Studying Chemistry in New Zealand

Introduction to studying a chemistry degree at a New Zealand university

Chemistry is the scientific study of matter, its properties, and how it interacts with other matter and energy. It is a physical science that explores matter's composition, structure, properties, and reactions. Chemists use their knowledge to design and create new materials, understand chemical processes, and develop new drugs. 

A chemistry degree opens doors to diverse career paths, from research and development to quality control, and offers a solid foundation for a versatile and impactful career. As an international student, a chemistry degree in New Zealand provides a unique blend of academic excellence and a vibrant cultural experience. New Zealand consistently ranks high in global education standards, with universities such as the University of Auckland and the University of Otago renowned for their chemistry research.

New Zealand invested NZD 4.3 billion in tertiary education in 2019, emphasizing its commitment to quality education. Over 20% of the student population are international students, who benefit from a diverse and inclusive learning community.

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Types of Chemistry Degrees 

New Zealand universities offer various chemistry degrees at different levels, and students can also choose their degrees according to their interests and goals.

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (BSc)

A BSc in Chemistry is an undergraduate program that provides students with a basic foundation of chemical properties, structures, and composition. Students will gain essential knowledge and skills through theoretical knowledge and practical laboratory experience. The degree prepares graduates for entry-level positions in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, environmental science, and materials engineering. It also serves as a stepping stone for advanced studies in chemistry or related fields.

Chemistry is a broad field of study, with students keenly interested in laboratory work, conducting experiments, analyzing data, and making scientific observations, which can be a motivating factor for pursuing a chemistry degree.

Master of Science in Chemistry (MSc)

An MSc in Chemistry allows students to specialize in specific analytical, organic, or biochemistry branches. Advanced coursework and research projects deepen their understanding and expertise in their chosen field. The degree enhances critical thinking, problem-solving, and research skills, preparing graduates for academia, research institutions, or leadership positions in industries requiring specialized chemical knowledge.

PhD in Chemistry 

A PhD in Chemistry is the highest level of academic achievement, involving original research that contributes to the field. Doctoral candidates develop advanced research skills, critical thinking abilities, and a deep understanding of their area of specialization. The degree is ideal for those aspiring to become leading researchers, professors, or experts in their chosen field, opening doors to high-level positions in academia, research, and industry.


Several scholarships are available in New Zealand for international chemistry students. Here are some scholarships for international students:

Scholarship Name Eligible For  Awarded value
New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships (NZIDRS) PhD level studies Provides total tuition fees, a living stipend, travel allowance, and health insurance
New Zealand Excellence Awards (NZEA) Undergraduate and postgraduate studies Partial tuition fee scholarships for high-achieving international students
New Zealand Development Scholarships (NZDS) Postgraduate studies Total tuition fees, living allowance, travel, and establishment allowance for students
Fisheries New Zealand Scholarships 2024 Bachelors, Masters up to NZD 20,000 per year
The Friends Of The Turnbull Library Research Grant The Friends Of The Turnbull Library Research Grant Up to NZ$10,000

Jobs and Careers

A chemistry degree opens doors to rewarding careers encompassing various industries and research fields. A strong foundation in scientific principles makes students valuable contributors to sectors such as pharmaceuticals, environmental science, materials engineering, and healthcare. They can choose paths in research and development, quality control, teaching, or environmental monitoring, and their expertise is increasingly sought in emerging fields such as green chemistry and nanotechnology. Students also have additional options, such as starting ventures focused on sustainable practices. They can begin their consultancy to provide expertise to businesses on chemical processes.

A chemistry degree offers a broad spectrum of career options and provides a foundation for adaptability in a rapidly evolving scientific landscape. 


Salaries for students with a chemistry degree depend on factors such as education level, experience, industry, and geographical location. Entry-level positions, such as laboratory technicians or research assistants, start with a modest salary, ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 per year. As professionals gain experience and expertise, they can progress into higher-paying roles. Mid-level positions in industries like pharmaceuticals, chemical manufacturing, or environmental consulting may offer salaries of $60,000 to $90,000 or more.

Senior roles, including research directors or senior scientists, often come with wages exceeding $100,000; those in leadership or managerial positions can command even higher incomes. A chemistry degree provides a solid foundation for lucrative career paths, particularly as professionals advance and specialize within their chosen industries.

Top Universities for Chemistry Degrees in New Zealand

To learn more about the best chemistry courses in New Zealand, find details on the top ranking Chemistry universities in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024 below:

  1. The University of Auckland
  2. University of Canterbury
  3. Massey University
  4. University of Otago
  5. Victoria University of Wellington

Study Chemistry in New Zealand

If you want to learn more about studying for a chemistry degree at a New Zealand university, arrange a free consultation with SI-New Zealand today.

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What is the typical duration of a chemistry course in New Zealand?

The duration of a chemistry course in New Zealand varies. A Bachelor's degree takes around 3 to 4 years, a Master's degree spans 1 to 2 years, and a PhD may take 3 to 4 years.

How do I apply for chemistry courses in New Zealand as an international student?

Apply for chemistry courses in New Zealand by selecting a university, checking admission requirements, submitting required documents, and completing the online application through the university's website.

What types of chemistry courses are available in New Zealand?

New Zealand offers a range of chemistry courses, including Bachelor of Science (BSc), Master of Science (MSc) with specializations, and Ph.D. programs. Postgraduate diplomas and certificates are also available for focused studies.

What are the career prospects for chemistry graduates in New Zealand?

Chemistry graduates in New Zealand have diverse career prospects. They can pursue roles in research, industry, education, and healthcare. Opportunities exist in pharmaceuticals, environmental science, materials engineering, and more, reflecting the country's dynamic job market.

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