Overview of the School

Gain an insight into the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations’ programmes and centres.

Within the School we have the following programmes and centres:

The programmes are housed in separate buildings. The History programme is in Old Kirk Building. Philosophy is in the Murphy Building, as is Political Science and International Relations.


History is food for the imagination, a whole world of places to explore. As LP Hartley once said, ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’

The study of History explores our past and helps us to see our origins and development. It provides a context which gives added meaning to present events and debates. History provides a framework for discussing and clarifying the complex issues of twenty-first century life. It introduces us to cultures distant from our own in time and space.


Philosophers explore the nature of argument and justification and examine the rational basis of belief in all areas of enquiry. The concepts and methods of contemporary philosophy can be useful for students majoring in other fields. Philosophy graduates, with analytical and reasoning skills, are employed in a wide variety of fields.

Political Science and International Relations

The programme offers majors in both Political Science and International Relations. Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s Political Science programme was the first of its kind in New Zealand and we are the only university in the country offering an undergraduate degree in International Relations. With Wellington being the home of Government, the University is the ideal place to study politics and although the capital is on the edge of world affairs, it offers a unique vantage point from which to examine International Relations.

Strategic Studies

Strategic Studies encourages students to think about the big intellectual and policy questions related to the use of force and to issues of national, regional and international security. The programme has the advantage of being situated in the capital city and enjoys good relations with the Wellington national security community.

Centre for Strategic Studies

The Centre for Strategic Studies at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington is the New Zealand anchor for research, teaching and public dialogue on strategic and security issues. In particular, the Centre addresses:

  • Global security challenges
  • Strategic change in the Asia–Pacific region
  • New Zealand’s security priorities.

New Zealand India Research Institute

The New Zealand India Research Institute is a national centre of Indian studies which promotes and facilitates research on India and India–New Zealand relations.