Universities propose shorter masters degrees

University World News 19 August 2012

New Zealand’s universities want to shorten their masters degrees in a bid to attract more foreign students.

Currently New Zealand masters degrees require 240 credits – equivalent to two years of full-time study, although students who have completed four years of bachelor-level study can do 120-credit masters degrees.  But Universities New Zealand has suggested allowing shorter masters degrees in certain circumstances.  It has proposed 180-credit masters for students who finish their three-year bachelor degree to a high enough standard.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority would take it further allowing the 180-credit masters qualification to be available for any student with a bachelor degree – not just those who meet a required standard.

The authority says one reason for the change is to attract more international students.

The authority says the change would also help New Zealand institutions keep up with changes in other countries, particularly with regard to masters degrees based on coursework rather than research.

Research into the international competitiveness and comparability of the New Zealand masters degree has found the proportion of coursework masters degrees offered at New Zealand universities to be comparatively low, at only 31.2%.  This compares with Australia and the United Kingdom where coursework masters degrees make up more than 95% of the total masters degree programs offered.

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