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Postgraduate options

The School of Geography has a wide range of postgraduate programmes in Human and Physical Geography, Environmental Management and Planning, with options and pathways to suit most needs.


Whether you choose a taught masters programme, a professional degree or undertake a research masters or doctorate degree, you will be supported and supervised by staff who are international experts in their field. Their breadth and depth of knowledge means they are well placed to help you plan towards your future career and give advice based on genuine experience.

Our programmes have been carefully designed to provide specialist training in a range of areas to prepare you fully for your chosen careers. Our graduates have been hired as professionals in government, consulting agencies, non-governmental organisations, and business where they play key roles in planning, and policy development in national and international organisations, and areas , where they play key roles in planning management, and are productive scholars in research institutions and in academia.

The school has a large, vibrant and friendly postgraduate community housed in modern facilities with dedicated computer access. Our school is internationally recognised for the provision of high-quality graduate programmes with an established international reputation.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Applications for postgraduate study are welcome in all of our research areas.

Please see our research page to obtain a general overview of the kinds of research conducted in the school

Our staff profiles provide more details on the specific research projects and postgraduate opportunities under the supervision of particular staff

See the exciting research that our current postgraduate students are conducting

Working while you study

Part-time work can make all the difference to your budget. Postgraduate students are often employed as tutors, laboratory demonstrators or teaching assistants for undergraduate courses.

Tutoring is a great way to gain valuable professional and teaching experience during your masters or PhD study.

For more information on tutor/demonstrator positions please contact:

Liz McMecking

Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)

If you have a degree with a major other than Geography, you may need to complete a Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) before starting postgraduate study. A DipGrad endorsed in Geography will give you a background similar to that of a graduate with a bachelor degree majoring in Geography.

The DipGrad consists of seven or more papers, so it takes at least one year to complete. At least four of the papers must be at 300-level.

The papers that you take will depend on your background and your goals, and must be agreed in consultation with the Head of School in Geography and the Director of the Diploma for Graduates.

The University of Otago's Diploma for Graduates page has more information about the DipGrad, and how to apply.

Honours programme

Honours level study is available after completion of an undergraduate degree. The School of Geography offers Honours level study for the BA, BSc and BAppSc degrees, which can lead to Master's degrees in both Arts and Sciences.

Find out more about our Honours Programme

Postgraduate Diploma Programme

A Postgraduate Diploma is designed for graduates with a major in Geography or Environmental Management, or in other relevant disciplines, who wish to continue their studies to an advanced level and who may wish to later complete a research degree.

Find out more about our Postgraduate Diploma programme

Masters' programmes

Masters' degrees at Otago are research-based and are designed to equip you either to move into employment or to advance seamlessly to a doctoral study programme. At Otago we regard research as the heart of our academic activity and we believe that the synergy we have achieved between research and our graduate degree programmes contributes powerfully to our reputation as one of New Zealand's outstanding research universities.

More about our masters' programmes

Master of Arts (Coursework) programme for Humanities students

The Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA (Coursework)) programme is designed to provide a multi-disciplinary grounding for Humanities students in a range of subjects as preparation for further study or future employment. The programme will take either 12 months or three semesters of full-time study to complete, and can also be studied part-time.

Master of Arts (Coursework)

Master of International Development and Planning (MIDP)

The Master of International Development and Planning (MIDP) is a 12-month, full-time course work master's degree, that includes a research dissertation. The degree uniquely combines an enhanced understanding of development issues with professional planning skills and competencies.

Master of International Development and Planning

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A candidate who holds an Honours degree, a Postgraduate Diploma or Master's degree achieved at an acceptable level may be admitted to the PhD programme. The entry qualification must include a research component. A PhD at Otago is a degree by thesis only. There is no formal programme of research or coursework.

Each PhD student has at least two research supervisors. Through consultation with their supervisors, the student designs and arranges the course of research to suit their requirements and interests.

The thesis must demonstrate that the student has the capacity for independent research and has made an original research contribution to their chosen area. A PhD thesis may be submitted after a minimum of two and a half years of full-time study or within a period of four years of full-time study or eight years of part-time study.

Funded PhD studentship opportunities

It is important that you discuss your research ideas or topic with staff before applying. If you proceed with an application you will need to develop a formal proposal that clearly sets out the context for the research and the research problem or question.

In the first instance you should contact by email

Our Administrative staff will help you identify those staff whose interests best align with your area of interest.

Further information about application procedures and funding

Further information about PhD scholarships

Application information for prospective students

If you are a New Zealand or Australian Citizen or permanent resident and want to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level then please read:

Application information for New Zealand students at postgraduate level

If you are an international student and want to study at study at undergraduate or postgraduate level then please read:

Application information for International students at postgraduate level

Helpful information for postgraduate students

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