Postgraduate study

Graduates have many options for further study within the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, whether it's to conduct independent research, gain a fast-track conversion qualification, make a career change, or develop expertise in their professional field. Postgraduate study is required for some careers and is a prerequisite for academic teaching and research roles.

Postgraduate study at UC is flexible, challenging and hugely rewarding. You can study full or part-time and choose from six-month courses through to a four-year PhD. UC is the only university in Aotearoa New Zealand to offer Medical Physics programmes.

Most of the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences postgraduate courses include projects, lab or field work. Postgraduate study may open up opportunities for practical industry placements or internships too.

While some qualifications, such as a diploma, may offer more coursework-based learning, opportunities for research at UC are plentiful. All physical and chemical sciences staff dedicate significant time to research, ensuring the school maintains its strong reputation in the international scientific community.

We have excellent facilities and technology that meets international standards and staff and postgraduate students are engaged in internationally important projects.

Postgraduate training at UC aims to develop a student's ability in creative scientific research. The student's own research topic is an important facet. 

  • Contact the postgraduate coordinator to discuss your course of study and proposed research
  • Obtain approval to enrol
  • Apply to enrol online (current UC students) Note: international students will need to apply for Admission Ad Eundem
  • Students enrolling in a thesis must enrol by phoning the UC Contact Centre. You will need to advise of your thesis start date and whether you are studying part-time. Typically your start date is the first day of Semester One or Semester Two or, the first Monday of any month.
    Please note your thesis course enrolment cannot be approved until there is confirmation you have passed MSc Part I courses.
  • Once you have been approved for entry you will receive a letter of offer and fees invoice.

If conducting a thesis, you will then need to complete a Masters Research Proposal Application with your supervisor. It must be approved by the college. Registration of a research proposal is due two months after the commencement date of the thesis if enrolled full-time (four months if enrolled part-time).

See the College of Science Postgraduate advice and forms

  • Guidelines and policies can be found on the University's general postgraduate pages
  • The University Regulations site has all legal university guidelines and qualification requirements 
  • Some departments produce specific postgraduate qualification or subject brochures, handbooks or guides. Contact the relevant Postgraduate Coordinator for any further guidance. 

UC Master's and Doctoral scholarships are available as are many industry or research institute-funded scholarships. Search the Scholarships at UC database for those available each year.

Postgraduate Astronomy courses

Graduates can study Astronomy and astrophysics beyond undergraduate level at UC. Students with good honours or master's degrees can proceed to a PhD.

Research students have access to state-of-the-art technology and benefit from international collaborations. UC has research programmes in fields such as planet searching, gravitational lensing, stellar astrophysics, variable stars, the cosmic microwave background and neutrino astronomy. 

Postgraduate Biochemistry courses

Biochemistry graduates with good grades are able to progress in the subject, with options available in all postgraduate science qualifications at UC. These develop advanced research skills and provide the chance to specialise.

Some go on to prepare for a career through further training in, for example, teaching, communication, management, forensic science, or product formulation.

Research work related to Biochemistry is being actively carried out by UC staff and postgraduate students.

Postgraduate Chemistry courses

Students who are high-achievers in 300-level Chemistry may enrol in a Bachelor of Science with Honours degree. This involves a fourth year of study, which includes a research project. This can then lead to the research year of a Master of Science or into a Doctor of Philosophy. Other options are available.

See current department research.

Some graduates undertake further study for a particular career pathway for example, teaching, journalism, patent law or business management.

Postgraduate Physics courses

Graduates can progress into a number of higher programmes in Physics, from honours to master's and PhD level. These degrees provide advanced research and writing skills.

UC offers the study of Medical Physics at postgraduate level. This is a unique programme in Aotearoa New Zealand and includes a variety of qualifications — a postgraduate diploma, honours, master's and PhD. The extensive range of qualifications reflects the industry demand for skilled medical physicists.

Some graduates undertake further study for a particular career pathway for example, teaching, journalism, patent law or business management.

Hear what our postgraduates have to say

All that glitters - the chemistry of gold

Chemistry and the environment

Battling tuberculosis with new drugs

For enquiries about postgraduate study please contact:

Astronomy and Physics:

Jenni Adams

Associate Professor
Physics and Astronomy Postgraduate Co-ordinator
Physics 718
Internal Phone: 95989


Renwick Dobson

Associate Professor
Biological Sciences 620
Internal Phone: 95145


Sarah Masters

Senior Lecturer
Director of Postgraduate Studies
Rutherford 736
Internal Phone: 94229

Medical Physics:

Steven Marsh

Director of Medical Physics
Rutherford 820
Internal Phone: 94225