Become a nurse – build on any degree
The Master of Nursing Science (MNSc), which is accredited by the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) offers an intensive two-year pathway to nursing registration for graduates of any discipline. A part-time study pathway is also available.
This professional master's degree will prepare you for work in contemporary health settings in an era of rapid development in health technology and medical advances. You will be entering an in-demand profession that offers many areas of specialisation and opportunity.
The MNSc is taught at our University of Otago Christchurch campus, with clinical experience placements available throughout the South Island.
You will learn through a mixture of lectures and case-based learning, facilitated online learning, clinical skills development in the simulation laboratory, and clinical placements.
After completing your MNSc, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Nursing Council of New Zealand.
Why study nursing at Otago?
The Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies is ranked in the world’s top 100 nursing schools (QS World University Ranking by Subject 2022).
As a global in-demand profession the Master of Nursing Science degree offers a gateway to a great career outlook and job security both in New Zealand and overseas.
On our Christchurch campus, you’ll be taught by highly-qualified academic staff with strong clinical links throughout New Zealand. You’ll benefit from the latest nursing research and technology, and will have access to the impressive University of Otago Christchurch Simulation Centre. You will undertake between 1,100 and 1,500 hours of clinical practice to facilitate the integration of theory, research, and practical skills.
As New Zealand’s most medical- and research-intensive campus we are well equipped to support your nursing career goals.
“I chose nursing as a career because I realise that our health system is challenging to navigate and has its cracks, but if I could bring comfort, hope and help to someone in need, I would feel so fulfilled.
“I love the practical aspect of the Master of Nursing Science. During the placements and simulation sessions, I've been able to consolidate my learning and gain confidence as a nurse. I appreciate all my classmates – our different backgrounds and life experiences enables us to have widened class discussions and a mature nursing education.”
— Catherine Hooker – Studying for a Master of Nursing Science
“I completed an honours degree in Neuroscience and was wondering what to do for a career. As I began researching my options I stumbled upon the MNSc program. It built on my current degree, would enable me to graduate with a master’s, and meant that I could be in paid employment and on the front line of health in only two years. It certainly ticked all the right boxes.
“I enjoyed being in a small class of intelligent people, with an awesome and varied collective knowledge and skill set. The lecturers were highly supportive and dedicated, creating a highly conducive environment for learning. While there was a high workload, all content was self-directed learning and the research project was a great exercise in academic creativity and freedom. I entered nursing feeling like I was ready for my career.”
— Isaiah Svoboda, Registered Nurse at The Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch – Graduate of the Master of Nursing Science
The Master of Nursing Science (MNSc) consists of 12 taught papers and a 30-point research project. You must complete all papers.
- NURS 441 Professional Nursing
- NURS 442 Health Care in New Zealand
- NURS 443 Nursing Science 1
- NURS 444 Nursing Science 2
- NURS 445 Introduction to Clinical Nursing Practice
- NURS 446 Nursing Clients with Altered Health States
- NURS 447 Applied Nursing Research
- NURS 501 Nursing Science 3
- NURS 502 Mental Health Nursing
- NURS 503 Nursing Clients with Complex Health States
- NURS 504 Consolidation of Practice
- NURS 580 Nursing Research Project
- NURS 581 Integrating Practice
The Master of Nursing Science (MNSc) is a postgraduate qualification. It is open to graduates from any discipline who achieved a ‘B’ average from the final two years of their degree.
How to apply
We welcome your questions about the Master of Nursing Science (MNSc) degree.
Please contact us at any time:
If you’re an international student, your application process is different. Please contact the International Office for advice.
When you apply to enrol in the MNSc degree, we will require the following details:
- An up-to-date copy of your CV that includes:
- Current and recent past employent
- Community activities
- Participation in sports and voluntary work
- Statement of Interest (PDF) outlining your reasons for wanting to become a nurse (up to 300 words).
- Completed and signed Health Sciences Declaration Form (PDF)
- Completed Referee Form (PDF) from two referees.
If this is your first time studying with the University of Otago, you may be asked for additional documents such as:
- Academic transcript / record from any other institutions attended
- Birth certificate
- Certified IELTS results
- Marriage certificate
During the application period, the link to apply can be found on the MNSc regulations page:
Outcome of application
- Selection into the programme will be assessed by means of your academic record, your CV, Statement of Interest and your two confidential referee reports. Applicants may also be invited to attend an interview.
