Qualification group

Master's degrees


UC offers three types of master's degrees:

  • research master's
  • coursework master's
  • a combination of both.

A research master’s degree advances your knowledge in the area of your previous studies, and enables you to conduct a significant piece of independent research (with supervision).

A coursework master’s (or taught master’s) degree provides a structured programme of taught courses at an advanced level. In some cases, a taught master’s can allow you to undertake study in a different professional area from that of your first degree (and so can facilitate a change of career focus). As well as the course component, many offer applied learning opportunities, such as an independent project or industry placement.

A number of UC’s master’s degrees allow for a combination of both courses and research.

Regardless of form, gaining a master’s degree is evidence of high academic attainment, specialist understanding and advanced critical evaluation, research, interpretation, and communication skills.

Entry requirements

Admission to a master’s degree is based on the evaluation of evidence of your ability to undertake postgraduate study in a specialist field of enquiry or professional practice. The primary basis for selection is on academic merit, however consideration may also be given to other factors.

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 to gain entry.

Admission to master’s degrees can be competitive, and some departments and schools may have additional requirements. Refer to the specific master’s programme you are interested in for detailed entry requirements.

Finding a research supervisor

If you are intending to conduct research, you should investigate potential supervisors before applying for postgraduate study at UC – see the UC Research Profile for a searchable database. Your supervisor is responsible for ensuring that all administrative and administrative requirements are met. They will also assess your suitability as a master’s candidate based on your academic performance (often requiring supporting evidence), the matching between your research interests and theirs, and their availability and funding.

Qualification options

Some of the master’s programmes offer a choice of structure. You should consider your options and what you plan to do with your degree. If you are considering a professional services career, coursework may work best for you. If you are looking for careers in research or academia, a research master’s is likely required.

Your research is presented in the form of a thesis, a research project or other output type, depending on the nature of the degree, eg fine arts and music.

The following master’s degrees are available at UC:


A number of master’s degrees allow for a combination of individual research and coursework. Master's degrees at UC take between one and two years to complete (longer if part-time) depending on your earlier qualifications and the particular degree.

Part-time study because of employment, family, health or other reasons may be possible but is not automatic.

Further study

It is possible to transfer to a PhD (or other doctoral degree) from a master’s degree. You will need to demonstrate that your thesis research is progressing well and that your thesis would benefit from an extended period of research. You will also need the support of your school or department to apply for a transfer. See transferring from a master’s to a PhD for more information.

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