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Course content

Fast-track your career with a 12-month Master of Political Science. This gives you Master’s-level expertise without needing an Honours degree. You can also do the shorter, coursework-only Postgraduate Diploma in Political Science.

Study politics where it happens. Located in New Zealand's capital city, the programme gives you a close-up view of the political process.

You'll also get an international perspective. The programme is global in scope. You’ll learn how to compare and contrast how politics works in New Zealand with other countries around the world. You can include courses from related disciplines like international relations, strategic studies and public policy.

Make use of the programme's connections in the capital and around the world. You’ll get the chance to apply for Victoria University's prestigious Parliamentary Internship, along with the China Field Study and the Japan Field Study, which run every second year.

What you’ll study

You'll develop the core knowledge needed to understand political systems, policy processes and government in New Zealand and around the world. You’ll also hone your ability to design, interpret and apply political science research.

You’ll be able to choose from a range of courses spanning political thought, leadership, representation, political participation and political action. You can complement your Political Science courses with approved International Relations and Strategic Studies courses.

Master of Political Science

The MPols is in two parts—a taught and a research component.

The taught component starts with the core course and a range of approved courses.

For the research component you can choose between a 60-point dissertation and a combination of a 30-point research project and a taught course.

You may get permission from the MPols administrator to do a 90-point thesis in place of the part two research component and some part one courses.

Postgraduate Diploma in Political Science

You can choose to study the taught courses only and get a PGDipPols. If you later complete the research courses you receive your MPols in place of the PGDipPols.


If you are studying full time, you can expect a workload of 40–45 hours a week for much of the year. Part-time students doing two courses per trimester will need to do around 20–23 hours of work a week. Make sure you take this into account if you are working full time.

You can estimate your workload by adding up the number of points you'll be doing. One point is roughly equal to 10–12 hours work.


The MPols will usually take 12 months for full-time students and 24 months for part-time students.

The PGDipPols generally takes two trimesters full time and four trimesters part time.

Research topics

If you're thinking of doing a research project you can check suggested thesis topics and staff research areas for the Political Science and International Relations programme.




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Recipient: Victoria University of Wellington

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