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Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)

Key facts

  • Available at Auckland
  • Available for international students studying in NZ

Waiting for your discoveries

More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by seawater – this marine environment plays a crucial role in supporting life on our planet. It is diverse, complex and a valued natural resource.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Science parent structure.

What is it like?

More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by seawater – this marine environment plays a crucial role in supporting life on our planet. It is diverse, complex and a valued natural resource.

Be sought-after by employers

Imagine monitoring whale movements and their impact on fish species or providing consultancy on sustainable practices for construction near waterways. As a marine biologist your unique skills and knowledge will be in huge demand and lead to a range of jobs working independently, or for agencies like DOC, NIWA and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Exciting study areas

Learn about majestic creatures of the underwater world, gain skills for understanding changes in the abundance and distribution of populations, or the processes governing the stability and resilience of our marine ecosystems. 

Giving you the skills you’ll need

Massey’s marine biology programme will introduce you to the biological principles and processes that are basic to all forms of life in the sea. You will learn about the ecology of marine organisms; how they interact with one another, with their environment, and the land. You will gain a solid grounding in marine biology history and theory. Studying at Massey will also give you practical skills in field biology and data analysis, and support you in formulating and answering complex questions about the marine environment. ­

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, agriculture, technology, computer science, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study compared to the national median. Earnings can be substantially more than other graduates.


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 look 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:

  • Are interested in the sea and the species that live there
  • Enjoy the sciences
  • Want to understand and learn how to manage the environmental pressures on the marine environment
Blair Outhwaite

“Returning from fishing near Whangarei one day, I spotted a large pod of dolphins and a mother/calf pair of whales. It was then I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to working with whales and dolphins…”

As I did not graduate from high school and was enrolling as an adult student, I felt Massey provided me with the best opportunity and support for my situation. Massey appeared to have a good ecological department and the courses looked hands-on. I got a solid foundation that allowed me to get to the next level of study.

For almost two years during my undergraduate study I volunteered for a PhD student who was researching the common dolphins in the Hauraki Gulf. This gave me skills I could apply in the field and in the lab and eventually led to my postgraduate opportunity at Massey.

For my master’s, I am looking to identify differences in behaviour between areas of high and low levels of tourism using behavioural and acoustic recordings. I am also assessing the usefulness of citizen science in cetacean research and identifying the occurrence of bottlenose dolphins around the North Shore and Whangaparaoa coast.


Marine biology opens the door to an exciting and dynamic career. Jobs include working in:

  • The private sector as an environmental consultant
  • Government agencies such as the Ministry of Primary Industries or the Department of Conservation
  • A Crown Research Institute, such as the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences
  • For an environmental consultancy such as the Cawthorn Institute
  • Or researching for a university

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