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Overview

Apply your knowledge to real-world issues

You will gain skills in dealing with often-complex Earth systems, evaluate current research and apply your knowledge to real-world issues. You will get to work in some really amazing places around the world.

  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
  • Campus

  • Manawatū
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • Duration

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

  • Available for international students studying in NZ
  • Other

  • Not all listed subject course options are on offer every year.

The Master of Science (Earth Science) at Massey University will develop your skills in a field and laboratory environment that is focused on solutions to Earth science-based issues facing society.

Examine the environmental impact

Massey’s expertise in environmental geochemistry includes remediation of contaminated sites, phytomining, mine sites and land reclamation.

You can learn from – and build on – our expertise in the societal impacts of earth events, such as volcanic activity. These include social, economic, infrastructure and the impact on local communities including iwi.

Explore the world around you

You’ll gain transferable skills that will be useful in many different careers. These include observation skills, advanced ability in data collection, analysis and interpretation, problem-solving and lateral thinking skills, self-motivation and resilience, teamwork as well as developing high-level written and verbal communication skills.

Let our expertise become yours

Massey University Earth science staff are actively researching and are members of internationally-relevant related groups. Many also have extensive industry experience, through either employment or consultancy. They bring this expertise to your teaching.

In-depth research

This master’s includes an in-depth research project, where you will be able to explore an aspect of Earth science that interests you.

Specialised equipment

We have a range of specialised equipment which is available to you for your research and study. 

  • A microprobe for spatial geochemical analysis of geological materials. Able to focus down to two microns, it allows measurement of changes in composition across crystals (which record pre-eruption processes in magmas).
  • Laser particle size analyser for measuring grain-size distributions of materials such as tephra.
  • FTIR (Fourier Transform Infra-red) microscope. This measures water and CO2 contents in volcanic materials (related to eruption dynamics), but has also been used for analysing compositional differences in horse bones and carbon nanoparticles.
  • Pyroclastic Flow simulator.
  • Hyperspectral analyser for remote sensing soil, rock and plant materials (an example of use includes detecting mineralised ground by remote sensing).
  • FLYSPEC analyser for measuring SO2 in volcanic eruption plumes.
  • XRD analyser for determining mineralogical compositions of a wide range of materials, especially clay minerals.
  • TGA/DSC (Thermogravimetric Analyser/Differential Scanning Calorimeter) for uses such as thermal behaviour in volcanic glasses to characterise biochar.
  • OEM (Optical Emission Analyser) for geochemical analysis with particular application to environmental geochemistry.

Careers and further study

Careers

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.

Internationally transferable skills

The unique combination of topics within the Massey Master of Science (Earth Science) will equip you with nationally and internationally transferable skills applicable to a wide range of challenges relevant to Earth science.

Jobs related to this degree include hydrocarbon and mineral exploration, environmental assessment and remediation, soil and land use assessment, volcanic hazards and applications utilising remote sensing and GIS skills.

Typical employers include:
  • the energy sector (oil and gas)
  • the mining industry
  • environmental and engineering consultancies
  • local authorities.

Alternatively, the MSc in Earth Science is an excellent preparation for proceeding to either a higher degree (PhD) or specialist degrees in related fields (e.g. geophysics and engineering geology).

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.

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

Required

Master of Science 180 or 240 credits

To enter the Master of Science (180 or 240 credits) programme you will:

  • have been awarded or qualified for a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in the intended postgraduate subject, or close equivalent, with a minimum B average in the majoring 300 level courses, or
  • have been awarded or qualified for either the Bachelor of Science with Honours or the Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology in the intended MSc subject, having achieved a B grade average over the contributing courses.

Master of Science 120 credits (thesis only)

To enter the 120 credit Master of Science programme you will have been awarded or qualified with a minimum B average for either of the following:

  • a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with an endorsement in the same subject as that in which the thesis will be done, or
  • a Postgraduate Diploma in Science with an endorsement in the same subject as that in which the thesis will be done

Documents you will need to supply to support your application

  • verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University
  • a short summary of your research interests (200 words or less). Required if you intend on a pathway which includes at least 90 credits of research.

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:

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

Credit summary

180 or 240 credits

From the Schedule to the Degree including:

  • Completion of Part One and Two
  • Compulsory courses
  • Completion of a subject

A specialisation (subject) is compulsory. Most subjects require 180 credits.

These subjects require 240 credits:

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Psychology
  • Psychology – Health Psychology

Other subjects may require 240 credits if you choose a 120 credit thesis

Advanced entry: Those who have already completed specified qualifications in advance of the minimum entry requirements may be able to complete this degree by undertaking a 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.

See ‘Courses for this programme’ below for schedules of courses.

Courses for this specialisation

Part One (At least 60 credits from)

15 credits from

15 credits
119728 Research Methods in Animal, Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences 15
119729 Research Methods 15

Subject courses

233701 Advanced Pedology 30
233705 Volcanology and Tephrochronology 30
233706 Environmental Geographical Information Systems 30
233707 Environmental Remote Sensing 30
233708 Geochemistry 30
233709 Advanced Sedimentology 30
233710 Geology, Hazard & Society; Environmental Geology A 15
233711 Applied Environmental Geology; Environmental Geology B 15
233721 Global Climate Change 15
233722 Advanced Quaternary Geology 15
233799 Research Report 30
247782 Special Topic 15
247783 Special Topic 15

Part Two

Either

120 credits
233897 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 60
233898 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 60
233899 Thesis 120

Or

At least 60 credits from
233870 Research Report 60
233871 Thesis 90 Credit Part 1 45
233872 Thesis 90 Credit Part 2 45
233875 Thesis 90

Planning your programme

Planning overview

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

The Master of Science (Earth Science) 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. You must pass Part One before you can progress to Part Two.

For progression to Part Two of the Master of Science, a B grade average is needed for the Part One courses.

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. 

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:

  • like the outdoors
  • can apply lateral thinking to real-world problems
  • have a basic understanding of maths, physics and chemistry.

Meet our lecturers

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.

Regulations

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.

Postgraduate regulations

General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate 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

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

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

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