Bachelor of Agricultural Science – BAgSci

Massey’s Bachelor of Agricultural Science will give you the contemporary agriculture-related skills you need to become a leader in this rapidly growing international industry.

Type of qualification

Bachelor's degree

Level of study

Undergraduate study

An undergraduate qualification is usually the first one you study.

More about study levels

NZQF level 7

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

3 years full-time (360 credits)
Up to 8 years part-time
Part-time available

Where you can study

Distance and online
Manawatū campus (Palmerston North)

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand
Note: Available at Manawatū campus and by Distance

Study a Bachelor of Agricultural Science – BAgSci

Agriculture dominates New Zealand’s economy – generating billions in export earnings every year.

The Bachelor of Agricultural Science will give you the relevant, up-to-date skills to help you take your place in this exciting industry.

You will dig into every aspect of agriculture. That includes pastures, crops, animal and soil sciences, economics, agribusiness.  and the influence of Government policies, regulations and Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations. You will learn about future and present issues in the industry and gain skills in the use of technology in agriculture. Disciplines like engineering, physics, chemistry and biology are also an important part of gaining a broad understanding of the primary industries.

Experience before you graduate

Industry experience is integrated into this degree. You’ll be able to experience and analyse real-world scenarios while you are studying. We align this qualification with what employers are looking for – globally. Most agriculture students secure employment before they graduate.


One of the best things about this degree is the variety of study. You’ll learn about animals and agriculture, soils and pasture, be introduced to agribusiness and decision-making skills. You’ll also study economics, chemistry, physics and ecology.

Practical work

As part of this qualification, you’ll need to do at least 26 weeks of full-time work. This is usually done during the summer when work is readily available on farms and with rural businesses.

Award-winning facilities

Massey’s Manawatū campus has internationally award-winning multi-function teaching laboratories. These are unique in Australasia.

A BAgSci is a good fit if you:

  • enjoy applied sciences
  • are interested in a career in the primary industries.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for this qualification, outside of university admission regulations.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language and the admission requirements were not completed at an educational institution where English is the medium of instruction, you need an IELTS of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0 to enter this qualification.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

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

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

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 qualification 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 qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Structure of the Bachelor of Agricultural Science

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.

Compulsory courses

You will take a selection of compulsory courses throughout the degree, most of which are in the first year. These include courses in introductory science, economics and agribusiness. This will equip you to go on to more advanced courses in the second and third years of study.

Practical work requirement

The practical work requirement consists of at least 26 weeks full-time work. This is completed by submission of two reports for assessment. Practical work is normally done during summer vacations throughout the degree. Summer jobs are readily available on farms, orchards and other rural enterprises.

Transition students

Majors are no longer available for this programme. Transitioning students with a major may complete 60 credits of electives. Please refer to the regulations for this programme for a list of courses for your major.

Typical pattern for the Bachelor of Agricultural Science

Core courses These courses are a compulsory part of your qualification.

Elective courses Follow your interests. Your qualification may have selection guidelines for elective courses.

Year one
115113 Economics of Business
117153 Introduction to Animal Production in NZ
119120 Plants for Agriculture & Horticulture
119180 Introduction to Agribusiness
161140 Agri-Statistics
189151 Principles of Soil Science
247111 Science and Sustainability for Agriculture and Horticulture
117107 Introduction to Animal Behaviour and Welfare OR
119103 Animals and the Environment OR
233105 Our Dynamic Earth
Year two
117201 Livestock Production Science
119258 Agricultural Systems
119270 Policy, Regulation & Government in Primary Industry
119281 Decision Tools for Primary Industries
138255 Applied Engineering in Agriculture and Horticulture Systems
189251 Soil Fertility Management
283201 Pasture & Crop Agronomy
Elective from selected degrees
119150 Practicum I (0 credits)
Year three
300-level course from compulsory list
300-level course from compulsory list
300-level course from compulsory list
119373 Integrative Studies
119381 Decision-Making in Primary Industry
Course from compulsory list
Course from compulsory list
Course from compulsory list
119250 Practicum II (0 credits)

Courses are each worth 15 credits.

