

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 Philosophy for your Master of Arts at Massey

With the Master of Arts (Philosophy), you’ll tackle the big questions. Like what kind of beings we are and how we interact with the world in which we live.

You can develop your interests and skills with a research report or a thesis.

Benefit at work and at home

Philosophy isn’t just about abstract thinking. Studying philosophy develops your critical thinking skills: your ability to assess whether arguments are rationally compelling and to make your arguments compelling to others. This skill is important in the workplace, and is consistently ranked by employers among the most desirable attributes in an employee.

It helps you in your day-to-day life too, such as when watching the news or reading stories on the internet. Through your study of philosophy, you’ll learn how to understand and evaluate what you read rather than just remembering it. You’ll become more aware of the reasons why you hold the views you do.

Complete your MA in three semesters 

Massey’s Master of Arts is 180 credits. This means you can complete an MA in three semesters of full-time study. If you study part-time, an MA will normally take three years to complete.

A Master of Arts in Philosophy is a good fit if you:

  • have an undergraduate degree in philosophy
  • wish to stay relevant to current discussions in philosophy
  • want to investigate a particular aspect of philosophy.

Planning information

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.

The Master of Arts (Philosophy) is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second.

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.

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.

Courses you can enrol in

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.

Part One: Coursework Pathway (120 credits) or Research Pathway (90 credits)

Compulsory course

Course code: 134710 Philosophical Research 30 credits

A study of key issues in the practice of philosophical research and development of a philosophical research project.

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Subject courses

Course code: 134740 Advanced Study of Philosophical Topics 30 credits

An in-depth study of selected philosophical topics at an advanced level from epistemology, metaphysics, theories of mind, or value theory.

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Course code: 134750 Advanced Study of Philosophical Texts 30 credits

A detailed examination of selected philosophical texts at an advanced level.

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Course code: 134760 Advanced Philosophical Inquiry 30 credits

This course will provide an opportunity for graduate students to engage in an advanced course of study in an area of current philosophical research.

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Course code: 134799 Research Report (60) 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study.

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Part Two: Coursework Pathway

Choose 60 credits from
Course code: 134873 Research Report Philosophy (60) 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study.

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Part Two: Research Pathway

Choose 90 credits from
Course code: 134816 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

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Course code: 134817 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

Corequisites: 134816

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Course code: 134881 Thesis 90 Credit Part 1 45 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

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Course code: 134882 Thesis 90 Credit Part 2 45 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

Corequisites: 134881

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Course code: 134883 Thesis 90 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

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Course code: 134899 Thesis 120 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

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 Master of Arts (Philosophy) 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.

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.

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

A Massey MA (Philosophy) gives you experience in handling unusual and difficult ideas, communicating your thinking with clarity, and being aware of the reasons for your views while being flexible and adaptive. You’ll cope with new challenges as the needs of your work change. That adaptability and the ability to think on your feet will be a big advantage.

These skills are highly prized by employers and this means you can explore a wide range of career options. Recent graduates in philosophy have gone into jobs as diverse as:

  • advertising
  • business
  • computing
  • journalism
  • management
  • policy analysis
  • publishing
  • research
  • teaching
  • The Treasury.

What our students say

“The value that development studies brought to my law practice is a testament to the significant impact that Massey instilled in my professional life.”
Melanie Pimentel

Master of Philosophy in Development Studies

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