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Master of Planning papers

You will follow a personally prescribed course of study to accommodate your strengths and professional goals. Listed below are the requirements for first and second year.

You will also be attending hui and seminars during the course of your studies.

First year

The first year of the Master of Planning programme will usually be made up of the following papers:

and one of

and one Planning-related paper (a few options offered by Geography are listed below)

These papers lay the ground work in planning theory, formulation and implementation; impact assessment and policy evaluation; bicultural planning issues and the statutory and administrative context of planning practice. Students are also taught hands on skills to analyse planning problems, to develop policy recommendations and research skills.

You may be permitted to substitute alternatives to the core papers, with the approval of the programme co-ordinator.

Second year

In the second year you choose between two options, intended to reflect your intended career path. The option to be taken will usually be decided towards the end of the first year of the course, in consultation with the programme co-ordinator.

  • Option 1 – the thesis option
  • Option 2 – the research project option. This is for students who choose to go on exchange in semester 2 of their second year.

Please note: the choice of options does not affect employment opportunities.

The choice of topic will depend on the availability of supervisors with relevant research expertise. A research proposal outlining the intended research must be submitted in early November of the first year of study.

In some instances, you may find it useful to choose your topic in consultation with a central, regional, or local government agency.

Option 1

  • PLAN 5F Planning Thesis
  • PLAN 535 Planning Case Study II

Option 2

  • Two approved planning related papers
  • PLAN 590    Planning Research Project
  • PLAN 535    Planning Case Study II

Programme requirements and regulations

Programme requirements and regulations for the Master of Planning

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Planning-related papers

The selection of planning-related papers must be made in consultation with the programme co-ordinator.

Papers offered in Geography taken by planning students in recent years have included:

  • GEOG 454 Alpine Geomorphology
  • GEOG 457 Advanced Urban Geography
  • GEOG 459 Biogeography
  • GEOG 460 Climatology
  • GEOG 461 Mountain Hydrology
  • GEOG 463 Geographies of Justice
  • GEOG 465 Special Topic in Geography
  • GEOG 471 Impact Assessment and Sustainability
  • GEOG 472 Developments in Environmental Management
  • GEOG 473 Contemporary Geographies of Southeast Asia
  • GEOG 474 Coastal Management
  • GEOG 475 Sustaining Rural Livelihoods in Developing Countries

Papers offered by other departments have included:

  • Marine Conservation Biology (Marine Science)
  • Principles of Wildlife Management (Zoology)
  • Spatial Information Studies (Surveying)
  • Māoritanga (Māori Studies)
  • Organisational and Human Resource Management (Management)
  • Principles of Nature Conservation (Botany)
  • Sport and Leisure (Physical Education)


Seminars by visiting practitioners from central and local government, the private sector and international visitors are scheduled throughout the year.

These are seen as an important component of the programme and a satisfactory record of attendance is required.

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Each year a hui is held at a local marae, either for one day or overnight.

In preparation, staff and students attending the hui attend marae protocol and cultural preparation sessions run by staff from Te Tumu – School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, and within the School of Geography.

In recent years, hui have been held at the following marae:

  • Te Runanga o Otakou
  • Te Runanga o Moeraki
  • Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki
  • Arai Te Uru

A list of the required papers and some of the optional papers in the Master of Planning programme.

Programme requirements and regulations

Programme requirements and regulations for the Master of Planning degree