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

360 credits

  • Compulsory courses – 255 credits
  • Schedule A compulsory course selection – 90 credits
  • Elective selected from specified degrees – 15 credits
  • 26 weeks of practical work experience and reports

Ensure that overall, you have:

  • No more than 165 credits at 100 level
  • At least 75 credits at 300 level

Elective can be chosen from BAgSci, BHortSci, BAgribusiness, BSc, BA, BBus, BAnSci or BInfSc.

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Schedule A (Choose 345 credits from)

Compulsory courses (Choose 240 credits from)

Choose 240 credits from
Course code: 115113 Economics for Business 15 credits

The course examines the nature of the contemporary economic environment in which businesses operate, and considers how economics can aid in business decision-making.

Restrictions: 115106

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Course code: 117153 Introduction to Animal Production in New Zealand 15 credits

An introduction to animals and animal science in New Zealand, covering a broad range of animal species and incorporating the principles of nutrition, reproduction, lactation, genetics and growth. A brief overview of New Zealand’s livestock production systems and consideration of animal ethics, welfare and biosecurity issues.

Restrictions: 117152 and 117155 and 199101

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Course code: 117201 Livestock Production Science 15 credits

Developing understanding of the important drivers underpinning New Zealand’s livestock and companion animal industries and how these can be altered to achieve the desired outcomes. Knowledge will be gained on the major animal welfare and environmental issues facing New Zealand agriculture and how these might be mitigated against.

Prerequisites: One of 117152, 117153, 117155, 194101, 199101, or 199103

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Course code: 119120 Plants for Agriculture and Horticulture 15 credits

An introduction to the agricultural and horticultural species important to New Zealand's economy. Growth and development of agricultural and horticultural plants; their responses to the environment and management, and implications for production. Identification and biology of agricultural and horticultural plants, including weeds, pests and pathogens important to plant production.

Restrictions: 283101, 284101

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Course code: 119150 Practicum I 0 credits

Industry experience for at least ten consecutive weeks in a public or private business related to the land-based industries. A descriptive report demonstrating satisfactory observational, analytical and reporting skills is required.

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Course code: 119180 Introduction to Agribusiness 15 credits

An introduction to the organisation, structure and governance of New Zealand agribusiness in a global context. Examines the international and domestic macro environment and its impact on New Zealand agribusiness. Explores New Zealand farm systems within an agribusiness context.

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Course code: 119250 Practicum II 0 credits

Industry experience for at least ten consecutive weeks in a public or private business related to the land-based industries. A detailed, investigative report identifying and analysing opportunities, problems, policies and technical and research issues is required.

Prerequisites: 119150

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Course code: 119258 Agricultural Systems 15 credits

An interdisciplinary study of agricultural systems to describe and analyse the relationships between system components. Analysis of the inter-relationships within agricultural systems, including the sub-systems for primary production, processing, marketing and policy, and the relationships of these systems within their environment.

Prerequisites: 119281

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Course code: 119270 Policy, Regulation and Government in Primary Industry 15 credits

Legal responsibilities and compliance associated with primary production; obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and examples of legislation including resource management, hazardous substances and new organisms, animal welfare, health and safety, food safety, biosecurity and employment. Central and local government, and industry systems. Implications for owners, managers and employees in the rural sector.

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Course code: 119281 Decision Tools for Primary Industries 15 credits

Application of decision tools for farm systems analysis at the tactical level. Analytical frameworks to assist decision-making in finance, human resources, production and marketing.

Prerequisites: 119180 or 117155

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Course code: 119373 Integrative Studies 15 credits

An integrative course designed to emphasise the importance of the broad knowledge base gained in the degree and the value of multidisciplinary teams in addressing the issues and problems of importance to the industries served by the degree. Emphasis will be placed on the application of knowledge to problem-solving, group learning and problem-solving strategies and communication in the context of applied science. Real-world problems will be used.

Prerequisites: 119250

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Course code: 119381 Decision-Making in Primary Industry 15 credits

A practical approach to the management of strategy, finance and tactics in primary industry. An exploration, through in-field case studies and business analysis, of planning under uncertainty.

Prerequisites: 119281

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Course code: 138255 Applied Engineering in Agriculture and Horticulture Systems 15 credits

Engineering principles underpinning the systems used in the growing, harvest and post-harvest treatment of agricultural and horticultural products. Emphasis is placed on deriving the system performance specification following consideration of capacity, product quality and safety, and ecological requirements.

