Lead the world of pathology
Join this unique residency programme to learn from the largest group of veterinary pathologists in the southern hemisphere.
- Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
- 1.5 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
- Admission to the Veterinary Pathology programme is by invitation only. Please contact the School of Veterinary Science for more information.
Massey University has the largest pathology department in the southern hemisphere. We have five board certified (American College of Veterinary Pathologists) anatomic pathologists on staff who will help you develop your own expertise in this fascinating and sought-after veterinary speciality.
A residency programme
The Master of Veterinary Studies (Veterinary Pathology) is a residency. The content of the course involves clinical work with a small thesis. Like other residencies, it has very restricted entry numbers. This is not a paid residency.
However this qualification operates as the MVS – any of its associated entry requirements and student fees (which will be dependent upon your residency status) will apply.
This programme has very limited openings. Applicants are only selected into the programme when space becomes available.
How will you learn?
Pathology is a part of veterinary medicine that is particularly hands-on. As such it demands a high level of learning ‘on the job’. There are no lectures or structured taught components to this programme.
Around 80% of your time will be spent working with pathologists. The remaining 20% will see you complete a research thesis in an area of interest to you.
Wide range of facilities
This course is run on our Manawatū campus in Palmerston North. Massey’s well-equipped facilities include an equine hospital, 24-hour pet hospital and sheep, beef, dairy and deer farms. We also deal with companion and production animals and exotic animals that may go off-track and wash up on our shores.
You will have access to our other world-leading science facilities such as modern laboratories for virology and bacteriology, molecular and immunohistochemistry work.
The position is initially for two years. If you achieve set academic milestones, the programme may be extended to three years and make you eligible to sit the American College of Veterinary Pathologists board exam.
Careers and further study
With this major, the obvious career path is as a pathologist. You can work throughout Australasia with the Master of Veterinary Studies. If you go through to sit the American College of Veterinary Pathologists exam, your qualification will be recognised globally.
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.
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
Admission to the Veterinary Pathology programme is by invitation only. Please contact the School of Veterinary Science for more information.
To enter the Master of Veterinary Studies (Veterinary Pathology) programme you will have been awarded or qualified for a Bachelor of Veterinary Science, with at least a B grade average, or equivalent.
You will need to provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.
English language requirements
To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.
Prior learning, credit and exemptions
For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:
- review the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations
- contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
If you do not have the entry requirements
English language and foundation courses
If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and programmes that may help.
Courses and planning
180 credits (at least)
From the Schedule to the Degree including:
- Completion of Part One and Two in the Schedule
- A 60 credit research report or 120 credit thesis
A specialisation (subject) is optional, requiring 180 credits in the subject, including a 60 credit research report or 120 credit thesis.
This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.
Also attend field trips, studios, workshops, tutorials and laboratories as required.
See ‘Courses for this programme’ below for schedules of courses.
Courses for this specialisation
Planning your programme
If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.
The Master of Veterinary Studies (Veterinary Pathology) is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second.
The first part gives you good knowledge and skills that will help you with the research part of your qualification.
To be able to progress to Part Two of the Master of Veterinary Studies (Veterinary Pathology), a B grade average is needed for the first 60 credits of study.
Maximum time limits for completion
There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications. If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.
Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit
Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit.
- Look for information under ‘Student Progression’ in the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.
- Contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
Fees and scholarships
Fees and finance
Fees, student loans and free fees scheme
Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.
There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.
Already know which courses you're going to choose?
If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.
Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme
You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.
The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.
Current and returning Massey students will find their National Student Number on their student homepage.
A good fit if you:
- have an undergraduate veterinary qualification with excellent grades
- have an interest in clinical analysis and diagnosis
- would like to become a globally sought-after specialist.
Meet our lecturers
Dr Castillo-Alcala’s research interests are infectious diseases and diagnostic pathology. Her work has covered a wide variety of species and has been published internationally.Her doctorate is from the Ontario Veterinary College, where her research focused on the molecular characterisation of respiratory infection with Mycoplasma bovis in feedlot cattle. From 2009 to 2014, Fernanda worked as assistant professor in veterinary pathology at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. She attained certification in anatomic pathology by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 2013.Fernanda Castillo-Alcala
Senior Lecturer in Anatomical Pathology
Accreditations and rankings
Massey University’s veterinary programme is ranked 19th in the world by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
Massey University is ranked no.1 in New Zealand for veterinary science by the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.
Key information for students
Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.
Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.
Applying and enrolling
Applying for the programme
Check you are ready
If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.
Choose your programme and click on Apply now
You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.
Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.
Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place
You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.
Enrolling in courses
You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.
When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:
- prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
- corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
- restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
- location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.
Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.
More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.
You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.
We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!
If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
What are courses and credits?
What are courses and credits?
Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).
You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.
Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.
There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.
- See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
- Courses search
Understanding course numbers
The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.
The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:
- sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
- undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
- as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study.
|Subject area||Level||Course ID number|
Workload and time management
Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.
For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.
In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.
Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
Scholarships and awards
Scholarships related to this programme
- Graham Chalmers Allen Memorial Scholarship in Veterinary Science
- Joan Berry Fellowships in Veterinary Science - Postgraduate
- Muriel Caddie Scholarship in Vet Science
- Rongotea Lions Club Student Assistance Fund
- School of Veterinary Science Masterate Scholarship in Emergency and Critical Care
There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.