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Massey’s Master of Science (Plant Biology) will give you the knowledge and skills to understand and help solve some of the world’s most important current issues, such as the effects of climate change on our native species and crop plants, how to preserve native biodiversity, and understanding fundamental physiological aspects of plants.

You will build upon your undergraduate degree and conduct original, independent research under the guidance of a leading plant science academic.

Expertise in an area of your choice

The plant biology team at Massey have expertise in plant molecular biology, evolutionary biology, systematics and taxonomy, and plant physiology. During the course of your studies you can choose to further your knowledge and apply your learning on an exciting research project such as:

  • Evolution of plant genomes
  • Molecular development of plants
  • Population genetics and conservation genetics of native plants

Take advantage of our globally-renowned expertise

Let our experts help you develop your own expertise. You will learn from, and research with, highly-skilled internationally-recognised and active researchers in plant biology and related areas, with a huge depth of knowledge and experience. Postgraduate study and research in plant biology at Massey spans evolutionary biology to physiology. You will have the opportunity to learn about the fundamental aspects of plant growth and function, as well as the molecular evolution and classification (systematics) of plants. You might choose to conduct research focused on the native New Zealand flora or a model organism, like Arabidopsis thaliana, or even a crop species.

You will also be able to take advantage of Massey’s expertise across the sciences. We have a wide and relevant group of expertise within the university, from fundamental sciences like microbiology and biochemistry, to agriculture, engineering, horticulture and environmental management.

This means no matter what your research interest you will have access to a broad range of experts to assist you develop your own research.

Use world-leading equipment and facilities

As a plant biology student you will have access to our world-leading equipment and facilities such as the Dame Ella Campbell Herbarium, the Palynology Laboratory, Plant Growth Unit, Seed Testing Services, Massey Genome Service and the Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre.

Relevant and topical

We work to ensure that our teaching fits with the changing environment, which means that you will emerge with a relevant qualification valued by potential employers.

Making industry connections for you

Massey has strong connections with the Crown Research Institutes in Palmerston North and across New Zealand, especially AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant and Food Research, and Scion. Some of our students are able to conduct their projects at these organisations whilst undertaking their postgraduate study, benefiting their career and gaining real-word experience in the process.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Science will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. 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. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning and undertaking research.

Complete in 2 years

Massey University’s Master of Science is primarily a 240 credit master qualification. This is made up of 120 credits of taught courses and a 120 credit research project.

Or if you have already completed the BSc (Hons) or PGDipSc you can conduct a 120 credit thesis to achieve your MSc qualification.


There is a steady demand for plant biologists. As a plant biology graduate, you will have a wide range of career opportunities, including both pure and applied research. Students often find employment at research institutes such as Plant & Food Research, AgResearch, Scion, and Landcare Research. Other graduates have found employment with the Department of Conservation and regional authorities.

You may also find employment in primary and secondary teaching, technical work, business, and in the media. Other possible careers include science management, administration, and science policy.

Earn more

A Ministry of Education report found that:

  • Earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • Five years after leaving study, most young domestic graduates will be earning above the national median earnings
  • Young masters graduates earn 86 per cent more than the national median
  • Good careers are associated with better health, better wellbeing and more satisfying lives

Visit the Plant Biology (MSc) page on the Massey University website for more details!




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