Time limits to complete your qualification , Ngā wā hei whakaoti tohu

Our focus is on helping you choose study to fit in with your life and commitments, while achieving success for the future. To guide you there, we recommend and set time limits for finishing qualifications.

Some qualifications have a strict limit on how much time you can take to finish your study and graduate.

For qualifications without a set time limit, we strongly recommend you finish your qualification within eight years.

We calculate the time to completion, whether set or recommended, from the first year you enrolled. For universities, an academic year generally runs from late February until mid-November, split into two semesters.

Undergraduate students

We recommend you complete your undergraduate qualification (diplomas, certificates and bachelor's degrees) in eight academic years.

If you are studying full-time for a 360-credit bachelor's degree, such as the Bachelor of Arts, you'll generally sit eight courses each year and complete your degree in three years.

As a part-time student, you can start your qualification with one or two courses each year and then increase your workload over time to complete your study within the eight-year time limit.

We recommend the eight-year time limit to encourage you to:

  • commit to your study
  • keep in contact with us so we know how you're going with your study
  • think about breaking your study down by committing to smaller qualifications, such as certificates, before moving onto a larger qualification, like a bachelor's degree.

Strict time limits

Some undergraduate qualifications have strict time limits, which you'll find in the regulations for your chosen qualification. You'll be able to graduate if you complete the qualification within this time limit.

Examples of these qualifications are professional degrees, such as nursing, veterinary science or teaching.

Find qualification regulations

Learn more about qualification types

Postgraduate students

Postgraduate qualifications have a sliding scale of time limits based on the size (credit value) of the qualification.

You need to plan your study to finish within these strict time limits. If you are having trouble with these time frames, contact us.

Table showing time to completion of postgraduate qualifications and the size (credit value) of each qualification.
Qualification type Credit value Maximum time to completion (in academic years)*
Postgraduate certificate 60 credits 2 years
Postgraduate diploma 120 credits 4 years
Bachelor's honours degree 120 credits 1 year^
Master's degree 120 credits 4 years
Master's degree 180 credits 5 years
Master's degree 240 credits 6 years

* Please note if you wish to be considered for honours, merit or distinction, the timeframes to complete differ from above. Please refer to the general regulations for postgraduate degrees, postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificates for further information, including limits for part-time study.

^ A bachelor's honours degree is one year of extra study after completing your three-year bachelor's degree. This is different to a bachelor's degree with honours, which is a four-year qualification.

Issues with meeting the time limit

If you fail one or more of your courses, you'll have plenty of time to catch up and complete your qualification within the recommended eight-year time limit.

If you need a semester or two off from study because of illness, family, or other personal circumstances, this too can be easily accommodated within eight academic years.

For students transferring to us from another university or tertiary institution, we still recommend you complete your first undergraduate or graduate qualification within eight academic years.

If you want to complete your study within the recommended eight-year limit, but don't think you'll be able to, you can contact our team of Academic Advisers for advice and options. For example, we may let you graduate with another qualification.

Talk to the Academic Advisers

Abandonment of place

An 'abandonment of place' means you have been admitted to Massey but haven't enrolled in any courses for three academic years in a row. You may or may not have taken any courses at all.

If the qualification you were studying changes, or is no longer available after those three years, it's up to you to find another qualification or courses to re-enrol into. You'll need to meet any admission criteria.

You may use credit from any courses you have passed previously for your new qualification if they fit into that qualification's regulations. You'll find these regulations in the description of your chosen qualification.