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Master of Science (Animal Science)

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū
  • Not all listed subject course options are on offer every year
  • Available for international students studying in NZ

Stand out from the crowd

The Master of Science will allow you to stand out from other animal science graduates

Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure.

What is it like?

Massey’s Master of Science (Animal Science) will allow you to make a major contribution to animal science.

Whether you want to take a first step in a research career or would like a specialised role in livestock or animal industries, a MSc (Animal Science) will give you the skills you need.

A wide range of specialities

Animal science is a broad subject and you could engage in study and research in one of many subjects from livestock production, genetics, nutrition, reproductive physiology, lactation, animal behaviour and welfare.

Develop specialised knowledge

A master’s builds your capability in sourcing, generating and interpreting quality information to make informed decisions. You’ll develop specialised knowledge in your chosen field.

Massey University provides an excellent environment for your animal science master's. We have an active research programme in many areas of applied and theoretical aspects of animal science and much of this is funded by industry. This means as a master’s student you have the opportunity to research a relevant issue and generate solutions for the real world.

Join a world-leading agricultural university

Massey University’s proud record in land-based study dates back to 1927 when we offered New Zealand’s first degrees in agriculture.

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.

Relevant learning

At Massey you will not just be studying animal science, you will be part of this world-leading animal and agricultural science hub. Massey’s Manawatū campus is surrounded by working farms and state-of-the-art animal science research facilities.. You are able to access our extensive research and working facilities as part of your study. These include:

  • Two dairy farms
  • Sheep and beef blocks, in the Manawatu and Wairarapa
  • Dedicated feline and canine units
  • Intensive livestock facilities
  • A deer farm
  • New Zealand’s only veterinary science teaching facilities including
    • 24-hour pet hospital
    • Wildbase hospital which treats native New Zealand animals
    • Equine hospital

We also host The International Sheep Research Centre which leads the world with its investigations into sheep husbandry and related areas.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Science (Animal Science) 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.

Not just more of the same

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

A good fit if you:

  • Have a degree in animal science, veterinary science, animal husbandry or agriculture
  • Want to develop expertise or upskill in a specific field of animal science
Nicole Steele
Master of Science (Animal Science)
PhD student

“Massey University has a really good reputation in animal science so it wasn’t a difficult decision to choose where to study…”

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Waikato and always loved working with animals. Doing science fair projects at high school gave me a taste of researching into animal health issues like mastitis. Working in research appealed to me as I wanted to help find practical solutions to the problems experienced by dairy farmers.

Massey’s reputation in this area attracted me to the university, as did the number of agricultural-related scholarships. The prospect of getting financial support encouraged me to work hard at school and throughout my university studies.

Summer placements at both DairyNZ and AgResearch fulfilled the practical requirements for my undergraduate degree, and gave me a feel for what it would be like to work at reputable research organisations. I made some great industry contacts which have ultimately led to my first full-time job at DairyNZ.

While with DairyNZ, I concurrently worked on my Master of Science (Animal Science) at Massey (as a distance student). I’ve had amazing opportunities, attending two international conferences, and even getting invited to speak about my research at one of these. In 2012 I won a scholarship from CRV Ambreed to travel to The Netherlands to learn about herd improvement and dairy systems in the country.

In 2016 I start a PhD in Dairy Science at Virginia Tech in the US. I’ll be continuing in the area I am passionate about - animal health. On my return to New Zealand, I hope to take up a post-doctoral position and eventually become a recognised dairy scientist, helping New Zealand farmers to use more efficient and sustainable practices to improve productivity and profitability.


Potential careers after completing a Master of Science with a major in animal science include:

  • As a research associates at Crown Research Institutes such as AgResearch
  • Sales and technical reps for feed companies and feed manufacturers
  • Consultants and advisors to farmers or industry bodies such as Beef+Lamb or DairyNZ
  • Laboratory and on-farm technicians
  • In biosecurity/customs roles
  • Wildlife conservation
  • With the Ministry of Primary Industries in a policy or advisory role
  • Sales and technical representatives for equipment manufacturers (e.g., milking machines)
  • Providing specialist animal services
  • Animal welfare consultant
  • Technical institute tutor

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 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.

World-leading lecturers and supervisors

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

Dr Sarah Pain

Dr Sarah Pain worked as a lecturer in animal nutrition and metabolism at the University of Adelaide before moving to New Zealand in 2008. Dr Pain’s research focuses primarily on animal nutrition, reproduction and physiology. She has worked with a range of animal species over her current career including fish, wallabies, chickens, pigs, horses, cattle, deer and sheep.

Dr Pain’s research projects currently include studies in New Zealand, Australia, Uruguay, China and India. Her current focus is on sheep reproduction and nutrition, working with the International Sheep Research Centre (based at Massey University). In particular how a developing embryo or foetus interacts and communicates with their mother under different uterine environments.

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