Plant Breeding – Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology

Join an Industry that is in demand. Many students of Massey's Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Plant Breeding) have jobs before they graduate.

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

Specialise in Plant Breeding for your Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology at Massey

When you study the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Plant Breeding) at Massey University you will become a member of a significant international scientific community responsible for global food security.

This plant breeding major is unique in New Zealand. You will gain expertise in:

  • quantitative genetics & applied plant breeding methods
  • multisite experimental design
  • data analysis & interpretation
  • application of new molecular marker technologies in plant breeding
  • understand disciplines such as agronomy, plant protection, plant physiology.

Take advantage of our globally renowned expertise

This qualification takes a multi-disciplinary and team approach to plant breeding.

You will be taught by highly skilled, internationally recognised and active researchers with expertise in areas like plant genetic resources, quantitative genetics, applied plant breeding, taxonomy and plant physiology. You’ll take part in applied field programs and learn from practicing scientists and experienced field breeders.

World-class equipment and facilities

As a plant breeding student, you will have access to Massey’s world-leading equipment and facilities such as our extensive glasshouses and farms, molecule labs, the Dame Ella Campbell Herbarium, the Palynology Laboratory, Plant Growth Unit, Seed Testing Services, Massey Genome Service and the Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre.

Relevant and topical

You’ll gain real-world experience by working and researching with organisations working on plant breeding. Physically located near Massey’s Manawatū campus, organisations such as AgResearch Grasslands Research Centre, Plant & Food and SCION often co-supervise our master’s and PhD students.  

You’ll emerge with a relevant qualification valued by potential employers.

Further study

This qualification shares many aspects of the Master of Science (Plant Breeding) qualification. However, this is a shorter qualification (can be completed in a year) and you will not undertake a research project.

If you successfully complete this PGDipSc you can progress to an MSc and complete it with a thesis. To progress to a PhD, you need to successfully complete an MSc.

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

  • would like a career in plant sciences that involves applied research and the application of molecular tools
  • would like to work with the seed industry and farmers
  • would like to join an international group of professionals focused on global food production.

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.

Compulsory courses

Choose 60 credits from
Course code: 283707 Molecular Plant Breeding 30 credits

An overview of methods used in plant breeding. Special emphasis is given to molecular breeding and breeding for tolerance to abiotic stress with topics including mapping, markers and QTL, transgenics, metabolomics, polyploidy, cytogenetics, tissue culture, IP and ethics. A block course allows students to see application of these techniques to plant breeding programmes in industry, and encourages discussion and networking.

Prerequisites: 283708

View full course details
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

View full course details

Subject courses

Choose at least 15 credits from
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: 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

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 (Plant Breeding) 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

You will gain the skills to work as

  • a commercial applied plant breeder
  • a research scientist
  • an agronomist
  • an agricultural advisor, or
  • continue into a PhD.

Highly sought after

Globally there is a shortage of plant breeders, so you will be in demand.

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates, found that in New Zealand earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed

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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