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The Master of Planning (MPlan) degree requires two years of full-time, or the equivalent in part-time, study and entails postgraduate coursework in planning and planning-related subjects, as well as a significant piece of supervised research. There are two streams: one involving a thesis, and the other a research project. The normal admission requirement for both streams is a completed Bachelor's degree in any subject(s) relevant to planning.
A candidate's academic programme is decided at enrolment, and the research topic is determined at the end of the first year of studies. The thesis or the research project must be submitted by the end of the final year of the programme.
The MPlan is a professional qualification, and graduates are employed in local, regional and national government agencies, health boards, industry and planning consultancies in New Zealand and overseas. Some proceed to doctoral studies in preparation for employment in a university or as consultants on policy and planning.
Master of Planning (MPlan)
Regulations for the Degree of Master of Planning (MPlan)
Admission to the Programme
- Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
- Every applicant must either
- be a graduate, or
- have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
- In considering an applicant's qualifications, regard will be had to the detail of the course of study followed to gain the qualification, as well as the applicant's performance in the programme.
Structure of the Programme
- The programme of study shall consist of either
- seven prescribed papers in planning studies (PLAN 411, PLAN 412, PLAN 435, PLAN 438, PLAN 535, LAWS 515, and one of LAWS 521, LAWS 540, LAWS 577) with a value of 130 points, one planning-related paper worth 20 points, as approved by the Director of the Planning Programme, and a thesis (PLAN 5) with a value of 90 points, or
- seven prescribed papers in planning studies (as in (a)(i) above) with a value of 130 points, planning-related papers worth at least 60 points, as approved by the Director of the Planning Programme, and a planning research project (PLAN 590) with a value of 50 points.
- With the approval of the Director of the Planning Programme, one or more papers from relevant subject areas may be substituted for a prescribed paper in planning studies worth up to 20 points.
- A candidate shall, before commencing the investigation to be described in either the planning project or the thesis, secure the approval of the Director of the Planning Programme for the topic, the supervisor(s) and the proposed course of the investigation.
- A candidate shall submit the planning project by 1 October of the year in which the coursework is completed.
- A candidate shall submit the thesis by 1 November of the year following that in which the coursework is completed.
- A candidate may not present a planning project or a thesis which has previously been accepted for another degree.
- The programme of study shall consist of either
Duration of the Programme
- A candidate shall normally follow a programme of study for not less than two years.
- A candidate must satisfy the requirements for the degree within four years of commencing the programme.
Examination of the Planning Project or Thesis
- The planning project or thesis shall be assessed by at least two examiners, at least one of whom shall be external to the University.
- The candidate's supervisor shall not be an examiner but may make a report on the work of the candidate to the Head of the Department of Geography.
- Each examiner shall supply a written report on the planning project or thesis and recommend a mark and grade on the basis of the planning project or thesis as submitted, and an overall result selected from the options as specified in clause (d) below.
- The examiners may recommend that a planning project or thesis:
- be accepted without amendments;
- be accepted subject to amendments being made at the discretion, and to the satisfaction, of the Head of the Department of Geography;
- does not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, but may be revised and resubmitted for examination;
- does not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, and should be rejected without right of resubmission.
- Amendments (regulation 4(d)(ii)) and revisions (regulation 4(d)(iii)) shall be completed by a specified date to be determined by the Head of the Department of Geography.
- A candidate shall be permitted to revise and resubmit a planning project or thesis for examination once only.
- If a revised and resubmitted planning project or thesis is finally accepted, the result shall be either 'Pass' or 'Fail' (i.e. ungraded) and without eligibility for the award of the degree with distinction or credit.
- Where examiners cannot agree on a result, the Head of the Department of Geography should so report to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) or nominee who shall arrive at a decision after consulting a referee who should normally be external to the University.
Level of Award of the Degree
The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.
(i) The due date for applications for first enrolment in the programme is 20 November of the year prior to admission. In special circumstances, late applications may be considered.
(ii) A personal programme of study approved under regulation 6 may not meet the requirements for membership of the New Zealand Planning Institute.