- If your application has not been successful you will be notified of this via your eVision student portal.
- If you are successful following the selection process you will be offered a place in the programme via your eVision student portal. This may be a conditional offer if, for example, we have not received all documentation required to complete your application.
- To accept your offer you must complete an online response to the offer. Even if you do not wish to accept any offer made to you, you must still complete the online response to offer process.
- If you receive notification that you have been placed on the Waiting List for the Master of Nursing Science you will be contacted should a place become available. You can be offered a place from a waiting list right up to the time classes begin. Where students are on the waiting list and have exactly the same score, a balloting system will be used to determine who is offered a place.
- Entry into the programme is competitive and places may be limited due to the number of clinical placements available.
- Applicants must have their personal and financial affairs in order when they apply so that if their application is successful, they are able to take up a place at the start of the first semester.
Please be advised that the University of Otago’s Student Experience Admissions office will not be held responsible for any communication problems because of an applicant’s failure to provide and check an appropriate email.
Māori and New Zealand Resident Indigenous Pacific applicants
The University of Otago is committed to initiatives that increase the number of indigenous Māori and indigenous Pacific Island graduates. The Division of Health Sciences is focused on ensuring that New Zealand’s diverse health workforce needs are met, to honouring the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi / Tiriti o Waitangi, and promoting academic equity for under-represented groups.
Additional information to assist your application
Deferral of entry
Successful candidates may request to defer their entry to the following academic year. Requests will be considered on the following grounds:
- Serious medical grounds or other exceptional circumstances. Candidates that are approved deferral on medical grounds or exceptional circumstances will be required to provide evidence that they are able to resume study. This evidence must reach the Master of Nursing Science administrator by 1 September in the year following your deferral year.
Deferrals will only be granted for a maximum period of one academic year.
To apply for a deferral of entry please complete and return the Deferral Form (PDF)
Health and disabilities
Please contact the University of Otago’s Manager of Disability Information and Support if you have a mental or physical condition that may affect whether or not you are able to meet the requirements of a programme or obtain professional registration.
Health conditions include:
- Physical conditions
- Mental conditions
- Psychological conditions
Applicants who have a mental or physical condition should declare this on the Division of Health Science Declaration Form.
Applicants who have been charged with a criminal offence, and/or are currently facing disciplinary proceedings (including drink driving and traffic offences) should declare this on their Division of Health Science Declaration form.
As some convictions may prohibit registration, applicants are advised to consult the regulations of the appropriate registering professional body, in this instance the Nursing Council of New Zealand.
All applicants must consent to verification from the New Zealand Police that there are no undeclared criminal charges or convictions.
Any applicant who has resided in Australia must consent to verification from the Australian Police that there are no undeclared criminal charges or convictions.
The Children's Act (CA) 2014 introduces new requirements for organisations, therefore CAA-compliant vetting may be used as part of your admission to the Master of Nursing Science.
The New Zealand Police website has further information on both the Clean Slate and CA.
Nursing is a profession that requires physical contract with those we are caring for. In the Master of Nursing Science programme all students must participate in laboratory, practical and clinical activities, including those that may be unusual in some cultures.
Simulation laboratory learning will require individuals to practise clinical activities including those that involve physical contact with other students. Training occurs under close supervision and all students are required to participate, as it is essential for their acquisition of clinical skills.
First aid certificate
All candidates who accept a place into the Master of Nursing Science must provide a certified copy of a current New Zealand First Aid Certificate before the start of the programme.
Applicants must gain this qualification through a NZQA-registered training provider who is authorised to assess NZQA first aid standards.
The certificate should include NZQA Standards 6400, 6401, 6402.
The following are a selection of recommended training courses:
All applicants who are offered and accept a place in the Master of Nursing Science programme will be required to provide evidence of their serology status.
Because of the nature of their practice, health professionals are required to take steps to ensure they neither acquire infections from their patients nor transmit infections to patients.
Immunity testing arrangements will be made known before the start of the programme.
Students should read and understand the full information regarding the Infectious Diseases Policy (PDF)
Disclaimer: The University of Otago makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided on its web pages. However the matters covered, including the availability and structure of courses, are subject to regular review and no warranty or representation can be provided regarding the accuracy of such information, and the University does not accept liability for any losses or damage arising directly or indirectly from reliance on the information. While the University of Otago takes all due care in implementing the regulations, policies and procedures that relate to the admissions process, it reserves the right to correct any administrative errors that may occur.