All universities offer courses in the usual faculties of arts (except Lincoln), science and commerce, while law courses are available at Auckland, Victoria, Canterbury, Waikato and Otago. Music is available at Auckland, Canterbury, Otago, Victoria and Waikato. Most universities specialise in certain fields. The University of Otago provides courses in health sciences such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and physiotherapy as well as in physical education and surveying; Canterbury in forestry, engineering and fine arts; Lincoln in topics related to agriculture and horticulture; Auckland in architecture, planning, engineering, medicine, optometry and fine arts; Victoria in architecture, public administration and social work; Massey in aviation, agriculture, horticulture, technology and veterinary science.
Conjoint programmes leading to the Bachelor of Education degree and a Diploma in Teaching are available at several universities, in some cases in association with the local colleges of education. The University of Waikato has its own School of Education, created by amalgamation with the former Hamilton Teachers' College, and the Massey University College of Education came into being in 1997 when Palmerston North College of Education amalgamated with the university. Degrees and their Composition All universities offer Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees.
Most Bachelor's degree courses require three years but some may take up to six years. In some faculties a Bachelor's Honours degree is conferred after an additional year of undergraduate study.
In most universities the course of study for a Bachelor's degree consists of a prescribed number of units, papers or courses. In each subject there are usually offered first-year courses (stage 1 or 100 level), second-year courses (stage 2 or 200 level) and third-year courses (stage 3 or 300 level). A second-year course may be commenced in most cases only after appropriate passes in the subject at stage 1 and a third-year course only after the appropriate passes in the subject at stage 2. In each subject the student is required to attend a given number of lectures, tutorials and/or laboratory periods per week. In some courses field trips provide opportunities for on-site study of natural phenomena or social processes. Personal reading and research supplement these. Students are expected to develop independent study skills with a minimum of professional supervision. Grades given in tests, assignments and practical work count towards the final grade for a course. Most courses have a final three-hour written examination held either at mid-year (June) or end of year (October/November).
A postgraduate diploma usually requires one year of study after the Bachelor's degree while a Master's degree usually requires two years' work after a Bachelor's degree or one year after an Honours degree. Master's degrees traditionally consist of a thesis based on the results of original research, but increasingly Master's degrees by papers, or papers plus research, are becoming available.
The PhD degree normally takes at least three years of full-time study and research. The degree is awarded on the basis of the thesis, requiring original research and an oral examination. In special circumstances examiners may also require the candidate to take a written examination. Research in New Zealand Universities Research by staff in New Zealand universities covers an extraordinarily wide spectrum.