POSTGRADUATE DEGREE

Master of Health Sciences (Nursing)

Want to make a difference in your community and be part of a caring profession? Study nursing through our master’s degree and become a registered nurse in two years. 

Applications to enrol for 2025 are now open for domestic and international learners based in the South Island. Availability for learners in the North Island is yet to be confirmed, pending availability of clinical placements - sign up to stay updated.

Please note: enrolments are limited, and applicants may be waitlisted. 

ENTRY TIMES
February 2025*

*Applications currently open for domestic and international learners based in the South Island only, with availability for North Island learners to be confirmed.

DURATION
2 years full-time

PRICE
$9,521* per year for domestic learners
$42,200* per year for international learners

*Fees outlined are based on the 2024 fee schedule and are subject to revision each year. Prices include GST where applicable. Non-tuition fees, such as the Student Services Levy (SSL), will also apply.

QUALIFICATION
MHealSc (Nursing)
240 points

Overview


Become a nurse in two years through our pre-registration master’s degree. Use and enhance your critical thinking skills, develop your clinical knowledge, and grow your career to become a registered nurse. Learn from an experienced, highly skilled nursing team and passionate researchers who are leaders in their field.

Nurses are in demand across Aotearoa New Zealand, and nursing offers excellent career progression opportunities, as well as options to travel and earn around the world. 

The Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) is underpinned by UC’s values of manaakitanga (extending care and empowering others), whanaungatanga (valuing people and working as a team), and tiakitanga (enhancing and nurturing our resources). These philosophies help produce nursing graduates who are socially conscious, critical thinkers who contribute to the advancement of nursing knowledge, policy, and health outcomes.

On successful completion, graduates will be awarded a Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) and be eligible to apply to the Te Kaunihera Tapuhi o Aotearoa | Nursing Council of New Zealand to sit the State Final Examination to become a registered nurse.

Requirements


To ensure that our learners have the necessary background and experience to succeed, admission to the MHealthSc(Nursing) is based on your previous studies in a relevant bachelor’s degree, or a qualification and practical experience considered to be equivalent.

To enrol in the MHealSc(Nursing), you must have completed one of the following:

  • A bachelor's degree in a health-related discipline, or equivalent,
  • An appropriate health professional qualification, or 
  • The Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (or equivalent) with at least a B Grade Point Average.

Unsure about your suitability?
As part of our application process, your eligibility will be assessed by our nursing academic team to make sure that your academic and/or professional background meets the entry criteria. Potential students can come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds, such as health sciences, biology or psychology. Unfortunately our Tuihono UC | UC Online team cannot confirm your eligibility before your application is submitted, beyond referring you to the requirements above. We are happy to help answer any general questions you have about the programme or online learning, however. You can get in touch with us here.

For clinical practice requirements, you will also need to meet the requirements stipulated in the Children's Act 2014, and health/immunisation requirements of clinical agencies and the HPCA Act 2003.

If English is your additional language, you are also required to meet UC's English language requirements and participate in an online interview with a member of the faculty. You will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency with your application*. For this programme you will need to supply evidence of:

  1. IELTS (Academic) 6.5, with no individual score below 6.5; or
  2. Pearson Test of English (Academic) – overall score 58. There are also individual requirements for each criteria please speak to our Student Advice team.
  3. An alternative English language assessment, approved by Amo Matua, Te Kaupeka Oranga | Executive Dean of Health or delegate. 

For the full requirements, see the Regulations for the Master of Health Sciences or use the admission requirements checker.

Your eligibility will be considered upon enrolment, with successful applicants approved as students by the Amo Pūtaiao | Executive Dean of Health or delegate.

For the full entry requirements, see the University’s complete list of regulations.

Clinical requirements
Clinical practice requirements mean that learners must also complete placements in clinical settings. Placement locations will be discussed during the enrolment process. 

Course requirements
All courses are compulsory. 

