Postgraduate Programme in
Conservation Biology

Aims of our Programme
Course Structure
Thesis Topics
Entry Requirements & Enrolment
Fees, Scholarhips & Support
Opportunities for International Students
Contact Information


Aims of Our Programme

Our programme was developed to provide training to postgraduates seeking careers in Conservation Biology, and to integrate teaching in several fields (Ecology, Zoology, Natural Resource Management, Resource & Environmental Planning, Veterinary Science) relevant to conservation of endangered species and ecosystems.  The programme was developed in consultation with potential employers, and targets the requirements of organisations such as the New Zealand Department of Conservation, Ministry for the Environment, Landcare Research, regional councils, and environmental consulting firms.  The programme has a strong emphasis on integrating theory with practice and teaching state-of-the-art analytical techniques.  It therefore provides a good stepping stone to PhD research as well as immediate employment opportunities.

Course Structure

Conservation Biology is offered as a Master of Science (MSc) or Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSc).  Both include coursework worth 120 credits (taking 1 year), and the MSc includes a thesis worth 120 credits (taking an additional year). 60 of the 120 credits are made up from a seminar-style paper in Conservation Biology (232.701), and a choice of Freshwater Ecosystem Management  (232.702) or Wildlife Management (232.703), both of which have a strong field emphasis. The remaining points are made from a choice of 232.704 Wildlife Disease, 232.705 Captive Management of New Zealand Wildlife, 196.712 Aquatic Ecology, 196.726 Plant Ecology,  194.709 Conservation Endocrinology and Reproductive Biology, 132.733 Conservation Policy and Planning, 132.735 Natural Resource Planning, 132.738Geographic Information Systems, 132.739 Assessing Environmental Impacts, 235.701 Maori Values and Resource Management, 188.705 Natural Resource Policy, 188.706 Participatory Resource Management, 188.763 Advanced Natural Resource Management, and 211.750 Enviromental Education: Policy and Practice.  Some related papers may be substituted with approval from the Graduate Subject Advisor.  Most papers are taught at the Palmerston North Campus, and run for about 7 months starting in late February.  However, some are taught in extramural mode, and two papers are taught in block mode at Albany Campus.  Information on paper prescriptions and modes of delivery can be accessed by clicking on the paper numbers.  Master of Science students also do 232.897 and 232.898 (thesis done over two years) or 232.899 (thesis done in one year).

Thesis Topics
Master of Science students address a range of different questions we need to answer to improve our management of threatened species and ecosystems.  The majority of students do field projects, which may be on offshore islands, mainland reserves, or on private land.  Some do primarily theoretical projects, such as modelling population dynamics or ecosystems.  Some do primarily lab projects, involving genetic analysis, physiology, or post-mortem work.  Recent projects at Massey have involved a range of threatened species, including many species of birds (eg., kiwi, kakapo, hihi, saddlebacks), tuatara, lizards, frogs, bats, marine mammals, freshwater fish, terrestrial invertebrates, and plants (e.g., mistletoes, orchids).  There has also been a strong emphasis on freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.  Prospective MSc students should consult academic staff at Massey to discuss potential research topics (you may want to check out some of the current research being conducted by the Wildlife Ecology Group and the Centre for Freshwater Ecosystem Management and Modelling). Students are welcome to suggest their own topics, but we often have of research projects available, some of which have funding in place.

Entry Requirements & Enrolment
Students must have completed a Bachelor of Science or equivalent in Ecology, Zoology, Environmental Sciences, Natural Resource Management, Veterinary Science, or another approved subject.  Click here to see how to enrol if you are a New Zealand student, or here

 if you are from another country.

Fees, Scholarships & Support
Fees for domestic students in 2007 will be approximately $6986 or a Master of Science in Conservation Biology (over two years) or $4878 for a Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation Biology. The exact fees depend on the papers selected, and the fees for each paper can be viewed at http://fees.massey.ac.nz.  There are many potential sources of funding available to meet your costs.  To find out about scholarships available, check out the Massey University Awards website and the Breakout External Awards website. It is also worthwhile asking potential supervisors about sources of funding as they may have grants available.  There are also a range of other support services available through Massey.

Opportunities for International Students
Australians living in New Zealand pay domestic fees.  Fees for students from other countries are approximately NZD 44,000 over two years for a Master of Science or NZD 22,000 over one year for a Postgraduate Diploma.  Students from some developing countries can apply for scholarships through the New Zealand Agency for International Development, and students from Commonwealth countries can apply for scholarships under the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Scheme.  Contact the International Students Office at Massey for further information.

Contact Information
Potential students are encouraged to contact:

Professor Doug Armstrong (Graduate Subject Advisor, Conservation Biology)
Wildlife Ecology Group, Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University
Phone:  +64 6 350 7599 ext 7801 (International); (06) 350 5799 ext 7801 (National)
Fax:  +64 6 350 5623 (International); (06) 350 5623 (National)
Click HERE to send an email