Bachelor of Horticultural Science – BHortSci

Do you have a passion for plants and people? This is the only horticultural degree in New Zealand fully co-designed and created in collaboration with the 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: Some distance courses require attendance at contact workshops.

Study a Bachelor of Horticultural Science – BHortSci

The Bachelor of Horticultural Science is focused on helping you become a horticulture graduate who can hit the ground running. It will give you the relevant, contemporary skills that the industry seek.

In demand by employers

Globally there are more jobs in horticulture than there are people to fill them. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the apple industry alone estimates that they need 150 graduates each year for the next decade. Horticulture will offer you a wide range of exciting and rewarding career opportunities across business and science roles.

Future-focused and industry-led

This qualification will give you an understanding of the breadth of horticulture. This includes everything from the genetics of plants to plant growth, the production of food, agribusiness, the influence of government policies, regulations and the Treaty of Waitangi Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations. You will learn how products are marketed and sold, and how to understand what consumers want in international markets.

Experience before you graduate

Industry experience is integrated into this degree, with practical work courses allowing you to experience and analyse real-world scenarios while you are studying.

There are many opportunities to attend field trips, multi-day study tours around New Zealand and even international study tours to see world-leading horticultural operations and research.

Through your coursework there are also plenty of other practical applications and real-world experiences including guest lecturers from industry.

Variety of study

One of the best things about this degree is the variety of study. You’ll learn about plant biology, soils and cropping, be introduced to production horticulture, agribusiness and agri-related analytics and statistics. You’ll also study economics and applied chemistry and physics.

A BHortSci is a good fit if you:

  • enjoy applied sciences
  • are interested in a career in horticulture and have a passion for plants and people
  • want to feed the world fresh, healthy, sustainable food.

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 your qualifying entry qualification was not taught in English, you must have achieved an IELTS 6.5 with no band below 6.0.  

General information about English language requirements:

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.

Recommended prior learning

To be successful in your studies it is recommended that you have credit at NCEA Level 3 (or equivalent) in biology or science, chemistry, modelling and statistics. These subjects will help ensure that your transition to university study is as smooth as possible.

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 Horticultural 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.

As part of this qualification, you’ll complete 26 weeks of full-time work in horticulture during your study. This is usually done during the summer. There is full support to help you find practical work and have an enjoyable experience where you are learning while working. You'll also provide a report on your activities.

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
  • Compulsory course selection – 90 credits
  • Electives – 15 credits
  • 26 weeks of practical work experience

Ensure that overall, you have:

  • Not more than 165 credits at 100 level
  • At least 75 credits at 300 level

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.

Core courses (Choose 255 credits from)

Choose 255 credits from
Course code: 112248 Food and Agribusiness Value Chains 15 credits

The study of the flow of food and agricultural products from the farm to the final consumer. Emphasis on successful value chain management applied to food and agribusiness. The course utilizes field trips to study local value chains.

Prerequisites: 119180

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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: 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: 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: 120101 Plant Biology 15 credits

This course is an integrated introductory study of plants. Major themes include: plant form and function (anatomy, morphology, photosynthesis, respiration, transport systems, mineral nutrition); regulation of growth and development, especially in response to the environment; plant diversity (systematics, evolution, life cycles, New Zealand flora); and plants and people (crop domestication, plant breeding and production, Māori plant use).

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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: 284201 Horticultural Production Systems 15 credits

An interdisciplinary study of the major vegetable and fruit production systems in NZ, and overseas. Different systems and subsystems will be analysed using indicators including productivity, quality, profitability and sustainability.

Prerequisites: 119120 or 284101

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Course code: 284301 Horticultural Crop Development & Yield 15 credits

Physiological and applied aspects of monitoring, predicting and manipulating crop growth and development in production horticulture in order to optimize yield, quality and timeliness. Prediction of crop growth and development in response to changes in the environment and the associated decisions made by growers.

Prerequisites: 284201

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Course code: 284342 Horticultural Productivity and Quality 15 credits

The role of crop architecture and the modification of the aerial environment for optimising yield and pre-harvest product quality, as well as the factors affecting quality and shelf life of horticultural commodities through the handling chain.

