Two people regard a Grecian bust in a display case
Areas of interest

Study history, philosophy and culture , Te hītori, te tautake me te ahurea

Study at Massey to explore rich ideas and meaningful connections between people and events from the past, present and future. Pick from anthropology, classics, history, museum studies, and philosophy.

Need help or know what you want to study?

Simply the best

Massey has the strongest focus on New Zealand's history of any university in the world.

Join the dots

Studying history, philosophy and culture at Massey is great preparation for succeeding in our increasingly interconnected world.

Make a contribution

Make sense of the world from different perspectives through Massey. Contribute to education, defence, sustainability and more.

The heart of the matter

Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey. Explore what it means to be human, why we act like we do and the ways we create meaning.


Understand where we've been, how and why things change, and where we're going. Engage with contemporary issues. Explore ideas and cultures from Aotearoa New Zealand and the world.

Learn from world-class lecturers and researchers with expertise in areas such as gender and power, indigenous philosophies, logic, or New Zealand's social history. Get hands-on with field trips to conservation sites, galleries and museums, think tanks, or communities near and far. Hone skills in analysis, communication and interpretation. Choose from a wide array of careers to apply these skills and insights.

History, philosophy and culture are a good fit if you:

  • enjoy school subjects such as classics, English, history or social studies – and if you like maths, physics, psychology or religious studies, philosophy may appeal to you too
  • want a deeper understanding of people and our world
  • like thinking critically and identifying connections.

Course examples


Anthropology courses may cover:

  • culture as a lens to understand issues such as climate change or migration
  • how people create – and transform – their worlds, beliefs and practices
  • fieldwork in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas.

Classical studies

Study the ancient Mediterranean world to cast light on our shared human nature and challenges still faced by people today. Courses may cover:

  • culture, including literary and visual arts
  • history, politics and society
  • mythology and religion
  • impact and influences through the ages.

Classical World New Zealand


History courses focus on Aotearoa New Zealand, including Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and on Europe and the United States. If you major in history, tailor your degree to a specific:

  • area, such as a region or country
  • era, such as Queen Victoria's reign or the 1960s
  • event, such as a pandemic or revolution
  • theme, such as military or sporting history.


Philosophy courses explore big questions about ethics, knowledge and reality, including:

  • What does wellbeing mean, for ourselves and others?
  • Do rivers and mountains have rights, just like people and animals?
  • What makes something a science?

You may leave with even more questions. But you'll learn to look at tricky contemporary issues with fresh eyes. Deal with unusual ideas. Express your thoughts clearly. Engage constructively in meaningful conversations.

How to study history, philosophy and culture

Discover what we offer if you’re interested in history, philosophy and culture – whether you’re coming to university for the first time, changing direction or returning to advance your study or career.

Undergraduate study

An undergraduate qualification is generally the first thing you’ll study at university.

Bachelor's degrees

Degrees are the standard qualifications you do at university – the most common is called a bachelor’s. Degrees give you enough time to explore your interests, and also focus on specific subjects.

Undergraduate certificates

If you want to study at university, but aren't sure if you want to commit to a degree, try an undergraduate certificate.

Graduate certificates

Graduate certificates let you study in a subject you're interested in without doing a second bachelor's degree. Or you can use it as a bridge to postgraduate study if you already have an undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate diplomas

Undergraduate diplomas let you try university study before you commit to a degree. They’re also useful if you need to advance your career.

Graduate diplomas

Graduate diplomas can help you advance to postgraduate study or research in a subject you haven’t majored in for your undergraduate study.

Relevant undergraduate subjects to major or specialise in

When you apply to study at Massey, for some undergraduate qualifications you can choose what subject you’d like to specialise in. You can usually change your mind after you get to university, depending on the courses you enrol in.

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equivalent experience – you’ll be ready to take on postgraduate study.

Postgraduate bachelor's degrees with honours

Go deeper into a major subject from your undergraduate bachelor's degree, graduate certificate or graduate diploma; at a higher level of study.

Master's degrees

A master's degree normally builds on a main subject of study from your undergraduate degree.

Postgraduate diplomas

Postgraduate diplomas are postgraduate-level qualifications that are longer than a postgraduate certificate. If you’re successful, you might be able to use the credits towards the longer master’s degree.

PhD and other doctoral degrees

Doctoral degrees, including PhDs, are the highest degrees we award. They’re very demanding and their entry criteria reflect this.

What our students say

“The things I have learnt from studying a Bachelor of Arts are the skills of critical thinking, communication and problem solving. Making decisions makes up a large portion of my job and the ability to analyse every perspective and make a decision based on the evidence given is a very valuable skill.”
Emma Booth

Bachelor of Arts (Social Anthropology)

“You come to understand not only other cultures, but your own. You also come to better understand yourself.”
David Cranstoun Welch

BA Social Anthropology

Fieldwork opportunities

Our students explore different communities and ideas, with options for overseas travel during postgraduate study. For example:

  • anthropology examines societies in Asia, Europe, Pacific Islands, South America, and Aotearoa New Zealand
  • philosophy connects with indigenous philosophies around the world.

Jobs in history, philosophy and culture

Many careers rely on the critical thinking and communication skills gained while studying anthropology, classical studies, history and philosophy. Our research with employers show the value of an arts degree, with good demand for these transferrable skills now and in jobs of the future.

Careers can be in all sorts of sectors – examples range from business to government agencies, charities to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), libraries to museums and other arts organisations. Some of our graduates go into the media, research or teaching.

Careers include:

  • community advocacy or engagement roles, working with iwi, government and other groups
  • communications roles
  • diplomats
  • gallery or museum roles such as archivists, curators or publicists
  • policy analysts, who interpret information for businesses or government
  • researchers for businesses, government agencies or universities
  • service designers or design researchers
  • teachers or lecturers.

Annual salary ranges for jobs

Salary ranges disclaimer

Indicative pay rates are:

Which history, philosophy and culture qualification?

Examples of where our qualifications may take you.

Table showing jobs and what you could study to enter them.
Jobs Examples of what you could study
Archivist Bachelor of Arts (Classical Studies)
Bachelor of Arts (History)
Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies
Master of Arts (Museum Studies)
Communications professional for business or government Bachelor of Arts (Classical Studies)
Bachelor of Arts (History)
Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy)
Community advocacy or engagement specialist Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy)
Bachelor of Arts (Social Anthropology)
Curator Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies
Master of Arts (Museum Studies)
Lecturer or researcher Master's degree or PhD in your chosen specialisation
Policy analyst Bachelor of Arts (Classical Studies)
Bachelor of Arts (History)
Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy)
Bachelor of Arts (Social Anthropology)
Service designer or design researcher Bachelor of Arts (Social Anthropology)

Get an information guide

Download our guide to find out more about studying history and culture at Massey.

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