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Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Agricultural Science)

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū

Take your excellence and turn it into something more

If you are interested in further in-depth research, this qualification gives you the skills to progress to a PhD.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Science (Honours) parent structure.

What is it like?

When you study towards Massey’s Bachelor of Science with Honours in Agricultural Science you will gain advanced knowledge in agricultural areas you’re interested in. You will acquire the analytical and management skills to help you improve productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems, in New Zealand, and around the world.

A wide range of topics

Some of the topics you can choose to study in-depth include:

  • Livestock feeding
  • Growth and meat science
  • Genetics and breeding
  • Reproduction and fertility
  • Metabolism and endocrinology
  • Lactation and milk production
  • Dairy/sheep/beef/pig/deer/poultry/equine production
  • Sustainable agricultural systems
  • Farm and horticultural management
  • Soil fertility/conservation/management
  • Agronomy
  • Pasture production/ecophysiology

Make industry connections

Massey’s Bachelor of Science (Honours) in agricultural science gives you the opportunity to network and form links with research and agricultural organisations for internships, forming a basis for your research project.

Join a world-leading agriculture university

Massey is world-ranked and New Zealand’s No 1 university in agriculture according to the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings and ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

Our proud record dates back to 1927 when we offered New Zealand’s first degrees in agriculture and horticulture. As a student, you will benefit from our internationally recognised capability and leadership in this area.

Award-winning facilities

Massey’s Manawatū campus hosts the only multi-function teaching laboratories in Australasia. The labs won a Best Practice Award for Innovation at the Association for Tertiary Education Management conference in Australia and were short-listed for the international UKS-Lab awards. Each laboratory can be tailored to accommodate a variety of disciplines, a unique feature in Australasia.

Massey University has a wide range of other facilities related to agriculture. Dairy, sheep and beef and deer farms are located adjacent to the Palmerston North campus. In addition, a number of research facilities are also available, including the Pasture and Crop Research Unit, the Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre, Massey AgriFood Technology Partnership, the Plant Growth Unit, the Equine hospital, the Life Cycle Management Centre, Massey University farms and Seed Tech Services, an ISTA-accredited seed testing laboratory.

World-leading lecturers and industry relevance

As an agriculture student at Massey you will have access to lecturers and supervisors acknowledged as being among the best in the world. Collaboration between Massey University and adjacent Crown Research Institutes offers unrivalled advantages to postgraduate students, including access to specialised skills, equipment and networking opportunities.

You will have access to a wide range of facilities and services including the Pasture and Crop Research Unit, the Fertiliser and Lime Research Unit, the Plant Growth Unit, The Equine Unit, the Life Cycle Management Centre, Massey University farms, teaching laboratories and library resources.

Become a sought-after employee

Studying towards your master's is a satisfying and challenging process that will give you a sought-after postgraduate qualification.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The workload of the postgraduate diploma 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:

  • Are interested in going on to in-depth research, such as a master's or PhD
  • Are passionate about agriculture
  • Excelled in your undergraduate agricultural-related degree
  • Would like to gain real-world experience
Holly Phillips
Bachelor of Science Honours (Agricultural Science)
Graduating 2016

“My study experience has been fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate degree. In particular I liked that we were able to apply what we learnt in lectures to actual on-farm situations by having multiple field trips and talking to farmers…”

Prior to starting my honours degree I completed a Bachelor of Science at Massey with a double major in animal science and agricultural science. This allowed me to combine my two loves - animals and science. Agriculture is such a huge part of the New Zealand economy and is something I have really enjoyed learning more about. Having the two majors also opened up a huge variety of career options.

Massey has a fantastic reputation for its agricultural degrees, and gave me a variety of related courses to choose from. I came to the open day in Year 13 and Massey had a great atmosphere, both staff and students were helpful and welcoming. I was able to select the course that was right for me and I haven't looked back.

Agriculture students are a tight-knit community and that has made my study experience even more enjoyable.

The university halls, and clubs such as Young Farmers were great to be a part of, and definitely enhanced my university experience. Continuing onto an honours year in 2015 allowed me to gain more knowledge on the subjects that really excited me, and opened up even more career options.

I completed a summer studentship with Massey in the summer of 2014/2015 and that was the perfect lead in to honours. I was able to work with a number of Massey's scientists on their relative projects and get a feel for what a career in research could involve. I was able to learn a number of new skills which undoubtedly helped me this year for my honours, and will help me in my career.

I have been lucky enough to have been offered the position of Science Intern for DairyNZ and AgResearch for 2016. I am incredibly excited about this opportunity and I hope to return to Massey in the future to complete my PhD.


For those with a passion for research the Massey honours programme is a pathway into a PhD.

Employers value Massey’s Bachelor of Science with Honours (Agricultural Science) graduates. You’ll have the skills to advance quickly within an organisation.


According to CareersNZ agricultural scientist roles are on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list, which means the Government is actively encouraging skilled agricultural scientists from overseas to work in New Zealand.

Employers report having particular trouble finding agricultural/horticultural scientists with skills in the following areas:

  • Plant breeding, including plant genomics and plant genetics
  • Farming systems
  • Animal genetics
  • Soil science
  • Molecular biology
  • Statistics
  • Water quality
  • Biometrics

The primary industries are a growing sector and there are great employment and business opportunities for suitably qualified graduates.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Occupational Outlook indicates that employment prospects are good in all primary industry sectors. The New Zealand Immigration service has also included a wide range of primary industry jobs in the skills shortage list, particularly in supervisory and management roles.

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates, found that in New Zealand:

  • Young master’s graduates earn more than one and a half times more than the national median (five years after study)
  • Earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • Five years after completion, the median earnings of young master’s graduates are 15% higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree.

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