Qualification types and levels , Momo tohu me ngā taumata

Find out what credits, levels and courses are, and the differences between pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate study.

A qualification is what you will work towards during your time studying at Massey. This may be a bachelor’s degree, a diploma or a certificate, a master's degree or a doctoral degree.

Key study terms

Credits

Each Massey qualification is made up of individual courses which are worth credits. Completing a course will earn you the credits you need to complete your qualification.

For example, a standard undergraduate course is worth 15 credits, and a typical undergraduate degree is worth 360 credits.

The number of credits you need to achieve for your chosen qualification will be outlined in the overview for your qualification.

Qualifications at Massey

Courses

Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. A typical undergraduate has eight courses per year, divided into four each semester, if studying full-time.

Your qualification may require you to do some courses in a certain order. This will be outlined in the description of your qualification.

Course levels

Our courses are taught at levels, from 000-level to 900-level.

Typical undergraduate degrees are taught at 100-level in the first year, 200-level in the second year and 300-level in the third year. Undergraduate certificates and diplomas are also taught in this order, but because they take less time than a degree, may mean you study different levels of courses in the same year.

Postgraduate courses are taught at 700, 800 and 900-level.

Because many courses need to be completed in a certain order to move to the next course, it is important to know which level you are applying for when you enrol. For example, to do a 200-level course, you will usually need to complete 45 credits at 100-level.

Course identification numbers

All Massey courses are numbered using a six-digit code. This is where you will find the level of the course.

For example, the course The Social Imagination is numbered 176101.

The first set of three numbers, 176, indicate the subject the course relates to (in this case Sociology). The first of the second set of numbers (the 1) indicates the level of study the course is at (in this case 100-level). The last two digits (01) make up the course's identification (ID) number.

Undergraduate study

If you don't want to study for a three-year undergraduate degree, but do want to achieve a qualification, you can choose from a range of undergraduate certificates and diplomas.

Undergraduate courses begin at 100-level and progress to 200-level and 300-level, normally in a sequential order.

Our courses adhere to New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Pre-degree certificate

A pre-degree certificate is 60 to 120 credits (six months to one year if studying full-time). These courses are designed to give you the skills you need to be able to study another certificate, diploma or degree. This is at NZQF Level 4.

Undergraduate certificate

A certificate at undergraduate level requires 60 to 120 credits of study (six months to one year if studying full-time). This is at NZQF Level 5.

Undergraduate diploma

A diploma at undergraduate level is no less than 120 credits (one year if studying full-time). This is at NZQF Levels 5 and 6.

Bachelor’s degree

Most bachelor's degrees are 360 credits, which takes three years if studying full-time, but some can be up to 600 credits. These are at NZQF Level 7.

Bachelor's degree with honours

A bachelor's degree with honours is generally 480 credits (four years if studying full-time). A bachelor's degree with honours is different from a postgraduate one-year honours degree.

Conjoint degree

A conjoint degree is where you study two bachelor's degrees together.

Our three conjoint degree options are 510 credits each. The conjoint degrees are the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Science.

These conjoint degrees usually take four years of full-time study to complete and are at NZQF Level 7.

Graduate certificate

A graduate certificate is 60 credits (six months if studying full-time). At least 45 credits of the courses within this qualification must be at 300-level or higher. This is at NZQF Level 7.

Graduate diploma

A graduate diploma is a qualification of no less than 120 credits (one year if studying full-time). At least half of the courses within this qualification must be at 300-level or higher. This is at NZQF Level 7.

A graduate diploma can be used as a bridging qualification if you are aiming for postgraduate study or research that is different from the area you have studied before.

Postgraduate study

A postgraduate student is usually someone who has completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, or has equal experience. Postgraduate study builds on that degree or experience to reach a higher level of achievement. That may be a postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma, honours, master's or doctoral degree.

Find out more about what postgraduate study we offer and how to apply

Postgraduate certificate

A postgraduate certificate is 60 credits (six months if studying full-time) at 700-level and gives you a way to build on knowledge and skills already achieved in study you have done before, or equal practical or professional experience. This qualification is at NZQF Level 8.

