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Programme list > Master of Veterinary Science

Master of Veterinary Science


Bringing the world’s expertise to you

Learn from internationally recognised veterinary specialists and gain in-depth veterinary research skills.

  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
  • Campus

  • Manawatū
  • Credits

  • 240
  • Duration

  • 2 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
  • International

  • Available for international students studying in NZ
  • Other

  • Not all listed subject course options are on offer every year

Massey's Master of Veterinary Science is an internationally recognised veterinary degree. This is a research qualification, where you will undertake an intensive investigation of an area of your choice.

You will learn in a supportive and enthusiastic environment supported by internationally recognised experts in their field.

You can either delve into an area of veterinary science you are passionate about. Or you may wish to hone your research skills to help you ascertain if you wish to progress into a research-based career.

World leading facilities

This course is run on our Manawatū campus in Palmerston North. Host to the only veterinary school in New Zealand, you will get to use Massey University’s well-equipped facilities. To assist your research, you will be able to access a wide range of expertise, equipment and facilities on one small campus. Facilities include the wildlife hospital (Wildbase Hospital) equine hospital, 24-hour pet hospital and sheep, beef, dairy and deer farms.  You will also have access to our other world-leading science facilities such as modern laboratories for virology and bacteriology, molecular and immunohistochemical work.

We have a reputation for integration of real-life case studies and a high staff to student ratio.

An in-depth look at veterinary science

This programme can be completed via a 120 research thesis if you are a New Zealand BVSc graduate or equivalent, or a 240 credit (two years full time) research and taught programme if you are an international student.

Other postgraduate veterinary programmes at Massey

If you are more interested in a professional development qualification with less of a research focus, the Master of Veterinary Studies may be a more appropriate qualification for you.

The Master of Veterinary Medicine is also focused on professional development, but is available via distance learning.

Careers and further study


Massey’s Master of Veterinary Science is designed for you if you:

  • have a specific career focus in a veterinary speciality, or you
  • want to go onto further veterinary research, such as a PhD.

You can also utilise the programme to assist your preparation for specialist exams in the USA, Europe, Australia or New Zealand.

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates found that in New Zealand:

  • young master’s graduates earn more than one and a half times more than the national median (five years after study)
  • earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • five years after completion, the median earnings of young master’s graduates are 15% higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree.

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.

Entry requirements

University admission

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

Programme admission


Master of Veterinary Science 135 credits

To enter the Master of Veterinary Science (135 credits) you will have been awarded or qualified for:

  • a Massey University Bachelor of Veterinary Science, or
  • a veterinary qualification  that can be registered by the New Zealand Veterinary Council and is considered to be equivalent to the Massey University Bachelor of Veterinary Science, or
  • a Postgraduate Diploma in an area of Veterinary Science.

Master of Veterinary Science 240 credits

If you are a veterinary graduate who does not meet the above entry requirements, you are eligible to apply for admission into the 240 credit Master of Veterinary Science.

For both these options, you will need to supply:

  • a short summary of your research interests (200 words or less)
  • verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University. 

English language requirements

To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you do not have the entry requirements

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and programmes that may help.

Summer School

If you need to do a course before you start your programme, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

135 or 240 credits

From the Schedule to the Degree including:

Depending on entry qualifications, either:

  • An approved 15 credit research methods course
  • A 120 credit thesis


  • 120 credits approved selection of courses
  • A 120 credit thesis

Also attend field trips, studios, workshops, tutorials and laboratories as required.

See ‘Courses for this programme’ below for schedules of courses.

Planning your programme

Planning overview

 If you study full-time, you’ll take 120/135 credits per year or 60 credits per semester. 

The MVSc may be awarded with a subject identifying the veterinary field in which you focus during your degree.

Master of Veterinary Science 135 credits

You will complete an approved research methods course and a thesis to the value of 120 credits in some branch of veterinary science.

Master of Veterinary Science 240 credits

You will complete a flexible course of study, which shall consist of courses totalling at least 240 credits, including an approved research methods course and a thesis to the value of 120 credits in some branch of veterinary science.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit. 

Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

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?

If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.

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 will find their National Student Number on their student homepage.

A good fit if you:

  • would like to develop research skills in veterinary science
  • are interested in a potential research or academic career in veterinary science
  • are passionate about a particular aspect of veterinary science.

Meet our lecturers

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Veterinary Science

Massey University¡¯s veterinary programme is ranked in the top 50 universities worldwide by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

ShanghaiRanking - veterinary science

Massey University is ranked no.1 in New Zealand for veterinary science by the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.


Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Undergraduate programmes

General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Postgraduate regulations

General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Choose your programme and click on Apply now

You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.

Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

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 programme or specialisation you enrolled in may be no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

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