Time to completion

Massey University has a Time to Completion for all qualifications at the University. This means that all qualifications have a time specified by which students are expected to complete the requirements of the qualification so they can graduate.

For undergraduate and graduate qualifications, the Time to Completion will generally be 8 years. This means that all students are expected to have graduated with at least one undergraduate or graduate qualification after 8 academic years.

For postgraduate qualifications there is a sliding scale for Time to Completion which relates to the size (credit value) of the qualification.

General Information

Why does Massey have a requirement that qualifications must be completed within a set time frame?

At Massey University our focus has long been on lifelong learning as we have recognised that opportunities to learn at any stage of life enhances wellbeing, improves people’s earning potential, and contributes to our economy and community. We continue to support our distance and part-time learners, along with our full-time students, with appropriate resources to enable all students of the University to fulfil their potential.

Time to Completion for Graduate and Undergraduate programmes and the extension of Time to Completion across all postgraduate programmes was introduced to assist in improving student success and completion at the University.

With Time to Completion for all Massey University qualifications, we can support students by establishing clear milestones and reporting of student progress toward them. This fosters an environment where students are encouraged to commit to their study through regular enrolments, maintain contact with the University regarding their study intentions, and complement their interest in study with qualification completions where practicable – or by choosing smaller qualifications that articulate into one another and thereby include completion milestones en route to a final study destination.

The Time to Completion along with a definition for Abandonment of Place (three consecutive academic years with no successful enrolment) also provides clarity around the obligation of the University to keep obsolete or significantly changed qualifications, and places in qualifications, open for students beyond a reasonable timeframe or where students are no longer actively engaged with the University.

Refer to the detail section for more information, including information on Time to Completion in specific programmes.

New Undergraduate/Graduate Students

How does this affect me?

You have 8 academic years to complete your first qualification at Massey University. Students who are studying full-time for a 360 credit Bachelor degree, such as the BA, BBS or BSc will generally sit 8 courses per year and complete their degrees in 3 years. Of course we understand that many students fail one or more courses, and the 8 year Time to completion will provide plenty of time for you to catch up on any courses you have missed. Some students may also need a semester or two off from study because of illness, family, or other personal circumstances, and this too can be easily accommodated within 8 academic years. If you are studying part-time please see our information for part-time students.

I have studied at a previous tertiary institution. How does this affect me?

If you are transferring to Massey from another tertiary institution you will have 8 academic years to complete your first undergraduate or graduate qualification at Massey. If you wish to transfer credit into a Massey qualification the time you have available to complete your qualification will be reduced proportionately to the amount of credit you are permitted to transfer. For example, if you are enrolling in the BBS and the University credits you with 4 courses from your studies elsewhere, the time you have available to complete your BBS is 7 academic years (8 years minus 60/360 credits, rounded to the next whole academic year). For other examples see the detail section.

Returning Undergraduate/Graduate Students

I have studied previously at Massey. How does this affect me?

The Time to Completion was introduced in 2012 and will not be applied retrospectively. Your academic history prior to 2012 will not count towards the 8 year time limit.Further information is provided on breaks from study in the detail section.

If you are not currently enrolled in a qualification, but wish to return to Massey for further study after a break, you may find that the qualification in which you were previously enrolled has changed and you will need to meet the requirements of the new regulations for that qualification or the nearest equivalent if the qualification is no longer available.

If you have previously graduated and wish to transfer or cross-credit courses into a new qualification, the time you have available to complete your qualification will be reduced proportionately to the amount of credit you are permitted to transfer. For example, if you have already completed a Diploma in Arts and would like to surrender that in order to complete the BA, you will have 6 academic years (8 years minus 120/360 credits, rounded to the next whole academic year) to complete your BA. For other examples see the detail section.

Part-time Students

Three courses a year is unrealistic for me. Does this mean I can never get a degree?

Massey has a long history of providing study opportunities that fit around people’s busy lives. We understand that many of our students are juggling employment, family, community, and study commitments. We understand the need to be realistic about study workloads so study can be enjoyable and successful. Many students start off with one or two courses a year, and increase that workload over time as they experience more success and can see completion of their qualification in sight.

We encourage students to work with staff at the University to plan their workloads. A formal opportunity will be provided when 6 academic years have elapsed to request an extension to the Time to Completion. An assessment will be made by staff, and students who have remained engaged with the University, are passing their courses, and are on track to completion may have extensions approved on the basis of an agreed study plan. Staff will discuss other options with students who are not making the necessary progress to complete within 8 academic years, including award of alternative qualifications.

Postgraduate Students

How does this affect me?

Most postgraduate qualifications have always had times by which they needed to be completed - particularly those which carry the award of honours.

In 2012 Time to Completion was introduced for Postgraduate Certificates (2 years), Postgraduate Diplomas (4 years), and 180 credit Masters (5 years) which did not have time limits specified in programme regulations prior to 2012.

The Time to Completion for these qualifications is only applied from 2012, meaning students who enrolled in 2012 or subsequently and had already completed some credits towards a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma, had 2 years/4 years (respectively) from 2012 and should have completed their qualification by now.. Students who intend to progress from a Postgraduate Diploma into Masters will still need to comply with the Time to Completion for Masters programmes and should be mindful of these timeframes when planning their study.

Abandonment of Place rules apply to all studies.

