Where you can study
International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.
Specialise in Earth Science for your Master of Science at Massey
The Master of Science (Earth Science) at Massey University will develop your skills in a field and laboratory environment that is focused on solutions to Earth science-based issues facing society.
Examine the environmental impact
Massey’s expertise in environmental geochemistry includes remediation of contaminated sites, phytomining, mine sites and land reclamation.
You can learn from – and build on – our expertise in the societal impacts of earth events, such as volcanic activity. These include social, economic, infrastructure and the impact on local communities including iwi.
Explore the world around you
You’ll gain transferable skills that will be useful in many different careers. These include observation skills, advanced ability in data collection, analysis and interpretation, problem-solving and lateral thinking skills, self-motivation and resilience, teamwork as well as developing high-level written and verbal communication skills.
Let our expertise become yours
Massey University Earth science staff are actively researching and are members of internationally-relevant related groups. Many also have extensive industry experience, through either employment or consultancy. They bring this expertise to your teaching.
This master’s includes an in-depth research project, where you will be able to explore an aspect of Earth science that interests you.
We have a range of specialised equipment which is available to you for your research and study.
- A microprobe for spatial geochemical analysis of geological materials. Able to focus down to two microns, it allows measurement of changes in composition across crystals (which record pre-eruption processes in magmas).
- Laser particle size analyser for measuring grain-size distributions of materials such as tephra.
- FTIR (Fourier Transform Infra-red) microscope. This measures water and CO2 contents in volcanic materials (related to eruption dynamics) but has also been used for analysing compositional differences in horse bones and carbon nanoparticles.
- Pyroclastic Flow simulator.
- Hyperspectral analyser for remote sensing soil, rock and plant materials (an example of use includes detecting mineralised ground by remote sensing).
- FLYSPEC analyser for measuring SO2 in volcanic eruption plumes.
- XRD analyser for determining mineralogical compositions of a wide range of materials, especially clay minerals.
- TGA/DSC (Thermogravimetric Analyser/Differential Scanning Calorimeter) for uses such as thermal behaviour in volcanic glasses to characterise biochar.
- OEM (Optical Emission Analyser) for geochemical analysis with particular application to environmental geochemistry.
A Master of Science in Earth Science is a good fit if you:
- like the outdoors
- can apply lateral thinking to real-world problems
- have a basic understanding of maths, physics and chemistry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Course code: 119728 Research Methods in Animal, Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences credits 15
Research methods for students planning to undertake research in animal, veterinary, agricultural, horticultural or applied sciences, with a focus on experimental research designs. Topics include: philosophy of science; research ethics; literature search and review techniques; project development and management; scientific writing; oral presentation skills; vocabulary of statistics; introduction to quantitative data analysis; and completion of a research proposal.View full course details
Course code: 119729 Research Methods credits 15
Research methods for students whose research focuses on the human-science interface and human applications of science. The course includes foundations of science, ethics, the scientific method, and systems approaches to problem-solving and research; selection of appropriate research methods, including survey methods, case studies, enterprise/project analysis, and modelling; analysis and presentation of research results and communication skills.View full course details
Course code: 233712 Environmental Geographic Information Systems credits 15
The application of geospatial analytical techniques within the environmental sciences is required as a key decision support tool in land management. This course will explore the way cartographic modelling, data fusion, database query, geostatistical analysis and image integration are applied to solve common environmental and resource management issues drawing on a range of software currently used in industry.View full course details
Course code: 233713 Environmental Remote Sensing credits 15
Remote sensing is the process of detecting and monitoring the Earth by measuring its reflected and emitted radiation, usually from satellites or aircraft. The course will focus on the use of digital analysis of remotely sensed imagery and data. The integration of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and digital elevation models (DEMs) with remotely sensed data will be used to highlight practical solutions in land management.View full course details
Course code: 233714 Advanced Geoscience Techniques credits 15
Studies utilising modern Geoscience techniques require the collection and analysis of complex data and datasets. In this advanced course experience will be gained in modelling and solving complex geoscience processes through advanced geological mapping and the collection of samples and data that will be analysed using specialised equipment and methods.View full course details
Course code: 233715 Environmental and Geological Hazards credits 15
One of the biggest issues facing the developed and developing world is exposure to environmental and natural hazards. Practical solutions to recognising, managing and mitigating environmental/natural hazard, risk and disasters will be explored in this course. Advanced quantification of natural hazards and how this informs modern day risk assessment, mitigation and management will be explored.View full course details
Course code: 158740 Location Systems: Spatial Databases, Tools and Applications credits 15
This course will develop knowledge and skills in the use of geographic information science in an interdisciplinary context. Students will learn how to work with clients to identify requirements, model and collect data and create a location-based web application. A range of areas and a variety of different uses of geographic information will be covered using open source tools. An interdisciplinary group project will form part of the course.View full course details
Course code: 158741 Location Data: Mapping, Analysis and Visualisation credits 15
This course will develop knowledge and skills in the processing, analysis and visualisation of data that has a location on the earth. Location data is more and more readily available, and students will learn how to transform and integrate data from multiple sources, consider the impact of data uncertainty and privacy, and perform appropriate analysis for environmental, social and economic applications. Different data collection methods will be discussed, and a range of open source tools will be used.View full course details
700 level from 119, 188, or 189 prefix
Course code: 233897 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 credits 60
Course code: 233898 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 credits 60
Course code: 233899 Thesis credits 120
Course code: 233873 Thesis 90 Credit Part 1 (30 credits) credits 30
Course code: 233874 Thesis 90 Credit Part 2 (60 credits) credits 60
Course code: 233875 Thesis credits 90
Admission to Massey
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
To enter the Master of Science (Earth Science) 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.
- Get an estimate of the tuition fees for your qualification
- View a list of non-tuition fees that may be payable
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.
- Student loans (StudyLink)
- Fees Free
- Student portal
Scholarship and award opportunitiesFind more scholarships and awards
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
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.
Internationally transferable skills
The unique combination of topics within the Massey Master of Science (Earth Science) will equip you with nationally and internationally transferable skills applicable to a wide range of challenges relevant to Earth science.
Jobs related to this degree include hydrocarbon and mineral exploration, environmental assessment and remediation, soil and land use assessment, volcanic hazards and applications utilising remote sensing and GIS skills.
Typical employers include:
- the energy sector (oil and gas)
- the mining industry
- environmental and engineering consultancies
- local authorities.
Alternatively, the MSc in Earth Science is excellent preparation for proceeding to either a higher degree (PhD) or specialist degrees in related fields (e.g. geophysics and engineering geology).
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.
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.
Related study options
Earth Science – Bachelor of Science
When you join the Bachelor of Science (Earth Science) you’ll join an area that’s solving geotechnical and environmental problems.
Earth Science – Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology
A Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology (Earth Science) is a stepping stone to a research-based degree.
Useful planning information
Key information for students
Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions. Learn more on careers.govt.nz