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Massey University
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Bachelor of Science (Microbiology)

This course is available


Level of Study

Bachelor's Degree


3 years

Next start date



Massey University is one of the only universities in New Zealand where you can study a full course in microbiology, and the breadth of our course is unique.

Microbiology is an essential science that helps us understand the microbes in the environment, including microbes that dwell in the soil, air and water, in our food and inside people, animals and plants. Microbiology can impact on many different areas, such as:

  • agriculture, where rumen microbes are both essential to dairy and good industries, but also responsible for much of New Zealand’s carbon emission;
  • bioprotection, where efforts to preserve native birds (kiwi) and plants (kauri trees) depend on expert control of microbial pathogens
  • microbes have applications as model systems to answer questions beyond the immediate range of microbiology, such as the causes of cancer or birth defects;
  • green and bio-based technologies, where microbes help preserve our environment by producing bio-based materials for use in diagnostics and vaccines or by harnessing solar energy for fuel production.


In the Massey Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) you will learn about microbiology hand-in-hand with other science areas such as veterinary, animal, and environmental science. This allows you to explore microbiological disciplines, including environment/ecology, medical, veterinary and food microbiology, and biotechnology.

Some of the topics taught in microbiology courses include:

  • bioinformatics and genomics
  • biotechnology
  • DNA technology
  • environmental microbiology
  • immunology
  • medical microbiology
  • developing diagnostic tests for infectious diseases (including SARS-CoV2)
  • microbial diversity
  • applied and industrial microbiology
  • food microbiology.


The growing demand for qualified microbiologists is highlighted by the number of microbiology positions advertised in the scientific journals Science and Nature. The need for microbiologists has been sharply increased by Covid-19 pandemics, where microbiologists play the key roles in developing diagnostic tests and vaccine. Microbiologists are on the Immediate Skill Shortage List as published by the New Zealand Immigration Office.

Areas graduates could work in include:

  • reducing global warming and the production of environmentally-friendly biodegradable materials
  • the production of high-value compounds such as antibiotics and vaccines
  • food production - such as beer, wine and cheese
  • developing affordable and rapid tests for SARS-CoV2 and other disease-causing microbes
  • preventing and treating diseases, forensics and cleaning up pollution
  • search for life on the bottom of the ocean and on other planets.

The importance of microbes in traditional New Zealand industries means that you will be in high demand by these industries and Crown Research Institutes in quality control and research and development.

Other traditional areas of employment include hospital laboratories, universities, Crown Research Institutes, meat and dairy processing or vaccine production companies, quality assurance and diagnostic laboratories (AsureQuality, Hills Laboratories, Eurofins, Gribbles, MedLab Central and others), or government (e.g. Border control, Ministry of Primary Industries, Environmental Protection Authority).

Further study: Upon successful completion of the Massey BSc (Microbiology) graduates, depending on their GPA, are eligible to enrol in BSc(Hons)(Microbiology), MSc (Microbiology), the Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology (Microbiology), or postgraduate degrees in other biological or health science areas.

Entry criteria

Students must have successful completion of a qualification equivalent to the New Zealand Year 13 - NCEA Level 3 University Entrance. International students need to check the equivalency of their secondary school qualification by reviewing the Academic Admission Requirements by Country.

Knowledge gained in the following NCEA subjects (or the equivalent in Cambridge International Examinations, International Baccalaureate, or similar) will give you the expected background knowledge to take this major: NCEA Level 3 Biology; NCEA Level 3 Chemistry.

Students from a country where English is not the first language, must obtain a minimum English Language competency level.

  • IELTS score of 6.0 (no band less than 5.5)
  • TOEFL iBT score of 80 overall (min 19 in Writing)
  • PTE Academic score of 50 Overall (min 42 in communicative skills)
  • Cambridge English score of 169 overall and all bands 162 or better

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