Health Sciences - College of Education, Health and Human Development - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

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Master of Health Sciences - choose your own pathway

The Master of Health Sciences (MHealSc) is a 240-point, research focused degree. This degree will appeal to those interested in developing research skills in the health sector. Student research examines a range of significant issues in health sciences with the aim of contributing to the evidence leading to improved health and well-being.

The Master of Health Sciences consists of two parts, usually completed within two years by full-time students. In Part 1, students follow a general programme, guided by their professional and inquiry-based interests, with approval by the Masters Coordinator. Students will be asked to critically reflect, to link theory to policy and practice in their coursework during the first year (Part 1), and to develop a research question or focus for their indepth study.

Following on from the coursework in Part 1, the thesis research (Part 2) is generally completed by an original investigation, which may be conducted locally, within New Zealand, or overseas, with the support of supervisors specifically selected to support your topic. A full year of research is recommended although other options may be available in certain circumstances. 

A recent masters thesis was completed by Nayana Karunasekera - Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Based Immersive Training for Education of Health Professionals: A Systematic Review.

If you are a current health practitioner in New Zealand you may be entitled to Health Workforce NZ Funding. Please contact your local DHB for application details.

You can start in either February (Semester 1) or July (Semester 2). This degree normally takes 4 semesters full time or 8 semesters part time. 

For specific information about courses, when you get to the general course page, please click on the red link for the course occurrence.

The table below is a suggested pathway for this programme. Please note there are further optional courses available from Schedule B to the Regulations for the Master of Health Sciences. Please check course availability.


Part 1
Semester 1

Part 1
Semester 2

Part 2
Year 2

Required course
120 pts
    HLTH690 MHealSc Thesis
(120 pts)
Research methods course or other approved alternative

HLTH460 Critical Appraisal in Health Research (30 pts)


120 pts from the schedule including the approved research methods course

HLTH401 Health and Health Systems
(30 pts)

HLTH402 Health Information Management 
(30 pts)

HLTH430 Motivating Behaviour Change 1
(30 pts)

HLTH403 *Environmental Health (30 pts)  
GEOG401 Well-Being, Community and Place
(30 pts)

HLTH407 Bioethics
(30 pts)


HLTH465 Professional Frameworks for Nursing Practice
(30 pts)

HLTH409 Health and Culture
(30 pts)

HLTH466 Health Assessment, Physiology and Pharmacology for Clinical Practice
(30 pts)
HLTH431 Motivating Behaviour Change 2 
(if previously taken HLTH430)
(30 pts)
  HLTH433 Bioethics A
(15 pts) (Term 3)
  HLTH434 Bioethics B
(15pts) Term 4)
  HLTH467 Mental Health and Addictions
(30 pts)

HLTH468 Acute and Long Term Health Care
(30 pts)


HLTH469 *Health Issues in the Community
(30 pts)

  HLTH472 Quantitative Methods in Health Research (Introductions to Psychometric Theory and Administration)
(15 pts)
  HLTH408 (C) Qualitative Health Methodologies (Special Topic: Independent Study)
(15 pts)

In Part 1 part-time students would usually complete one or two courses per semester to total 30 points. Full-time students would usually complete two to four courses per semester to total 60 points.

Part 2 may be completed part-time with prior approval.

Please refer to individual course webpages for further details regarding course dates, workshops and other attendance requirements.

* Subject to CUAP approval due late 2016