Choosing your study considerations

The following are key factors that we recommend you consider when choosing your study. 

Step 1

Know why you are studying - identify your goals, interests and/or career plan

There are many reasons why people want to study at university. The most common include:

  • to enter, or progress in a career, or enhance job or earning prospects
  • to increase knowledge
  • to work with people who share their interests and meet new people
  • to follow a passion for a subject
  • to experience new things, challenges, personal growth and development
  • to develop particular skills and attributes.

Setting a goal for your studies will help you to stay motivated while studying. The best results are often obtained if you study something that you find interesting. We recommend that you:

  • think about what you like doing
  • think about your interests in general.
  • research options for what you might study and what your career options might be
  • ask for our advice if there is anything you are unsure about
  • remember that your goals may change and that this not unusual.

Studying for interest

Our Career and Employment Services web pages provide a range of online tools that will help you to explore factors that include your skills, interests, values and personality.

Studying for a career

If you have a particular career in mind it is imperative that you research its entry requirements. Most qualifications are not designed to prepare graduates for a single career and many people find work in areas unrelated to their subjects. We recommend exploring your options and study broadly. Visit the Careers and Employment Services web pages to take advantage of the resources and tools we offer and the links to other useful careers websites. They will help you to clarify your goals; explore career areas related to your subjects and identify other important factors in career choice.

Step 2

Ensure you know how much time you have for study

Study at university requires a significant time investment. Students often comment that balancing their everyday commitments with study requirements can be quite challenging. So it is important to carefully consider how many courses you should take, especially when beginning your study. 

  • You should be realistic about the number of courses you can take in a semester and consider all your existing commitments. You will need to spend approximately 10 to 12.5 hours each week for a 15 credit single semester course, or about 5 to 6.25 hours per week for a 15 credit double semester course.
  • If you are new to university study or returning after a long gap, try one or two courses to start with. Once you are confident and have good study routines in place, you might find you can take on a heavier workload.
  • If you are working full time (or have a young family that you look after full time), we recommend that you take no more than 30 credits (two courses) in a semester.

To help you identify how you could fit study into your regular routine, we have provided the following tools: 

  • Workload planning tool - an interactive tool which displays a list of every day activities and asks you to estimate how much time you spend on each activity each week. It also asks you how many courses you want to take and will provide you with some helpful feedback on your results.
  • Weekly Planner (380 KB)  - a daily appointment view that allows you to fill in your activities based on your current schedule. An example is provided to show you how you might consider moving some activities around to fit the recommended study time in. File format is Word 2003.
Step 3

Length of time to complete qualifications

Most undergraduate degrees are made up of 360 credits and are normally completed by a full-time student in three years doing 120 credits per year. Diplomas and certificates will be completed in a shorter period of time. If the most time you can allocate to study is six or seven hours per week, you are advised to restrict your choice to one double-semester course a year. If you can manage 12 or more hours a week it should be possible to complete two single-semester courses each year.

However, it is not possible to fast-track a qualification by taking on an unrealistic workload. It is better to see each course as a worthwhile learning opportunity and not to worry too much about the time it will take to reach your eventual goal.

Often experienced distance students find that once they have completed some courses and have built up effective study routines, they are able to take on a slightly heavier workload, and are able to complete a degree within seven to twelve years. Not every student is able to study every year and some take decades to complete a degree. 

For more information about the different types of programmes available see programme types.

Step 4

Prior experience with university study

If you have studied at university previously, Massey University recognises prior learning achieved within both formal and informal settings. Credit may be awarded for completed tertiary qualifications, for incomplete tertiary qualifications, and for informal learning. For more information see recognition of prior learning.

If you are returning to study after a significant gap we recommend you view the academic skills section to ensure you are aware of what academic study involves.

Step 5

Personalised study and career advice

We would like to help you make the right decisions when choosing and planning your study with us. We have people who can give you advice to create an individual pathway to your qualification.

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey