Biological Sciences – Master of Science

Massey’s Master of Science with a major in biological sciences gives you expertise in a broad range of biological and fundamental sciences.

Where you can study

Auckland campus
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: Not all listed subject course options are on offer every year.

Specialise in Biological Sciences for your Master of Science at Massey

Note: This qualification may have an on-campus or in-person requirement and therefore requires that students submit a current My Vaccine Pass on enrolment.

When you study Massey’s Master of Science with a major in biological sciences you don’t have to focus on one particular type of science. You will gain expertise across a range of your interests.

Are you interested in subjects like microbiology, genetics and biochemistry, but don’t have all the prerequisites you need to specialise? Do you want to open the door to a broader range of careers? A major in biological sciences gives you a broad-based degree that keeps your options open.

Within the degree you can focus on one particular area of science, or keep your study broad - the choice is yours.

Flexibility and industry links

At Massey you have the flexibility to choose from different locations for your study - either Manawatū or the Auckland campuses - as well as other research institutes such as AgResearch, Scion and Plant & Food Research.

World-class facilities

Whether you study on the Auckland or Palmerston North campuses, you will have access to world-class facilities. These include the Manawatū Microscopy and Imaging Centre and the Massey Genome Service (part of New Zealand Genomics Limited). We also have our controlled environment plant growth facilities, the unique and extensive university orchards and state-of-the-art plant physiology and biology equipment. As well, we have large animal units and there are extensive Massey farms that operate as commercial beef, dairy and sheep farms.

A Master of Science in Biological Sciences is a good fit if you:

  • have an undergraduate qualification in biological or fundamental sciences
  • would like a broad-based science master’s that doesn’t constrain you to one particular subject.

Planning information

Subject areas available for the Master of Science (Biological Sciences):

  • 120 Plant Biology
  • 122 Biochemistry
  • 161 Statistics
  • 162 Microbiology
  • 194 Physiology
  • 196 Ecology
  • 199 Zoology
  • 203 Genetics
  • 232 Ecology

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

The Master of Science is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second.

The first part gives you good knowledge and skills that will help you with the research part of your qualification. You must pass Part One before you can progress to Part Two.

Coursework pathway

For progression to Part Two of the Master of Science, you will need a B grade average across the Part One courses including a B grade for the research methods course.

Research pathway

For progression to Part Two of the Master of Science, you will need a B grade average across the first 60 credits of Part One courses including a B grade for the research methods course.

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 Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate 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

Prerequisites
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.
Corequisites
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Restrictions
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.

Part One

Compulsory course

Choose 30 credits from
Course code: 162760 Research Methods and Communication in the Biosciences 30 credits

A directed course in research methodology and communication in biosciences. Assignments may include a research proposal, a literature review, scientific writing for a journal and a formal seminar presentation.

Restrictions: 162761, 162762, 119728, 119729

View full course details

Subject courses

700 level from 120, 122, 162, 194, 196, 199, 203, 232, 247 prefixes

Part Two

Thesis of 120 credits (XXX.899, or XXX.897 and XXX.898) from one of 120, 122, 162, 194, 196, 199, 203, 232 prefixes

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

To enter the Master of Science (Biological Sciences you will have been awarded or qualified for:

  • the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in the intended postgraduate subject, or equivalent, with a minimum B average in the majoring 300-level courses, or
  • the Bachelor of Science with Honours, in the intended MSc subject, having achieved a B grade average over the contributing courses and a B grade in an approved research methods course, or
  • the Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology in the intended MSc subject, having achieved a B grade average over the contributing courses and a B grade in an approved research methods course, or
  • the Postgraduate Certificate in Science and Technology in the intended MSc subject, having achieved a B grade average over the contributing courses and a B grade in an approved research methods course.

If you have a Bachelor of Science (Honours), Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology, or Postgraduate Certificate in Science and Technology as outlined above, you may apply for credit towards Part One of the qualification in accordance with the limits specified in the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations.

You must submit an approved research supervision plan with your application. This means you need to secure the agreement of a suitable supervisor for your agreed research topic. 

You will need to provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.

English language requirements

To study this qualification 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.

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

As a Master of Science graduate in biological sciences, you will have a wide range of career opportunities and can expect these to lead to leadership and managerial roles. These could be in areas including pure and applied research, quality control, product development, and positions of responsibility in medical, forensic, or analytical laboratories.

You could also work in government departments in policy development and analysis. Jobs in these areas can lead to high-level careers in management and administration in science and health-related fields:

  • Crown Research Institutes (AgResearch, HortResearch, Plant & Food Research)
  • industry-based research institutes (dairy, meat, wool, wheat, forestry, leather)
  • wineries, breweries, food and animal feedstuff industries
  • pharmaceutical development and manufacturing
  • secondary and tertiary educational institutions
  • biotechnology companies
  • scientific publishers
  • district health boards
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Ministry of Business and Enterprise.

A master’s degree in biological sciences provides graduates with internationally-marketable skills. It will provide opportunities for employment and careers across the globe.

Sought-after by employers

International trends are for employers to reward postgraduate study well, especially in larger enterprises. The skills you learn are increasingly recognised as setting you apart from other potential employees.

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication, The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates, found that in New Zealand:

  • young master’s graduates earn more than one and a half times more than the national median (five years after study)
  • earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • five years after completion, the median earnings of young master’s graduates are 15% higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree.

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 - Biological Sciences

Massey University is ranked by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) as one of the top 450 universities in the world for biological sciences.

Learn more

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