Research masters for international students

Information for international students interested in studying a research masters at the University of Auckland.

Masters programmes at the University of Auckland are generally 180 points (18 months of full-time study) or 240 points (two years of full-time study). If you have completed a year of postgraduate study, e.g. a postgraduate diploma, you may be admitted directly to a 120 point version (one year of full-time study).

Masters degrees are generally offered as either research or taught (coursework) masters. A number of our masters programmes have an additional Semester Two (late July) intake.

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.

As New Zealand’s premier research-led university*, the University has earned a great reputation for delivering academic and research excellence within a supportive learning environment. We have the highest number of A-rated researchers in the country**, giving you the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with outstanding academic staff from New Zealand and abroad.

The University has built a broad academic community of researchers, scholars and students who are ready to support you as you challenge current beliefs, form and test new ideas, and embark on an enriching and fulfilling career. We look forward to welcoming you as a member of our community.

The University also offers a wide range of taught masters for international students.

*QS World University Rankings.
**Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) Report 2013.

Why study at the University of Auckland?

The University of Auckland is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. (QS World University Rankings 2018)

The University of Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and most comprehensive university. It has a strong focus on quality with selective entry to all programmes. Our main City Campus is located in the heart of Auckland, which is ranked third out of 230 world cities for quality of living in the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Rankings.

If you want to study for a world-class qualification in an exciting and dynamic environment –  browse through our website and discover what we offer.

Choose your research masters programme


The University of Auckland's Faculty of Arts is ranked number 28th** among the world's best Arts and Humanities universities in the world.

Master of Arts (MA)

The MA degree allows you to pursue in-depth study of your subject area, undertake research in an area of interest and work alongside some of New Zealand’s leading academic staff. It will give you the opportunity to develop exceptional transferable skills while increasing your understanding of your field. The MA is a one or two-year degree depending on your entrance pathway. The MA is available in over 40 different subjects.

Master of Creative Writing (MCW)

The MCW is for writers working on a large-scale creative writing project – a novel, short story collection, full-length work of creative nonfiction, or poetry collection. The best portfolio each year wins the Sir James Wallace Master of Creative Writing Prize of NZ$5000.

Master of Conflict and Terrorism Studies (MCTS)

This programme is designed to advance your knowledge and skills in the study of conflict and terrorism at both the inter- and intra-state level. You can develop your potential for roles in government and security, international organisations, policy making, peace-keeping, and post-conflict government and development.

Master of Literature (MLitt)

The MLitt is for students who want to complete a second masters degree. It is an opportunity to undertake research if you have completed an MA in the same or another subject and provides an alternative to the PhD. You will complete a 120-point thesis, based on original research in a Faculty of Arts subject.

Master of Public Policy (MPP)

The Master of Public Policy is an opportunity to focus on the field of public policy and develop your potential for leadership in the public sector.

Master of Theology (MTheol)

The MTheol is a one-year degree that may be taken following an initial year of postgraduate study in a Bachelor of Theology (Honours) or Postgraduate Diploma in Theology. The MTheol is a Research Masters, enabling you to pursue your interests in depth by undertaking substantial research.

Business School

The University of Auckland Business School has Triple Crown Accreditation. This consists of international accreditation from the world’s foremost accrediting bodies – AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. Triple Crown endorsement puts us among a select group of institutions globally and means the Business School is benchmarked against the best in the world.

Master of Commerce (MCom)

The MCom, offered in 9 different subject areas, will provide you with the opportunity to master a subject area that you have specialised in at undergraduate level. The programme builds on your undergraduate experience, and is a good choice if you want an opportunity to develop your research skills in a business area, with a view to further developing your career. The MCom is designed to prepare you for specialist positions in the public and private sector, and as a stepping stone for future doctoral study.

Master of Taxation Studies (MTaxS)

We are the only New Zealand university to offer a specialised masters degree in taxation. The MTaxS is designed for law and commerce graduates who intend to make tax advocacy or tax consulting their career, and who wish to extend their understanding of the theoretical issues that underpin the taxation system.

Master of Property (MProp)

The MProp is a 2-year programme. The first year is coursework, and the second year comprises a research thesis that demonstrates a command of appropriate theory and analytical techniques relevant to the study of property issues.

Creative Arts and Industries 

The Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries is where creative, artistic and professional innovation thrives. Our programmes reflect our commitment to inter and trans-disciplinarity, collaboration and entrepreneurship.

Master of Architecture (MArch)

If you have completed at least four years of full-time architectural studies, this programme gives you the opportunity to extend your knowledge through advanced research in a specialised area of interest.

Master of Architecture (MArch) in Sustainable Design

With its holistic view of social, economic and environmental issues, this programme will equip you to take on the opportunities and challenges of contemporary planning practice.

Master of Community Dance (MCommDance)

The MCommDance is distinct from the Master of Dance Studies, capitalising on current international trends identified by UNESCO amongst others to improve the quality of people’s lives in developing countries. As a student in this programme you will develop and sustain critically-driven research in community dance that you find personally and professionally challenging and stimulating.

Master of Dance Studies (MDanceSt)

Dance research fosters independent examination of dance practices, dance history, people and society. You will critically examine practices, theories and issues that you find personally and professionally challenging and stimulating. Along with advanced specialist knowledge of dance you will gain intellectual and life skills that will equip you for employment, global citizenship and community involvement.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Three programme options are available in the MFA degree: Studio Practice, Thesis or Research Portfolio. The MFA is a 2-year programme if you are entering with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (or equivalent). If you have completed a BFA(Hons) or Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts (or equivalent) you may apply for entry to the second year.

