Chemistry – Bachelor of Science

Gain sought-after scientific, analytic, and problem-solving skills with Massey's Bachelor of Science (Chemistry).

Where you can study

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 Chemistry for your Bachelor of Science at Massey

This is an exciting and challenging time for chemistry. Solutions to global challenges such as sustainability, energy supply and health and medicine will all require new materials and molecules. These will be developed by chemists.

The study of chemistry is fun, relevant and stimulating. Your lecturers are passionate, engaging and internationally recognised researchers.

Learn the fundamentals

The Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) at Massey University will provide you with a foundation in the fundamental principles of chemistry and how they underpin life and the world itself. Everything is chemistry! You’ll learn key theories and concepts, how they work and why they are important and relevant. You’ll get to apply these principles in the laboratory to synthesise new compounds and use analytical techniques to determine their structure and composition. This all takes place in a hands-on student laboratory where you’ll get to use start-of-the-art scientific instrumentation.

Real-world problem solving

Chemistry students have the opportunity to work alongside our world-recognised researchers on issues of international significance, applying their fundamental knowledge to solving real-world problems. For example, our students have developed new porous materials that can capture carbon dioxide to combat global warming; they have worked with veterinarians to develop new materials for controlled anaesthetic release, they have applied machine-learning methods for fast and accurate spectroscopic analysis of forage feeds and pasture types, and they synthesized new pharmaceuticals.

Graduates with Massey chemistry qualifications are able to combine their knowledge of the principles of chemistry with critical thinking and problem solving skills. In this way, they are equipped to make valuable contributions to important areas such as climate change, water quality and the sustainable use of resources.

Get connected

You’ll gain connections and experience with key companies such as Fonterra, Hill Laboratories and AsureQuality. Summer internships for chemistry students are available with research groups on campus, Crown Research Institutes, and local companies.

State-of-the-art equipment

You’ll receive training and learn techniques for instruments. These include:

  • molecular analysis
  • x-ray crystallography
  • nuclear magnetic resonance
  • FTIR
  • Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy
  • mass spectrometry
  • ultra high performance liquid chromatography
  • gas absorption and membrane testing.

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

  • enjoy the challenge of problem solving and have an analytical mind
  • are curious about the fundamental nature of matter and the world around you
  • enjoy experimental science and synthesis.

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.

The first year structure is designed to provide you with a broad knowledge and skill set which will equip you to go on to more advanced courses in the second and third years.

You must pass at least 90 credits from the BSc Schedule A, including any compulsory courses, in your first 120 credits of study towards the Bachelor of Science.

Chemistry has similar first year core courses to several other majors available in the Bachelor of Science, allowing you to change your major before your second year. Changing your major may incur an increase in completion time.

100-level courses

Take these in any order:

  • 247113 Science and Sustainability for Science
  • 161111 Applied Statistics or 161122 Statistics
  • 160101 Calculus or 160102 Algebra or 160105 Methods of Mathematics
  • 123104 Chemistry for Biological Systems
  • 123105 Chemistry and the Physical World.

Plus choose three 100 level elective courses. One of these electives must be from the BSc Schedule A courses. The remaining two electives can be from a subject area other than Science.

200-level courses in the major

300-level courses in the major

  • 123308 Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • 123307 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • 141395 Food Chemistry
  • 123305 Contemporary Topics in Chemistry.


Completing a minor is optional. Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.

A minor must be in a different subject from your major.

A Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) with a minor

You may choose a minor from any university undergraduate degree that has recognised minors. If the minor is from another undergraduate degree, the regulations of that programme will apply.

Some BSc minors that are particularly compatible with chemistry include those shown below. Timetabling will prioritise these combinations to minimise clashes.

A Chemistry minor (for students who are studying a different degree)

If you are not studying a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) and wish to complete a minor in Chemistry see the BSc regulations for the requirements of this minor. 

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.

Core courses for the Bachelor of Science

As well as the specialisation courses listed below, this qualification has core courses that you will need to complete.

Bachelor of Science core courses

Chemistry courses

200-level courses

Choose 60 credits from
Course code: 123201 Chemical Energetics 15 credits

Molecular processes are inherently random and yet we can meaningfully predict the yield or the rate of a chemical reaction. In this course we discover that this apparent paradox is explained by the idea that although single molecules behave randomly, large numbers of molecules and atoms do behave in a predictable manner. We develop the principles of thermodynamics and kinetics from this idea and apply these principles to physical, chemical, biochemical and industrial processes. The lab course focuses on broadly applicable skills in measurement, analysing and presenting physical chemistry data, understanding sources of uncertainty in physical measurements and written communication skills.

Prerequisites: One of (123102, 123105, 124104 or 123172) and one of (160101, 160102, 160105, 160132 or 160133)

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Course code: 123207 Molecular Chemistry 15 credits

The world is built up from molecules. Viewing systems - from the human body to the newest satellite - as composites of molecules is a powerful approach to understanding the world. In this course we will deconstruct seemingly complex systems into their simpler molecular components. We will understand their structures and develop ways they can be synthesized from the ground up. This is a lab course focussed on making molecules which will build synthetic skills.

