Frequently asked questions

Why should I do my veterinary science training at Massey?

  • A high quality programme externally accredited by the Australasian Veterinary Schools Accreditation Advisory Committee (VSAAC), the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)
  • A 40 year history of producing graduates who excel in all aspects of the profession
  • A world-class faculty who put their teaching and their students first
  • An unsurpassed pastoral animal production teaching programme
  • Modern facilities and equipment
  • Very competitively priced, high quality education and a low cost of living
  • Ability to enter the veterinary programme without a pre-requisite undergraduate degree.


  • The school has full accreditation by the Council of Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association, with the next re-accreditation visit due in 2014
  • The Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC)
  • The Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and
  • by a reciprocal agreement between AVBC and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

How do Massey University veterinary students perform in the NAVLE exam? 

Massey University candidates for the National Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) in the USA achieved the following pass rates:

November/December 2009 and April 2010 – 96%
November/December 2010 and April 2011 – 100%
November/December 2011 and April 2012 – 87%
November/December 2012 and April 2013 – 88%

The NAVLE pass mark required for continued accreditation is 80%.

Where in New Zealand can I obtain a qualification to practise as a veterinarian?

Only at Massey University. To practise as a veterinarian in New Zealand you must have a qualification which is registrable with the Veterinary Council of New Zealand. The Massey University BVSc is the only qualification available in this country which is recognized by the Veterinary Council for registration. A number of veterinary nursing qualifications (diplomas or certificates) are available at NZ tertiary institutions (including Massey), but these are for people providing assistance to veterinarians.

Will I be able to work overseas with a BVSc?

Yes - in a number of countries. Massey graduates are eligible to register as veterinarians in New Zealand, USA, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa and Papua-New Guinea. In addition they are able to sit registration exams in some countries in Europe and Asia. AVMA and CVMA accreditation means that veterinary students graduating from Massey University will now be treated in the same manner by registration authorities in North America (USA and Canada) as students qualifying from accredited North American veterinary schools.

Are Massey veterinary graduates trained in practical aspects as well as theory?

They are well trained in both these aspects and in practical areas probably better trained than graduates from many other veterinary programmes. A requirement for them to undertake practical farm work and veterinary practical work, in addition to that gained at vet school, contributes in this regard. Also New Zealand's animal welfare legislation allows veterinary undergraduates to undertake a lot of procedures (under veterinary supervision) which are not possible in some other countries. With this practical experience our graduates are generally highly sought after, particularly in the UK, because of their practical abilities.

Can you tell me more about the veterinary and farm practical work during veterinary studies at Massey.

Veterinary students have to do around 20 weeks of practical work, divided into 14 weeks farm practical work and veterinary practical work. That is in addition to the 10 days which they must do prior to coming to Massey University in order to be eligible for selection into the BVSc programme. The farm practical work is required to increase their experience and knowledge of farming and animals. In order to be counted towards the veterinary practical work requirement that aspect of the practical work must be done after the mid year break of BVSc 3. That is so that the student will have reached a level of veterinary knowledge sufficient to derive maximal benefit from the practical work. In BVSc 4 and 5 the students second semester timetable is specifically varied from that which applies for the rest of the university, to allow veterinary practical work experience during the height of the lambing and calving seasons. All of this veterinary and farm practical work must be done outside of the academic teaching periods.

Will admission of international students reduce the number of places available in the BVSc for New Zealand students? 

No, places available for domestic government subsidised students in the BVSc degree, are separate to and unaffected by the places for international students.

If I just want to specialise in horses, why should I have to learn all that material about other species? Why can't I restrict my training to areas of particular interest? 

Veterinarians are registered to work with all species, so our graduates must be trained across the major species. One of the recognised strengths of the Massey University BVSc is the fact that it is a general veterinary degree and graduates are well trained across the major species. The broader knowledge base of Massey BVSc graduates gives them much greater capacity to work in a wide range of different situations, which is desirable. If their interests change, as they often do, or if there is a change in availability of work in different sectors, that can be accommodated more readily than for graduates with degrees in which there is more specialization. The versatility of our graduates is another reason for their ready employability in New Zealand and overseas.

Can you tell me about the employability of Massey University BVSc graduates? 

Almost without exception they readily find employment as veterinarians. . Over the last few years around 96% of graduates are in part or full-time employment within six months of graduation.

What type of employment do graduates go into?

Particularly in the first year after completing at Massey, veterinary practice is the most common employment, with many having a preference for mixed (large and small animal) practice. After consolidating their clinical skills in that way many occupational opportunities may be taken up. Many stay in practice but that may include moving into specific practices such as small animal, equine, dairy, etc. Some veterinarians work for the government ensuring the safety of our food or investigating disease outbreaks. Some veterinarians go into academic positions at vet schools, polytechs or other tertiary institutions, while others go into research with academic institutions or private companies such as with AgResearch. Then the range becomes really diverse. It includes employment with pharmaceutical and animal feed companies, international disease control, working as editors and publishers and occasionally as TV presenters and in rock bands.