For more information about other entry requirements, please visit the University of Canterbury Nursing page here

Structure


The Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) comprises of four NZQF level 8 postgraduate courses and three NZQF level 9 postgraduate courses. All courses have associated clinical placement components, that will add up to 1100 hours over the entire programme.

Learners must complete the MHealSc (Nursing) in the time frame stipulated by the Nursing Council of New Zealand in order to be eligible to apply for registration.

Time commitment
Full-time learners complete two 30-point courses across two semesters, requiring approximately 37.5 hours of study per week. Study time includes taking in course material, reflection time and writing assignments.

Learners must also attend clinical placements, and two weeks of in-person intensives onsite at University of Canterbury (Ilam or Manawa campus) per semester. The first in-person intensives for 2024 learners will take place from 12 - 16 February and 9 – 13 April 2024; and will most likely take place in the first week of semester and mid-semester thereafter.

Learn more about how this flexible degree works and what your study journey might look like

Upcoming dates 
Specific learning dates for this programme can be found below (please note: these dates exclude our two-week period of marking and feedback).

  • 12 February - 9 June 2024
  • 8 July 2024 - 26 January 2025 (note that clinical practice requirements may extend over the summer until February)

Please note: these dates are provisional and may be subject to change.

 

What you'll study


You’ll study four NZQF level 8 and three NZQF level 9 postgraduate courses for the Master of Health Sciences (Nursing). 

Professional Frameworks for Nursing Practice (HLTH 465) | 30 points

Description 
This course will enable students to understand the responsibilities of nursing and the inter-professional team, to communicate professionally and to understand ethical, legal and regulatory frameworks for health care delivery and practice in the context of Aotearoa | New Zealand and globally.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this course the student will;

  1. Critically analyse models of nursing practice and health care delivery, the role of the nurse and the interprofessional team.
  2.  Critically evaluate and apply healthcare policies, practices, ethical and legal frameworks applicable to nursing practice.
  3. Critically review the principles of cultural safety, and its application in health care practice.
  4. Critique the principles of therapeutic communication and interpersonal relationships and their application in nursing practice.
  5. Critically explore processes for the application of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the provision of health care services.
  6. Critically explore the impact of indigeneity and colonisation on equity of health outcomes within a bi-cultural environment.

Health Assessment, Physiology and Pharmacology for Clinical Practice (HLTH 466) | 30 points

Description 
In this course students will gain the health assessment, bioscience and pharmacology knowledge and skills required to understand disease processes, the rationale for interventions and how drugs affect the body.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course the student will;

  1. Critically apply knowledge of human anatomy, physiology and homeostasis to health assessment.
  2. Demonstrate and apply skills in health assessment and documenting the findings of physical examination.
  3. Critically apply knowledge of the transmission and control of organisms.
  4. Critically apply knowledge of pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenetics across the lifespan and for different population groups.
  5. Critically apply legal, sociocultural and ethical principles to professional practice. 

Mental Health and Addictions (HLTH 467) | 30 points

Description 
In this course students will be able to select, critically analyse and apply theoretical frameworks related to mental health and addiction across the lifespan and evaluate their impact on individuals and family | whānau.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course the student will;

  1. Utilise developmental frameworks to understand human development across the lifespan and life stages.
  2. Describe the aetiology, pathophysiology and presentation of complex mental illnesses and addictions and their impact on individuals, whānau| family and communities.
  3. Critically analyse and apply the legal, socio-cultural and ethical issues surrounding mental illness for individuals and for communities.
  4. Critically evaluate and apply the concept of recovery | wellness in mental health and addictions.
  5. Assess, plan and work collaboratively with the person, whānau and the interdisciplinary team to provide care for people with altered mental health or addictions.  
  6. Understand and apply the mechanism of action of selected drugs to maximise therapeutic effectiveness and minimise adverse reactions.
  7. Critically evaluate the impact of indigeneity and colonisation on mental health and oranga. 

