Bachelor of Science (Animal Science)

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A unique degree

Massey University is the only place in New Zealand where you can complete a full degree in animal science. Majoring in animal science will give you the scientific skills to build a sustainable, healthy future for New Zealand in the animal-based industries.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Science parent structure

What is it like?

A major in animal science from Massey University gives you the knowledge and skills to build a sustainable, healthy future for New Zealand.

What is animal science?

Animal science is not focused solely on livestock production. It also includes companion and recreational animals, and considers the health, welfare, and nutrition of all of these animal species. Challenges include:

  • Health, wellbeing and welfare of production and companion animals
  • Development and assessment of prophylactic treatments for animals
  • New biotechnologies for reproduction and breeding
  • Testing and evaluation of feeds for animal health and performance

Join a world-leading agriculture university

Massey is world-ranked and New Zealand’s No 1 university in agriculture according to the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings. We are also ranked in the top 150 universities worldwide for agriculture by the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

Our proud record dates back to 1927 when we offered New Zealand’s first degrees in agriculture and horticulture. As a student, you will benefit from our internationally-recognised capability and leadership in this area


At Massey you will not just be studying animal science, you will be part of a world-leading animal and agricultural science hub.

Massey’s Manawatu campus is surrounded by working farms and state-of-the-art animal science research facilities. As a student you will be able to access our extensive research and working facilities as part of your study. These include:

  • Dairy, sheep and beef farms
  • New Zealand’s only veterinary science teaching facilities including the:
    • 24-hour pet hospital
    • Wildbase hospital which treats native New Zealand animals
    • Equine hospital
    • Dedicated companion animal nutrition centres
    • First opinion and referral production animal veterinary practice

We have The International Sheep Research Centre which is a world-leader in sheep husbandry and related areas.

Massey also has strong relationships with the industry - your potential employers - working with them to ensure our curriculum is up-to-date and relevant.

Study topics

Some of the topics taught in animal science courses include:

  • Animal health, behaviour and welfare
  • Animal metabolism
  • Animal nutrition
  • Animal production: dairy, sheep, beef cattle, deer, intensive livestock
  • Animal reproduction and lactation
  • Companion animal science
  • Genetics for livestock improvement
  • Metabolic biochemistry

Award-winning labs

Massey’s Manawatu campus hosts the only multi-function teaching laboratories in Australasia.

The labs were built in 2010 and won a Best Practice Award for Innovation at the Association for Tertiary Education Management conference in Australia and was shortlisted for the international UKS-Lab awards.

The facility is unique in Australasia in that it allows each laboratory to be tailored to accommodate a variety of disciplines. Technicians can do preparation in the dedicated technical area before moving this into the lab, which means students can spend more time doing lab practical work.

Earn more

A Ministry of Education report, undertaken over nine years, showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study. Earnings can be substantially more than other graduates.

Develop the skills employers seek

As well as specific animal science theoretical and practical skills, you will emerge from your BSc with a solid understanding of learning techniques, excellent written and verbal communication, critical evaluation and problem-solving skills. These are all skills that employers seek.

A good fit if you:

  • Would like to work with animals
  • Enjoy sciences
  • Would like to have a significant practical element in your study
  • Would like a career with variety
Anna Taylor
Bachelor of Science (Animal Science)
Research Assistant - AgResearch

“The great thing about the animal science major is that you are able to study areas of individual interest while still establishing a great foundation to allow choice of various career paths…”

Completing the animal science major within the BSc degree at Massey University was not only enjoyable, but gave me a wide knowledge base of animal physiology, nutrition, reproduction, behaviour and production.

The animal science major opened the door for my employment at AgResearch as a research technician where I initially worked in nutrition and ruminant greenhouse gas research and currently work in the Farm Systems team.

The great thing about the animal science major is that you are able to study areas of individual interest while still establishing a great foundation to allow choice of various career paths.


You will receive the knowledge and skills to choose from a growing range of exciting careers in a field that provides New Zealand with much of its economic wealth.

Animals have been inextricably linked with humanity throughout the centuries. We rely on animals for companionship, sport and recreation, draught power, fuel and fertiliser, food, clothing and by-products to aid in human health and wellbeing.

Animal scientists have been involved in diverse activities such as:

  • Investigating the nutritive value of foods using animals as models for humans
  • Identifying and testing alternative forages for production animal performance
  • Investigating the interaction between the environment and animal genetics (epigenetics) and
  • Formulating improved diets for production animals, cats, dogs and horses

Animal scientists are also increasingly researching animal welfare issues and alternative production methods, such as once-a-day milking and restricted periods on pasture.

There is increasing demand for managers of large production operations and technical positions in areas such as nutrition, animal breeding, and animal health in commercial companies.

Opportunities exist in areas such as:

  • Primary production
  • Consultancy
  • Livestock trading and exporting companies
  • Producer boards
  • Feed companies
  • Development and marketing of animal health and performance-enhancing products
  • International agriculture
  • Research and teaching in secondary and tertiary institutions (after further study)

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