Bachelor of Science (Microbiology)

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Unique in New Zealand

Massey University is one of the only universities in New Zealand where you can study a full course in microbiology, and the breadth of our course is unique. Emerging New Zealand export industries, such as winemaking and biotechnology, are increasing the demand for graduates from the programme.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Science parent structure

What is it like?

Microorganisms are by far the most abundant and widely distributed forms of life on this planet. They are found in such diverse environments as the boiling waters of hot pools, the ocean depths, soil, and air.. Without the microbial world all animal and plant life on our planet would be rapidly driven to extinction.

Microbiology is the founding science of industrial biotechnology. Microbiologists work with microorganisms to create cell factories for the production of a variety of compounds. These include food and feed additives, commodity products, biofuel and medical drugs.


We teach microbiology hand-in-hand with other science areas such as veterinary, animal, and environmental science allowing you to explore microbiological sub-disciplines, including environment/ecology, food and biotechnology.

Heaps of laboratory experience

Exposure and time in labs is a large component of our course and on par with what is usually only seen in employment. For example, you’ll get to do a lab-based simulated research project, such as tracking down the source of an infection outbreak in a hospital. As a graduate, you’ll have personal lab confidence and the unique ability to show potential employers that you can perform given techniques successfully and are skilled in lab-based experiments.

Real-world experience

You will complete research projects as part of a summer studentship with Crown Research Institutes such as AgResearch and gain insight and connections with potential future employers.

Relevant learning

During your study towards a Massey Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) you will gain a contemporary, relevant view of microbiology which is in line with topical research and developments in the area. You will be exposed to the latest discoveries and research and be able to take advantage of Massey’s expertise in other areas of science.

Earn more

A Ministry of Education report, undertaken over nine years, showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study. Earnings can be substantially more than other graduates.


Some of the topics taught in microbiology courses include:

  • Bioinformatics and genomics
  • Biotechnology
  • DNA technology
  • Environmental microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Medical microbiology
  • Microbial diversity
  • Molecular microbiology
  • Epidemiology
  • Food microbiology

Solving global issues like

Rumen microbes are both essential to New Zealand’s agricultural industries but also responsible for much of New Zealand’s carbon emission ...

Efforts to preserve native birds (Kiwi) and plants (Kauri trees) depend on expert control of microbial pathogens ...

Microbes have applications as model systems to answer questions beyond the immediate range of microbiology, such as the causes of cancer or birth defects ...


New Zealand’s science institutions want employees who know their industry and therefore invest in the future workforce by providing scholarships to students. Why not have a crack at helping fund your study with a share of hundreds of thousands of dollars on offer every year? For more information visit:

A good fit if you:

  • Enjoy the sciences, specifically biology
Cynthia Winkworth
Bachelor of Science

“The diverse and vibrant learning environment I encountered at Massey University has enabled me to obtain challenging research positions at prestigious institutions…”

The diverse and vibrant learning environment I encountered at Massey University, both theoretical and practical, has enabled me to obtain challenging research positions at prestigious institutions like University of California, Berkeley and Yale University. Science - in particular microbiology - is a fast-paced field that undergoes constant changes due to new and sometimes startling discoveries. The microbiology degree at Massey constantly evolved to make sure we had the most up to date skills and knowledge upon entrance into this exciting workforce.

The flexibility of the microbiology degree enabled the development of strong practical and theoretical skills in related fields, like biochemistry and molecular biology, which in turn have enable me to approach new techniques, experiments and entire projects with confidence. Innovation, made possible by the solid background gained at Massey, is a key advantage I possess and is a skill that does not go unnoticed by potential employers, regardless of the job type.


There is a large and increasing variety of career opportunities for you as a Massey University microbiology graduate.

In demand

The growing demand for qualified microbiologists is highlighted by the number of microbiology positions advertised in the scientific journals Science and Nature. Microbiologists are on the Immediate Skill Shortage List as published by the New Zealand Immigration Office.

Areas graduates could work in include:

  • Reducing global warming and the production of environmentally-friendly biodegradable materials
  • The production of high-value compounds such as antibiotics and vaccines
  • Food production - such as beer, wine and cheese
  • Preventing and treating diseases, forensics and cleaning up pollution
  • Search for life on the bottom of the ocean and on other planets

The importance of microbes in traditional New Zealand industries means that you will be in high demand by these industries and Crown Research Institutes in quality control and research and development.

Other traditional areas of employment include hospitals, meat and dairy processing, or vaccine production. Newly emerging New Zealand export industries, such as winemaking and biotechnology, are continuing to increase the demand for microbiology majors both in research and development and quality control functions.

Join the engine of the new New Zealand

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