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Masters Degrees in Environmental Geography, New Zealand

We have 2 Masters Degrees in Environmental Geography, New Zealand

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Deepen your understanding of the environmental issues facing New Zealand and the world. Examine subjects like climate change, the sustainability of our cities, loss of biodiversity, water quality and consumerism. Read more

Deepen your understanding of the environmental issues facing New Zealand and the world. Examine subjects like climate change, the sustainability of our cities, loss of biodiversity, water quality and consumerism.

Learn how environmental problems can be addressed through better policy, planning, design and communication. Discover how human behaviour can be influenced by these things and the role that politics plays in environmental concerns. You'll graduate with a good understanding of how you can create change.

Study alongside students from around the world and find out how environmental issues are tackled in different countries and the different problems they face.

Learn from the experts

Learn from highly regarded academics who are experts in their fields. You'll also hear from guest lecturers who are experienced professionals in environmental planning, economics, policy, law, politics, ethics and indigenous development.

Across disciplines

Environmental Studies connects with Geography and Development Studies as well as Public Policy, Law and Management. You can study the subject at postgraduate level from a science, commerce or arts background. Because you'll study with students from a variety of disciplines and professions, you'll broaden your own understanding through their different viewpoints and experiences.

The right connections

Make connections with the organisations that make the policy, do the research and create the spaces we live in. In the capital city you can take advantage of Victoria's relationships with the central government policy world and major research institutes like the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute.

Flexible study

You can choose to complete a one-year Postgraduate Diploma or a two-year Master's that will include a thesis. Both programmes offer you the flexibility to choose the courses that best suit your interests and career goals.

If you are interested in creating a better environment and have a Bachelor's degree with a B+ average in a relevant subject (or B for the PGDip), then postgraduate Environmental Studies is ideal for you. If you don't have a degree but have significant relevant experience, you may also be able to enrol in one of the programmes.

Available qualifications

  • Master of Environmental Studies
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Studies

Choose the qualification that suits your career goals, time constraints and financial situation. If you begin by enrolling in the Diploma programme you may be able to continue on to complete your Master's. Or if you enrol in the Master's but only complete the first year (Part 1), for whatever reason, you can be awarded the Diploma.

What you'll study

The PGDip is the same as the first year, or Part 1, of the Master's.

Core courses

Both qualifications include the 15-point core courses Environmental Management, and Research Methods. You'll get an overview of the current issues decision-makers face in managing the environment and look at case studies ranging from water management to urban design.

Research Methods will prepare you for thesis research and you'll study research design, data collection and analysis and how to communicate research findings.

Elective courses

You'll select the remaining 90 points from a wide range of approved 400- and 500-level courses from several different disciplines. You'll complete around seven of these and can tailor your choices to match your areas of interest and career direction.

You might focus on environmental law or economics, Māori resource management, climate change, political ecology or the psychology of behaviour change.

Master's thesis and practicum

If you are doing the Master's, you'll go on to a second year (Part 2) and complete a research thesis. You can choose to do the 35,000-word option, or complete a 25,000-word thesis and do a 30-point practicum. The practicum is a supervised work placement at an organisation that specialises in environmental or resource management.

You'll need an average grade of B+ across your courses in Part 1, for entry into Part 2 of the Master's programme.

Research topics

The Environment Studies programme encourages an active culture of research. Find out what potential projects you might work on.

Workload and duration

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.

The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDipEnvStud) can be completed in one year full time or usually two years part time. The Master’s (MEnvStud) will take you up to two and half years of full-time study or can be completed over up to five years if you are part time.


You'll graduate able to contribute to environmental practice in New Zealand or anywhere in the world. The skills you'll develop are relevant to many careers, including environmental policy, planning and management.

Many students have gone on to work in places like the Ministry for the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and regional or city councils. You might join a non-governmental organisation (NGO), a corporation, an iwi organisation or become an environmental business consultant or social entrepreneur.

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During your Master of Environmental Planning (MEP), you'll develop your knowledge and skills relating to both the theory and practical applications of planning. Read more

During your Master of Environmental Planning (MEP), you'll develop your knowledge and skills relating to both the theory and practical applications of planning.

Your research skills will build to an advanced level, and you'll gain a broad and in-depth understanding of knowledge relating to this specialist area. Throughout this degree, you'll refine your ability to show independent critical judgement.

Collaboration with Planning Professionals

At Waikato, you'll benefit from the service provided by a Planning Advisory Group. This Group is made up of experienced planning professionals working in the region.

During the MEP programme, you'll go to guest lectures, attend workshops and enjoy field trips where a range of professionals share their expertise. The Environmental Planning programme has enjoyed longstanding and active links with these professionals.

The teaching staff are connected with relevant networks such as the Resource Management Law Association and the New Zealand Planning Institute. Collaboration is encouraged and the MEP helps build close relations between Faculty members and employers, whether they be in environmental agencies or resource-use industries. These links help with addressing practical environmental problems.

Course Structure

The MEP involves one year of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study. It comprises 120 points at 500 level, including either a 60-point dissertation and 60 points from approved 500 level papers , or a 90-point thesis and 30 points from approved 500 level papers , or a 120-point thesis.

Papers offered for the MEP include:

  • ECON539 – Environmental and Resource Economics
  • ENVP501 – Environmental Planning: Practicum 1
  • ENVP502 – Environmental Planning: Practicum 2
  • ENVP503 – Legal Principles and Processes for Planners
  • ENVP504 – Strategic Spatial Planning
  • ENVP505 – Maori Environmental Management
  • ENVP508 – Plan Interpretation and Consent Processing
  • ENVP510 – Planning Theory
  • ENVP589 – Directed Study
  • ENVP590 – Directed Study
  • ENVP591 – Dissertation
  • ENVP592 – Dissertation
  • ENVP593 – Environmental Planning Thesis
  • ENVP594 – Environmental Planning Thesis
  • ENVS524 – Environmental Evaluation
  • GEOG518 – Advanced Cartographic Theory and Practice
  • GEOG520 – Human Dimensions of Environmental Change
  • GEOG538 – Automated Spatial Analysis using Geographic Information Systems
  • GEOG548 – Advanced Geographic Information Systems Modelling
  • GEOG558 – Applied Geographic Information Systems for Research and Planning
  • GEOG568 – Applications of Geographic Information Systems
  • POLS537 – Environmental Politics and Public Policy

Career Opportunities

Once you've completed your MEP, you'll be qualified to work in a range of different jobs. You may be passionate about research, and want to work in a research-focused role in either the public or private sector. Maybe you'd prefer to work for a professional planning consultancy or in a local or central government agency. You may like to work for an iwi authority or a natural resource user.

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