Research course

Primary Health Care

University of Otago · Division of Health Sciences

Entry requirements

Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) on the advice of the Academic Board of the Otago Medical School, which must be satisfied that the applicant has the ability and experience to proceed to the programme. Every applicant shall: hold the Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Health Care, or hold an equivalent qualification approved by the Academic Board of the Otago Medical School, or have been admitted ad eundem statum as entitled to proceed to the degree, and have completed the prerequisite papers: PRHC 701 New Zealand Primary Health Care or PRHC 703 Strategy and Leadership in Primary Health Care (30 points); and either HASC 417 Health Sciences Research Methods or equivalent research paper(s) approved by the Academic Board of the Otago Medical School.

If your first language is not English you need to meet our English language requirements as follows: IELTS score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0); we also accept a number of other English language tests. Due to COVID-19, we currently accept Duolingo English Test (DET), IELTS Indicator Test, and TOEFL iBT Special home Edition.

Don’t meet the English language requirements? The University of Otago Language Centre "English for Otago" programme offers a pathway for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to meet the English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Months of entry

February, July

Course content

The Master of Primary Health Care (MPHC) degree is a nationally-recognised multidisciplinary advanced qualification for health professionals engaged in the delivery of primary health care. It provides an appropriate advanced multidisciplinary qualification for students who have completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Health Care (PGDipPHC). A Master's research thesis or Master's portfolio programme can be designed and completed on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with a supervisory team.

There are a total of three different ways of completing this 120 point degree:

  • Solely by thesis - students must have already completed an approved 30 point research methods paper;
  • Solely by portfolio - students must have already completed an approved 30 point research methods paper;
  • By submitting a shorter (90 point) portfolio and completing an approved 30 point research methods paper

Graduates will have specific skills to enable them to deliver, and if appropriate, to Practise safe, effective, and culturally sensitive primary health care. As the students will come from differing backgrounds (for example, medical, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, management) these skills may be oriented towards management, clinical practice, basic primary care research or a combination of these. As a consequence of the multidisciplinary nature of the programme, the graduate will gain an advanced appreciation of team dynamics in the primary health care setting. The team approach, now so essential to professional practitioners in primary health care, will be fostered and confirmed.

The graduate will have an advanced understanding of the nature and practice of primary health care, advanced training in personally selected areas of practice, and experience in working with other health professionals involved in primary health care. In addition, the graduate will have the ability and skills to independently set up and carry out relevant research within the primary health care field, and to be able to contribute significantly to new knowledge and/or developments in health care delivery. These graduates will provide an educated resource for future primary health planning and education.

The Master of Primary Health Care (MPHC) is also available through Distance Learning.

Information for international students

Otago offers students an unrivalled campus experience and a vibrant, social student culture. The majority of Otago’s 21,000 students live, work and play in Dunedin - New Zealand’s only true university city. Otago is home to over 3,000 students, from over 100 countries.

Fees and funding

International students
NZ $21,348

New Zealand is a relatively affordable country to live in. Dunedin, being a student-focused city, has living and entertainment options for all budgets.

Students are eligible for the Otago International Excellence Scholarship.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPHC
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Wellington Campus-based

Course contact details