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Master of Veterinary Science

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū
  • Not all listed subject course options are on offer every year
  • A one or two year degree which may be available part-time or full-time.
  • Available for international students studying in NZ

Bringing the world’s expertise to you

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

What is it like?

Find out more about entry requirements, fees and courses in the planning section.

Massey's Master of Veterinary Science is an internationally recognised veterinary degree, most suitable for those who would like to undertake in-depth research in a particular area of interest.

Massey University’s Master of Veterinary Science brings the world's veterinary expertise to you. You will learn in a supportive and enthusiastic environment supported by internationally-recognised experts in their field.

Developing research skills

The classroom experience is interactive and there is significant opportunity for research.

You are able to use your study towards a Master of Veterinary Science to either delve into an area of veterinary science you are passionate about, or to hone your research skills to help you ascertain if you wish to progress into a research-based career.


Massey University’s veterinary programme is ranked in the top 50 universities worldwide by both the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking and ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

Wide range of facilities

This course is run on our Manawatū campus in Palmerston North. Host to the only veterinary school in New Zealand, Massey University’s well-equipped facilities include an equine hospital, 24-hour pet hospital and sheep, beef, dairy and deer farms, all located near campus. The Wildbase wildlife hospital is the only dedicated wildlife hospital in New Zealand and underwent a $1.44 million expansion in 2016.

You will have access to our other world-leading science facilities such as modern laboratories for virology and bacteriology, molecular and immunohistochemical work.

Internationally recognised and supportive environment

Our courses are led by internationally recognised lecturers and have a reputation for their use of real-life case studies and high staff to student ratios.

Massey’s veterinary and animal science staff are integrated and cooperative. There is also a wide range of expertise across the sciences at the university, such as agricultural science, fundamental sciences and engineering. This will give you access to a wide range of expertise, equipment and facilities on one small campus to assist your research.

An in-depth look at veterinary science

The Master of Veterinary Science is a 120 or 240 credit degree which may be available part-time or full-time.

This is a research qualification, where you will undertake an intensive investigation of an area of your choice. 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.

The 240 credit programme offers a wide range of taught programmes. These include pathology, epidemiology, conservation medicine, parasitology, surgery, medicine, livestock production, ruminant livestock feeding, physiology, animal welfare science and many other subjects.

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.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Veterinary Science will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles.
Our experts are there to guide but if you have come from undergraduate study, you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study.


A good fit if you:

  • Would like to develop high-level 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
Vassem Mirza
Master of Veterinary Science – Wildlife health and conservation
Wildlife veterinarian

“I’ve always been passionate about wildlife health and found Massey to be the perfect place to learn and grow…”

Massey University gave me immense freedom in terms of choosing papers for my study. The courses were tailored-made and offered exactly what I wanted to learn.

My experience at Massey was like no other. The university offered me a perfect balance of theory classes and practicals. The curriculum not only involved work within the university, but also required me to intern/volunteer at other institutes, which greatly expanded my skills and learning. These were the most enriching aspects of my study.

Some of my most memorable experiences were interning at Wellington Zoo and at the Wingspan Bird of Prey Research Centre, where I got to experience the life of a zoo veterinarian for a few days. I also spent almost a week tracking New Zealand falcons in the Kaingarao Forest during which I saw a falcon hunt and feed on a finch through my binoculars, while sitting on my haunches in the rain. These experiences are unparalleled and will never come to me again.

I’m currently working as a wildlife veterinarian in India. I’m in charge of managing the health of captive wild animals and can proudly say that I’ve been able to incorporate my lessons learnt during my study at Massey into my work as a zoo vet.


Massey’s Master of Veterinary Science is designed for people with a specific career focus in a veterinary speciality or who want to go onto further veterinary research, such as a PhD. People undertaking the degree programme may also be preparing 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.

World-leading lecturers and supervisors

Massey’s veterinary staff are internationally renowned for their research and teaching and learning methods. You will be working with recognised specialists, for example:

Professor Brett Gartrell

Professor Gartrell’s research primarily supports the conservation of New Zealand’s biodiversity, with an emphasis on wildlife health and ecotoxicology. He is the Clinical Director of Massey University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Dr Gartrell has authored over 70 peer reviewed scientific courses, eight book chapters in international scientific texts and over 100 conference abstracts/presentations. He has supervised nine PhD students and 22 master’s students. In 2010, Brett was awarded the Barry Munday Recognition Award from the Wildlife Disease Association (Australasian Section) in recognition of significant contribution to wildlife health in the preceding five years.

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