Acute and Long Term Health Care (HLTH 468) | 30 points

Description 
This course will introduce students to health service contexts and the complexity of care for those with predominantly physical health concerns and co-morbidities. The patient journey for those with acute and long-term conditions across a range of settings will be explored. The focus is on comprehensive health assessment, care planning, evidence-based interventions and evaluation including rehabilitation.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course the student will;

  1. Synthesize and apply the epidemiology, pathophysiology and care management of major physical health changes and the impact these have on individuals and whānau | family in relation to acute, chronic, rehabilitative, and palliative phases.
  2. Critically evaluate the impact of indigeneity and colonisation on equity of health outcomes and access to healthcare services.
  3. Critically evaluate and apply care activities associated with chronicity and co-morbidity as it relates to the healthcare and illness experiences of individuals and whānau | family.
  4. Evaluate and apply assessment frameworks to respond to rapidly changing situations and the deteriorating patient.
  5. Explain the mechanism of action of selected drug categories and critically discuss and apply interventions which maximise therapeutic effectiveness and minimise adverse reactions.
  6. Demonstrate and apply knowledge to explain drug interactions, adverse drug reactions and contraindications including rongoā Māori and complementary therapies.
  7. Critically apply evidence-based practice to support best quality health care provision and outcomes in acute and long-term health care settings.

Whānau and Community Health (HLTH 463) | 30 points

Description 
In this course students will critically examine primary care and other community-based health services at individual, whānau, local and population levels. The impact of public health measures and sustainability will be explored.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course the student will;

  1. Critically analyse and apply the concept of oranga to community health care.
  2. Critically evaluate the impact of indigeneity and colonisation on equity, health service design and access, and health outcomes in Aotearoa New Zealand and globally.
  3. Critically examine and apply community health assessment models appropriate for different groups.
  4. Critically review and apply adult learning theory, models of health promotion and health education.
  5. Critique the influences and impact of health care delivery for people living with a disability/impairment and their whānau/family and community.
  6. Critically examine Hauora Māori models of service delivery and the health experiences of Māori that impact on health outcomes.

Research Approaches for Health and Sport (HLTH 464) | 30 points

Description 
This course will develop students' specialist knowledge and skills to support postgraduate research and/or industry led projects. Philosophical, ethical and methodological issues influencing research design will be examined and applied to researching health or sport related issues.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course the student will;

  1. Critique important philosophical perspectives on research and justify the implications of these for their research design.
  2. Critically analyse different research traditions and design strategies that affect knowledge development and application to practice.
  3. Evaluate the ethical and cultural considerations related to research in New Zealand.
  4. Engage in group processes to prepare and deliver peer teaching resources.
  5. Utilise experiential learning from workshops for research design decisions, including analysis.
  6. Apply research design principles to produce a research report or proposal.
  7. Present the outcomes of the report/proposal to an identified community of interest for peer critique and review.

Professional Portfolio (HLTH 699) | 60 points

Description 
This is a capstone course where students will synthesise knowledge from previous courses to critically reflect and apply to nursing scholarship and practice. Students will demonstrate the skills of scholarly inquiry and the application of evidence-based practice to meet the Nursing Council of New Zealand competencies for entry to registered nurse practice.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course the student will;

  1. Critically review the evidence for practice and the challenges in application to nursing practice.
  2. Critically apply the socio, cultural, and political context of health to the delivery of equitable outcomes for individuals and communities.
  3. Apply quality assurance data to design and deliver improvements in patient experience and outcomes.
  4. Meet the Nursing Council of New Zealand competencies for the registered nurse scope of practice.

Our people


The Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) is coordinated by Dr Isabel Jamieson and Dr Cathy Andrew, with contributions from Dr Kate Reid, Dr Wendy Maddocks, Dr Kylie Short, Senior Lecturer Craig Lynch and Clinical Educator Olivia Rogers. 

Isabel Jamieson Master of Health Sciences (Nursing)

Dr Isabel Jamieson, RN, PhD

Programme Coordinator | University of Canterbury

Isabel Jamieson, RN, is a senior lecturer, at the University of Canterbury (UC), Faculty of Health. She is the coordinator of the Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) and Doctor of Health Sciences programmes. Her areas of research include the healthcare workforce, nursing students' readiness to practice, the graduate nurse experience, and career change. Her clinical background was perioperative nursing (operating theatre). Isabel has a passion for nursing and supporting students to succeed.

