Your postgraduate study options

Build on your undergraduate degree with a graduate or postgraduate diploma, Honours, Master’s or PhD. Explore which postgraduate qualification is right for you.

Choose a study level

Postgraduate study will provide you with further expertise, practical experience, or research skills in your chosen field. Some postgraduate qualifications can also help you change careers or develop skills in a new area.

The level of each postgraduate qualification within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework is noted below. The NZQF level you study may affect the conditions of your student visa and post-study work visa. Find out more from Immigration New Zealand.

Graduate diploma

A graduate diploma:

  • is usually one year of full-time study (120 points)
  • can provide entry into a postgraduate diploma or Master’s degree if your Bachelor’s degree doesn't meet the entry requirements
  • can provide a pathway to a postgraduate diploma or Master’s degree in a new study area
  • NZQF Level 7.

Postgraduate diploma

A postgraduate diploma:

  • is usually one year of full-time study (120 points)
  • is normally completed by coursework only, but may include a research project
  • can be used as a standalone qualification to develop further skills and expertise in your field
  • can count as the first year of some two-year Master’s research degrees
  • NZQF Level 8.

Master’s degree

We offer two types of study at Master’s level—by coursework or by thesis.

A Master’s degree by coursework:

  • 1 to 1.5 years of full-time coursework (180 points)
  • is normally completed by coursework, but may include work placements, research projects, or a small thesis
  • can be a pathway into a new study area in some subjects—look for entry requirements that allow for previous undergraduate study in any subject
  • would only lead to PhD study in exceptional circumstances
  • NZQF Level 9.

A Master’s degree by thesis:

  • one year of full-time research (120 points) taken after you’ve completed a one-year Bachelor with Honours or postgraduate diploma (120 points) OR two years of full-time study (one year of coursework, one year of research, 240 points)
  • independent study with no timetabled lectures or classes
  • students will work with a supervisor to present a piece of original research in the form of a thesis
  • some students take longer than one year to complete their thesis
  • can lead to PhD study
  • NZQF Level 9.

PhD and doctoral degree

A PhD or other doctoral degree:

  • is normally carried out over a minimum of three full-time years
  • students will prepare a substantial thesis that represents original research in an approved topic with support from two supervisors
  • NZQF Level 10.

Other postgraduate qualifications

Victoria University of Wellington offers two other postgraduate qualifications, but entry is usually restricted to students who have completed their undergraduate studies at a New Zealand university:

  • Postgraduate certificates are designed to increase your knowledge and skills at postgraduate level as a pathway to other postgraduate study options
  • Bachelor with Honours degrees are stand-alone, research-led degrees. Admission is based on strong academic performance in your undergraduate studies.

What it costs

Find out about your fees and costs as an international student. You can also use our cost calculator to work out your estimated study and living costs for your time in Wellington.

Explore your subject

We offer international students more than 140 postgraduate qualifications at five different study levels—from graduate diploma to PhD. The options available will depend on your subject.

Explore the available postgraduate programmes in your chosen field.

Check entry requirements

When you are considering which postgraduate study option is best for you, make sure you check that you meet the English-language and academic entry requirements.

How to apply

Once you have chosen your postgraduate qualification, you can apply now. There is no application fee to pay and you can apply at any time.

For PhD study, you should apply directly to the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research.