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Course code: 161140 Agri-Statistics 15 credits

An introduction to statistics in an agricultural context, including the presentation, analysis and interpretation of quantitative data.

Restrictions: 161100, 161101, 161111, 161120, 161122, 161130, 115101, 195101, 297101

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Course code: 189151 Principles of Soil Science 15 credits

An integrated introductory course in soil science. An exploration of the interaction between soil and the environment, soil formation and morphology, soil physical, chemical, and biological properties and their influence on soil management, nutrient cycling, and soil-plant interactions.

Prerequisites: 247111 or 247113

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Course code: 189251 Soil Fertility Management 15 credits

This course examines the influence of soil factors on plant nutrient cycling in agricultural production systems. The composition, properties and uses of fertilisers to improve soil fertility and the associated environmental issues arising from soil water relationships and interactions with plant nutrients. Methods for measuring nutrient levels in soils will also be covered.

Prerequisites: 189151

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Course code: 247111 Science and Sustainability for Agriculture and Horticulture 15 credits

The pursuit of environmental sustainability is a complex societal issue. This is a problem-based course, where students will develop their critical thinking, communication and information literacy and management skills as they evaluate interdisciplinary approaches to the contemporary sustainability challenge of climate action. Students will explore the intersection of science and community through exemplars of partnership between research and Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) in the context of primary production in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Restrictions: 247177, 141111, 141112, 228111, 228112, 247155, 119155, 246102, 247112, 247113, 247114

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Course code: 283201 Pasture and Crop Agronomy 15 credits

The husbandry of agricultural plants and the management of plant communities at the farm level. Topics include balancing pasture growth and animal demand, pasture assessment, pasture establishment, cash crops, growth and utilisation of forage crops and control of weeds and pests.

Prerequisites: 283101 or 120101 or 119120 Restrictions: 171202

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Compulsory course selections (Choose 15 credits from)

Choose 15 credits from
Course code: 117107 Introduction to Animal Behaviour and Welfare 15 credits

An introduction to common ethical frameworks for animal use with a focus on domestic animal species. Principles of the behaviour and welfare of domestic animal species. Theory of safe and effective animal handling.

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Course code: 199103 Animals and the Environment 15 credits

An introductory biology and natural history course presented within an evolutionary framework that investigates the diversity of animal life, human-animal interactions, nutrient and energy flows, conservation and sustainability. This course places emphasis on wild animals and ecological processes operating within New Zealand and globally.

Restrictions: 199101

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Course code: 233105 Our Dynamic Earth 15 credits

An introductory course exploring the dynamics of Earth and how it changes through time, from the core to the atmosphere, plate tectonics to volcanoes, glaciers to rivers, mountains to oceans, and mass extinctions to the evolution of life. Through exploration of these processes and their interrelationships with environments and society, including natural hazards, climate change, and earth resources, students will develop their practical, problem solving, and communication skills.

Restrictions: 233101 and 145121

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Compulsory course selections (Choose 90 credits from)

Choose 90 credits from
Course code: 117303 Ruminant Animal Nutrition 15 credits

Advanced principles of animal nutrition as related to ruminant livestock. An in-depth coverage of the processes of feed intake, digestion, absorption and metabolism, and the factors affecting them. The determination of the nutritive value of feedstuffs for ruminant, with particular emphasis on forages. Gain in-depth knowledge of schemes for estimating the ruminant animal requirements for energy, protein and minerals and the principles of ration formulation. Design practical feeding regimes and their implementation.

Prerequisites: 117201 or 117202 or 117254 Restrictions: 117342

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Course code: 117345 Genetics for Livestock Improvement 15 credits

The relative influence of genetic and environmental factors on quantitative traits. Methods of calculating breeding values or indices to exploit genetic variation in quantitative traits. The use of computers to utilise pedigree and performance records. Selection for disease resistance, the use of new reproductive technologies to enhance genetic gain and the potential importance of molecular genetics in livestock improvement. Maternal influences and methods of selecting for maternal components. Crossbreeding and inbreeding as selection tools.

Prerequisites: One of 117201, 117245 or 117254 or 203202

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Course code: 117371 Animal Production 15 credits

The impacts of breeding, nutrition, reproduction and lactation in New Zealand animal production. A modularised course requiring students to select three topics from dairy cattle production, animal, fish & insect protein production, sheep production, pig & poultry production, beef cattle production and the working dog.

