Master of Veterinary Studies (Epidemiology)

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Join a unique programme

Join the only veterinary epidemiology speciality programme in Australasia.

Find out more about the Master of Veterinary Studies parent structure

What is it like?

Massey University offers the only veterinary epidemiology programme in Australasia.

Epidemiology is the science concerned with study patterns of health and disease in different populations, or groups. Group comparison is at the core of scientific methods needed to assess the efficacy of intervention for the prevention, treatment and management of diseases.

Skills in in-depth analysis

When you complete a master’s in epidemiology at Massey University you will gain the skills needed to work at a high level in the field of epidemiology. You will gain skills in critical evaluation of the literature, through to study design and advanced skills in analysis of epidemiologic data.

You will learn how to critically evaluate the literature to make evidence-based decision making in a range of sectors including health and policy. This epidemiology programme will teach you how to design surveillance systems and population studies in order to determine magnitude of health problems. You will be able to identify risk factors, evaluate interventions and gain the skills necessary in advanced data analysis and statistical computing.

Real world learning

You will gain from the Master of Veterinary Studies’ (Epidemiology) emphasis on developing lantitative skills through case studies. During your studies you will work with data collected during real epidemiological studies to help you learn how to interpret results in the light of bias, confounding, effect modification and model error.

Gain from our world-leading expertise

Massey University hosts the EpiCentre - the largest veterinary epidemiology training and research centre in Australasia and widely considered to be one of the leading groups in the world. The group has a proven track record with more than 15 years’ experience in education and research.

The EpiCentre is an OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) Collaborating Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health and the only such centre in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, we have are doing research both in NZ and internationally and this gives us a very outward facing program. We have taught students from all over the world and many have returned to do a PhD with Massey.

The Centre works extensively in the development and commercial application of animal health software (DairyWIN, InterSpread, CamDairy, VetPad), and is also experienced in the use and integration of a wide range of software for epidemiological uses, notably geographical information systems (GIS), expert systems, multivariate analysis and simulation modellling.

The group is active in field work with humans, production animals, companion animals and wildlife in New Zealand, and provides consultancy services and training courses in epidemiology throughout the world.


Massey University’s veterinary programme is ranked in the top 50 universities worldwide by both the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking and ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

Wide range of facilities

This course is run on our Manawatu campus in Palmerston North. Host to the only veterinary school in New Zealand, Massey University’s well-equipped facilities include an equine hospital, 24-hour pet hospital and sheep, beef, dairy and deer farms, all located near campus. The Wildbase wildlife hospital is the only dedicated wildlife hospital in New Zealand and underwent a $1.44 million expansion in 2016.

You will have access to our other world-leading science facilities such as modern laboratories for virology and bacteriology, molecular and immunohistochemical work.

Broad applicability

Although the focus of this programme is on animal health, this programme is also suitable if you are working in another sector and wish to improve your critical evaluation skills and managing data.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Veterinary Studies will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles. Our experts are there to guide but if you have come from undergraduate study, you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study.

A good fit if you:

  • Wish to retrain to become an epidemiologist
  • Want to become more data driven in your clinical or farm-related practice
  • Are in a related industry and would like to influence animal health issues
Juan Sanhueza
Master of Veterinary Studies (Epidemiology)
Graduated in 2011
PhD student

“I chose this degree because of my interest in veterinary epidemiology, which I found was particularly well covered by the Master of Veterinary Studies at Massey University…”

The program gradually builds up from basic epidemiological concepts and statistical methods to advanced data analysis techniques. The whole learning experience was very rewarding academically because of the fundamental skills acquired, and also socially since I had the opportunity to share experiences and build friendship with people from all over the world. After finishing the master’s I was offered a part-time role as a research technician at the EpiCentre that lead to PhD position on leptospirosis in New Zealand.

I am currently working as a junior research assistant at the EpiCentre.


Graduates of this programme have gone onto become world leaders in veterinary epidemiology and veterinary public health.

Examples of careers that our graduates have taken up include research and development managers for pharmaceutical companies, policy advisors for government agencies and working on the ground during disease outbreaks such as Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

Earn more

A Ministry of Education report found that:

  • Earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • Five years after leaving study, most young domestic graduates will be earning above the national median earnings
  • Young masters graduates earn 86 per cent more than the national median
  • Good careers are associated with better health, better wellbeing and more satisfying lives

World-leading lecturers

Massey’s veterinary science staff are internationally-renowned for their research and teaching and learning methods. You will be working with internationally-recognised veterinary specialists, for example:

Professor Tim Carpenter

Dr Carpenter is an internationally-respected epidemiology academic. His research interests are broad, including epidemiology, simulation modelling, risk analysis, economic decision making, spatial statistics, avian influenza, brucellosis, foot-and-mouth disease, toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, and other diseases of humans, wildlife, and livestock. Carpenter spent 37 years of his career at UC Davis, beginning in 1976 as a Research Associate/Lecturer and ending as Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology. (He is currently Professor Emeritus.)  In 2015 he was awarded the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Achievement Award recognising his exemplary achievements over four decades to veterinary medical research, teaching and mentoring of students and colleagues.

Join the engine of the new New Zealand

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