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Areas of interest

Study biological and natural sciences , Te pūtaiao koiora me te pūtaiao taiao

Study biological and natural sciences at Massey to devise new thinking and technologies. Pick from sciences such as chemistry or microbiology, or health sciences such as nutrition or sport science.

Need help or know what you want to study?

The sky's the limit

Endless career options await Massey science grads, including biotechnology, conservation, genetics, medical advances, and more.

Learn by doing

Get hands-on experience in labs, field trips, and practical projects that focus on solving real-world problems.

Go broad or specialise

Massey's large range of science courses means you can specialise in your area of interest or mix and match across disciplines.

Part of the community

Wherever you are and however you learn, you join the Massey community. Connect with other students in classes, forums and events.


Human, animal and plant sciences are in our DNA. We've taught biological and natural sciences for many decades.

Learn from world-class lecturers and researchers. Explore and contribute to latest research. Master new skills with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories. Gain hands-on experience during lab work and field trips.

Solve real-world problems during internships — examples include crown research institutes such as GNS Science and NIWA, agribusinesses, or health or sporting organisations. Graduate work-ready, with skills employers need.

Work-integrated learning opportunities

Biological and natural sciences are a good fit if you:

  • enjoy school subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics or health
  • want to help tackle challenges facing our world, such as climate change, health inequalities, or devising new materials and medicines
  • like analysing data, solving problems or testing new ideas.

Course examples

Health sciences

Courses within health may cover:

  • exercise and sport science
  • human nutrition
  • immunity
  • physiology (how bodies work)
  • sleep science
  • ways to improve health outcomes, including intervention, prevention and promotion.

Other health study options

Natural sciences

Courses within the sciences may cover:

  • biochemistry and biotechnology
  • cell biology and genetics
  • chemistry, including chemical analysis and how to design new molecules
  • geological processes and resources — including the impact of natural disasters and climate change
  • microbes in our bodies, in plants or animals, or in the environment — including those which cause diseases
  • nanoscience
  • physics.

Other science study options

How to study biological and natural sciences

Discover what we offer if you’re interested in biological and natural sciences – whether you’re coming to university for the first time, changing direction or returning to advance your study or career.

Undergraduate study

An undergraduate qualification is generally the first thing you’ll study at university.

Bachelor's degrees

Degrees are the standard qualifications you do at university – the most common is called a bachelor’s. Degrees give you enough time to explore your interests, and also focus on specific subjects.

Undergraduate certificates

If you want to study at university, but aren't sure if you want to commit to a degree, try an undergraduate certificate.

Graduate certificates

Graduate certificates let you study in a subject you're interested in without doing a second bachelor's degree. Or you can use it as a bridge to postgraduate study if you already have an u

Undergraduate diplomas

Undergraduate diplomas let you try university study before you commit to a degree. They’re also useful if you need to advance your career.

Graduate diplomas

Graduate diplomas can help you advance to postgraduate study or research in a subject you haven’t majored in for your undergraduate study.

Relevant undergraduate subjects to major or specialise in

When you apply to study at Massey, for some undergraduate qualifications you can choose what subject you’d like to specialise in. You can usually change your mind after you get to university, depending on the courses you enrol in.

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equivalent experience – you’ll be ready to take on postgraduate study.

Master's degrees

A master's degree normally builds on a main subject of study from your undergraduate degree.

Postgraduate diplomas

Postgraduate diplomas are postgraduate-level qualifications that are longer than a postgraduate certificate. If you’re successful, you might be able to use the credits towards the longer master’s degree.

PhD and other doctoral degrees

Doctoral degrees, including PhDs, are the highest degrees we award. They’re very demanding and their entry criteria reflect this.

Relevant research areas at Massey

Discover research expertise, projects and initiatives relating to biological and natural sciences at Massey.

School of natural sciences research

What our students say

“Massey provided me with a very strong foundation in genetics and introductory research skills that allowed me to hit the ground running.”
Anežka Hoskin

Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahu

Bachelor of Science (Genetics) (now Bachelor of Science (Molecular and Cellular Biology), with a minor in Psychology

“I would recommend studying at Massey University due to the high level of support, guidance and valuable expertise from staff from both the academic and practical placement setting. I am now in a career where I feel I am making a true difference to the nutrition and health of the community.”
Dushanka Hettige

Clinical Dietitian at Capital and Coast DHB: Based in ICU, medical oncology, haematology and renal.

Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)

“Studying extramurally at Massey University enabled me to pace my study within other commitments and gave me access to experienced supervisors. I could largely independently pace my work providing I stayed within our set timelines. The knowledge I gained has contributed largely to my governance and director roles.”
Grant Plumbley

Master of Health Science

Our facilities

You'll have access to a wide range of first-class facilities when you study with us.

Massey laboratories

State-of-the-art laboratories and equipment include:

  • nuclear magnetic resonance lab
  • optical lab with optical tweezers, light scattering, and spectrometers
  • PC2-certified lab for molecular biology, protein expression and purification
  • solar cell construction and testing facilities
  • X-ray diffraction lab.

Massey Genome Service

Our lab provides sequencing services to New Zealand researchers and students, including:

  • analysis of genomic DNA
  • genotyping
  • RNA and ABI sequencing.

Location: Manawatū campus

Student testing blood pressure of another student

Human Performance Laboratory

This laboratory evaluates performance for a wide range of sports and occupational activities, with state-of-the-art research and testing equipment.

Location: Manawatū (Palmerston North) campus

Sport and Exercise Science Research Laboratory

This laboratory offers a physiological and biomechanical analysis for many sports and occupational activities. Laboratory staff have experience with a wide range of sports, athletes and occupations.

Location: Auckland campus

BodPod and other specialist equipment

The BodPod is an advanced piece of equipment used to accurately and easily measure your body composition. It uses an air-displacement method to measure all the fat in your body, which sets it apart from less direct techniques of body composition measurement.

Location: Manawatū (Palmerston North) campus

Manawatū Microscopy and Imaging Centre

The centre is available for use by organisations such as researchers, Crown Research Institutes, other teaching institutions, hospitals and commercial clients.

We have a team of specialists and offer:

  • transmitted light and fluorescence microscopy
  • electron microscopy
  • image analysis.

Jobs in biological and natural sciences

Careers in biological and natural sciences can be in many different sectors. Examples include biotechnology, conservation, the energy sector, genomics, healthcare, medical research, and more.

Some of our graduates work in research and development at crown research institutes, multinational companies or specialist laboratories. There are also opportunities in management and in scientific start-ups.

Job prospects are good in New Zealand and overseas, with high demand for skilled workers.

Careers include:

  • biotechnologists or biochemists, who may develop new animal, plant or molecular products such as drugs or vaccines
  • chemists, also called chemical scientists, who study the make-up and behaviour of chemicals
  • ecologists
  • environmental health officers
  • microbiologists, who study the bacteria, fungi or viruses that cause infections or diseases
  • molecular biologists, who study genes and molecules for medicine, agriculture or ecology
  • nutritionists or health promoters, who work in community, health or sports organisations
  • researchers, who may specialise in areas such as bioscience, forensic, manufacturing or medicines
  • teachers or lecturers.

Annual salary ranges for jobs

Salary ranges disclaimer

Indicative pay rates are:

Which biological or natural sciences qualification?

Examples of where our qualifications may take you.

Table showing jobs and what you could study to enter them.
Jobs Examples of what you could study
Biochemist Bachelor of Science (Chemistry)
Master of Science (Chemistry)
Biotechnologist (biotech researcher) or molecular biologist Bachelor of Science (Molecular Cell Biology)
Chemical scientist (chemist) Master of Science (Chemistry)
Environmental health officer Bachelor of Health Science (Environmental Health)
Microbiologist Bachelor of Science (Microbiology)
Nutritionist or health promoter Bachelor of Science (Human Nutrition)
Researcher in a specialist laboratory, such as at a crown research institute, manufacturer or university Master's degree in your chosen specialisation

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

Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand

The Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science (Medical Laboratory Science) is accredited by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand.

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Ministry of Health logo

Environmental Health Officers Qualifications Regulations 1993

Our environmental health qualifications are recognised by the Ministry of Health as meeting qualification requirements for environmental health officers. Our qualifications are also recognised by Environmental Health Australia (EHA).

Learn more

Get an information guide

Download our guides to find out more about studying biological and natural sciences at Massey.

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