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September 5, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Masters is the New Honours

The amount of post-graduate study needed to gain a Masters Degree in New Zealand may be halved as universities attempt to increase profits from international students.

Pat Walsh told Universities New Zealand’s Committee on University Academic Programmes there is “no doubt” that the length of the New Zealand Masters programme disadvantages New Zealand universities in terms attracting overseas students.

The suggestion that a Masters degree should only require one year—instead of the current two years—of post-graduate study like some programmes in Australia has drawn concern from unions.

NZUSA Co-President Max Hardy said his organisation is taking a constructive role in the discussion, but is concerned that nobody will benefit if changes are made solely for the purpose of monetary gain.

“It would be completely inappropriate for both domestic and international students to undermine the quality of our qualifications to get a quick buck from overseas students wanting a quick degree,” he said.

The Tertiary Education Union pointed out there are already some one-year Masters programmes in New Zealand, and that cutting research time could undermine the academic integrity of thesis-based degrees.

The union also questioned what implications such a change would have for the relevance of one-year Honours courses.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has not ruled out the changes, which are being considered by NZQA.

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