Animal Genetics and Breeding – Bachelor of Animal Science

Learn how animal breeding and genetics can have a positive impact on animal industries and the New Zealand economy.

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

Specialise in Animal Genetics and Breeding for your Bachelor of Animal Science at Massey

The Bachelor of Animal Science (Animal Genetics and Breeding) is ideal for you if you have an interest in genetics in relation to animals. You’ll learn:

  • how effective breeding strategies can both improve animal health and be more effective for farming and agriculture
  • about reproductive physiology and reproductive technologies 
  • how breeding and genetics can help improve the performance of animals
  • how to set up a genetic improvement programme based on breeding goals
  • how to collect relevant information, analyse it and make decisions to attain those goals.

Learn from the best

Massey University’s animal, agricultural and veterinary science professionals are among the best in the world. They will teach you about the latest developments in animal science. As well as animal breeding and genetics, you will also obtain expertise in nutrition, growth and animal welfare.

Join a world-leading university

Massey University is home to the only animal science team in New Zealand and one of the largest in Australasia. You will benefit from our internationally-recognised capability and leadership in these areas.

Our staff have significant and ongoing interaction with farm and service animal genetic improvement programmes with commercial partners.

Practical components of the qualification are taught on site at our sheep, beef and dairy farms and at our feline and canine facilities and state of the art teaching laboratories.

A Bachelor of Animal Science in Animal Genetics and Breeding is a good fit if you:

  • enjoy studying biology and genetics at school
  • are interested in a career working with animals
  • are interested in learning more about the selection and breeding of animals.

Planning information

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.

Please note that if you start this major in Semester Two without the appropriate level of preparation in biology and chemistry, it will extend your time to completion from 3 years to 3.5 years.

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.

Courses you can enrol in

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.

Compulsory courses

Choose 120 credits from
Course code: 117243 Animal Reproduction and Lactation in Livestock 15 credits

A study of reproductive and lactational physiology in livestock with emphasis on identifying possible means of altering those processes in production animals. The course will include exploration of the anatomy and histology of the gonads, placenta and mammary gland.

Prerequisites: One of 117153, 117155 or 194101

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Course code: 117245 Principles of Animal Breeding and Genetics 15 credits

An introduction of the basic principles of using bioinformatics to find genes. The principles to enable the calculation of genetic parameters, such as heritability. An introduction to the prediction of breeding values and the calculation of selection indices and genomic selection.

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Course code: 117301 Animal Biosecurity and Health 15 credits

The importance of biosecurity to New Zealand and its relationship to human and animal health, and farm productivity will be highlighted. Identification, prevention and treatment of selected companion and production animal diseases in New Zealand. Knowledge of biosecurity will be used to develop biosecurity plans for animals with recent biosecurity failures used to illustrate concepts.

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Course code: 117343 Animal Reproduction and Lactational Physiology 15 credits

An in-depth study of aspects of the physiology of reproduction and lactation in monogastric and ruminant animals. The emphasis is placed on applying the understanding of the physiological processes to practical animal systems and will involve practical classes in which technologies related to animal reproduction and milk production are demonstrated. Students will advance their skills in reading and evaluating scientific literature, develop skills in analysing problems and in constructing a logical argument.

Prerequisites: 117243 or 194242 Restrictions: 117347

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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: 117348 Animal Metabolism 15 credits

A study of animal metabolism at the whole-body level. The emphasis will be on integrative aspects of metabolism, including exploring nutrient and energy flow from the food to organs, tissues and products. Mechanisms controlling body metabolism in general and the intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting them will be emphasised.

Prerequisites: (One of 122202, 122233 or 151232) and (one of 117202 or 194241)

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Course code: 122202 The Dynamic Cell 15 credits

Energy metabolism in higher eukaryotes from the perspective of life on earth and the necessary adaptation of living organisms from an anaerobic to aerobic environment. Carbohydrate, lipid and nitrogen metabolism in the context of health and disease. Integration and regulation of carbohydrate, lipid and amino acid metabolism. A lecture and problem-based tutorial course complemented by a hands-on project-based laboratory course.

Prerequisites: 122102 Restrictions: 122233

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Course code: 194243 Physiological Strategies for Survival 15 credits

Survival of individual animals, and species of animals, depends on effective physiological mechanisms that allow animals to live in different environments and to respond to changes in their environment, whether benign or extreme. These mechanisms are examined in relation to environmental factors that may include photoperiod, temperature, altitude, and latitude, and in relation to life in the air and underwater.

Prerequisites: One of 117155, 194101, 199101 or 199103 Restrictions: 194245

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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.

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

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 succeed in this qualification.

  • At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Biology.
  • At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Chemistry.

English language skills

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

Can't meet the entry requirements?

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

Haven’t studied the right subjects at high school?

The following pathways will get you prepared to study this qualification:

If you have not studied NCEA Level 3 Biology (or equivalent) take the following course first:

If you have not studied NCEA Level 3 Chemistry (or equivalent) take the following course first:

  • 123103 Chemistry for Modern Sciences.

These courses are available in summer school and can be taken as a Certificate in Science and Technology or Certificate of Proficiency.  One 100-level course can be counted as an elective towards the Bachelor of Animal Science.

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

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 BAniSc (Animal Genetics and Breeding) gives you the skills to go into a variety of interesting careers. You will gain the knowledge, attributes and insights into new technologies and processes, that are relevant for careers of the future.

Sought-after by employers

The production and companion animal industries, government departments and agencies, and iwi-owned agribusinesses recognise the importance of animal science in what they do and employ our graduates. Our rigorous qualification is supported by industry and provides you with the valuable skills employers are looking for.

Whether you are interested in working on small companies or farms, or for a large multinational, this degree will give you the technical, advocacy and management skills that are required. Possible careers include:

  • reproductive management of animals
  • livestock genetics companies
  • corporate ram and bull breeding units
  • developing country genetic improvement programmes
  • on-farm animal technician
  • animal-related consultancy.

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.

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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