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Master of Planning (MPlan)

    No new enrolments for the first year of the Master of Planning will be accepted in 2024, although alternative options to begin work towards a planning degree in 2024 can be discussed with Michelle Thompson-Fawcett. (It is intended that MPlan 1 enrolment will be reinstated for 2025).


    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.

    Information for new applicants

    This programme is subject to limitations on enrolment numbers. Qualified domestic students are given first preference, but places may be available for international students.




    Regulations for the Degree of Master of Planning (MPlan)

    1. Admission to the Programme

      1. Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
      2. Every applicant must either        
        1. be a graduate, or
        2. have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
      3. 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.

    2. Structure of the Programme

      1. The programme of study shall consist of either        
        1. 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
        2. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. 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.
      4. A candidate shall submit the planning project by 1 October of the year in which the coursework is completed.
      5. A candidate shall submit the thesis by 1 November of the year following that in which the coursework is completed.
      6. A candidate may not present a planning project or a thesis which has previously been accepted for another degree.

    3. Duration of the Programme

      1. A candidate shall normally follow a programme of study for not less than two years.
      2. A candidate must satisfy the requirements for the degree within four years of commencing the programme.

    4. Examination of the Planning Project or Thesis

      1. The Head of School concerned (or nominee) shall appoint a Convenor of Examiners who shall oversee the examination of each research dissertation.
      2. The research dissertation shall be examined by at least two examiners, one of whom may be external to the University.
      3. Where both examiners are internal to the University, the examined dissertation shall be subject to external moderation.
      4. The candidate's supervisor shall not be an examiner.
      5. Each examiner shall supply a written report on the planning project or thesis and recommend a mark and grade on the basis of the work as submitted.
      6. Where the examiners cannot agree on a result, the Head of Programme 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.

    5. Withdrawal from the Programme

      Where a candidate withdraws from the programme after completing the prescribed papers, but does not complete the planning project or thesis, the Pro- Vice Chancellor (Humanities) or nominee may recommend the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects, or determine which papers shall be credited towards the Diploma.

    6. Level of Award of the Degree

      The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

    7. Variations

      The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.

      Notes:(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.

    This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

    Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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