By Susan Slobac

The solid academic reputation of universities in both Australia and New Zealand make them extremely desirable choices for pursuing postgraduate studies. Both nations boast globally recognized curriculum and degree programs. For students considering a master’s degree, Australia and New Zealand are options well worth consideration, but there is some difference between the programs offered in each nation.

Given the equality of academic standards and programs between the two countries, it is recommended that students review the particulars of an Australia master’s degree versus a New Zealand master’s degree program to determine which best meets their academic goals, learning style and scheduling obligations.

Master’s Degree – Australia Overview

To complete a master’s degree, Australia universities require students to complete an average of 1.5 to 2 years of study. There are some exceptions, however. At some universities in Australia, master’s degrees may be earned in as little as one year. Students may select from two different routes of study to earn a master’s degree. Australian universities offer master’s by coursework and by research programs. A master’s by coursework degree consists of 70-80% class work and 20-30% research. The research requirement involves completion of a minor thesis project during the latter portion of the degree program. An Australia master’s degree by research, on the other hand, is entirely research driven. This intensive program requires self-directed research that results in the creation of a thesis or project under the guidance of a supervisory professor.

To apply for these degree programs, students must hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study. Additionally, students applying for an Australia master’s degree by research must have research experience or hold a bachelor’s of honors degree.

Master’s Degree – New Zealand Overview

To complete a master’s degree, New Zealand universities require students to complete two years of study. Students that have accumulated significant research experience or who hold either a bachelor’s degree of honors or postgraduate diploma may complete their master’s degree in one year, however.

Typically, a New Zealand master’s degree is consists of equal parts coursework and research. During the first year, students complete class work and related projects. While the structure of the first year differs little between universities, there may be some flexibility in the classes student select.

The second year of a New Zealand master’s degree program, on the other hand, is research driven. Students are expected to complete a major project or thesis focusing upon their desired area of interest.

While universities in both nations offer exceptional academic programs, there is a difference between the requirements and curriculum of Australia and New Zealand master’s degree programs. To find the best fit, it is recommended that students consider their learning styles and goals when evaluating the programs.

Susan Slobac advises college students on study abroad opportunities in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. She provides guidance in regards to specialized programs such as New Zealand and Australia masters degree opportunities.