School of Nursing


Questions frequently asked by registered nurses

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.

  1. » Can I enrol in a postgraduate qualification without an undergraduate degree?
  2. » Should I complete my undergraduate degree?
  3. » Can I credit any of the undergraduate degree courses that I have completed into the courses at the University?
  4. » I haven't studied for a long time - will I be able to cope?
  5. » Is there any learning support available?
  6. » What is the focus for the nursing courses - will they enhance my practice?
  7. » 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?
  8. » 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?
  9. » If I go overseas will potential employers know what the specialty area is that I have advanced my practice in?
  10. » What will the workload be like?
  11. » Should I reduce the number of hours I work?
  12. » How long will it take to complete one of the qualifications?
  13. » Can I do just one course a year/semester?
  14. » What happens if I change my mind and want to qualify with the postgraduate certificate when I have enrolled in the MHSc or MNurs?
  15. » Can I exit with the postgraduate certificate and come back later and complete the postgraduate diploma or masters degree?
  16. » Can I change my mind and swap pathways eg, from Advanced Nursing to the Health Science pathway?
  17. » Should I do the MHSc with a dissertation or a thesis, and the Master of Nursing with a dissertation, thesis or research portfolio?
  18. » Which research course should I do?
  19. » What is the difference between a thesis and dissertation?
  20. » Can I credit the postgraduate courses I have completed at another university or polytechnic towards a qualification at the University of Auckland?
  21. » Could I complete my AUT or Victoria or Massey University postgraduate degree at the University of Auckland?
  22. » 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?
  23. » What do I do if I want to withdraw from a course?

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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 study.

Should I complete my undergraduate degree?

Enrolment in the Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences in Advanced Nursing requires 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.

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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 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.

Orientation information

Is there any learning support available?

Several of our NURSING courses include tutorials to support student learning and course coordinators are available to assist students and identify possible learning resources.

The University Library and Learning Services have a range of learning supports available including workshops, online resources, and advice to help you improve your academic and research skills.

Postgraduate resources and workshops.

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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 and skill.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Calendar regulations for Master of Health Sciences

Calendar regulations for Master of Nursing

General Regulations for Masters Degrees

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 postgraduate certificate when I have enrolled in the MHSc or MNurs?

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.

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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 pathway?

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 vice 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.

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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 form.

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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.

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