Postgraduate diploma

A postgraduate diploma is 120 credits (one year if studying full-time) where all courses are at 700-level or higher and may include research. This is at NZQF Level 8.

As a postgraduate diploma student, you will have achieved a bachelor's degree (or an equal qualification) and want to build on your previous study or experience.

A postgraduate diploma can lead on to study at a master’s or doctoral level.
If you want to change the direction or focus of your previous study, you may need to complete a graduate diploma to progress to a master's or doctoral degree.

Bachelor's honours degree

A bachelor's honours degree is 120 credits (one year if studying full-time) at 700-level or higher and usually includes research. This builds on the area of study you did in your bachelor's degree, and is at NZQF Level 8.

You will need to meet a certain level of high academic achievement in your undergraduate study to enrol in an honours qualification. The standard of achievement you need may differ between honours degrees.

Master’s degree

A master's degree normally builds on the area of study of your undergraduate degree. It can be 120 credits, 180 credits or 240 credits. A master's degree is generally completed in one or two years if you're studying full-time, depending on study you have done before and academic achievement. This is at NZQF Level 9.

A master's can be mainly coursework, a combination of coursework and a research project or thesis, or a thesis only.

You need to meet a certain level of high academic achievement in your undergraduate study to enrol in a master’s qualification. This standard may differ between master's degrees. Where a master's degree has two parts, you also need a high level of academic achievement to progress from Part One to Part Two.

PhDs and other doctorates

Doctoral degrees are fully research-based degrees which normally take a minimum of three years of full-time study. This is at NZQF Level 10.

You need to meet a certain level of high academic achievement in your postgraduate study to enrol in a doctoral qualification. There are different types of doctoral degrees, and entry and regulations differ between them.

Qualification levels and completion times

Table describing qualification types, levels and number of years to complete.
Qualification Level How long it will take you to complete if studying full-time
Pre-degree course 000-level 6 months to 1 year
Undergraduate certificate 100 to 300-level 6 months
Undergraduate diploma 100 to 300-level 1 year
Bachelor’s degree 100 to 300-level 3 years
Bachelor's degree with honours 400-700-level 4 years
Graduate certificate 300-level and above 6 months (generally after a 3-year bachelor's degree)
Graduate diploma 300-level and above 1 year (generally after a 3-year bachelor's degree)
Postgraduate certificate 700-level and above 6 months (generally after a 3-year bachelor's degree)
Postgraduate diploma 700-level 1 year (generally after a 3-year bachelor's degree)
Bachelor's honours degree 700-level 1 year (generally after a 3-year bachelor's degree)
Master’s degree 700-800-level 1 to 2 years (generally after at least a 3-year bachelor's degree)
Doctoral degree 900-level 3 years

Time to completion

Some qualifications have strict limits on how long you can take to finish and graduate. Others follow our eight-year recommended time to completion.

Find out about maximum and recommended times to complete your qualification

Short courses and micro-credentials

We offer a range of short courses at Massey. These are taught by experts in their field and can also be tailored to a workplace or organisation.

Short courses don't usually result in a qualification, unless they involve a micro-credential. Micro-credentials certify that you have a certain set of skills or knowledge you might need for further study or employment.

You can do short courses or micro-credentials to:

  • further your professional development
  • upskill
  • take a refresher course, or
  • learn about something you are interested in.

Short courses and professional development at Massey

Certificate of Proficiency

A Certificate of Proficiency is not a formal qualification, but an opportunity to do one or two courses at undergraduate or postgraduate level (15 to 60 credits).

The courses may be topics you are interested in, or need so you can prepare to study a future qualification. An undergraduate Certificate of Proficiency is at NZQF Level 7 and a postgraduate Certificate of Proficiency is at NZQF Level 5.

As the Certificate of Proficiency is not a formal qualification, you will not be able to graduate or get a graduation certificate. But it will appear on your academic record.