Find out more about career opportunities for BVSc graduates

Can I repeat papers (classes) which I have passed already, or for which I am eligible for cross credits in order to increase my Weighted Grade Point Average? 

No. In order to be fair all NZ Government subsidised students or Group 1 international students must be taking new classes (i.e. not repeating classes already completed) for their NZ based science GPA for selection. Also, should a student not be successful in being selected into the veterinary program repeating previous classes would mean they were essentially wasting time and not making academic progress towards obtaining a degree, which is not acceptable.

Can I take papers (classes) equivalent to those in the BVSc pre-selection phase (semester 1) at another university?

Yes you can, but you need to check with the Programme Administrator to find out which papers cross-credit to those in semester 1 of BVSc 1. A problem with that approach is that most other NZ universities do not have all cross-crediting papers in the first semester of the year, hence your first opportunity to gain selection into the professional phase of the BVSc is delayed by a year, until the middle of your second year at university.

I have had a lot of experience with animals and feel I would be a good veterinarian. But I haven't been able to gain high enough grades. Why is the selection system weighted in favour of smart people?

The BVSc degree programme is academically very demanding, hence the people we select into the degree must be of high academic merit and capable of completing the programme in minimum time. All BVSc students are taught animal handling skills during their veterinary studies. That training is reinforced during required veterinary clinical and farm practical work.

Why do applicants need to have ten days veterinary work experience prior to coming to study vet at Massey?  

This requirement was introduced to ensure that potential veterinary students gained some appreciation of the tasks that vets have to undertake. These include not only many pleasant interactions with clients and their animals, but also dealing with less pleasant clients, and tasks such as having to euthanase healthy animals, substantial legal and ethical responsibilities, business management responsibilities, etc, all of which provide a down side to the profession. Hopefully this experience will mean that the decision to become a veterinarian is made from a better informed position. You should complete your 10 days veterinary work experience before the start of the academic year. You will need to supply a letter from a veterinarian on their clinic letterhead verifying that you have completed at least the minimum of 10 days work experience with them.

I have a degree already, but not in the sciences. Will grades from that degree be used in the selection process? 

If the previous university study was entirely in non-science subjects the previous grades will not be used. Only grades from science classes taken at the university level will be used in the calculation of your science GPA for selection into the BVSc program.

Can I use my grades from another university to be considered for BVSc selection?

If they are from another NZ university, you may be able to but each case is judged separately.

For International students, grades from other Universities can be used for two purposes. One is to identify applicants who are eligible for selection as Group 2 applicants. As a Group 1 applicant if you have completed classes that are the same as those taken in the pre-selection semester then you would be given credit for those classes and other classes would need to be taken in their place. This will require review of the course content description, in order for a decision to be made about your eligibility to receive credits for these courses. You will then be required to take another paper in its place and the grade for this paper will also be used in calculating your weighted grade point average. This needs to be above a B average in order to be considered for selection. A policy document explains how you can select other papers.

Is there an upper age limit for the BVSc selection process?


Is there any limit on the number of times I can apply?

No, not at present.

Are people from overseas allowed to apply for the BVSc?

Yes they can. How they apply depends on their background. If your country does not have a veterinary school and is one of those countries that the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) supports Undergraduate study in, then you can apply for one of the two available positions. Successful applicants still need to meet the minimum academic requirements (B average) to be considered for selection. This is outlined in the document Selection into the Professional Phase of the BVSc.Otherwise applicants for BVSc selection can enter the course via two routes.

What happens if I am not successful in being selected for the professional phase (second semester of year 1)

We do not have any limit on the number of times students may apply for selection. Many stay at Massey hoping to raise their WGPA enough to gain selection in subsequent year. Also the first (pre-selection) semester of the first year of the veterinary degree at Massey is designed to allow students who do not gain entry to the professional years of the veterinary course to cross-credit to other degrees. 

What are the semester starting dates?

Typically Semester One starts on the last Monday in February and ends in early June. With the exam period running until approximately June 20-24th. Semester two starts in mid-July and finishes in mid-late October. The semester 2 exam period runs from late October to mid-November. The exact dates vary from year to year. No classes in the veterinary degree are offered in the summer semester.

I am from North America – can I get financial assistance?

Most American veterinary students at Massey obtain US Federal Loans.

For Canadian students access is available to Canadian Government loans. Massey is also recognised by which can provide funds via the CanHELP program for any Canadian student that may need additional funds. Our school participation code is 013153.

Further information

Please check the main BVSc and BVetTech pages for detail on entry and planning your study.

Massey University wildlife vets feeding kiwi

Veterinary students examining dog

Cows in field

Massey University vet examining dog


Massey veterinarians with dog outside

horse and vet at Massey University equine centre

Graduation ceremony vet tech

Feeding a lamb with bottle milk

International vet student with cat

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