Kylie Short Master of Health Sciences (Nursing)

Dr Kylie Short, RN, PhD

HLTH466 Lead | University of Canterbury

Kylie Short has 25 years of experience in nursing practice and education. She is a senior nursing lecturer at the University of Canterbury (UC). Kylie’s extensive clinical background includes practice spanning intensive care nursing, particularly in cardiothoracic ICU, acute medical admissions, and general post-operative care. Her teaching specialties lie in postgraduate education, with a focus on health assessment and acute care management. 

Cathy Andrew Master of Health Sciences (Nursing)

Associate Professor Cathy Andrew, RN, PhD

Acting Executive Dean, Health | Director of Nursing | University of Canterbury

Cathy Andrews' nursing practice background is ICU and mental health. She has many years of experience in nursing and health educational leadership and management. Her research includes numerous collaborative projects between education and practice including curriculum development, evaluation and innovation in educational delivery.

Cathy's career has spanned New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the South Pacific. She has served on advisory groups, panels and committees for groups such as Health Quality and Safety, Nursing Council of NZ, Vanuatu Qualifications Authority, NZ Qualifications Authority and the National Nurse Leaders group.

Craig L

Craig Lynch, RN

HLTH467 Course Coordinator | Senior Lecturer | University of Canterbury

Craig Lynch has a background as a nurse in intellectual disabilities and mental health. His research interests are in neurodiversity, mental health, and strengths-based interventions. He currently practices as a nurse consultant, as well as a senior lecturer.

Craig has many years of experience in forensic health, intellectual disability services and mental health education. His interest is in ADHD, ASD, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and therapeutic interventions. Craig's career has spanned New Zealand and the UK (where he is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy). He serves on the Asian Community Transformation Trust as a Board Member in Christchurch.

Olivia Rogers

Olivia Rogers RN, MHealSciProfPrac(Nursing), BN, BSc  

HLTH468 Course Coordinator | Clinical Educator | University of Canterbury

Olivia Rogers is a graduate of the University of Canterbury's pre-registration entry to nursing programme and has specialised into working in acute care, with a focus on general surgery, trauma, emergency, and intensive care nursing.

Olivia splits her time between working clinically in the Intensive Care Unit at Christchurch Hospital, and working in nursing education at the University of Canterbury. Her key teaching areas are health assessment and clinical reasoning, pathophysiology, and nursing care for people living with acute and chronic conditions. Olivia is passionate about nursing education and helping students develop skills and attributes that prioritise their wellbeing and resiliency in complex acute healthcare environments. 

 

Stay updated


If you’re keen to know more, stay updated on when enrolments open or ask a question, please sign up for updates below.  

Please note: UC Online has a minimum enrolment threshold that must be met to enable opportunities for interaction, discussion, and feedback. If the minimum number of enrolments required for a course is not met, enrolled learners will be given the option to defer their enrolment to the next course date, or receive a refund. 

Feb 2025 - South Island learners

Enrolments open now for domestic and international learners based in the South Island

Feb 2026

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FAQ

Do you have any enrolment support?

Whether you need advice finding the right course for you or support with the enrolment process, we’re here to help! Contact enrolment support for course information, technical help and enrolment support.

What is a Master of Health Sciences (Nursing)?

The Tuihono UC | UC Online Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) degree is a two-year full-time programme designed to develop advanced knowledge, skills and competencies to apply to become a registered nurse through Te Kaunihera Tapuhi o Aotearoa | Nursing Council of New Zealand.  

Why study with Tuihono UC | UC Online?

Bringing together the latest industry-informed learning applicable to your life and career, the UC Online Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) gives you the same quality education as other university programmes with the flexibility of online learning.

