Master of Science (Microbiology)

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Unique in New Zealand

The breadth and depth of Massey University’s postgraduate microbiology programme is unique in New Zealand.

Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure

What is it like?

The Massey University Master of Science (Microbiology) is a multi-disciplinary postgraduate qualification that will give you the research skills to move up the hierarchy of your career, or move onto more in-depth research.

An essential science

Microbiology is an essential science that could hold the key to the transition to a sustainable bio-based economy. Microbiology aims to prevent and treat infectious diseases and provides an understanding, and even the curing, of ill health and diseases such as cancer.


You will gain the advantage of learning in a multi-disciplinary environment. Massey has world-leading expertise in many areas of science, especially veterinary, animal, health and environmental science. You can take advantage of this for your learning and research to look at microbiological sub-disciplines, such as environment/ecology, food and biotechnology.

Let our expertise become yours

You will learn from world-leading specialists in microbiology and related areas like biochemistry, biotechnology, immunology and epidemiology.

At Massey we use a diverse range of molecular, cellular, and animal model tools to investigate the molecular biology of diseases. Our biomedical interests are diverse. We research mechanisms of neurological, skeletal and muscular disorders, infectious microbial diseases and cancer.

Research areas active in our labs include genetic testing, display technologies, vaccine development, production of biopharmaceuticals and nanomaterials from biological systems and the bioengineering of environmentally friendly materials and processes.

World-leading facilities

Facilities available to you include our microscopy and imaging centre, genome sequencing (including DNA sequencing), bioreactors, protein analysis and fermentation facilities.

Relevant learning

During your study 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.

Friendly environment - passionate scientists

There is a well-established community of fundamental scientists and students at Massey. We work together to share discoveries and research and provide peer support.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The workload of the Master of Science (Microbiology) replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ as undergraduate study. 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. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning and undertaking research.

A good fit if you:

  • Have an undergraduate degree in microbiology, biochemistry or genetics
  • Want to apply your microbiology background to cutting edge research
  • Want to learn how to be an independent researcher and critical thinker


If you are interested in pursuing further research, microbiology is a key discipline of biological studies and is a particularly useful skill for work in medical, dental and veterinary schools.

There are also roles in the legal sector, for instance assisting with the drafting of patents and technology transfer agreements.

Big pharma and biotechnology industries are key employers, however there are numerous other opportunities in cosmetics, breweries, and oil industries. For instance industrial microbiology (production of antibiotics, microbial products), vaccines,, cosmetics and toiletries, food and bevarage production, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, oil industry and mining, breweries, the dairy industry.

Positions in industry include:

  • Management
  • Quality control
  • Research, and
  • Product development

Sought after by employers

International trends are for employers to reward postgraduate study well,especially in larger enterprises.The skills you learn are increasingly recognised as setting you apart from other potential employees.

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 and supervisors

Professor Bernd Rehm

Dr Rehm’s work on bionanoparticle technology and its uses as ‘biobeads’ led to the launch of a spin-off company PolyBatics. The company was named emerging company of the year by biotech industry body NZBIO.

His work has been widely published in over 160 international publications such as Nature Reviews Microbiology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mBio and Biomacromolecules . He is sole editor of five scientific books and has contributed to nearly 20 books and is in demand as a conference speaker.

Join the engine of the new New Zealand

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