Smiling person standing in river collecting water samples
Areas of interest

Study natural environment , Ākona te taiao māori

Study at Massey to create a sustainable future for the planet and its people, plants and creatures. Pick from ecology, environmental science, geography, geology, planning and more.

Need help or know what you want to study?

Join the best

Massey ranks in the world's top 250 universities for environmental sciences by QS World University Rankings.

Get hands on

From fieldwork to facilities such as seed banks and marine pathology labs, learn by doing at Massey.

Global recognition

Our qualifications in this area are accredited by international industry bodies, so you can work in New Zealand and overseas.

Learn by doing

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


Land. Water. Air. How we protect and use these natural resources affects our future, the future of Aotearoa New Zealand's unique plants and wildlife, and the future of our planet.

Learn from world-class lecturers and researchers with expertise in areas such as environmental management and zoology. Master new skills with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Explore new developments during field trips. Contribute to latest research, including the Botanic Gardens project.

Natural environment studies are a good fit if you:

  • enjoy school subjects such as biology, geography or science
  • want to shape a sustainable future for people and the environment
  • like analysing data and solving problems.

Natural environment courses may cover:

  • biodiversity
  • climate change
  • earth sciences (geology)
  • environmental issues and solutions
  • geography
  • geospatial science – mapping data that casts light on people, places and the Earth's processes
  • fieldwork opportunities
  • resource consent
  • soil and water quality
  • urban design and town planning.

How to study natural environment

Discover what we offer if you’re interested in natural environment – 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 undergraduate degree.

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.

Postgraduate bachelor's degrees with honours

Go deeper into a major subject from your undergraduate bachelor's degree, graduate certificate or graduate diploma; at a higher level of 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 natural environment at Massey.

Natural environment research

What our students say

“There was a significant practical component to the courses which I was very excited about, and they are designed to help you find your passion while at the same time develop key skills that you can contribute in the workforce.”
Juhi Mascarenhas

Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Zoology

“My lecturers were always helpful, and I have found that a lot of what I learnt in my classes I use in my job every day.”
Ariana Blackwood

Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science)

“I decided to study at Massey University because I wanted my future to be open to working in a variety of fields, and this programme has helped me develop the skills to achieve that.”
Alexandra Egan

Massey master's student

Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Management

Our facilities

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

Wildbase Hospital

A specialist hospital for wildlife, with equipment and facilities including:

  • five patient wards to separate prey from predatory species
  • intensive care and isolation wards
  • surgery suite
  • endoscopes
  • portable radiographic unit.

Students can assist with or observe procedures.

Location: Manawatū campus

Marine Pathology Laboratory

Our specialised post-mortem facility assesses the life history, diet and causes of death in:

  • dolphins
  • small whales and sharks — up to 3m long
  • seals and stingrays
  • penguins and other seabirds.

Includes a walk-in -20°C freezer, +4°C chiller and vented specimen/chemical storage bunker.

Location: Auckland campus

Dame Ella Campbell Herbarium (MPN)

The herbarium houses more than 75,000 flora specimens, from Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.

The majority of our collection comes from the North Island's Volcanic Plateau, Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki, and south to Wellington.

Location: Manawatū campus

Massey Botanic Gardens

This project is working to expand on Massey’s already expansive campus to create a botanic garden available for research, teaching and to the community across New Zealand and internationally. The garden will generate a wealth of information on restoration methods and the management of rare, threatened and endangered plants from around the world.

Location: Manawatū campus

New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank

The seed bank collects the seeds of Aotearoa New Zealand plants to conserve the biodiversity within our indigenous flora. Seed banking is a recognised conservation strategy to support in-situ conservation efforts.

Location: Manawatū campus

Jobs in natural environment

Careers linked to the natural environment can range from conservation to climate change, town planning to sustainable communities, economic development to resource consent.

Some of our graduates work in research – or as activists or policy makers – focusing on environmental management or protection.

Natural environment careers include:

  • biologists
  • conservation or ecology careers, which protect wildlife and ecosystems
  • environmental consultants and advisors, who work for businesses
  • environmental managers or scientists
  • geographers, who study relationships between human activity and natural systems
  • geospatial or GIS (geographic information systems) specialists
  • geologists, who may advise on resources such as coal or groundwater
  • planners, including environmental, regional, transport or urban planners
  • policy analysts or advisors, who work for government or businesses.

Conservation careers

Annual salary ranges for jobs

Salary ranges disclaimer

Indicative pay rates are:

Which natural environment 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
Environmental adviser Bachelor of Arts (Environmental Studies)
Environmental manager Master of Environmental Management
Environmental scientist Bachelor of of Science (Environmental Science)
Master of Environment Management
Geologist Master of Science (Earth Science)
Geographer or geospatial specialist Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Geography)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Geospatial Science)
Urban or regional planner Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Environmental Sciences

Massey University’s environmental sciences programme is ranked in the top 350 in the world by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

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QS Ranking - Geography

Massey is ranked in the world's top 150 universities for geography in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

New Zealand Planning Institute

Massey's planning degrees have been accredited by the New Zealand Planning Institute – Te Kokiringa Taumata for decades.

Learn more

Get an information guide

Download our guides to find out more about studying natural environment at Massey.

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