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Master of Communication

Key facts

  • Available via Distance Learning
  • 18 months full-time, or up to 5 years part-time
  • Available for international students via distance learning

A unique qualification

No matter what industry you work in, this multi-disciplinary degree will give you in-depth understanding of communication principles and skills. It is a unique qualification in New Zealand.

What is it like?

Find out more about entry requirements, fees and courses in the planning section.

Massey’s Master of Communication will deepen your understanding of communication practice.

This is a unique qualification in New Zealand. You do not have to have a background in communication to complete this degree.

Our students come from a wide range of disciplines including arts, social sciences, law, education, design or health services. You may have found yourself in a work role with a communication aspect and you want better insights into the principles and practice of communication.

The Master of Communication will help you to advance your career and to understand better how to manage your role’s communication aspects.

Internationally recognised

Massey University’s business and management studies ranks in the top 250 (by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings).

We are ranked No.1 in New Zealand and in the top 150 in the world for our business administration and communication programmes by ShanghaiRanking.

Do communication research in a context relevant to you

The research project in this masters enables you to focus on a real-world communication challenge and combine different communication research approaches to develop a novel solution. You can draw on research approaches from public relations, expressive arts, communication management, marketing, linguistics, media studies or journalism studies, or create a bespoke research approach that includes supervision from a related discipline such as Māori studies, international relations or evaluation studies. Your learning will focus on practical, relevant outcomes for your career.

Transdisciplinary research

There are also opportunities to collaborate on a shared transdisciplinary research project with students and co-supervisors from the disciplines you may be working with in your job - such as quality management, emergency management or human resource management.. This will build your understanding of the practical connections between communication and related organisational functions.

You will graduate with an excellent grasp of research, analysis and problem-solving and know how to apply your knowledge to make a difference in your workplaces and community.

What will you learn

In the first segment of the programme you focus on studying the field of communication and its possibilities. This covers the history and theory of communication across different scholarly traditions (from both humanities and business) and industries.

In the second you choose a personalised experience from both ‘heartland’ courses relevant to your discipline - for instance advanced journalism issues, technology and cultural change, linguistics, media practice, advanced public relations or advanced marketing and ‘sister disciplines’ such as quality management.

In the third segment of your programme you work on a research project of your choice that is relevant to your industry and discipline. For details see the ‘Planning’ tab.

Become a master, faster

The Master of Communication is 180 credits. This means that you can complete this qualification in three semesters of full-time study. We offer research supervision in the summer semester if you want to really fast-track your completion. If you study part-time the qualification usually takes between 2.5 and five years.


Massey offers you access to world-leading communication expertise across a broad range of specialisations, including media, humanities, business, organisational studies, social sciences, critical thinking and management. Massey’s Master of Communication enables you to pursue either organisational or creative approaches to communication, or combine these to become a well-rounded communication specialist.

A specialist communication university

We have the longest-running communication programme in New Zealand, the largest numbers of students in any university communication programme and the most options for communication-related study. Massey University’s graduates have a long-standing reputation for excellence in both theory and practice.

Our lecturers come from both academic and industry backgrounds, giving you the best of both worlds.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Communication will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles.

Our experts are there to guide but you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning and undertaking research.


A good fit if you:

  • Would like to deepen your understanding of communication theory and practice
  • Are currently working in an area outside communication and want to hone your skills in communication
  • Are in a communication role and intend to move to a more senior position or formalise your understanding of the field
  • Would like to engage in applied communication research to explore a real-world communication situation or issue
Christine Kirkwood
Master of Communication
Communications Advisor at New Zealand Fire Service

“My degree has given me the opportunity to change my life for the better and opened doors to a career that I love in public relations…”

The Bachelor of Communication degree at Massey University appealed because it offered a variety of course options and greater flexibility than most degrees. Once I completed my degree, it was a natural transition to move on to the honours degree. This post-graduate study has given me the opportunity to engage in and contribute to valuable research. Realising the value of further education, I am now studying towards my master’s degree.

Studying extramurally can be a challenge, but as a single parent it offered me the chance to study and be at home with my family. It taught me to be focused, self-motivated and diligent. As I travelled down my academic path I have grown in confidence.

The BC Honours Degree was a fantastic experience. One of my proudest accomplishments has been the research paper that I was invited to co-author alongside my supervisors. That paper won an award and is to be published.

Currently I am employed by the New Zealand Fire Service as a Communications Advisor. I work alongside a great team of professionals who are all focused on providing communications support to this vital New Zealand organisation. I apply all of the knowledge and skills that I developed through my degree to every aspect of my role. Work that I do includes internal and external communications, community and stakeholder engagement and assisting with digital channels.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my lecturers or my own commitment to study.


Whether you are currently in a communication role, in a position that has a communication dimension, or would like to work in communications at a senior level, the Master of Communication can help you take your career to the next level. A master's qualification helps you stand out in the employment market.

Sought after by employers

International trends are for employers to reward postgraduate study well, especially in larger enterprises. The skills you learn are increasingly recognised as setting you apart from other potential employees.

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates, found that in New Zealand:

  • Young master’s graduates earn more than one and a half times more than the national median (five years after study)
  • Earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • Five years after completion, the median earnings of young master’s graduates are 15% higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree.


World-leading lecturers and supervisors

Massey’s communication staff are internationally renowned for their research and teaching and learning methods. You will be working with recognised communication specialists, for example:

Erika Pearson

Erika’s research explores questions of what happens to people and communities at the intersection of digital and social issues. Her work covers issues of community formation and disintegration, social capital and social ties, trust, and more recently issues of surveillance and control structures as communication technologies like cellphones and ‘smart’ devices become part of everyday lived experience. She teaches across the breadth of communication, with a special interest in introducing students to the creative and practical implications of new modes connection and exchange.

Dr Nick Holm

Nick’s research explores the political role of popular culture and entertainment media, with a focusing on humour and comedy. His work examines the power of satire to change (or not change) the world, deadpan comedy as a form of communication, and the shifting forms of humour in an online world. He is interested in exploring how popular culture can affect how we understand the world, and the ways in which we judge cultural forms. Nick is interested in supervising projects addressing humour (and related concepts of parody, satire, irony and comedy), advertising, aesthetics and aesthetic theory, and/or cultural studies.

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