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Why do postgraduate study?

Staying on, or returning to university to do a Masters or PhD in Politics at Otago is one of the best career investments that you can make.  Once considered a luxury, postgraduate study has now become essential for anyone who wants to secure a competitive edge in the job market where first degrees have become the norm.  To excel in that market, you have to be able to identify problems, analyse them, place them in a broader intellectual framework, and systematically generate possible solutions to them.  That, exactly, is what completing a research degree will teach you to do.

Above all, doing a Masters or a PhD is an exciting and challenging experience.  There are few things as pleasing as developing and then sharing your insights and ideas with a broader research community and having them recognise your contribution.  At Otago we aim at helping you to experience this to the fullest.

Taught Masters

A taught Masters programme consists of four advanced papers and a research dissertation. Politics offers two taught Masters programmes that each take one year to complete full time:

Master of Politics (MPols)


MPols Convenor
Dr Lena Tan

Master of International Studies (MIntSt)


Acting MIntSt Director
Professor Richard Jackson

Research Degrees

Master of Arts (MA)

The thesis option normally requires at least one year of full-time, or its equivalent in part-time, study and entails completion of a thesis.


MA Co-ordinator
Dr David Jenkins

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest degree offered by the University of Otago. It is awarded on the submission of a thesis which must meet rigorous standards. It requires highly developed academic ability, independence and perseverance. Most students take between 3-4 years of full-time study to complete their PhD.


PhD Co-ordinator
Professor Janine Hayward

Image of Paul Winter_profile pool thumbnail
“There's value in having people behind you who believe in you. Otago's staff always put faith in their students”
Paul Winter
BA, MIntSt graduate
PhD candidate
Fulbright Scholarship recipient

Where can a PG degree take you?

Meet more of our graduates here.

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