The following is a list of frequently asked questions concerning postgraduate study
at the School of Nursing.
If your question is not here,
or you require further information, please contact us.
How do I fill in the Application for Admission correctly?
We have mocked up an application from a permanent resident,
educated outside of New Zealand, but this form should also be useful for New
Zealanders who need guidance on how the form should be filled in.
Take me to the Mock application.
Can I enrol in a postgraduate qualification without an undergraduate degree?
Pre-registration nursing courses lead to an undergraduate degree, either a BHSc
or BNurs. This means that registered nurses studying undergraduate courses will
graduate with an academic qualification at the same level as new graduate nurses.
Experienced registered nurses need to think about their career options when deciding
whether to complete an undergraduate degree or whether to move straight into postgraduate
Should I complete my undergraduate degree?
Enrolment in the Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences in Advanced Nursing
a professional nursing qualification; this may not be an undergraduate degree, provided
the qualification can be deemed equivalent; and a current practising certificate
(New Zealand Nursing Council). Refer to Admission and Enrolment section.
Can I credit any of the undergraduate degree courses that I have completed into
the courses at the University?
Undergraduate degree courses cannot be credited to a postgraduate degree.
I haven't studied for a long time - will I be able to cope?
Prior to the start of each semester in order to help nurses gain the skills needed
for postgraduate study the School of Nursing in conjunction with the
Student Learning Centre (SLC) offers a one-day Orientation
to Study programme. This orientation day focuses on academic writing, study issues,
time management, study organisation, reading, note-taking, assignment writing, paraphrasing
and includes and introduction the Philson Library.
Student Learning Centre
Is there any learning support available?
Assignment writing workshops are available early in each semester to assist students
in assignment writing skills. These workshops are run in conjunction with the
Centre (SLC) specifically for graduate nursing students.
Several courses include tutorials to support student learning and course coordinators
are available to assist students and identify possible learning resources.
Philson Library has a range of learning supports available and the LEARN programme
on the Electronic Campus has various tutorials students can access.
I am not very good with computers - will this matter?
It is very important that students develop good computer skills. Electronic methods
are increasingly being used as a communication pathway between the student and the
University. Students need to become computer literate to easily access a wide range
of services, information and learning support services eg enrolment processes, course
information, scholarship and fees structure, library information, tutorials and
The University has support systems to assist students with computer access; the
School of Nursing has computers available with various instruction manuals and the
library staff run tutorials and are very helpful. The
Student Learning Centre (SLC) also runs a variety of
Student Learning Centre
The Student Learning Centre provides excellent support for students through one-on-one
tuition and workshops, eg Endnote, time management.
What is the focus for the nursing courses - will they enhance my practice?
The nursing courses have been developed in conjunction with clinical agencies, and
clinical staff are involved in teaching and assessment processes. In many courses
the assessment processes are clinically focused and include a range of written,
verbal and practical assessments. The courses are designed to extend practice knowledge
I want to stay a clinical nurse, rather than focusing on theoretical perspectives
that may not relate to my practice - will these courses suit me?
The advanced nursing pathway has been specifically designed for practicing nurses.
In many courses the assessment processes are clinically focused and include a range
of written, verbal and practical assessments. The courses are designed to extend
practice knowledge and skill.
How do I also develop the specialist skills and knowledge I need for advanced practice
in my specialty area?
Will it be possible to acquire the knowledge and skill I need to work in, for example
Emergency Nursing, Renal Nursing or Women's Health?
The core nursing courses encourage application within your own specialty practice
area, and the assessments focus on advanced practice. Some courses require clinical
examination conducted in your specialty area.
If I go overseas will potential employers know what the specialty area is that I
have advanced my practice in?
It is intended to prepare a transcript of the course which identifies both the advanced
practice skills and knowledge acquired and demonstrated in a specialty area, together
with the specialty option courses. Nurses will be able to use this when applying
for jobs within NZ and overseas.
What will the workload be like?
