Massey University Zoology

Zoology is the animal science of the natural world. It examines animals on a variety of scales from biological knowledge at the molecular level to animals as components of systems; looks at both vertebrate and invertebrate and their impact on New Zealand plants and animals; and includes the study of animal behaviour.

At Massey our zoology research focuses on the structure, function, behaviour, development and classification of animals.

Research expertise

Biodiversity and biogeography

The nature of a community is best described by its diversity: i.e., the number and abundance of different species. Our research focuses on understanding and modelling biodiversity patterns at local, regional and global scales, particularly in relation to natural and anthropogenic disturbance.


Comparative and environmental physiology

We take a comparative approach to the study of physiological and morphological adaptations of animals to cope with challenges from the external environment.



We have expertise in how and why animals undertake regular, usually annual, long-distance movements. We investigate spatial distributions of individuals and populations and have ongoing studies into the genetics and plasticity of migration timing in response to climate change and habitat loss.


Soil zoology

Soil zoology focuses on insects and other animals that live in soil, their diversity, ecology, and contribution to ecosystem functioning.
We study plant/insect interactions, host/parasite/parasitoid interactions, reproductive/predatory strategies, and pest control.


Systematics and taxonomy in animals

This is the study of the diversification of living forms, and the relationships among living things through time. We also focus on the identification, description, and naming of organisms.


Research degrees


Bachelor of Science (Zoology)

Massey’s zoology graduates are in high demand throughout New Zealand. This is a unique degree in New Zealand.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Science parent structure.

What is it like?

Zoology is the animal science of the natural world. It examines animals on a variety of scales from biological knowledge at the molecular level to animals as components of systems. It also includes the study of animal behaviour.

The latest thinking

As one of the only universities in New Zealand to offer a specialised course in zoology, our programme is unique.

You’ll learn about land-based animals and environments. You will also develop a strong foundation including the latest thinking in genetic and physiological processes, animal development, anatomy and behaviour. You’ll explore freshwater and marine systems, and our wide range of speciality fields including conservation of biodiversity.

In high demand

From mapping animal migrations to driving conservational change in foreign countries, Massey’s zoology graduates are in high demand all over the world working in places like Samoa, South Africa, the Netherlands and United States. You’ll graduate ready to join them and take the best of your knowledge to the rest of the world.

World-leading lecturers

At Massey, our lecturers are passionate about what they do. They have examined bird migration pathways from New Zealand to Alaska and the USA. They have investigated species interactions in the alpine and unlocked knowledge about morphology through examining fossils and lineages in rocks. They bring this knowledge and love for what they do into their teaching to help you uncover what truly inspires you.

What will you study?

A zoology major offers you a wide range of specialisations in interest areas, as well as in mainstream zoology. The core zoology qualification looks at animals on a variety of scales.

You will gain skills in a broad range of related sciences including ecology, conservation diversity and evolution.

It is not just about land-based animals and environments – you will also explore freshwater and marine systems.

An exciting and practical subject

The most exciting advances in biological knowledge are probably at the molecular level, which we cover in the second year. Also at the level of animals as components of systems, which we cover in the third year.

A key speciality in your study will be the fascinating and practical field of conservation of biodiversity. This looks at both vertebrates (birds, predators) and invertebrates and at their impact on New Zealand indigenous plants and animals. Another interesting area is the study of animal behaviour. This speciality also has an applied side.

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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