Master of Science


The Master of Science usually consists of two parts: coursework and a thesis allowing for students to investigate areas of interest to them and conduct independent and original research. Over 30 subjects are available, and some can only be studied at postgraduate level, which can allow for specialisation in academic and career pathways.

For more information about why students should consider studying a postgraduate science programme at UC, see the Postgraduate Prospectus.

The MSc may be awarded with Distinction, Merit or Honours.

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 completed one of the following:

Note: For Biotechnology, candidates can have completed the degree of Bachelor of Engineering with Honours

* Students who have qualified for a Bachelor of Science with Honours or Postgraduate Diploma in Science in a subject may be admitted to a MSc Part II (by thesis-only) in that subject.

Child and Family Psychology has other requirements – see the School of Health Sciences for more information.

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

Qualification structure and duration

Part I of the MSc usually consists of coursework while Part II usually consists of a thesis or dissertation. Coursework must be satisfactorily completed in Part I before the student can proceed to Part II. The requirements vary depending on your choice of subject, as some subjects require only Part II.


  • Part I and Part II must be completed in two years full-time; up to four years part-time.
  • Part I must be completed full-time in one year.
  • Part II is completed full-time in one to two years or, with the Academic Dean of Science's permission part-time in up to four years.

For most science departments Part I has a February and a July start date. Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Chemistry have a February-only start date. Students should approach the Postgraduate Coordinator if they would like to start at another time.

For Part II, most MSc subjects can be started at the beginning of any month.

Subjects and courses

Contact the department or school directly for information about these subject areas:

* Not open to new enrolments in 2018.

How to apply

Find out how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications

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 Science.

For study planning help contact 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

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