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Bachelor of Science (Ecology)

Key facts

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

Open up the world

In the Bachelor of Science (Ecology) at Massey you’ll learn how to make sense of the natural world, how plants, animals and microbes interact with each other and their environment, how complex ecological systems function and how we can repair them when damaged.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Science parent structure.

What is it like?

From molecules to forests ecology is a broad discipline that teaches you how to make sense of the interactions between organisms and their environment.

We now have a great deal of information about the natural world available to us; the problem is how to make sense of that information. Ecology attempts to do this.

The Bachelor of Science (Ecology) at Massey offers some of the best courses on ecology in New Zealand - making it the number one choice if you want a broad knowledge in the discipline.

World-leading academics

Our ecology staff are world-leading and their cutting edge research feature heavily in the teaching - so you can expect to learn about the latest research findings in lectures.

Hands-on experience

Practical labs and fieldtrips are an important part of all the ecology courses. You might learn how to identify fish and invertebrates for monitoring water quality, how to build a computer model to predict the recovery of an endangered species or set a sustainable quota for a fishery, or how to survey biodiversity in a forest or the ocean.

During your studies you could work as a volunteer for the Department of Conservation recording native bird populations and helping with recovery programmes, gain a summer internship with one of New Zealand’s crown research institutes or work alongside a Massey researcher. This experience will put you a step ahead when finding a job. It will also give you a taste for what your future job may be like.


Our ecology programme is the longest running programme of its kind in New Zealand. It has been running for over 20 years, supported by years of experience but continually developed to remain relevant in today’s environment.


Some of the courses taught in the ecology major include:

  • Flora and fauna of New Zealand
  • Ecology and conservation
  • Biological evolution
  • Limnology
  • Applied ecology
  • Resource management
  • Plant ecology
  • Community and ecosystem ecology
  • Biodiversity
  • Entomology
  • Behavioural ecology

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:

  • Enjoy sciences, especially biology
  • Would like to work outdoors with animals or plants
  • Enjoy analysing data and solving problems
Katherine Morris
Bachelor of Science (Ecology)

“In my role as a Biodiversity Ranger for DOC I work mostly with kiwi. It’s pretty neat!…”

As a conservation worker, I wanted to gain a qualification in the field to back up my knowledge and develop a strong holistic grounding in how ecosystems work.

In my role as a Biodiversity Ranger for DOC I work mostly with kiwi. It’s pretty neat! Part of my job involves monitoring predators out in the bush, trapping and controlling them and doing small mammal indexing. The other part of my role includes management and husbandry of kiwi chicks. It’s a messy job cleaning up after them, but it’s well worth it. I monitor their weight, their faeces, their blood and how they’re eating. Once the chicks have been artificially hatched at the West Coast Wildlife Centre, they come to us where we look after them so they get used to the weather and outdoors. From there they go to a crèche island, which we monitor to keep it predator free. The kiwis then go back out into the bush where the hope is that they will increase the wild population.

My work contributes to the BNZ Operation Nest Egg project. The project is all about increasing the survival of young kiwi so they can reach breeding age. The work we do increases these chances from 5% to at least 65%. It’s incredibly rewarding work.

What I have learnt through my studies has complemented what I’ve learnt out in the field. It has given me a strong grounding, especially for when I want to conduct research. Ecology has taught me about how everything in the environment works together and given me great tools to use when monitoring different species.


Many of our graduates work with the Department of Conservation or the Ministry for the Environment. There are great opportunities for graduates in ecology to work with managed ecosystems. The interactions between scientists interested in managed and natural ecosystems is a particular focus at Massey University.

Many of our graduates go on to positions with central and local government or their agencies (such as regional and district councils), Crown Research Institutes, environmental or conservation organisations, school teaching, or technical and advisory work.

A postgraduate qualification in ecology will allow you to approach many environmental research and management issues from a strong theoretical and practical base. You might work:

  • With an interdisciplinary team in a private environmental consulting firm
  • In a government laboratory
  • Working with a regional council monitoring water quality
  • With a Fish and Game Council concerned with the impacts of water quality on trout

Other possible career areas include forestry, fisheries, eco-tourism and education.

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