You’ll be in demand

Massey’s Zoology graduates are in high demand throughout New Zealand. This is a unique degree in New Zealand.

  • Level

  • Undergraduate, NZQF Level 7
  • Campus

  • Auckland, Manawatū
  • Duration

  • 3 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
  • International

  • Available for international students studying in NZ

Note: This programme may have an on-campus or in-person requirement and therefore requires that students submit a current My Vaccine Pass on enrolment.

Zoology is the animal science of the natural world. It examines animals on a variety of scales, from biological knowledge at the molecular level to animals as components of systems. It also includes the study of animal behaviour.

The latest thinking

As one of the only universities in New Zealand to offer a specialised major in zoology, our programme is unique.

You’ll learn about land-based animals and environments. You will also develop a strong foundation including the latest thinking in genetic and physiological processes, animal development, anatomy and behaviour. You’ll explore freshwater and marine systems, and our wide range of speciality fields including conservation of biodiversity.

In high demand

From mapping animal migrations to driving conservational change in foreign countries, Massey’s zoology graduates are in high demand all over the world . They have worked in places like Samoa, South Africa, the Netherlands and United States. You’ll graduate ready to join them, and to take the best of your knowledge to the rest of the world.

World-leading lecturers

At Massey, our lecturers are passionate about what they do. They have examined bird migration pathways from New Zealand to Alaska and the USA. They have investigated species interactions in the alpine environment and unlocked knowledge about morphology through examining fossils and lineages in rocks. They bring this knowledge and love for what they do into their teaching to help you uncover what truly inspires you.

What will you study?

A Zoology major offers you a wide range of specialisations in interest areas, as well as in mainstream zoology. The core Zoology qualification looks at animals on a variety of scales.

You will gain skills in a broad range of related sciences including ecology, conservation diversity and evolution.

This major is not just about land-based animals and environments; you will also explore freshwater and marine systems.

An exciting and practical subject

The most exciting advances in biological knowledge are probably at the molecular level, which we cover in the second year. The level of animals as components of systems is covered in the third year.

A key speciality in your study will be the fascinating and practical field of conservation of biodiversity. This looks at both vertebrates (birds, predators) and invertebrates, and at their impact on New Zealand indigenous plants and animals. Another interesting area is the study of animal behaviour. This speciality also has an applied side.

Careers and further study


From mapping trans-hemispheric animal migrations to driving conservational change in foreign countries, Massey’s Zoology graduates are in high demand all over the world working in places like Samoa, South Africa, the Netherlands and United States. You’ll graduate ready to join them and take the best of your knowledge to the rest of the world.

Massey Bachelor of Science (Zoology) graduates are employed widely. You could contribute your skills to central and regional government organisations, conservation groups, teaching, private consultancy firms, or through the media (for instance making television documentaries). Places of work include:

  • Department of Conservation
  • regional councils
  • Crown Research Institutes
  • Ministry of Primary Industries
  • biosecurity in New Zealand
  • Ministry for the Environment
  • Environmental Risk Management Authority
  • Fish & Game New Zealand
  • SCION (formerly Forest Research Institute)
  • private environmental consultancy firms
  • private conservation initiatives
  • school teachers
  • News media including magazines, newspapers, websites, radio, television and documentary making.

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.

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission


There are no specific entry requirements for this programme, outside of university admission regulations. However, there is some expected background knowledge.

Expected high school preparation

Knowledge gained in the following NCEA subjects (or the equivalent in Cambridge International Examinations, International Baccalaureate, or similar) will give you the expected background knowledge to take this major.

  • At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Biology.

English language requirements

To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.


To be successful in your studies we recommend that you also have the following NCEA subjects (or equivalent). These will help your study in this major but are not essential.

  • At least 16 credits in NCEA Level 2 Mathematics from the following list of standards: 91256, 91257, 91258, 91259, 91260, 91261, 91262, 91269.
  • At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Chemistry.

If it’s been some time since you have studied mathematics at school you can find out if you have the required background by taking this maths quiz.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you do not have the entry requirements

The following pathways will get you prepared to study this major. If you have not studied NCEA Level 3 Biology (or equivalent) take the following course first:

  • 162.103 Introductory Biology.

This course is available in the summer semester and will count towards credits in your degree.

If you won’t have reached University Entrance before the summer semester begins, you may be able to apply through Discretionary Entrance.

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and qualifications that may help.

Summer School

If you need to do a course before you start your programme, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

360 credits

  • Core courses – 90 credits
  • Major courses – 120 credits
  • Electives from the Schedule – 30 credits
  • Other electives – 120 credits

Ensure that overall, you have:

  • Not more than 165 credits at 100 level
  • At least 75 credits at 300 level

You could replace some electives with a minor.

Courses for this specialisation

200-level courses (60 credits)

Compulsory courses

45 credits
196217 Evolutionary Biology 15
199211 Invertebrate Zoology 15
199212 Vertebrate Zoology 15
15 credits
196225 Introductory Marine Biology 15
199203 Evolutionary Principles of Animal Behaviour 15

300-level courses (60 credits)

Compulsory courses

45 credits
199312 Behavioural Ecology 15
199313 Environmental Physiology 15
199330 Ornithology 15
15 credits
196327 Marine Mammalogy 15
199310 Entomology 15

Planning your programme

Planning overview

If you study full-time, in your first year, you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.

If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.

The first-year structure is designed to provide you with a broad knowledge and skill set which will equip you to go on to more advanced courses in the second and third years.

You must pass at least 90 credits from the BSc Schedule A, including any compulsory courses, in your first 120 credits of study towards the Bachelor of Science.

Zoology has similar first-year core courses to several other majors available in the Bachelor of Science, allowing students to change their major before their second year. Changing your major may incur an increase in completion time.

Suggested structure
100-level courses

Take these in any order:

Plus choose one 100-level elective course. This can be from a subject area other than Science.

200-level courses in the major

Take all four:

300-level courses in the major

Take all four:

100-level courses

Take these in any order:

Plus choose one 100-level elective course. This can be from a subject area other than Science.

Students must pass at least 90 credits from the Bachelor of Science Schedule A, including any compulsory courses, in their first 120 credits of study towards the Bachelor of Science.

200-level courses in the major

Take all four:

  • 196.217 Evolutionary Biology
  • 199.212 Vertebrate Zoology
  • 199.211 Invertebrate Zoology
  • 199.203 Evolutionary Principles of Animal Behaviour.
300-level courses in the major

Take all four:


Completing a minor is optional.  Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.

A minor must be in a different subject from your major.

A Bachelor of Science (Zoology) with a minor

You may choose a minor from any University undergraduate degree that has recognised minors. If the minor is from another undergraduate degree, the regulations of that programme will apply.

Some BSc minors that are particularly compatible with Zoology include those shown below. Timetabling will prioritise these combinations to minimise clashes.

A Zoology minor (for students who are studying a different degree)

If you wish to complete a Zoology minor see the BSc regulations for requirements.

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?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

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 can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

A good fit if you:

  • are passionate about the natural world and animals
  • want to understand and know everything about animals

Meet our students

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.

Undergraduate programmes

General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.


Regulations for this programme

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
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

About electives

Electives are courses that are not compulsory. Certain guidelines are usually provided on courses you may take. Elective courses contribute to the programme, but not to your major or specialisation.

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

If you started the BSc programme before 2020 you may be completing the programme under the previous regulations, which are listed in Schedule C in the Regulations for this programme.

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

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships