Abstract of a group forming the shape of New Zealand
Areas of interest

Study politics, geography and society , Ākona te tōrangapū, te mātai matawhenua me te pāpori

Study at Massey for greater understanding of change and stability in societies and environments. Pick from anthropology, geography, political science and international relations, and sociology.

Need help or know what you want to study?

Highly ranked

Shanghai Ranking lists us as 1st equal in New Zealand for political sciences – so you're in good hands studying at Massey.

What really matters

Beliefs and ideas transform people's everyday lives and futures. Study politics and society to understand the big picture.

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.

Specialise or go broad

The wide range of Massey courses allows you to specialise in your area of passion, or pick and mix across areas of interest.


Become a knowledgeable local and global citizen. See the world as it really is, and where it's heading.

Learn from world-class lecturers and researchers with expertise in areas such as religions and rituals, social movements or urban change. Get hands-on with field trips to explore places and people's practices in everyday life, including human/environmental interactions. Hone skills in research, analysis and communication. Choose from a wide array of careers to apply these skills and insights.

Subjects within politics and society are a good fit if you:

  • enjoy school subjects such as geography, history, psychology or social studies – and getting involved in social change, such as climate activism
  • want to make sense of our world and its possible futures
  • like thinking analytically and working with diverse ideas.

Course examples

Courses from across politics and society may cover:

  • choices and decisions people make about how to organise society
  • fieldwork techniques, including critical cartography (mapping and analysis) in geography
  • social and environmental sustainability.


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.


Geography courses may cover:

  • geospatial science and geographic information systems (GIS) – mapping data that casts light on people, places and the Earth's processes
  • how people and social processes interact with places and landscapes, also called human geography
  • how environments take shape and change over time.


Politics courses may cover:

  • international relations, including cultural, economic and political interactions
  • people's political activity and behaviour, such as social justice movements 
  • public policy and how it's negotiated
  • systems of government such as democracy.


Sociology courses may cover:

  • causes and experiences of inequalities in society
  • how society is intersected by ethnicity, gender and class
  • human interactions between and within groups
  • social contexts and how society is structured.

How to study politics and society

Discover what we offer if you’re interested in politics and society – 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 u

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.

Relevant research areas at Massey

Discover research expertise, projects and initiatives relating to politics and society at Massey.

Politics and society research

What our students say

“My degree helped me not only find employment, but to choose the jobs where I can make the most difference to the lives of others.”
Amy Thomson

Bachelor of Arts (Politics)

“Studying politics at Massey University helped me realise my dream of working for an international organisation helping to protect communities caught up in conflict and to build a peaceful and more prosperous future.”
Francesca Mold

Master of Philosophy in Politics

Fieldwork opportunities

Our anthropology and geography students get to immerse themselves in different communities and environments, with options for overseas travel during postgraduate study. As well as Aotearoa New Zealand, examples include:

  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Pacific Islands
  • South America.

Jobs in politics and society

Many careers rely on the analytical and communication skills gained while studying social sciences such as anthropology, geography, politics and sociology. Our research with employers show the value of a social sciences 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, agriculture to conservation, education to health. Some of our graduates work in community development or social justice, or go into the media.

Politics and society careers include:

  • community engagement or support roles, working with iwi, government or other groups
  • communications roles
  • geographers, who study relationships between human activity and natural systems
  • geospatial or GIS (geographic information systems) specialists
  • politicians or advisers in local or national government
  • policy analysts, who interpret information for businesses or government
  • researchers for businesses, government agencies or universities
  • service designers or design researchers
  • social workers
  • teachers or lecturers.

Annual salary ranges for jobs

Salary ranges disclaimer

Indicative pay rates are:

Which politics and society 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
Community development or engagement specialist Bachelor of Arts (Social Anthropology)
Bachelor of Arts (Sociology)
Conservation or environmental specialist Master of Arts (Geography)
Geographer or geospatial specialist Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Geography)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Geospatial Science)
Lecturer or researcher Master's degree or PhD in your chosen specialisation
Policy analyst Bachelor of Arts (Social Anthropology)
Bachelor of Arts (Sociology)
Politician Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations)
Master of Arts (Politics and International Relations)
Service designer or design researcher Bachelor of Arts (Social Anthropology)
Bachelor of Arts (Sociology)
Social worker Bachelor of Social Work
Master of Applied Social Work

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Geography

Massey is ranked in the world's top 150 universities for geography in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

QS Ranking - Sociology

Massey is ranked in the world's top 300 universities for sociology by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

Learn more

Get an information guide

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

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