New Zealand has eight universities
which all offer general undergraduate and graduate degrees and
diplomas in arts, sciences and commerce, as well as specialist
degrees in particular disciplines. There is also numerous
Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Private Training
Establishments offering a wide range of academic and professional
Undergraduate degrees such as BA (Bachelor of Arts) or a
BSc (Bachelor of Science) take 3 to 4 years to complete while
vocational or professional training may take longer.
Each university publishes an annual Calendar detailing the
courses scheduled during the academic year and these are usually
held in the reference section of most public libraries and can
also be purchased from leading booksellers and university
bookshops, and also specify fees and entry requirements. Term
dates vary between universities.
All university students must be able to speak English and some
universities have a set level of competency.
The entry requirements for university are either an A or B
Bursary or Higher School Certificate with at least three C
passes. It is also possible to gain entrance to university by
getting a total of less than 12 in your top four Sixth Form
Certificate subjects. These requirements are waived once you are
over 21 years of age. Admittance to some courses is keenly
competitive and in these cases, only those students with strong
academic records are enrolled.
The University of Auckland:
Architecture, Planning, Engineering, Medicine, Optometry, Fine
Auckland University of Technology:
Health Studies, Tourism, Engineering, Communications, Hotel
The University of Waikato:
Law, Maori Studies
(Palmerston North, Wellington & Auckland)
Agriculture & Horticulture, Aviation Studies, Business
Studies, Design, Food Technology, Social Sciences, Veterinary
Science - Massey University is the only New Zealand
university that offers extramural courses (distance learning) in
a wide range of subjects.
Architecture, Design, Public Administration, Social Work, Law
The University of Canterbury:
Engineering, Forestry, Fine Arts, Journalism
Agriculture & Horticulture, Natural Resource Management
The University of Otago:
Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Physical Education, Pharmacy,
New Zealand has 22 polytechnics offering a wide range of
academic, vocational and professional courses as well as three
and four year degrees, polytechnics also offer short full-time
and part-time courses. These courses are scheduled throughout the
Each polytechnic publishes an annual Prospectus detailing the
courses scheduled during the academic year. Fees and entry
requirements are also included in the Prospectus.
To study at a Polytechnic you will require Sixth Form Certificate
in subjects relevant to the course studies.
Colleges of Education/Teacher Training Colleges
New Zealand has 4 Colleges of Education - often
referred to as Teacher Training Colleges and these are located in
Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Waikato and
Massey Universities offer teacher training as well.
Teacher education courses, but not comprehensive teacher training
programmes, are also run by a number of polytechnics and private
To study at a College of Education you will require Sixth Form
Certificate in subjects relevant to the course studies.
Private Training Establishments
These are several thousand Private Training
Establishments in New Zealand offering a wide range of courses,
although most tend to specialize in particular subjects.
Over 800 are registered with the New Zealand Qualifications
Authority (NZQA) and a small number offer degrees. About a
quarter are Maori owned and operated.
Students who have not been educated in the New Zealand
school system may still undertake NZ tertiary studies.
Each university, polytechnic and College of Education has its own
entry requirements for students educated overseas.
English Language Requirements
Most tertiary institutions require evidence of
competency in both spoken and written English. At least either
IELTS level 6.0 or 6.5 or TOEFL 550, with a minimum score of 4.0
or 5.0 on the written test, is required. These tests are
internationally recognized and both can be taken in New Zealand.
Tertiary institutions generally begin their academic
year in February and closing dates for applications vary.
For courses starting in February, it is advisable to apply by
September of the previous year, this is particularly so with the
more popular courses. Half-year courses run by polytechnics
generally begin in July and, as in the case of universities,
early enrolment is advisable for popular courses. Application
forms are available directly from each individual institution. An
application fee of up to NZ $150.00 applies in some cases and
certified translations should be provided for all educational
certificates in any language other than English.
Student allowances are available for New Zealand
students aged 18 years and over who are studying in recognized
full-time tertiary courses. Students who hold permanent resident
status must have held it for at least 2 years before they can
access the Student Allowances Scheme. The allowance is means
tested, and how much you receive depends on your individual
circumstances. Considerations include your age, whether or not
you are married and have dependent children, other sources of
income, such as wages earned by your spouse and for students aged
less than 25 years, parental income is also taken into account.
Fees & Student Loans
The Government funds state tertiary institutions and
meet most of the costs of providing tuition, currently, students
contribute about 25% of the cost of a course. Costs vary
depending on the type and level of courses taken. For example,
the first year of full-time study for an Arts degree may cost
about NZ $3000.00, while fees for the final years training
as a doctor or dentist can be as much as NZ $10,000.
Student loans are available to meet these costs and all students;
even those receiving student allowances can apply for a
government funded student loan. While students are studying
full-time, the loans are interest free and when students have
completed their studies, repayments are made through the Inland
Revenue Department. These are income-related. Repayment rates are
currently 10% of everything earned over NZ $15,496 in any one
year, or NZ $298 per week before tax.
Currently students can borrow the following under the loan
(This provision applies only to
- The full cost of course fees
- Up to NZ $1,000 a year for
course related expenses
- Up to NZ $150 a week for
living expenses for the length of the course, less any
Students enrolled at most public tertiary institutions
become members of student associations. Fees range from NZ $50 to
$200 a year. Student associations provide a range of services and
facilities that differ between institutions and they also
represent students interests on the institutions
Other Student Support Systems
The range of other support systems available to tertiary
students and trainees include:
- Course and career advice in
schools and other education institutions
- Scholarships funded from
public and private sources
- Counseling and other student
services (such as accommodation and recreation)
- Courses that allow
disadvantaged students to meet entry requirements.
Massey University and The Open Polytechnic of New
Zealand (TOPNZ) offer certificate, diploma and degree courses by
English for Speakers of Other Languages
Adult education courses offer a varied range, from
courses for beginners to advanced courses in Business English,
and are available at most polytechnics and universities. The
Correspondence School also offers a range of ESOL courses.
Most secondary schools offer ESOL tuition for non-English
speaking students. As with tertiary courses, assistance is also
available through the Correspondence School and a wide range of
private English Language Schools.
A national network of volunteer home tutors also offers free
elementary ESOL tuition for new migrants. The volunteer tutors
visit homes and provide adults unable to attend formal language
classes with individual tuition.