Prerequisites: One of (123101 or 123104 or 123171) AND one of (123102 or 123105 or 123172) Restrictions: 123202, 123203

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Course code: 123208 Chemical Analysis 15 credits

Determining the structure of matter and how much of it is present is the focus of analytical chemistry. In this course we introduce the chemical and physical principles that underpin modern analytical chemistry methods and illustrate how analytical chemistry plays a key role in fields such as forensic and environmental science. You will obtain hands-on experience with modern analytical instrumentation in the laboratory and use skills in handling chemicals and data analysis to solve problems in analytical chemistry. We develop skills in error analysis and scientific writing.

Prerequisites: One of 123101 or 123102 or 123104 or 123105 or 123171 or 123172 Restrictions: 123204, 123206

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Course code: 123271 Molecules to Materials 15 credits

The chemistry of materials under-pins all chemical processing industries. This course facilitates a fundamental understanding of aqueous solutions, organic, inorganic and polymer chemistry relevant to material science, including soft materials such as gels and colloids. The laboratory training develops skills in a range of synthesis, separation and analysis techniques relevant to materials chemistry.

Prerequisites: (123101, 123104 or 123171) and (123102, 123105 or 123172)

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300-level courses

Choose 60 credits from
Course code: 123305 Contemporary Topics in Chemistry 15 credits

We will discuss and analyse the grand challenges and breakthroughs of modern chemistry. This discussion will lead to an understanding of how and why chemistry is central to the most pressing global challenges. Topical questions will vary from year to year. You will learn how to critically evaluate sources of scientific information and present scientific and chemical concepts using different media and to a variety of audiences.

Prerequisites: One of (123101, 123102, 123104, 123105, 123171, 123172) and one of (247111, 247112, 247113, 247114)

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Course code: 123307 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry 15 credits

This course focuses on the structure, properties and reactivity of inorganic compounds with a particular focus on transition metal complexes. The laboratory training develops expertise in a broad range of experimental techniques that relate to inorganic chemistry.

Prerequisites: 123207 and 123208 Restrictions: 123313

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Course code: 123308 Advanced Organic Chemistry 15 credits

This course focuses on recent trends and developments in the design and reactivity of organic compounds. It will introduce how a knowledge of organic reactions and mechanisms can be used to synthesise biologically relevant molecules, and will include organic and metal-based catalysis as well as heterocyclic chemistry. The laboratory training develops expertise in a range of organic chemistry experimental techniques.

Prerequisites: (123207 and 123208) or (123206 and 123210) Restrictions: 123312

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Course code: 123310 Advanced Concepts in Organic Chemistry 15 credits

Computational aspects related to organic chemistry. Structure, reactivity, synthesis, retrosynthesis, structure determination by analytical methods. Mechanism of organic reactions and chemistry of heterocyclic and main group elements. An emphasis on the application of organic reactions to engineer molecules of interest in the chemical, biochemical and pharmaceutical fields. Lectures are complemented by an intensive laboratory experience.

Prerequisites: 123202 or 123210 Restrictions: 123312

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Course code: 123331 Advanced Physical and Computational Chemistry 15 credits

This course applies quantum theory to molecular and atomic structure and spectroscopy. The use of symmetry in chemistry is explicitly treated. Statistical and dynamical theories are used to describe molecular behaviour and reactivity. Computational chemistry methodology is systematically applied to chemical systems. A course of practical work and a spectroscopy project complements the lectures.

Prerequisites: 123201

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Course code: 123332 Advanced Topics in Chemistry 30 credits

A project in an area of chemistry aimed at preparation for postgraduate research in chemistry. A selection of modules (4 maximum) covering areas of Inorganic, Physical, Environmental, Analytical and Organic chemistry.

Prerequisites: Any two of 123201, 123202, 123203, 123204, 123206, 123210, or 123271

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Course code: 141395 Food Chemistry 15 credits

A practical approach to the physical, chemical, biochemical and functional properties of major and minor food constituents (water, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals, pigments, flavours, toxins) and food groups (dairy, meat, eggs and plants). Chemical and biochemical reactions causing deterioration in foods and some methods of control. A laboratory course.

Prerequisites: 123271 and 123201 Restrictions: 151231

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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 programme outside of university admission regulations. However there is some expected background knowledge.

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 major.

  • At least 16 credits in NCEA Level 2 Mathematics from the following list of standards: 91256, 91257, 91258, 91259, 91260, 91261, 91262, 91269.
  • At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Chemistry.

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

English language requirements

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

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?

The following pathways will prepare you for studying this major. If you have not studied NCEA Level 2 Mathematics (or equivalent) take one of the following courses first:

  • 124103 Biophysical Principles, or
  • 160104 Introductory Mathematics for Science.

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

  • 123103 Chemistry for Modern Sciences.

These courses (or equivalents) are available in the summer semester and will count towards credits in your degree.

If you need to do a course before you start your programme, 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.

Scholarship and award opportunities

Search our scholarships and awards

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

As a chemistry graduate from Massey, you will be in demand - both in New Zealand and overseas. Your knowledge and skills can be applied to a wide range of settings including industry, business, research institutes, universities, polytechnics, and schools.

A huge array of companies in New Zealand employ people with chemistry degrees. These employment opportunities range from technical hands-on science to governmental and public policy development, in financial modelling and banking. Increasingly, entrepreneurial opportunities exist with New Zealand‘s scientific start-up companies. 

Jobs taken up by recent graduates include:

  • Food and brewing industries
  • Environmental consulting
  • Pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries
  • Chemistry of materials & paints
  • Finance sector
  • High school teaching
  • Consultancy sector
  • Analysis and forensics
  • Start-up companies

Earn more

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.

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