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Master of Science (Nanoscience)

Key facts

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

The only nanoscience programme in New Zealand

Join a unique group of like-minded scientists, passionate about scientific discovery and the positive impact new discoveries in nanoscience can have on the world.

Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure.

What is it like?

Massey University’s Master of Science (Nanoscience) is a unique degree in New Zealand. It gives you the opportunity to use the latest equipment across a broad range of disciplines to make your own discoveries in the field of science.

You could use the degree as an opportunity to change direction from your undergraduate qualification. If you have a background in disciplines like chemistry, physics, biology or engineering you may be eligible to enrol in Massey’s nanoscience postgraduate programmes.

Globally renowned multi-disciplinary expertise

Let our experts help you develop your own expertise. Massey’s nanoscience lecturers have an extensive range of experience in the area of nanoscience. The department also has strong links to related areas like chemistry, biological science and material science. Massey itself also has expertise in a broad science disciplines – from fundamental science to applied agricultural science and business skills. This means no matter what your research interest you will have access to a broad range of experts to assist you develop your own research and expertise.

Broad range of equipment and facilities – or make your own

Unlike some other institutions you will have easy access to a range of techniques and equipment, making it easier to progress your research in a timely and comprehensive fashion. Massey has the specialist equipment to help your research meet global standards. From a fluorescence spectrometer and 700 and 500 MHz NMR instruments, to atomic force microscopy, access to scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and Raman microscopy we have all the equipment you will need. There is even the opportunity to construct your own apparatus. For instance a recent student project saw a microscope modified in-house to collect Raman spectra on graphene nanoribbons.

Where great discoveries occur

Nanoscience gives you the opportunity to try new combinations of techniques and technologies to solve old, and new problems. At the nanoscale the distinctions between chemistry, physics and biology are blurred. Chemistry on graphene nanoribbons uses techniques borrowed from molecular biology and biological materials such as bacteriophages have similar dimensions to graphene nanoribbons. The theories of properties of graphene nanoribbons is given in the language of solid-state physics and quantum chemistry. These disciplines meet to create an environment where you can think innovatively.

Friendly environment – passionate scientists

There is a well-established community of fundamental scientists and students at Massey. We have a large active student group – the Fundamental Science Students Association (FUSSTA) – where we work together to share discoveries and research and provide peer support.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of 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, time management, setting goals and milestones and undertaking research.

In-depth research

We have a 180 credit and 240 credit option for the Master of Science, but we do encourage those who are looking at a research project to consider the more in-depth 240 credit option. This takes two years to complete and will enable a more comprehensive project at a more detailed level.

A good fit if you:

  • Have an undergraduate degree in nanoscience, chemistry or another related field
  • Are interested in multi-disciplinary research
  • Are interested in fabricating, synthesising or characterising new nanoscale materials
Ashley Way
MSc (Nanoscience)
Graduated: 2013
Massey PhD student

“The environment at Massey is really friendly and supportive and there are lots of opportunities for meeting other people working in the field…”

I really enjoyed both my undergraduate and master's study. I didn’t actually start out thinking about nanoscience. I enrolled in chemistry and mathematics in the first year of my undergraduate degree and found I was really interested in physics as well. Nanoscience was a perfect way to combine all my interests.

The environment at Massey is really friendly and supportive and there are lots of opportunities for meeting other people working in the field. I have had the opportunity to attend several conferences in New Zealand while studying, and this year I’m travelling to Hawaii for a conference to present my PhD research.

One of the things I enjoyed about studying at Massey is that in addition to using scientific equipment, you can learn to adapt it to your specific needs. Developing your technical expertise alongside your research gives you valuable skills for entering the workforce.
Massey gives you lots of opportunities. With Massey’s Study Abroad programme I spent a semester in the last year of my undergraduate degree at Uppsala University in Sweden. It was an amazing experience and was a great way to start making international connections with scientists working in the same area.

My master's project involved looking at using ionic liquids as the replacement for volatile substances scientists use in laboratories. I am now studying a PhD in nanoscience at Massey, looking at the potential for using graphene nanoribbons to make solar energy materials. I’m quite interested in these sorts of projects with an environmental/sustainable angle.

Once I have completed my PhD I hope to head overseas to work, either in Europe or Canada. A master's is really good preparation if you want to go on to do further study overseas (most countries outside of Australia and NZ require a masters to do a PhD).


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.

International chemistry and engineering publications have run surveys showing clearly that the more postgraduate study you complete, the higher your salary in the workforce.

World-leading lecturers

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

Associate Professor Mark Waterland

Dr Waterland’s research group is focusing on the potential applications of chemical reactions on nanometre-thin ribbons of graphene. The work is specifically focused on exploiting the properties of modified graphene materials for energy conversion and storage applications.

The group has expertise in Raman spectroscopy including resonance Raman spectroscopy, theory of Raman intensities, surface and plasmon enhanced Raman and has recently built a low-frequency Raman microscopy system.

Dr Waterland and his staff and students also work with molecular biologists at Massey University to work on controlling the chemical interactions between the biological molecules and graphene. This work could lead to ground-breaking new composite materials that can recognise biological materials (e.g. bacteria or other viruses) and generate electrical signals.

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