Master of Antarctic Studies (MASt)


This 180-point Master of Antarctic Studies (MASt) is a one-year degree that kick starts with summer courses that are coordinated by Gateway Antarctica, a research centre based at UC.

Gateway Antarctica offers an internationally unique programme of study and inquiry that has been developed by staff at the University of Canterbury in partnership with Antarctica New Zealand, with significant contributions from other New Zealand universities.

Antarctic research is represented in one of the ten New Zealand National Science Challenges, highlighting the importance of understanding the role of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in determining New Zealand's future climate and environment. It is also of interest internationally, especially to countries that make up the signatory states to the Antarctic Treaty and those that undertake national polar research programmes and institutes.

This master's degree allows students to:

  • conduct fieldwork in Antarctica over the summer (as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies)
  • undertake further courses and a research dissertation related to the student's area of expertise and interest
  • complete a master's level qualification within one year
  • prepare themselves for jobs requiring a solid background in Antarctic science or policy.

Entry requirements

Normally the minimum requirement is a three-year bachelor’s degree from a New Zealand university, or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered to be equivalent. If you gained your qualifications overseas, these will need to be assessed to make sure they are of an equivalent standard. You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

Qualification specific requirements

A candidate for the Master of Antarctic Studies shall have:

For the full entry requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Antarctic Studies or use the admission requirements checker

* In exceptional cases, candidates who have not completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies may be admitted Ad Eundem Statum (AES) to enrol for the MASt if they present evidence of ability for advanced level academic study and if they are approved by the Academic Dean of Science.

Qualification structure and duration

MASt students must complete the following:


Beginning in November, the Master of Antarctic Studies is expected to be completed within one year of full-time study. Part-time study is possible, with approval from the Dean of Science.

How to apply

Find out how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications

Further study

Students can study a Doctor of Philosophy in Antarctic Studies at UC.

Career opportunities

Postgraduate study can bring many career benefits eg, specialist skills and enhanced knowledge, entry into specific occupations, higher starting salary/progression rates, research capability/achievement and evidence of high academic attainment/self-discipline. 

Useful resources:

More information

For full requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Antarctic Studies.

For study planning help contact Gateway Antarctica or the College of Science:

College of Science | Te Rāngai Pūtaiao
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha 
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand 

Phone +64 3 369 4141
Email collegeofscience@canterbury.ac.nz