How our postgraduate programmes are structured

Graduate diplomas


A graduate diploma is a coherent programme of courses that allows you to broaden your knowledge in a particular subject area following the completion of an undergraduate degree. These courses may be at undergraduate level, so you can extend your learning in an area other than the original major or specialisation of your undergraduate studies, or your programme may comprise or include courses at 600 and/or 700 level.

Graduate diplomas

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Diplomas


A diploma allows graduates or other suitably qualified applicants to undertake a programme of study in an area that may not be related to their undergraduate degree.

The level of the courses depends on the diploma qualification. The duration of the programme is normally one year of full-time study (or equivalent) with a total value of not less than 120 points.

Diplomas

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Bachelors (Honours) postgraduate degrees


Bachelors (honours) postgraduate degrees are designed to attract the best undergraduate students commencing graduate-level studies. They generally require completion of an appropriate undergraduate degree with an average grade of ‘B’ (GPA of 5.0) or higher in the Stage III prerequisite courses from a recognised institution. Some faculties and programmes require a higher GPA for admission.

Admission to postgraduate programmes depends primarily on your previous academic qualifications. In almost all cases, an undergraduate degree with good academic grades in the relevant subject is required for admission to postgraduate study. Some programmes may also take into account your previous work experience.

In some disciplines a Bachelors (Honours) programme (or a postgraduate diploma) is required as the first year of enrolment for a two year programme leading to the award of a masters degree. Alternatively students who perform well with a dissertation in their programme may be given the opportunity to fast-track through to a doctoral degree programme.

Bachelors (honours) degrees

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Postgraduate diplomas


A postgraduate diploma is a coherent programme of courses that builds on the knowledge gained in your major subject at undergraduate level. This programme will usually require completion of an appropriate undergraduate degree with passes in any specified prerequisite courses in your selected subject. It is normally completed by coursework only, but may sometimes include a research project. In some disciplines a postgraduate diploma (or a bachelors (honours) degree) is required as the first year of enrolment for a two year programme leading to the award of a masters degree.

Postgraduate diplomas

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Postgraduate certificates


A postgraduate certificate is a programme of study of 60 points and comprising a coherent set of courses. The programme is open to those who hold a bachelors degree, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the university, or those who have been able to demonstrate extensive practical, professional or scholarly experience of an appropriate kind. The duration of the programme is usually one semester of full-time study (or equivalent).

Postgraduate certificates

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Masters degrees


A masters degree allows you to build on your previous study by increasing your knowledge in a specific subject area, enhancing your career prospects and understanding. Most masters programmes comprise 120 points, though in some cases 240 points are required. Masters degrees are usually offered as research or taught options (NB: Not all masters degrees offer both options).

Research masters

A research masters provides you with the opportunity to develop advanced research skills and present findings in a documented scholarly form (such as a thesis). Your research should make an independent contribution to learning or offer a critical perspective on existing scholarship or methodology.

Learn more about postgraduate research
Find out how our Research Works Wonders

Taught masters

A taught masters will provide you with advanced specialist training in your chosen field, and is normally completed by courses only, although some can include a dissertation.

Programmes available

Masters degrees

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Doctoral degrees


The doctorate is an advanced degree that provides a qualification for students who intend pursuing an academic or research career. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is offered in all faculties; other named doctorates are also offered in some faculties.

Admission to doctoral study requires a first class honours or second class honours first division bachelors degree; or a masters degree with first class honours or second class honours first division standard; or comparable qualifications. Acceptance is also subject to the availability of staff for supervision, and appropriate facilities.

Almost invariably, a student is required to prepare under supervision a substantial thesis that represents original research into an approved topic and contributes significantly to knowledge and understanding or application of knowledge. A doctoral degree is normally carried out over a minimum of three full-time years, with candidates preparing a thesis on the conduct and results of their research.

The doctorate is directed by an appointed supervisor and an academic committee and usually takes four years of full-time study. The resultant research is embodied in a thesis that is then assessed by a panel of examiners (including at least two external to the University) appointed by the University’s Senate. In most cases this is followed by an oral examination of the thesis and the candidate's knowledge in the area before the degree is awarded.

Regulations are in place for our doctoral programmes. These include the doctoral statues and guidelines for doctoral programmes.

See the University Calendar regulations for doctoral programmes

Programmes available

Doctoral degrees

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Higher degrees


Higher degrees are awarded for an original contribution (or contributions) of special excellence to the candidate’s field of expertise, in published form. Candidates are usually graduates of the University of Auckland or another New Zealand university, and cannot present for consideration for the degree until at least eight years after graduation from their first degree. The degrees are:

  • Doctor of Engineering
  • Doctor of Laws
  • Doctor of Literature
  • Doctor of Science

See the University Calendar regulations for Higher Degrees

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Application process


Non-doctoral programmes

Follow our step-by-step guide to admission and enrolment: applying, accepting an offer of place, enrolling in courses and paying your fees.

How to apply for a postgraduate programme

Doctoral programmes

The application process for doctoral programmes is highly vigorous, and potential applicants must write preliminary research proposals in consultation with their potential supervisor(s) during the application process to provide evidence of their capability and dedication.

How to apply for a doctorate

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