This includes 24/7 access, academic advice and technical support, giving you the support to study at your pace.

Learn more about how this flexible degree works and what your study journey might look like.

What career opportunities does this degree offer?

Graduates can apply to the Te Kaunihera Tapuhi o Aotearoa | Nursing Council of New Zealand to sit the State Examination and become a registered nurse. This enables work as a registered nurse in health and social care, as well as community, residential or aged care. 
New Zealand registered nurses are in demand overseas and graduates will be able to transfer their registration to Australia and the UK among other countries.

NZGovt Key information for students

 

What are the tuition fees?

The overall cost of tuition fees per 30 point course based on the 2024 fee schedule:

  • for domestic learners is $2,380.25* incl GST
  • for international learners is $10,550* plus GST if applicable.

Total programme investment for the 120 point programme based on the 2024 fee schedule: 

  • for domestic learners is $19,042* incl GST
  • for international learners is $84,400* plus GST if applicable.

*Please note that the fees are charged on a per year basis and the amount charged reflects the number of courses/points enrolled in the current year. These are based on the 2024 fee structure and subject to revision – you can learn more about the University of Canterbury’s Tuition fee structure here.

Student Services Levy costs
Each year university students around Aotearoa New Zealand are charged a Student Services Levy (SSL) in addition to their tuition fees. All the SSL money collected can only be used for the benefit of students - never for academic or administrative costs.

The SSL is automatically calculated on how many points you enrol in per academic year, capped at a maximum of 150 points. UC Online learners are charged a reduced SSL rate, which is 20% of the usual on-campus student levy. This is calculated as $1.83 per academic point in 2024. You can learn more about the Student Services Levy here, and more about UC Support Services here.

How long does the Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) take to complete?

The programme can be completed in two years of full-time study. 

What are the benefits of studying a Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) with Tuihono UC?

Studying online allows for flexibility in completing coursework, and Tuihono UC’s programme provides learners with the same quality education and resources as other university programmes.

Note that this programme also requires two weeks of in-person intensives on campus at University of Canterbury per semester, and clinical practice elements. 

How is the Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) delivered?

The programme is delivered with a majority of coursework online, using a range of technologies including video conferencing, online discussion forums, and interactive learning experiences.

There are some intensive study blocks where learning will be onsite at the University of Canterbury (Ilam and Manawa (city) Campus) for two weeks per semester. 

Each course has clinical learning experiences associated with the course. Attendance in clinical practice elements is compulsory and learners must successfully complete the clinical course requirements in order to progress in the programme.

Learn more about how this flexible degree works and what your study journey might look like.

What kind of support is available to learners enrolled in the Master of Health Sciences (Nursing)?

Learners have access to the same support services as on-campus students, including academic advising, technical support, and library resources. There are also great resources for both Canterbury based and remote learners at the UC RecCentre. Learn more here.

Learners also have the support of our Tuihono UC Learner Experience team.

How can I finance my Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) degree?

There are a range of options you can use to finance your study, which you can learn more about here.

How do I apply?

Applications are made online through our Tuihono UC | UC Online website – view open enrolments and/or expressions of interest for when enrolments open. 

What are the expectations for learner participation?

There are some intensive study blocks where learning will be synchronous. Learners are expected to be present and participate in the online learning and the intensive study blocks, as well as all clinical practice elements. 

Learn more about how this flexible degree works and what your study journey might look like.

Is this course accredited for registration as registered nurse?

This degree equips you with all the competencies you need to apply for registration with the Aotearoa New Zealand Nursing Council, in two years. Graduates must apply to the Nursing Council and sit the State Final Examination (additional fee) before being registered as a nurse. 

Can the Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) lead to further study?

The Master of Health Sciences (Nursing) is a standalone professionally relevant qualification. 

If you complete the requirements for the Master of Health Sciences (Nursing), and have completed 30-60 points of independent research and with a B Grade Point Average or better, you may apply to the Amo Rangahau | Dean of Postgraduate Research for admission to the PhD programme. For more information, please contact the UC Graduate School.