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International insights and opportunities

Develop a deep practical and theoretical understanding of the ways power is exercised. Explore how conflict is managed and security maintained across the globe.

You'll get insights into the pressing geopolitical issues of our age, such as the relationship between the US and China, cybersecurity, the South China Sea, and strategic responses to the problems of terrorism and civil conflict.

Enhance your policy, analytical and research skills and accelerate your career with a globally connected Strategic Studies programme.

Studying with the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations, you’ll join a fully integrated Political Science and International Relations programme, giving you access to a broad range of relevant courses and expertise.

What you’ll study

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

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

As well as Strategic Studies courses, you can choose from selected International Relations and Political Science courses.

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

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

Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Studies

You can choose to study only the taught courses and get a PGDipSS. If you later complete the research courses you’ll receive your MSS in place of the PGDipSS.


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.

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

The PGDipSS generally takes two trimesters full time or four trimesters part time.

Capital connections

Take advantage of the programme’s location in the nation’s capital and close relationship with the policy, diplomatic and security communities. You’ll develop connections and get practical expertise through seminars, roundtables and guest lectures.

International recognition

Work with internationally recognised staff who are prominent researchers, teachers and commentators on strategic and security issues.

You’ll study alongside the Centre for Strategic Studies, ranked number two in the region by the University of Pennsylvania 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, and 39th worldwide among university think tanks.

Fast-track or fit in with work

You can complete either qualification in a year, giving you a fast-track to specialist expertise in Strategic Studies.

You can also study part time while you work, with courses commonly available in the late afternoon or early evening.


Join a school with a focus on fostering its postgraduate community. Enjoy the benefits of strong relationships with staff, a thriving research culture and practical support through postgraduate seminars and events. You’ll get to hear leading speakers from overseas including the annual lecture by the Kippenberger Visiting Professor in Strategic Studies.


Gain the expertise needed to work in the wider security community, including government, research organisations and think tanks, civil society and the private sector.

You might work in policy, research, assessment or analysis jobs in organisations with a foreign affairs, defence or intelligence role.

The programme has a successful track record of getting internships in New Zealand and overseas—a good way to set up your career here or further afield.

The Postgraduate Students' Association can give you information and provides a voice for you on campus.




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Recipient: Victoria University of Wellington

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