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University of Otago
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Master of Planning (MPlan)

This course is available


Level of Study

Master's Degree


2 years

Next start date

Expected Feb 2024


University of Otago


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.

Duration of the Programme

a. A candidate shall normally follow a programme of study for not less than two years.

b. A candidate must satisfy the requirements for the degree within four years of commencing the programme.

Level of Award of the Degree

The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

Entry criteria

Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).

Every applicant must either: be a graduate, or have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).

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.

English language requirements

  • IELTS Academic - Score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0). IELTS Online is also accepted.
  • Internet-based TOEFL - Score of 90 with a minimum writing score of 21
  • Paper-based TOEFL - score of 587 (TWE 4.5)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) & Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) - Minimum of 176
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - Overall score of 58 with no communicative skills score below 50.
  • LanguageCert - International ESOL: C1 Expert (LRWS) with a high pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill OR C2 Mastery (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
  • NZCEL - NZCEL 5 Academic endorsement
  • University of Otago Language Centre ‘English for Otago’, English for Postgraduate Academic Purposes (EPAP) - Grade C or higher
  • University of Auckland English Language Academy (ELA) pathway programmes - Successful completion of the English Pathway for Postgraduate Studies (EPPS) with a B Grade
  • University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) - Successful completion of the certificate with a B Grade

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