Animal Welfare – Bachelor of Animal Science

Keen to make a difference in the lives of animals? Combine your love of animals and science to make a difference to their health and welfare.

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 Welfare for your Bachelor of Animal Science at Massey

The Bachelor of Animal Science (Animal Welfare) will help you understand the science behind how animals experience their environment. You’ll also examine what influences that and how that affects their behaviour and performance.

You’ll gain a relevant, up-to-date, scientifically-based knowledge of animal welfare. So you’ll be well-placed to make a difference in the lives of animals.

A new, unique degree

Massey University’s Bachelor of Animal Science (BAnSci) is the only degree in New Zealand that focuses entirely on animal science. It is ideal if you are interested in a career that combines your love of science and animals.

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. You will obtain a solid base of knowledge in animal welfare. You’ll also learn about nutrition and growth as well as animal genetics and breeding.

Internationally relevant

Massey has a number of internationally recognised animal-based research centres. These include the world-leading Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre (AWSBC).

The Centre's research focuses on areas including developing fresh frameworks for understanding animal welfare. It evaluates husbandry practices and systems. It also covers pest control and analysing ethical dimensions of welfare problems.

The AWSBC was the first animal welfare focused research centre in the world to become an OIE Collaborating Centre (with the World Organisation for Animal Health). This recognises the AWSBC as being a group with internationally relevant expertise.

A Bachelor of Animal Science in Animal Welfare is a good fit if you:

  • are interested in science
  • care about the treatment and welfare of animals
  • want to learn about animal needs and management.

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.

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 Enquire 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: 117231 Animal Health and Welfare 15 credits

Provide an understanding of the major diseases and welfare considerations/issues of domestic animals in New Zealand and the relevance for animal management. The role of human behaviour in the productivity, function and welfare of animals. The importance of biosecurity to New Zealand and its relationship to human and animal health. Review the ethical frameworks associated with the ownership and use of animals.

Prerequisites: One of 117152, 117153, 117155 or 117107 Restrictions: 117255

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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: 117331 Dilemmas in Animal Welfare 15 credits

Exploration of animal welfare as one of the various factors that influence our use of, and interactions with, animals. Integration of legal, scientific, ethical and practical considerations for making real-world improvements in animal welfare. Emphasis on student interaction with various stakeholders to define real-world animal welfare problems and explore solutions.

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Course code: 117332 Animal Welfare Science 15 credits

Understanding animal welfare is important to optimise animals’ health and productivity, to improve their quality of life and to safeguard the reputation of New Zealand’s animal production industries. This course explores how measurements of animal behaviour and physiology can be used to understand mental experiences such as pain, breathlessness, thirst, nausea and fear and thus the welfare states of domestic animals. These concepts will be applied to enable students to construct robust strategies for practical assessment of animal welfare in various production systems.

Prerequisites: Two of 194241, 194242, 194243 or 199203 Restrictions: 194343

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Course code: 117361 Companion Animal Science 15 credits

This course is an integration of the scientific and theoretical aspects of companion animal science. The main topics covered include the nutrition, behaviour, welfare, breeding and genetics of dogs, cats and horses. The emphasis will be placed on the scientific foundation for the promotion of animal welfare and longevity.

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Course code: 194242 Physiology of Mammalian Organ Systems 15 credits

An examination of the roles of organ systems in maintaining life and health in mammals, including humans, with emphasis on the alignment between structure and function. Topics include the functions of the heart and blood vessels, breathing, reproduction, and the digestive system.

Prerequisites: 194101 or 214101 or 117155 or 117153 or 199103

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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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Course code: 199203 Evolutionary Principles of Animal Behaviour 15 credits

This course explores how genetics, the environment, and humans shape the evolution of animal behaviour and inter- and intraspecific interactions. Practice sessions develop skills on the description, quantification, comparison and statistical analysis of animal behaviour using a variety of animals (vertebrate and invertebrate, wild and domestic). The use of scientific writing to communicate research findings is emphasised.

Prerequisites: One of (199103, 199101 or 196101) Restrictions: 199204, 117255

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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 take 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 won’t have reached University Entrance before summer school begins, you may be able to apply through Discretionary Entrance.

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 Bachelor of Animal Science with a major in animal welfare will provide you the knowledge, attributes and expertise you require for the careers of the future. You will be qualified for technical, advocacy and management roles across different types of industries and animals. These include:

  • government animal welfare officers
  • animal welfare investigators
  • local government animal control officers
  • biosecurity
  • customs
  • SPCA animal welfare officers
  • policy and regulation.

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

OIE collaborating centre for animal welfare science and bioethical analysis

The Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre (AWSBC) at Massey University became the OIE Collaborating Centre for Animal Welfare Science and Bioethical Analysis by resolution of the OIE General Session in May 2007. The first OIE Collaborating Centre in New Zealand and, at that time, the only one in the world fully dedicated to animal welfare, its role was to provide expert scientific, bioethical and advisory support for the OIE’s global animal welfare initiative which began in 2001.

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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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