For a 15 point course you can expect to study for about 10 hours a week (including
attending lectures and tutorials). A normal part-time course of study requires 60
points. Semesters are 12 weeks in length.
Should I reduce the number of hours I work?
A very concentrated period of study is
required, and most people will want to reduce working hours from a full-time load.
How long will it take to complete one of the qualifications?
The Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences in Advanced Nursing - 60 points must
be completed in one year or two semesters; and the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences in Advanced Nursing - 120 points must be completed in two years or four semesters.
When your course of study is approved at enrolment, a check is made that your enrolment
plans will allow you to complete the qualification in the regulation timeframe.
Can I do just one course a year/semester?
Studying only one 15 point course in a semester may not enable you to complete the
qualification in the required timeframe.
The Master of Health Sciences and Master of Nursing must be completed in two years
full-time or four years part-time. The regulations for masters degrees are quite
precise and should be carefully read (they are published in the Calendar). Included
in the calendar are the timeframes in which a thesis or dissertation must be submitted.
An extension of time to complete a qualification is possible. However this must
be negotiated on an individual basis with faculty staff.
What happens if I change my mind and want to qualify with the
when I have enrolled in the or MHSc or MH?
It is a good idea to think through your career goals and plan to enrol in the qualification
most suited to you. If you enrol in the postgraduate certificate and then want to
go on and do the diploma or masters degree, you can apply to have credits re-assigned,
provided the qualification has not been awarded. Courses can however only be credited
towards one qualification.
Can I exit with the postgraduate certificate and come back later and complete the
postgraduate diploma or masters degree?
It is recognised that situations change for students which impacts on study plans.
We do, however, encourage students to complete a full qualification, e.g. Postgraduate
Certificate if possible, which may allow re-enrolment in a further qualification
at a later date.
Options for nurses who graduate with a
postgraduate certificate or diploma and then
wish to enrol some time later in a masters qualification are currently being explored.
Can I change my mind and swap pathways eg, from Advanced Nursing to the Health Science
The courses for the Advanced Nursing qualifications are more prescribed than the
other pathway. It is therefore easier to move from the Advanced Nursing pathway
to the more generic Health Science qualifications than vica versa. It is important
that nurses decide early on their course of study which pathway they will follow
and seek counsel from University staff.
Should I do the MHSc with a dissertation or a thesis, and the Master of Nursing
with a dissertation, thesis or research portfolio?
Once again this partly depends on your career goals. A thesis is considered the
basic training for research, and therefore if you want to enrol at a later date
in a doctorate this is the option you should choose. A dissertation or research
portfolio may not provide the research training needed as a pre-requisite for enrolling
in a doctorate.
Which research course should I do?
Which research course you choose is partly dependent on whether
you want to do a thesis or a dissertation and the research methodology you might
want to use in your thesis. It is very important that your research plans are discussed
early in your programme with the School of Nursing staff.
What is the difference between a thesis and dissertation?
Both are written essays or reports describing research that is submitted as a requirement
for an advanced academic degree. However, they differ in their length. While a typical
thesis includes 40,000 words, a dissertation will require 20,000-25,000 words.
Can I credit the postgraduate courses I have completed at another university or
polytechnic towards a qualification at the University of Auckland?
Any application to recognise credit from courses studied at another institution
is considered on an individual basis. Students wishing to apply for credits should
complete an application for Application for Assessment of External Transfer Credit
Could I complete my AUT or Victoria or Massey University postgraduate degree at
the University of Auckland?
Other institutions may accept the University of Auckland's courses, for example
you may be able to undertake a course at this University to complete a Victoria
University degree at this University. This is an issue for individual institutions.
I am not working in clinical practice (eg, I'm in a education or management research
position), but I want to study nursing for a MHSc at the University of Auckland
- what's available for me?
You can select an appropriate mix of courses for the MHSc that do not include the
core clinical nursing courses. This should be done in consultation with the School
of Nursing staff.
What do I do if I want to withdraw from a course?
The University has set time limits on withdrawing from or deleting courses. We encourage
you to discuss your plans with a staff member to see if we can assist.