Postgraduate research

Graduation Doctoral Alumni

We have research students investigating a diverse range of topics within Education and Health Sciences with the support and guidance of leading, internationally renowned academics.

Our academic staff welcome inquiries from prospective research students at all levels.

Click through the links below to find out more about our research interests and get in contact with us to discuss your interests.

Getting started

Contact a suitable member of the academic staff and discuss your proposed topic of research and whether there are suitable academic staff available to supervise you.  The best place to start is by talking to the Postgraduate Advisors or by searching the UC Research Profile

If you are an international student you also need to apply to the Admissions and Enrolment Office who will assess your eligibility for doctoral study in New Zealand.

See what our current postgraduate research students are working on:

Masters research

The MEd degree gives teachers, counsellors or other educational professionals the opportunity to improve their professional practice, examine critically significant issues in education and/or undertake research in their fields of interest.

Course structure

The MEd can be completed either by coursework or a combination of courses and thesis. 

  • The coursework option generally consists of six courses totalling 180 points.
  • The thesis option generally consists of two courses in the endorsed area, two further research methods course and a 90 point thesis (EDEM690) in the area of your endorsement, totalling 180 points.

Specialist endorsements

The MEd has seven specialist endorsements. An unendorsed pathway is also available. Each specialist endorsement has different compulsory and optional courses which can be viewed in each endorsement brochure.


Need more information?

For more information and initial endorsement inquiries email or phone +64 3 369 3333 to make an appointment.

The Master of Arts (MA) degree consists of coursework followed by a thesis. It provides the opportunity to make a contribution to knowledge while also demonstrating understanding of the principles of research. The Master of Arts (MA) degree consists of coursework followed by a thesis. 

Criteria for entry

Students who have qualified for a BA (Hons) or equivalent with good grades may be admitted to the MA by thesis (Part II only) in that subject.

The requirements for enrolling in the M.A. degree are the same as those for the B.A.(Hons). Students are normally expected to have completed 56 points at the 300 level in Education and have an average grade of B or better in these courses.

Students who have graduated with a BA(Hons) degree may proceed to take an MA degree by completing a thesis (EDUC690). In this case, the MA may be awarded with Distinction or Merit, but not with Honours.

Approval for admission is granted through the Head of School.

Course structure

This degree consists of Part I - typically the four courses comprising the BA (Hons) - followed by Part II, a thesis (EDUC690). For information on the courses available for Part I please refer to the BA (Hons).

Part I and II consists of 2.0 EFTS. Part I consists of four courses totalling 1.0 EFTS from courses EDUC 402 - 461. Part II consists of the thesis EDUC690. Students who have graduated BA (Hons) in Education may be admitted directly to Part II of the MA. The thesis is completed full-time in one or two years or with the approval of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, part-time in up to four years.

Students may also take up to two courses from the MEd or other schedules, with approval of the Head of School of Educational Studies and Leadership.

Length of programme

The required four courses are normally taken in one full-time year, with an additional year for thesis research. Arrangements may be made for part-time study. Before embarking on a thesis, students should contact the programme coordinator and approach potential supervisors to discuss their interest in supervising a thesis in this field. Separate approval for thesis research must be obtained.

Further information

  • For information on regulations about the awarding of an MA with Distinction or Merit please see the University Calendar (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences).
  • Find out more here (UC qualifications webpages).


Kathleen Quinlivan

Associate Professor
Wheki 219
Internal Phone: 95619

Azeen Tashakkor

Postgraduate Student Advisor
Karl Popper 405
Internal Phone: 94247

The Master of Counselling is the only postgraduate counselling degree in Te Waipounamu, the South Island. This master's is designed to give students the opportunity to extend their theoretical grounding and professional skills to work as counsellors in a variety of settings. Students are trained to identify systematic, effective ways to help clients find simple, acceptable solutions to their current concerns and problems.

UC's Master of Health Sciences qualifications give health professionals, non-clinical members of the health workforce and others interested in the health sector or health issues the opportunity to examine critically a range of significant issues in health sciences, and where relevant to improve their professional practice.

Course structure

The Master of Health Sciences consists of two parts, usually completed within two years by full-time students. In Part 1, students may follow the endorsed specialisation programme. Students will be asked to critically reflect, to link theory to policy and practice in their coursework during the first year (Part 1), and to develop a research question focused. Following on from the coursework in Part 1, the thesis research (Part 2) is generally completed by an original investigation relevant to your area of interest, which may be conducted locally, within New Zealand, or overseas, with the support of supervisors specifically selected to support your topic. A full year of research is recommended although other options may be available in certain circumstances.

Students may either follow a general programme, or focus on a specialisation and receive their qualification endorsed in one of several areas: Environment and Health, Health and Community, Health Behaviour Change, Health Information Management, Nursing or Palliative Care.

Doctoral research

The Doctor of Education is a specialised doctorate designed for professionals in education, health sciences, and related fields. Built on a cohort model of inquiry, the Doctor of Education provides a structured, supportive, rigorous approach to doctoral study.

The Doctor of Education builds leadership and commitment, fosters scholarly excellence, and allows candidates to connect educational research with questions of professional practice, in particular, leadership.

The EdD is a 360-point programme. It consists of two parts: Part One – Research Portfolio (120 points) and Part Two – Thesis (240 points). Part One is completed by part-time study in Years 1 and 2. It requires candidates to be in a relevant professional role while undertaking their studies. Part One is led by a cohort team (usually comprising two senior academics), who oversee the completion of the key projects in the research portfolio. Candidates meet as a group with the cohort team three to four times per year, in intensive block sessions. While completing Part One, candidates also maintain contact with their supervisor(s).

Find out more here.

PhD in Education is a recognition that you have delved deeply into a specific education issue or field of enquiry and that you have become an expert in that field. You will have acquired the skills to continue to do leading research and in most cases you will have published one or more refereed articles.

Our PhD in Education programme is strong and growing. Our students are able to choose supervisors who are at the cutting edge of their fields of research and scholarship. Currently we have students engaged in research in a wide range of educational fields and working with a diverse range of methodological approaches. As a result the integration of teacher education into the University environment we have welcomed professional educators who are interested in practice-based doctoral research.

We have a postgraduate centre that provides a strong academic support base, a stimulating learning environment, dedicated research offices, a community of scholarship, and regular interactive seminars. We have the capacity to develop collegial teams of students and supervisors in particular fields of interest, such as practice-based research within schools and early childhood centres.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research-only degree carried out under expert supervision and using world-class facilities. At UC you can complete a PhD in over 70 subjects, joining over 1000 students from more than 60 nations.

A PhD involves extensive, sustained and original research and study in your chosen subject, with the results being presented in a thesis that will contribute to intellectual knowledge of the field. It is a mark of intellectual ability, self-discipline and commitment. A PhD prepares you for a number of careers, including as an academic.

Areas of special interest can be seen at the School of Health Sciences website and include health systems, health care delivery, prevention and early intervention, health information management, health behaviour change, indigenous health issues, and family nursing.


Staff research interests and expertise

More information

More information regarding undertaking a postgraduate research at UC can be found at the Postgraduate website. Enrolment details for domestic and international students is at Postgraduate Student Enrolment.

More information about Postgraduate programmes and their courses is available in the Postgraduate Prospectus which can be obtained by emailing or phoning 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

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