Research is core to the role played by universities. Academic staff in universities are first and foremost active researchers, developing new knowledge in their discipline, distilling that knowledge into their teaching at undergraduate level, and imparting their expertise in research skills to graduate and postgraduate students through the supervision of their own research projects.

As a graduate or postgraduate student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, you are an important part of the research culture of The University of Waikato. If you are enrolled for an Honours degree, or perhaps for a postgraduate diploma, you will be acquiring greater conceptual sophistication and specific methodological skills essential for research work. Many of you will carry out a Directed Study as an initial piece of supervised research, and a first step toward developing your own independence as a researcher.

At Master's level, a dissertation or thesis will be central to your programme, and designing and executing this research project will mark an important advance in your own intellectual and creative development. During the preparation of the dissertation or thesis, your supervisors will encourage you to present aspects of your work to graduate seminars, or staff-student seminars, or at academic conferences: presenting your own ideas and work to your peers and receiving comments from them is a crucial element in the research process. When your dissertation or thesis has been completed, you should plan to publish your findings, perhaps co-authoring articles with your supervisors if you have worked closely with them.

All graduates play an important role in the research profile of the University. Those of you embarking upon a higher degree at postgraduate level, most commonly a doctoral degree, will draw upon the guidance of your supervisors to become fully independent researchers, capable of making your own unique and valuable contribution to knowledge.

We welcome all graduate and postgraduate students who intend to study in the Faculty, whether your first degree was taken at The University of Waikato or completed at another tertiary institution. We welcome those of you who are returning to study at graduate level, drawing on your own experiences of work, parenthood, or travel for inspiration in your studies. We welcome with special warmth graduate and postgraduate students from other countries: you bring to the Faculty cosmopolitan qualities and remind us that the creation and transmission of knowledge is an international activity.