Prerequisites: 120217 or 284201

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Course code: 285201 Understanding Plant Protection 15 credits

The importance of diseases, pests and weeds to horticultural, agricultural and forestry production, trade, gardening and conservation is outlined. The course introduces the biology of these organisms and gives an understanding of their management and control. An introduction to strategies available for chemical, non-chemical and integrated control methods is included together with examples. A course of practical work.

Prerequisites: 119120 or 120101 or 283101 or 284101 Restrictions: 171284

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Compulsory course selections (Choose at least 15 credits from)

Choose at least 15 credits from
Course code: 196101 Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour 15 credits

An introductory biology course on the way organisms react, adapt, and interact. The course investigates the relationships between genotype, phenotype and environment, and the diversity of life on Earth within a phylogenetic framework. The course includes an examination of the dynamic interactions within and between abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems, including a focus on the evolutionary ecology of behaviours such as foraging, mating, parenting, and cooperation.

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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 30 credits from)

Choose 30 credits from
Course code: 114241 Principles of Human Resources Management 15 credits

An introduction to human resources management (HRM) theories and practices in national and international contexts.

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Course code: 115212 Fundamentals of Leadership and Teamwork 15 credits

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of leadership and teamwork.

Prerequisites: 90 credits at 100 level

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Course code: 120219 Plants and People 15 credits

Plants as sources of food and beverage, medicine, fibres and dyes, with emphasis on their origin, domestication and the role of plant breeding to improve plants for human use. The physiological effects of active plant compounds on the body. The cultural and geographic origins of commercially important plants.

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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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Compulsory course selections (Choose 45 credits from)

Choose 45 credits from
Course code: 112301 International Food and Agribusiness Strategies 15 credits

Application of a broad range of business concepts - economic, financial and marketing - to international agri-food business and marketing. Emphasis is placed on international consumers and agri-food exports, including external environment, terms of trade, transportation, packaging, documentation, methods of payment, risk management and negotiation.

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Course code: 120303 Plant Diversity 15 credits

The evolution of plant lineages has many potential outcomes, ranging from extinction to diversification and speciation. This course explores the processes that influence how lineages evolve and how we investigate and interpret patterns of diversity to better understand plant evolution and speciation. Lectures consist of critical discussion of topics including species concepts, local adaptation and diversification, morphological and molecular evolution, mating systems, and the roles of hybridization and polyploidy in plant evolution and speciation.

Prerequisites: One of (120201, 120218, 120219, 196205, 196207 or 203210)

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Course code: 120306 Plant Improvement 15 credits

Traditional and modern methods by which plants can be modified to provide new genetic material for use in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and industry. This course links basic and applied science and focuses on how natural and induced genetic variation can be harnessed for human use. Emphasis is on the dramatic progress being made in plant breeding, QTL analysis, marker-assisted selection, tissue culture and recombinant DNA technology. The course includes discussion of environmental, ethical and regulatory issues.

Prerequisites: 203210 or 284201 Restrictions: 120304

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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: 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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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

After completing your qualification, you will be prepared for a wide range of technical and management positions, in New Zealand and internationally. Some areas of employment include:

  • horticulture science consultant
  • orchard and greenhouse production management
  • crop disease and pest control
  • technology, innovation and robotics
  • post-harvest management
  • biosecurity
  • organic production
  • perishable supply chain management
  • international trade, access, and marketing
  • policy, regulation and advocacy.

What our students say

“My degree has been crucial, allowing a smooth transition into the first year of my career. It set me up with subjects like the soil science, GIS mapping, plant diseases, statistics, financial business analysis and – of course – plant biology that I have needed in my graduate role.”
Leander Archer

Bachelor of Horticultural Science

“If you’ve got a passion for science, or the land, food, international food marketing, meeting great people, or just being a part of an industry that does meaningful work for people, then this is for you.”
Summer Wynyard

Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Maniapoto, and Tainui

Current student

Bachelor of AgriScience (Horticulture) (now Bachelor of Horticultural 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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