Master of Health Sciences


UC's 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.

The Master of Health Sciences (MHSc) is a research-inclusive qualification worth 240 points. Students are supervised by some world-leading researchers in the School of Health Sciences.

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
  • Palliative Care.

Note: UC also offers a coursework-only (180-point) Master of Health Sciences Professional Practice.

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.

Qualification specific requirements

You must have completed a relevant bachelor's degree or appropriate health professional qualification or the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (or equivalent) with at least a B average.

Students with a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (or equivalent) can complete Part II only (a full year of research – 120 points – in a pre-approved topic is recommended, although other options may be available).

For the full entry requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Health Sciences or use the admission requirements checker

You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

Qualification structure and duration

The MHealSc contains two parts: 

  • Part I of the Master of Health Sciences degree is equivalent to the one-year full-time Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences qualification
  • Part II of the Master of Health Sciences involves the production of an independent thesis, whether it's the production of a thesis only or the completion of a combination of papers and a shorter thesis.


At least two years full-time; up to four years part-time. Part II only: one year full-time; up to two years part-time.

Students can begin their studies in either February or July.

Subjects and courses

  • Part I consists of courses selected from within the list of approved subjects, or courses specified for the endorsed option.
  • Part II consists of either a thesis, thesis and coursework, or coursework and a dissertation.

Coursework is normally completed prior to thesis or dissertation enrolment. 

All students should complete:

  • HLTH 690 (120 points) in area of endorsement or
  • HLTH 697 (90 points), except those enrolled in the Nursing endorsement, who should complete HLTH 695 (60 points).

For the up-to-date schedule of courses for each endorsement, visit our University Regulations website. There is also more detailed information on the scope and structure of each pathway on the College of Education, Health and Human Development web pages: Develop your own Research Pathway, Environment and Health, Health and CommunityHealth Behaviour Change, Health Information Management, Nursing, Palliative Care.

How to apply

Find out how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications

Further study

UC offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences.

Career opportunities

Many graduates continue to work within their health profession while others work in health-related fields, the social services, or local or central government.

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 Health Sciences.

For study planning help contact the School of Heath Sciences or:

College of Education, Health and Human Development
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Ōrakipaoa Building
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Phone +64 3 343 7737
Email educationadvice@canterbury.ac.nz

Sabine Leech

Sabine Leech

'I wanted to further my career to a non-clinical role and Health Sciences seemed to be the perfect fit...'

Jai Chung

Jai Chung

'There are numerous opportunities to carry on a variety of research and learning opportunities...'