Taught course


University of Otago · Division of Humanities

Entry requirements

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.

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


Course content

The Master of Planning (MPlan) degree requires two years of full-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.

Structure of the Programme

The programme of study shall consist of either

  • seven prescribed papers in planning studies (PLAN 411, PLAN 412, PLAN 435, PLAN 438, PLAN 535, LAWS 515, and one of LAWS 521, LAWS 540, LAWS 577) with a value of 130 points, one planning-related paper worth 20 points, as approved by the Director of the Planning Programme, and a thesis (PLAN 5) with a value of 90 points, or
  • seven prescribed papers in planning studies (as above) with a value of 130 points, planning-related papers worth at least 60 points, as approved by the Director of the Planning Programme, and a planning research project (PLAN 590) with a value of 50 points.

With the approval of the Director of the Planning Programme, one or more papers from relevant subject areas may be substituted for a prescribed paper in planning studies worth up to 20 points.

A candidate shall, before commencing the investigation to be described in either the planning project or the thesis, secure the approval of the Director of the Planning Programme for the topic, the supervisor(s) and the proposed course of the investigation.

A candidate shall submit the planning project by 1 October of the year in which the coursework is completed.

A candidate shall submit the thesis by 1 November of the year following that in which the coursework is completed.

A candidate may not present a planning project or a thesis which has previously been accepted for another degree.

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 $35,798

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

  • MPlan
    full time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details