Prerequisites: One of 117201, 117202 or 117254

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Course code: 119358 Farm Production Systems 15 credits

An interdisciplinary study of farm systems. Case studies are used to integrate students’ knowledge of the whole farm system, to identify strategic choices and evaluate these choices relative to the current farm system.

Prerequisites: 119381

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Course code: 138301 Precision Agriculture Technologies 15 credits

Knowledge of remote and proximal sensing, and precision livestock techniques to provide information to mitigate environmental impacts under intensive farm production systems. Consideration of issues of resource use, optimization of farm production and environmental performance of primary industries.

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Course code: 189362 Integrated Farm and Environmental Management 15 credits

This course examines farm physical resources, nutrient management and budgeting and contaminant loss processes in the context of Te Mana o te Wai. Students will integrate their knowledge to produce a freshwater Farm Environment Plan which identifies soil, pathogen, nutrient and greenhouse gas loss pathways on multiple land uses and justifies mitigation practices which are appropriate for the farm system and to protect freshwater.

Prerequisites: 189251 or 121213

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Course code: 235312 Case Studies in Māori Agribusiness 15 credits

This course explores Māori agribusiness through a series of case studies in the field with an emphasis on the temporal understanding of Māori agribusiness. Each case study has an emphasis on analysis and decision making and is applied to a range of Māori agribusinesses.

Prerequisites: 119180

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Course code: 283301 Pasture Production and Practice 15 credits

The practical application of pasture production and grazing management principles to grazing systems. An introduction to sward dynamics and the herbage factors influencing both the productivity and utilisation of grazed pastures.

Prerequisites: 283201

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Course code: 283311 Controlling Weeds 15 credits

Aspects of weed biology will be studied to help understand how to obtain efficient and effective weed control. The full range of control techniques, both chemical and non-chemical, will be discussed. Students will learn how to develop integrated weed control programmes for their specific area of interest in agriculture, horticulture, forestry or conservation.

Prerequisites: 119120 or 120101 or 171102 or 283101 Restrictions: 171385

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Course code: 283321 Trees on Farms 15 credits

A study of aspects of the biology and ecology of trees which influence their use on farms and in farming systems. Woodlots and wood products; biomass production and effluent disposal; agroforestry systems and forage production. The value of trees for soil stabilisation, shelter, amenity and landscape management.

Restrictions: 171304

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Schedule B: Elective course (Choose 15 credits from)

An approved course selected from the schedules to the following degree programmes: BAgSci, BHortSci, BAgribusiness, BSc, BA, BBus, BAnSci and BInfSc.

Schedule C: Specialisations

Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Elective courses (Choose 60 credits from)

An approved selection of 100-, 200- and 300-level courses listed in the schedules to the following degree programmes: BAgSci, BAgribusiness, BSc, BA, BBus, BAnSci and BInfSc.

Fees and scholarships

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.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

The industry is made up of a huge range of organisations, including farming, processing and marketing produce, logistics of product supply, as well as the associated service industries such as banking, company technical representatives and consultants. That means there is a huge range of careers on offer for those with the right skills.

Industries where agricultural science skills are utilised include:

  • fertiliser
  • seed
  • banking
  • biosecurity
  • breeding
  • consultancy
  • agricultural production
  • farm tourism
  • management
  • policy
  • research and development
  • sales and marketing
  • teaching. 

What our students say

“Studying agriculture opened my eyes to the vast range of career opportunities in the primary industry.”
Hamish Best

Bachelor of Agriscience (now Bachelor of Agricultural Science)

“The best part of my degree was the people I studied with. We helped each other out, knew what each other were up to, and created a support network to lean on. I also enjoyed the practical elements of my degree.”
Kate Stewart

Bachelor of Agricultural Science

“I loved my experience at Massey University, keeping busy with sport, study and Massey Young Farmer’s Club. My time at Massey University gave me friendships and skills that will last the rest of my life.”
Courtney Hill

Bachelor of Agriscience (now Bachelor of Agricultural Science)

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Agriculture and Forestry

Massey is world-ranked and New Zealand’s No 1 university in agriculture according to QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings.

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ShanghaiRanking - agricultural science

Massey University is ranked No.1 in New Zealand for agricultural science by ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

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