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Postgraduate Study in Chemistry

The Department offers a range of postgraduate diplomas and degrees – from Honours to PhD. Our academic staff have a wide range of research interests so you should be able to find a supervisor who specialises in your area of interest.

See our research interests


Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons))

The Honours degree (Chemistry) is a postgraduate degree, requiring an additional one year of study after completion of a three-year Bachelor of Science degree majoring in chemistry. A total of five 300-level papers must have been passed, including at least four CHEM 300-level papers with an average grade of at least B+. A fifth 300-level paper in Chemistry (or related subject) is strongly advised for students planning to enrol in an Honours degree in Chemistry.

Students who have completed a BSc majoring in chemistry at another NZ university (with at least a B+ average in 300-level chemistry papers) are encouraged to apply for admission to an Honours degree at The University of Otago.

The BSc(Hons) degree consists of three 20-point papers covering 12 lecture modules of the student's choice (CHEM 461-463), combined with a 60-point research component (CHEM 490) comprising an oral presentation, a written research report and oral exam and supervisors' assessment. Allocation of research projects is based on student preferences as indicated at the beginning of the year. The class of Honours awarded is determined by combining the assessment of the coursework and research components.

More information on the Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)).

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci)

The PGDipSci is a one-year course for students who have a BSc degree and wish to have an introduction to research. The diploma can provide entry to the MSc degree by thesis only. PGDipSci students take 120 points of papers comprising equal coursework and research components.

The research project is assessed in the papers CHEM 464 (20 points) and CHEM 480 (40 points). In addition to the 20-point coursework papers that are available to BSc(Hons) students (CHEM 461-463), PGDipSci students may also select papers from HAZA 401 (20 points) and HAZA 404 (20 points), to a total of 60 points.

More information on the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci).

Master of Science (MSc)

An MSc in Chemistry can be obtained in two ways:

  1. A 12-15 month research project, for candidates who have already completed a BSc(Hons) or PGDipSci. Results are based entirely on the thesis report of the research (CHEM5).
  2. A 24-27 month course, for candidates who have completed a BSc. The first year involves written papers. A research project is undertaken throughout, culminating in a thesis. The papers component (50%) consists of coursework totalling 60 points chosen from CHEM 461-463, HAZA 401, HAZA 404 (20 points each) plus CHEM 464 (20 points) and CHEM 495 Masters Thesis Preparation (40 points). The thesis contributes a further 50% to the overall assessment. Students need to enrol in CHEM 5 for their second year.

More information on the Master of Science (MSc).

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD is the internationally recognized research degree in the scientific community and the Department of Chemistry is committed to the provision of facilities and intellectual stimulation that allow the student to achieve a research training comparable to that received in overseas universities. Assessment by means of a thesis is the only formal University requirement, but progress reports and seminars are required during the course. Students must have a BSc(Hons), MSc, or equivalent, to be admitted to the PhD programme.

More information on the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

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Application Process for MSc & PhD

To gain admission to the MSc or PhD programmes

International Students

Enquire about studying a Otago  for international students.

The university also has approved agents overseas for intending international students

Information about the English language requirements for intending international students.

Domestic Students

Enrol through eVision.

Contact the PhD Office who will guide you through the enrolment process.


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Scholarships currently available within the chemistry department

None at this time

More information on available scholarships.