Master of Music (MMus)

The MMus is an internationally recognised qualification that will give you entry to a high-level career in many areas of music, and help you to achieve excellence in your main field of musical interest. You will choose one of three main areas of study:

  • Performance – a concerto, lecture-recital, piece of written work or chamber-music performance, plus a concert recital
  • Composition – a portfolio of compositions
  • Musicology – a thesis on an approved topic, or a portfolio of work in approved subject areas.

Master of Urban Planning (MUrbPlan)

If you have completed a Bachelor of Planning degree and have an interest in pursuing advanced research in planning, the MUrbPlan is a good choice as it allows you to specialise in a topic of particular interest and thereby enhance your career. Your programme of study can be entirely thesis-based, or involve the preparation of a significant research report combined with advanced coursework.

Faculty of Education and Social Work

The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work is ranked 23rd out of the world’s universities for education.* We have over 130 years’ experience as high-quality teacher and professional education specialists and 30 years’ experience in social services education.

Master of Education (MEd)

This research masters allows you to develop knowledge, skills and experience in critiquing and undertaking educational research and to enhance your practice. Through research, you can contribute valuable knowledge and understanding to the field of education. You will undertake supervised research in an area of interest and can select either completion by thesis or research portfolio.

Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLd)

The MEdLd offers opportunities for in-depth study of research relevant to educational leadership and to critique and contribute to the educational research that is shaping New Zealand's educational policy and practice. It will provide you with the theoretical understandings and practical leadership skills needed to make a difference to the quality of education in your current and future workplaces.

Master of Arts in Education (MA)

This qualification is offered through the Faculty of Arts and taught by Faculty of Education and Social Work academic staff. You will pursue in-depth research in an educational area of your choice and work closely with university staff who are specialists in their field.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The MSW is a two-year masters programme for qualified social workers. It provides the opportunity to gain a highly-regarded and credible postgraduate qualification that prepares you for advanced professional responsibility in social work. It enables you to undertake further study in subjects related to their professional practice and then undertake research in an area of special interest. Options for research include either a 120-point thesis (equivalent to one year of study) or a 90-point research portfolio which might include a combination of the following elements: a literature review, an evaluation project, development of a new intervention or clinical or teaching resource and production of a journal article for submission.

Faculty of Engineering

Our programmes are designed to meet the changing needs of today’s technological world. Students are trained in pragmatic, analytical thinking, and to provide significant contribution to technological, economic and social development.

Master of Engineering (ME)

The ME is a research-based qualification that demonstrates mastery of specialised knowledge and an ability to perform rigorous intellectual analysis, independent problem solving and conduct fundamental or applied research under supervision.

Master of Operations Research (MOR)

This degree provides an opportunity for advanced study in this field through supervised research and involves a thesis.

Master of Energy (MEnergy)

An interfaculty postgraduate degree that enables students with undergraduate backgrounds in Engineering, Science or Commerce to develop expertise in any aspect of the energy industry.

Faculty of Law

The University of Auckland Law School is ranked 32nd globally, making it the top-ranked law school in New Zealand and one of the leading law schools in the world.* Situated in the heart of the city's legal precinct, the Auckland Law School has strong links to the practising profession and the judiciary.

Master of Laws (LLM)

This programme is for those pursuing a legal career, whether in New Zealand or elsewhere in the world. The LLM by research involves a 120-point research thesis.

Master of Legal Studies (MLS)

The MLS suits professionals from non-legal backgrounds who find that their careers require some knowledge of legal matters, but do not necessarily want to practise law.

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

The Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences is large, diverse, and committed to improving the health of our local, national and global communities through excellence in teaching, research and service. The faculty is New Zealand’s largest provider of medical and biomedical research, and continues to attract eminent researchers, talented students  and high levels of research funding. We are ranked in the top 100 universities in the world for Pharmacy and Pharmacology* and Life Sciences and Medicine**.

Master of Audiology (MAud)

The Master of Audiology (MAud) provides a professional training programme for clinical audiologists. The programme is offered at the School of Population Health at the Tamaki Campus in new, specialist clinical, research and teaching facilities. The MAud is a two-year researched-based programme which is recognised by the New Zealand Audiological Society (NZAS).

Master of Health Sciences (MHSc)

The MHSc programme is aimed at current health professionals and those with relevant undergraduate degrees wishing to pursue postgraduate study in a health related field.

Master of Public Health (MPH)

The MPH programme is an internationally recognised public health qualification for students intending a career in disease prevention, surveillance, health promotion, epidemiology and other areas.

Master of Biomedical Science

This programme is designed to prepare high-achieving science graduates and graduates of some clinical programmes (eg, MBChB) to develop expertise in applying in-depth biological and biomedical knowledge to the improvement of human health through the development of novel approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science at the University of Auckland is the largest of its kind in New Zealand. Our research programmes make important contributions to international knowledge and developments. Many benefit from collaboration with the faculties of Medical and Health Sciences, and Engineering, as well as links with international universities and New Zealand’s Crown Research Institutes. Our staff and students are involved in leading-edge developments and technologies such as: information technology, biotechnology, food science, medicinal chemistry, genetics, cancer research and environmental management.

Master of Science (MSc)

An MSc allows you to undertake advanced study and will provide you with the opportunity to undertake independent research in an area of interest, and to further develop your research skills. The MSc is available in 29 different subjects.

Master of Bioscience Enterprise (MBioEnt)

This programme is aimed at students interested in commercial and legal aspects of bioscience. The MBioEnt represents an interdisciplinary programme which aims to give science graduates the skills to move with confidence in both. You will gain skills in the financial, marketing and legal aspects of science which will prepare you for a wide range of job opportunities in science and business enterprises.

*QS World University Rankings by Subject
**QS World University Rankings

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Entry requirements
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