Master of Arts


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.

MA students within the College of Arts benefit from:

  • a lively and supportive postgraduate culture
  • numerous master's scholarships
  • 11 relevant research centres.

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

Candidates must have qualified for a bachelor's degree and satisfied the prerequisites for the subject concerned. Prerequisites vary between departments, but normally good grades in 300-level courses in the subject concerned are required.

Students who have qualified for a Bachelor of Arts with Honours or equivalent with good grades may be admitted to the Master of Arts by thesis (Part II only) in that subject.

For information on the prerequisites for each subject see Schedule A to the Regulations for the Master of Arts or use the admission requirements checker.

Qualification structure and duration

The Master of Arts degree consists of two parts:

  • Part I: Coursework
  • Part II: A thesis.

Honours may be awarded if the student completes within the timeframe indicated by the schedule. Distinction or Merit may be awarded if the student completes an MA by thesis-only in the timeframe indicated by the schedule and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours.

Students can begin their studies in February or July. Part II (thesis-only) can be started at the beginning of any month.


The minimum period of enrolment is:

  • Part I and Part II: two years full-time (or three years part-time)
  • Part II only: one year full-time (or two years part-time)

For the maximum period of enrolment and other requirements, see the Regulations for the Master of Arts.

Note: Part-time enrolment is considered with the approval of the Academic Board.

Subjects and courses

Subject areas for the Master of Arts are many and varied and include:

How to apply

Find out how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications

Further study

Doctor of Philosophy

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 Arts

For study planning help contact:

College of Arts
University of Canterbury
History Building, Level 4
Private Bag 4800
New Zealand

Phone +64 3 364 2176
Email artsdegreeadvice@canterbury.ac.nz

Petrena Fishburn

Petrena Fishburn

'An Arts degree is the sort of qualification that establishes you personally and professionally...'

Meikko Forones

Meikko Forones

'UC has also very approachable lecturers who are known experts in their field...'