Graduate pathway

In 2020, the School of Government will again offer the Graduate Pathway professional programme, leading to the award of a Master of Public Management (MPM) or Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree.

The Graduate Pathway is:

  • a 4th-year (pre-experience) study option, following the recent completion of a Bachelor’s degree;
  • a 15-month, vocationally-oriented programme of full-time study;
  • where public management and public policy are examined at a postgraduate level;
  • a fast-track route to gaining a top-level professional qualification;
  • designed for individuals wanting to build a career in public service;
  • focusing on the skills and competencies required for a successful career.

Towards the end of the programme, each participant will also complete a 150-hour internship in a selected public sector organisation.

Mentoring and guidance from academics and practitioners will also be available throughout.

Employment is not promised or guaranteed, but the Graduate Pathway will maximise participants’ employment readiness and access to opportunities.

Student profiles

Learn more about the 2018 Graduate Pathway students.

Lisita Aloua

In the late 1980s, my parents and I migrated to Aotearoa from the Kingdom of Tonga in the pursuit of better opportunities. I am the eldest of five and the first to graduate with a tertiary qualification.

My passion for helping people prompted me to gain a BA in Social Policy & Māori Studies with a goal of working within the public sector. I worked over the summer as a graduate policy analyst at NZQA under the TupuTai internship role, an initiative by MBIE to actively promote diversity within the public sector by encouraging young Pasifika graduates to explore policy career roles.

I enjoyed my role, but I needed to learn more and develop practical policy skills set that will enable me to confidently build a successful career and the pathway programme towards a professional Master of Public Policy (MPP) will do just that!

Adelaide Brown

I have just graduated with a conjoint BA/BCom in Public Policy, Development Studies, International Relations and Economics. My degree is a fusion of creative solutions and practical applications.

I have chosen a wide field of study to give balance to my opinions so that I have a critical understanding of the social issues facing New Zealand and how they manifest themselves. It is important for me to know that the work I do creates a positive impact.

The watershed moment in my life was moving to Malaysia as a child and seeing abject poverty right in front of me. Stark inequalities exist in places both rich and poor, and the knowledge of this injustice has stayed with me. Today it motivates me to do my best to improve the lives of every person, starting first with my home country, New Zealand.

Courtney Hayward

Kia Ora! Ko Courtney Hayward toku ingoa, ko Ngapuhi toku iwi, ko Wairoa toku kainga.

I completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Management and Human Resources and Industrial Relations and minoring in Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington. This year I am working part-time as an Integrity Coordinator at MBIE.

From the MPM programme I hope to achieve a greater understanding of the mechanics of government and focus on how to improve outcomes in equity. I have a strong social conscience and have witnessed a prevalence of equity issues in health, education and social services. I want to improve these outcomes, particularly for Maori and regional New Zealand.

I aspire spend my early career years working with the New Zealand government and want to gain expertise and experience to focus my work on regional and low-socio economic areas to help implement change and development at a grassroots level.

Liam White

I grew up in the Hutt Valley, and attended St Patrick’s College, Silverstream. Following school I completed a BA majoring in Public Policy and Political Science from 2015 to 2017 at Victoria University of Wellington. There I have been keenly involved in student politics, and the Anglican community.

I am actively interested in policy issues such as transport, urban planning, resource management, and institutional design. In the MPP programme I hope to further develop my knowledge in these diverse areas of public policy and political science. I hope that through a career in the public sector I can help move New Zealand’s policy frontier in the direction of ecological sustainability and social responsibility.

I value policy work that takes a future focused orientation. Decisions made today can impact us for decades or generations. I hope to be part of a new generation of professionals that govern for the future

Eligibility and selection

The Graduate Pathway programme is open to individuals who have recently completed (or are about to complete) a Bachelor degree in any discipline at any New Zealand University with a high grade point average, and who can meet the other selection criteria.

Selection will be competitive and will be based on academic achievement, demonstrable interest and commitment to public and community service, and the potential to work effectively in the public sector. Short-listed applicants will also be interviewed.

Of those selected, participants may be awarded a School of Government Trust scholarship to the value of $10,000 to subsidise course fees (conditions apply).

The Graduate Pathway commences in trimester 1/2019 and continues for 15 months (including the summer trimester), studying full-time.

The application deadline for the 2020 cohort is Friday 29 November 2019.

Successful applicants will be announced mid/late December 2019.

To apply, please complete the Graduate Pathway Application Form and return it, together with your supporting documentation, to:

By post:

Graduate Pathway Programme,
School of Government,
Victoria University of Wellington,
PO Box 600,
Wellington 6140.

In person/by courier:

School of Government Reception,
Victoria University of Wellington,
Level 8, Rutherford House,
Pipitea Campus,
23 Lambton Quay,
Wellington 6011.


Participants will be required to successfully complete common core, core, elective, internship and research courses to a total of 180 points, as follows:

Master in Public Management

  • Part 1 = Programme core courses:
    • GOVT 502 Policymaking and the Public Service Manager (15 points)
    • GOVT 511 Managing for Results (15 points)
    • GOVT 512 Managing Public Resources (15 points)
    • GOVT 513 Managing People in the Public Sector (15 points)
    • GOVT 514 Leading Change in Public and Community Organisations (15 points)
    • GOVT 561 Research Skills for Public Managers (15 points) or GOVT 505 An introduction to Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy (15 points)
    • GOVT 565 MPM Capstone: The Forward-Facing Public Manager (15 points)
  • Part 2 = Elective, internship and research courses:
    • Two elective courses (of your choice) from the MPM/MPP schedule (30 points)
    • GOVT 569 Internship (15 points) (or 1 further elective)
    • GOVT 562 Research Project (30 points) (or 2 further electives)

Master in Public Policy

  • Part 1 = Programme core courses:
    • GOVT 501 Government and Governing (15 points)
    • GOVT 521 Economics and Policy (15 points)
    • GOVT 522 Policy Analysis and Advising (15 points)
    • GOVT 523 Policy Methods and Practice (15 points)
    • GOVT 502 State, Economy and Society (15 points)
    • GOVT 505 An introduction to Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy (15 points)
  • Part 2 = Elective, internship and research courses:
    • Three elective courses (of your choice) from the MPM/MPP schedule (45 points)
    • GOVT 569 Internship (15 points) (or 1 further elective)
    • GOVT 562 Research Project (30 points)

Internship and research

The internship will involve a 150-hour (unpaid) placement inside a selected public sector organisation. In return for being familiarised with the organisation, each participant will produce an agreed output.

The internship could be undertaken in any:

  • central government central agency
  • central government line agency (social)
  • central government line agency (regulatory)
  • crown entity/state-owned enterprise
  • non-government provider
  • local government

The research component will involve independent, supervised research on an agreed topic.

Reflection, development and mentoring

Participants will engage in a structured process of collective reflection and professional development throughout the programme, via regular meetings and discussions with the other participants and academic and practitioner mentors.

For more information

If you have questions about the programme, please contact: