Agricultural Science – Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology

Improve the productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems in New Zealand and around the world. The Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Agricultural Science) is the stepping stone to a research-based degree.

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

Specialise in Agricultural Science for your Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology at Massey

Massey University’s Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology (Agricultural Science) gives you the opportunity to join the pathway to in-depth research at a master’s level.

Join a world-leading agriculture university

Our proud record dates back to 1927 when we offered New Zealand’s first degrees in agriculture and horticulture. As a student, you will benefit from our internationally recognised capability and leadership in this area.

Take advantage of our expertise

As an agriculture student at Massey, you will have access to lecturers and supervisors acknowledged as being among the best in the world. Collaboration between Massey University and adjacent Crown Research Institutes offers unrivalled advantages to postgraduate students. It includes access to specialised skills, equipment and networking opportunities.

You will have access to a wide range of facilities and services including:

  • Pasture and Crop Research Unit
  • Fertiliser and Lime Research Unit
  • horticultural units
  • The Equine Unit
  • Life Cycle Management Centre
  • Massey University farms
  • teaching laboratories
  • library resources.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The workload of the postgraduate diploma replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles.

Further study

If you complete the qualification at a satisfactory level you may be able to proceed to the Master of Science (Agricultural Science). If so, credits you have gained through this qualification may be credited to the master’s qualification.

A Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology in Agricultural Science is a good fit if you:

  • are continuing on from undergraduate agricultural science study
  • are interested in postgraduate agriculture-related study, but do not have a research background
  • would like to undertake a predominantly taught postgraduate qualification.

Planning information

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

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

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.

Subject courses

Course code: 117710 Reproduction, Lactation and Fertility 15 credits

An advanced course in the physiology and application of reproduction, lactation and fertility in domestic animal species

Restrictions: 117767, 117769

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Course code: 117711 Nutrition, Growth and Meat Science 15 credits

An advanced course in the physiology and application of nutrition, growth and meat science in domestic animal species

Restrictions: 117761, 117762, 117764

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Course code: 117765 Genetics and Breeding 15 credits

An advanced course in animal breeding and genetics designed to introduce aspects of breeding value estimation, index selection and maternal effects across herd/flock genetic evaluations, genotype by an environment interaction, major genes, applied molecular genetics, inbreeding, crossbreeding, physiological genetics and genomic selection.

Prerequisites: 117345

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Course code: 117768 Metabolism and Endocrinology 15 credits

An advanced course in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein in ruminants and/or non-ruminants. Endocrine control and nutrient flows in various physiological states.

Prerequisites: 117348

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Course code: 117785 Advanced Studies in Animal Production 15 credits

Advanced studies of major physiological systems and functions in animals and their relevance to animal production. These studies can be undertaken in any of the following topics: nutrition, growth, breeding, genetics, animal welfare and equine science.

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Course code: 117786 Advanced Studies in Animal Production 30 credits

Advanced studies of major physiological systems and functions in animals and their relevance to animal production. These studies can be undertaken in any of the following topics: nutrition, growth, breeding, genetics, animal welfare and equine science.

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Course code: 119710 Nutrient Management in Grazed Pasture Systems 30 credits

An advanced, integrated study of the environmental and management factors influencing the cycling of nutrients in grazed pasture production systems. Contemporary production systems are analysed and strategies devised to maximise the efficiency of nutrient use (including fertiliser recommendations) in pasture and supplementary feed production and animal nutrition. Financial risks associated with farm management strategies that minimise environmental risk are assessed.

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Course code: 119711 Nutrient Management in Arable Systems 15 credits

An advanced integrated course of study on the environmental and management factors, including soils, establishment systems and fertiliser application, influencing the cycling of nutrients in, and loss of nutrients from, arable production systems. Crop growth models. Crop decision support systems for nutrient management and fertiliser recommendations.

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Course code: 119728 Research Methods in Animal, Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences 15 credits

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.

Restrictions: 119729, 162760, 162761, 162762

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Course code: 119729 Research Methods 15 credits

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.

Restrictions: 119728, 162760, 162761, 162762

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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

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Course code: 189730 Sustainable Land and Water Management 15 credits

Advanced theoretical and practical experience in the application of soil, water and GHG emission sciences to the sustainable management of New Zealand’s land, water and air resources. Sources and pathways for nutrient, contaminant and GHG transfer from soil to water and atmosphere will be analysed, and considered in the context of land use and potential in-field and edge-of-field attenuation technologies and practices.

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Course code: 189731 Advanced Studies in Soil Science 15 credits

A selection of modules from professional development courses: intermediate and advanced sustainable nutrient management; intermediate and advanced farm environment planning; farm dairy effluent system design and management; introduction to NZ agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and management. This course is targeted to students wanting an applied course in soils relevant to production agriculture and horticulture or to environmental management.

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Course code: 283702 Advanced Agronomy 30 credits

Advanced studies in agronomy based on a selection of two modules from within the following: seed technology, seed science, arable crop, pasture management, pasture science, weed science and forestry.

Prerequisites: 283301 or 283311 or 283305

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Course code: 283708 Quantitative Plant Breeding 30 credits

A career development course on the application of quantitative genetics and plant breeding. Topics include objective setting, plant genetic resources, base population development, quantitative genetic variation, selection efficiency, selection of multiple traits, GXE interactions, line development, backcross breeding, recurrent selection and variety development. Two block courses allow students to visit plant breeders, and encourage discussion and networking.

Prerequisites: One of 1203xx, 283305, 284301 or 284342 Restrictions: 171754

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Course code: 284703 Vegetable Production Science 15 credits

The science and production of quality vegetable products from establishment to harvest. Topics will align to student interests in vegetable crop science including: factors affecting productivity and quality, specialist production systems including root, tuber and leafy crops, crop nutrition, irrigation and harvest.

Restrictions: 171722; 171724; 284701; 284702

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Course code: 284704 Fruit Production Science 15 credits

Production of quality products of subtropical, warm and cool temperate fruits. Topics meet student interest and could include factors affecting productivity and quality; manipulation of tree, flower and fruit development; biological production systems; pre-harvest factors influencing product quality; quality management.

Restrictions: 171722; 171724; 284701; 284702

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Course code: 284741 Post-harvest Physiology 30 credits

Reviews the role of physiological principles in post-harvest systems. Topics covered depend upon class interests, and may include control of water loss, functions of cell walls and membranes; calcium; ethylene; chilling injury; genetic manipulation; modified atmospheres and non-chemical disease control.

Restrictions: 171749

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Course code: 285742 Topics in Advanced Plant Protection 30 credits

Selected topics in Advanced Plant Protection, including host defence and disease resistance mechanisms, weed control and herbicide activity, as well as principles and methods of integrated arthropod pest (insect and mite) management.

Prerequisites: 199310 or 283311 or 285301

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Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

To enter the Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology (Agricultural Science) you will have been awarded or qualified for:

  • a Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, with a major in the intended postgraduate subject, or equivalent, with a minimum B- average in the majoring 300-level courses, or
  • a postgraduate certificate that includes 30 credits of courses from the schedule to the Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology, or equivalent.

You will need to provide copies of all official 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

The primary industries are a growing sector. There are great employment and business opportunities for suitably qualified graduates. This qualification is suitable if you are interested in a career in science, either as a senior technician, a researcher or may be looking to acquire entry into a PhD.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Occupational Outlook indicates that employment prospects are good in all primary industry sectors. The New Zealand Immigration service has also included a wide range of primary industry jobs in the skills shortage list, particularly in supervisory and management roles.

Earn more

A Ministry of Education report found that earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed.

Five years after leaving study:

  • most young domestic graduates will be earning above the national median
  • young master’s graduates will be earning more than one and a half times the national median.

More on this report

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 - 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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