Study Forensic Science in New Zealand

Introduction to studying a forensic science degree

Forensic Science is a research-based course that combines science and law to understand and analyse dead bodies and DNA. It requires a strong background in science, typically including biology, chemistry, and mathematics. Forensic Science courses in New Zealand are available at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, where you need to apply scientific principles and methods to investigate criminal activity. 

The coursework covers topics and subjects like digital evidence, forensic genetics, anthropology, and forensic psychology taught during the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. You can also opt for research programs to analyze a subject in detail. Careers in forensics are vast, as they enhance your skills and knowledge from many different fields. Some popular careers include private investigator, criminal lawyer, forensic science technician, and toxicologist.

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Types of Forensic Science Degrees in New Zealand

Here is the list of forensic science courses available in New Zealand, along with their coursework brief, entry requirements, and average fees. 

Bachelor’s in Forensic Science

A bachelor’s in forensic science is an undergraduate degree that allows you to explore science in real life, involving training and handling criminal casework in forensic biology and chemistry. During the program, you will gain an in-depth knowledge of forensic analysis methods and innovation techniques that will help you gain valuable experience. In the first year, you will take core courses like biology, molecular genetics, chemistry, and forensic investigation. In the third and fourth years, you will focus on your major and continue developing your skills in core areas. 

The degree is delivered using lectures and practical lab, with some fieldwork. After completing your bachelor’s in forensic science, you can pursue careers in different areas as a document examiner, laboratory technician, toxicologist, and forensic scientist. 

Master’s in Forensic Science

A postgraduate in forensic science will help you develop a sound understanding of behaviours and their effects. The course involves a broad range of topics and subjects, such as the evaluation of glass evidence and the development of new molecules to aid in visualising fingerprint residues. During the coursework, you will gain skills in forensic searching and chemical and biological analysis, which will be taught through lectures and lab experiments, followed by a thesis research project. 

After completing an MSc in forensic science, you can opt for a PhD or become a forensic scientist, customs officer, lecturer, or patent officer. 

PhD in Forensic Science

A PhD is a globally recognised research degree that helps you gain technical expertise in science, law, and forensic science. After three years, you will be allowed to work on independent research and submit your thesis for examination. As part of PhD study, you will take part in the doctorate skills, designed to help you succeed in your research and develop skills in the future. 

Fifteen-year-olds who complete forensic science courses in NZ can enter many career fields or pursue traditional academic research careers. The course provides extensive specialist and transferable skills, which are helpful in various industries. 


Many New Zealand universities and the New Zealand government offer scholarships to international students based on their academic performance or financial issues. These scholarships may cover total tuition fees or a specific amount.

Scholarship name

Offered by

Award value

UC International First-Year Undergraduate Scholarships

University of Canterbury

$10,000 - $20,000

University of Otago International Research Master’s Scholarship

University of Otago


Wellington International Excellence Scholarship

Victoria University of Wellington


Jobs and Careers

Forensic science graduates in New Zealand are highly employable in the specialist area of forensic science and investigation. Studying forensic science helps you gain skills in laboratory work, such as attention to detail, analytical skills, a systematic approach, patience, time management, critical thinking ability, and teamwork. Most forensic science graduates work as science, engineering, and social science professionals. 

Graduates might be employed as research or policy analysts, rehabilitation program facilitators, or probation officers. Some also work at the Department of Corrections, District Health Boards, New Zealand Police, and the Ministry of Social Development. Career paths in forensic science include border force officers, analytical chemist, forensic scientists, lecturers, and biomedical scientists. 


The pay scale of forensic science graduates in New Zealand can vary depending on their educational qualifications, skills, and experience. An entry-level forensic graduate with one to three years of experience can earn $97,161 annually. On the other hand, a senior-level forensic scientist with 8+ years of experience can make up to $119,899 annually. 

Top Universities for Forensic Science in New Zealand

To learn more about the best forensic science courses in New Zealand, find details on the top ranking forensic science universities in the EduRank Guide 2024 below:


University Name

Acceptance rate


University of Auckland



Massey University



University of Otago



Victoria University of Wellington



University of Waikato



University of Canterbury



Auckland University of Technology


Study Forensic Science in New Zealand

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

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Why should I consider studying forensic science in New Zealand?

Forensic science is gaining popularity, and graduates are highly employable in the specialist area of forensic investigation involving enquiring, scientific, and legal minds. In addition, 50% of the universities are in New Zealand, which makes it ideal for students to study forensic science. 

What is the cost of studying forensic science in New Zealand for international students?

The cost of studying forensic science varies for undergraduate and postgraduate students. A bachelor’s in forensic science course fee is around $39,000 annually. On the other hand, a master’s degree in forensic science is around $48,386 annually. 

What is the duration of forensic science programs in New Zealand?

A bachelor’s in forensic science lasts three years, and a master’s in forensic science lasts one year. Students opting for a Ph.D. must complete their graduation within three years. 

What are the career prospects for forensic science graduates in New Zealand?

The career paths in forensic science studies are vast. Graduates might be employed as research or policy analysts, rehabilitation program facilitators, or probation officers. Some graduates can also opt for research studies on a specific topic or subject. 

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