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Master of Veterinary Medicine (Companion Animal)


A flexible world-leading postgraduate veterinary programme

This world-leading online education programme attracts students from all around the globe.

  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • Duration

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

  • Available for international students via distance learning
  • Other

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

Massey’s Master of Veterinary Medicine programme offers practicing veterinarians a flexible, modular system of study via online learning. You’ll be joining one of the few online distance education programmes for veterinarians that offers the option of completing a qualification.

If you choose to complete a Master of Veterinary Medicine (Companion Animal) you’ll be able to choose from wide variety of courses. They include cardiorespiratory medicine, gastroenterology, oncology, diagnostic imaging and clinical pathology. Massey University has a huge range of expertise in this area.

This qualification is not designed to retrain veterinarians wanting to return to practice. The courses assume a base level of knowledge of learnings in the veterinary degree, and aim to extend veterinarians to a higher level of knowledge and skill. All courses have some assessments that require reporting of clinical material you may have managed.

Find out more about specific courses and our lecturers at

Entry requirements

University admission

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

Programme admission


To enter the Master of Veterinary Medicine you will have been awarded or qualified for:

  • a Massey University Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc), or
  • have a veterinary qualification that can be registered by the New Zealand Veterinary Council or is considered by the Academic Board to be equivalent to the Massey University BVSc.

In order to enrol directly into the Master of Veterinary Medicine programme you must have obtained a B grade average in your veterinary degree.

See the MVM web pages for details about:

  • entry by equivalent degree
  • suitable international entry examinations
  • information on discretionary entry.

Entry is subject to final approval by the Director of the MVM.

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

If you are not eligible to enrol directly into the Master of Veterinary Medicine, you may still be able to gain entry. An option is to complete at least two Master of Veterinary Medicine courses within another Massey qualification. You must also achieve a B grade in those courses.

Suitable qualifications are the:

Entry into these programmes is dependant on you meeting those qualifications’ entry requirements.

If you complete the MVM courses successfully, you may able to transfer your enrolment to the Master of Veterinary Medicine.

For more information, see the MVM entry requirements page.

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.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

120 credits

  • Schedule A subject courses – 90 credits
  • Courses selected from Schedule A or Schedule A and/or B – 60‑75 credits
  • Schedule C research report or professional practice report – 45‑60 credits

A subject is optional, and requires 90 credits in the subject.

Courses for this specialisation

Selection from

118751 Canine and Feline Gastroenterology 15
118752 Canine and Feline Endocrinology 15
118753 Canine and Feline Oncology 15
118754 Diagnostic Imaging for Small Animal Veterinarians 15
118755 Clinical Pathology in Small Animal Practice 15
118756 Canine and Feline Neurology 15
118757 Cardiorespiratory Medicine for Small Animal Veterinarians 15
118758 Avian Medicine 15
118759 Ophthalmology in Small Animal Practice 15
118761 Canine and Feline Emergency Medicine 15
118762 Dermatology for Small Animal Veterinarians 15
118763 Canine and Feline Orthopedic Surgery 15
118764 Canine and Feline Soft Tissue Surgery 15
118777 Veterinary Clinical Reproduction and Fertility 15

Planning your programme

Planning overview

The MVM degree is 120 credits in total, made up of four or five 15-credit taught courses and 45 or 60 credits of research or professional practice. If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

You may complete the Companion Animal subject by passing at least 90 credits in the subject.


The Master of Veterinary Medicine (MVM) is the highest-level qualification. Other qualifications you can study towards include the Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Science (PGDipVSc) (120 credits) and the Postgraduate Certificate of Science and Technology (PGCertScTech) (60 credits). The master’s degree and the PGDipVSc allow a subject endorsement showing the emphasis of your study.

Duration of courses

The duration of most courses is 24 teaching weeks over two semesters (seven to eight months total):

  • Semesters One and Two (late February to early November), or
  • Semester Two and summer school (mid-July to mid-February).

Exceptions are the epidemiology courses, 118.785 and 118.786, which are single semester (either February–June or July–November).

Time commitment

Each course offered over two semesters involves about five to six hours of work per week – one-eighth of a full-time workload. You need to allow about 150 hours for each 15-credit course.

When are courses offered?

Most courses in the Master of Veterinary Medicine (MVM) programme are offered once every second year.

These courses are offered every year:

  • the capstone courses (118.851, 118.852, 118.853)
  • 118.761 Canine and Feline Emergency Medicine
  • 118.785 Principles of Veterinary Epidemiology.

Research reports

There are three ways to complete the final 45 or 60-credit research reports (118.851,118.852, 118.853), which are called capstone courses. Two of these are research reports (45 and 60 credits) (118.851, 118.852). The third capstone option for the MVM is a 45-credit practicum course (118.853). You will spend three months full-time under supervision with an expert in any discipline of veterinary science.


All courses in the Master of Veterinary Medicine programme are delivered by distance learning. Contact workshops are held in Palmerston North, New Zealand. Attendance at these is strongly recommended but not compulsory (except for capstone courses 118.851, 118.852 and 118.853).

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?

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 already a qualified veterinarian
  • would like the flexibility of studying via distance online learning
  • would like to increase your in-depth knowledge of companion animal medicine

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Veterinary Science

Massey University’s veterinary programme is ranked 19th in the world by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

ShanghaiRanking - veterinary science

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.

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 be 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