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Bachelor of Science (Physics)

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū
  • Available for international students studying in NZ

Sought-after by employers

Massey’s physics programme gives you the skills that most employers seek. You will develop well-developed abilities to ‘think outside the box’, to rapidly acquire new knowledge and skills, to communicate effectively with others and be numerate and analytic.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Science parent structure.

What is it like?

Physicists  try to understand our physical environment with the smallest set of ideas that will provide that understanding.

Understand the world and how it works

There is a continuing evolution of physics theory, based on tried and tested ideas from more than 400 years of continuous development. To understand today's interesting and challenging ideas, you must first understand yesterday's great ideas. The Bachelor of Science (Physics) will enable you to do that with a mixture of theoretical and practical study. You will also be able to focus on either experimental physics or theoretical physics.

The ideas of physics and their interactions are most naturally expressed in mathematical form. Studying physics also requires that you study mathematics and many students complete a double major in mathematics and physics. Physics also has many applications throughout the other sciences, such as chemistry, biology and computer science.

Strength in biophysics

Massey University’s strength and reputation across the life sciences feeds into our physics major. We consider DNA as a physical object and examine how cells apply force and movement to DNA. You’ll get to use NMR imaging (MRI), optical tweezers and laser beams to extract single strands of DNA. You’ll solve biological problems from a mechanical point of view. We also have strengths in mathematics and particle physics for those interested in more traditional physics studies.


Some topics taught in physics courses include:

  • Quantum physics
  • Physics of waves and vibrations
  • Classical mechanics, chaos and
  • fluids
  • Analogue electronics
  • Digital electronics and
  • communications
  • Advanced experimental physics
  • Thermal physics
  • Applied electromagnetism
  • Microelectronic circuits

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, agriculture, technology, computer science, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study compared to the national median. Earnings can be substantially more than other graduates.


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A good fit if you:

  • Are interested in the physical universe
  • Have a curious and analytical mind
  • Enjoy mathematics and physics
  • Want to excel in problem solving and become a creative thinker
Mark Hunter
Bachelor of Science (Physics)
Research Scientist - Magritek

“My study prepared me well for my next physics venture, which involved starting up Magritek, a joint venture between Massey and Victoria…”

I decided to study physics at Massey University after being involved with the Physics Olympiad event run by Professor Tony Signal. He took a team of high school students over to Canberra and through my involvement with that experience I decided to stay on and leave school early to begin my physics degree.

My study experience was both enjoyable and challenging. I had great interactions with my lecturers and was supported at every step of the process. I particularly appreciated the availability of my lecturers during the practical lab work, as they were always close by to provide assistance when I needed it.

Since graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I moved on to complete a masters at Massey followed by a PhD at Victoria University. My study prepared me well for my next physics venture, which involved starting up Magritek, a joint venture between Massey and Victoria. The company sells nuclear magnetic instruments to chemistry and physics lab, as well as oil and gas companies. I now work there as a research scientist where I use the skills learnt in my degree and PhD on a daily basis.


Sought-after by employers

People who major in physics have a driven curiosity about the world around them and how it works and this is an attribute highly valued by employers. The skills you will get during your study for a physics degree are in high demand: analytical ability, numeracy, computational skills and an ability to write organised, coherent reports.

As a physics graduates you can find employment in a wide range of occupations, not all of them directly using physics knowledge. One Massey University physics graduate is CEO of a major infrastructure company. Another runs a chemical company. Many have built excellent careers based on their computational skills. Others find their knowledge of modern electronics helpful.

In the world of physics, your Bachelor of Science qualification will enable you to seek employment at research technician level in the Crown and other Research Institutes, MetService, hospital laboratories and in industry. You could explore a career as an officer in New Zealand’s defence forces. There are Massey University physics graduates working in all of these areas.

As there is a continuing shortage of qualified physics teachers, secondary school teaching will always be open to you after graduating with your Bachelor of Science and adding a further year to achieve a Graduate Diploma in Teaching.

If you want to pursue a career as a professional physicist, you will have to undertake more study. Usually, this means a fourth year of formal course work to obtain a BSc(Hons) in physics followed by three to four years working on PhD research that culminates in the presentation of a thesis.

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