Master of Policy and Governance
Drawing on UC's teaching and research strengths in Political Science and International Relations, graduates can obtain a professional qualification in public policy and strategic decision making.
This Master's programme will provide advanced interdisciplinary training in just one year for those wishing to progress in local, regional, national, and third sector/not-for-profit roles in policy and governance.
- Advanced academic principles are investigated through applied tasks such as case studies and field trips.
- In collaboration with strategic partners, a panel of experts from outside the University will provide real-world informed mentoring of participants. Mentors will come from organisations such as the New Zealand Parliament and Business Trust, Local Government New Zealand, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet | Te Tari o te Pirimia me te Komiti Matua, The Treasury | Kaitohutohu Kaupapa Rawa, and the McGuinness Institute NZ.
- UC's Department of Political Science and International Relations has attained national and international visibility for the strength of its teaching and academic research.
- UC has particular expertise in policy processes and community leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand–Pacific contexts, in East and Southeast Asia, and in science, environment, and technology policy.
- UC is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world for Politics and International Studies (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2020).
- UC is ranked first in Aotearoa New Zealand for research in Political Science, International Relations and Public Policy (Te Amorangi Mātauranga Matua | Tertiary Education Commission 2018 PBRF assessment).
To enrol, students need either:
- a bachelor's degree in any subject, normally with at least a B Grade Point Average in 60 points of 300-level courses in the majoring subject; or
- admission Ad Eundem Statum (with equivalent standing).
All students will also need approval from the Programme Director and the Dean of Arts (Academic).
If English is your additional language, you are also required to meet UC's English language requirements.
For the full entry requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Policy and Governance or use the admission requirements checker.
How to apply
You can apply online at myUC. Find out more about how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications.
The Master of Policy and Governance (MPAG) comprises 180 points. Students can decide on the level of research that makes up their programme, choosing one of two options:
- 120 points of coursework plus a 60-point dissertation, or
- 90 points of coursework plus a 90-point thesis Note: (this is normally only open to students with a GPA of 7.5 or with the approval of the Head of Programme).
Students start their studies in February or July, and the normal duration would be full-time for 1 year. However, with approval, students can study part-time up to a maximum of 3 years.
All students must complete the compulsory 30-point course POLS 440 Principles and Practice of Policy and Governance.
You will also select elective courses:
- two courses (60 points) from:
- up to 30 points from relevant 400-level courses that will support your dissertation or thesis (eg, Geography, History, Māori and Indigenous Studies, Pacific Studies, Sociology, etc) with approval of the MPAG Programme Coordinator.
Students will then have the option of a research course – either POLS 688 Dissertation (60 points) or POLS 689 Thesis (90 points). Students wanting to complete POLS 689 will need approval from the MPAG Programme Director and good grades in their elective courses.
The Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara Wellington field trip is a two-day trip, which includes meetings with senior figures in Government and Opposition, a variety of senior ministers, policy advisors, the Parliamentary Research library, and senior leaders, including the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition. The field trip also includes a formal networking and senior peer mentoring event with UC alumni now working in Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara Wellington. This is an effective professional networking event.
Two further regional field trips will be arranged, with local councils setting case study problems, and students working with community and groups to address this problem and report back on solutions to a panel of public and policy makers.
Students can study a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Science and International Relations.
The MPAG caters perfectly for students interested in policy and governance careers in local, regional, and national government, and not-for-profit/volunteer sectors.
Graduates will leave UC having:
- built their knowledge in a chosen area
- engaged with senior staff and leading professional mentors
- conducted field-based learning
- conducted independent specialist policy research.
- Read what other UC postgraduate students have gone on to achieve in their studies and careers in our student and graduate profiles.
- Te Rōpū Rapuara | UC Careers can help you to achieve the career you want, connect with employers, or find a job.
- For research into career destinations by qualification, visit Te Pōkai Tara | Universities New Zealand website.
- Find out more about what you can do with a degree from UC.
- Come along to an upcoming information event for prospective postgraduate students.
For full requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Policy and Governance.
For study planning help contact the School of Language, Social and Political Sciences or the College of Arts:
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800