The Times to Completion for Postgraduate qualifications are:

QualificationCredit ValueTime to Completion (Academic Years)
Postgraduate Certificate 60 credits 2 years
Postgraduate Diploma 120 credits 4 years
Bachelor Honours 120 credits 1 year/ 3 years*
Masters Degree 120 credits 4 years
180 credits 5 years
240 credits 6 years

* 1 year from first year of enrolling fulltime, 3 years from first year of enrolling part time.

Detail for Undergraduate/Graduate Students

What are the Time Frames for each Undergraduate/ Graduate qualification?

To find out the Time to Completion for your qualification, you will need to refer to the Qualification Regulations. If a time is specified, then this is the length of time available to complete that qualification; If no time is specified, then the general Time to Completion will apply.

Most Undergraduate Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates, and Graduate Diplomas and Certificates: 8 academic years

Exceptions are:

  • Conjoint BA/BBS, BA/BSc, BBS/BSc: 10 years (other conditions apply)
  • Professional Degrees e.g. Nursing/Veterinary/Teaching: as specified in Qualification Regulations

How is the 8 years calculated?

Students have 8 consecutive academic years from the year in which they first enrol, to complete their qualification. E.g. a student who enrolled for the first time in Semester One 2012 will have until Summer Semester 2019 to complete. A student who enrolled for the first time in Semester Two 2014 will have until Summer Semester 2021 to complete.

I would like to have a break from study. What does this mean for me?

The Time to Completion is calculated on the basis of consecutive academic years from the year in which you first enrol. This means that if you choose not to study for any period of time you will still need to ensure you can complete your qualification within the 8 years. It is helpful to the University if you advise our staff of your intentions or if you have experienced exceptional circumstances which have made a break from study necessary. This will assist us to evaluate any application you later submit for an extension of the Time to Completion.

If you take a break of three or more academic years, the University considers that you have abandoned your place in the Qualification. This means that while you can apply to re-enrol at a later date, we are not obligated to hold a place open for you, which may mean that:

  • If the qualification has changed substantially, you may need to enrol in additional or different courses to complete the qualification
  • If the qualification has been terminated, you may have to complete the nearest alternative qualification
  • If enrolments are oversubscribed, you may need to compete with other students for a place in the qualification.
  • If you have had poor academic performance, we may choose not to readmit you

Breaks from study may not be able to be accommodated in qualifications with shorter Times for Completion.

I’m going on a Student Exchange. How will that be counted?

The time you spend on a Student Exchange will be counted as part of your 8 years for completion. Successful study while on exchange will credit in full towards your Massey qualification.

Time Limits for Undergraduate/Graduate Qualifications – Reduction for prior credit.

Students commencing study in undergraduate and graduate qualifications where no time limit is specified in the Qualification Regulations will have an 8 year Time to Complete, with students coming into their study with credit (either from a completed Massey qualification or study elsewhere) given a reduction in the time to complete according to the proportion of the qualification credited. (Note: time limit will be roundedupto a complete number of academic years).

  1. 60 credit qualification. Each 15 credit course credited will reduce the time limit by 2 years (one quarter of the qualification).
  2. 120 credit qualification. Each 15 credit course credited will reduce the time limit by 1 academic year (one eighth of the qualification).
  3. 240 credit qualification. Each 30 credits will reduce the time limit by 1 academic year (one eighth of the qualification).
  4. 360 and 480 credit qualifications. Each 15 credit course credited will reduce the time limit by one third or one quarter of a year. The following tables, taking 15 credits as the base unit, reflect the degree of reduction and the time available for the student to complete.

360 Credit Qualification

Credit awardedNo. of courses(15 credits)Reduction (academic years)Time remaining (academic years)
0 – 30 0 – 2 0 8
45 – 75 3 – 5 1 7
90 – 120 6 – 8 2 6
135 – 165 9 – 11 3 5
180 – 210 12 – 14 4 4
225 – 255 15 – 17 5 3

480Credit Qualification

Credit awardedNo. of courses(15 credits)Reduction (academic years)Time remaining (academic years)
0 – 45 0 – 3 0 8
60 – 105 4 – 7 1 7
120 – 165 8 – 11 2 6
180 – 225 12 – 15 3 5
240 – 285 16 – 19 4 4
300 – 345 20 – 23 5 3
360 24 6 2

What if I want to change from one qualification to another at Massey University?

We understand that your interests and goals may change as you engage with new topics and pursue new opportunities; this is all part of the learning process. If you have not yet completed your first graduate or undergraduate qualification you can apply to change the qualification in which you are enrolled at any time, however changing qualification will not extend your maximum time to complete.

If your new graduate or undergraduate qualification has a shorter time to complete than 8 consecutive academic years, (eg Bachelor of Nursing has a five year time to complete) you may not take longer than the maximum time specified in the qualification regulations. As an example, if you have completed one year of a Bachelor of Science, and choose to change to a Bachelor of Nursing the following year, you will have a maximum of five more years to complete the Bachelor of Nursing, making six years in total from when you commenced your Bachelor of Science. If you are receiving Student Loans or Allowances and wish to change your qualification, check with your funding body (e.g. StudyLink) to ensure you understand the implications.

If you have already graduated at Massey and wish to transfer or cross-credit courses into a new qualification, the time you have available to complete your qualification will be reduced proportionately to the amount of credit you are permitted to transfer. For example, if you have already completed a 120 credit Diploma in Arts and would like to surrender that in order to complete the Bachelor of Arts, you will have 6 academic years to complete your Bachelor of Arts (see table above). If you do not surrender the qualification and you are granted cross credit of 45 credits from your completed Diploma in Arts to a Bachelor of Arts your time to complete your Bachelor of Arts will be reduced to 7 years (see table above).

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