University education was established in New Zealand in 1870 and has a similar tradition to the British university system. New Zealand has eight universities, 18 polytechnics and institutes of technology, around 600 private training institutions and 20 industry-training organizations.The higher education system in New Zealand follows current trends and is up-to-date with global standards. In fact, academics and teachers from many different countries choose to study and work in New Zealand to take advantage of the country’s new way of thinking. This is also the reason why large numbers of students from all over the world come to New Zealand.

All New Zealand universities are featured in the 2013/14 QS World Top 500 University Rankings. New Zealand ranked in the World’s top 50 in 18 subjects including Accounting and Finance, Engineering – Civil and Structural, Education, Law and Psychology. Two thirds of New Zealand universities are featured in the 2012/13 Shanghai Jiao Tong top 500. The prestigious Legatum Institute in London has rated New Zealand No.1 in the world for education.

General application requirements

Complete and return the university application forms. While this can often be done online, you’ll still need to post or courier some documents, such as:

  • certified copies of academic certificates and transcripts;
  • proof that you can meet the institution’s English language requirements;
  • a recent résumé or curriculum vitae.

Once you’ve been accepted, the institution will send you an ‘offer of place’ that confirms your course details and the start dates. You’ll also receive an invoice, as you need to pay your tuition fees before you can apply for a visa.

Admission requirements vary depending on the chosen higher education institution. For detailed information, you need to check with the tertiary education provider you’re considering.

Higher Education system

Universities offer a broad range of subjects in Arts, Commerce and Science. Each has developed its own specialist subjects such as Medicine, Engineering, Veterinary Science. Computer Studies, Agriculture and Environmental Studies, Sports-Science, Biotechnology, Architecture etc.

Each university is a public institution, independently governed by its own council and partly funded by the government. New Zealand’s universities are committed to maintaining well established international links and to meeting international standards of scholarship.

Polytechnics provide education and training at all levels. A few of them offer Postgraduate programmes as well. Polytechnics offer diverse courses like Arts and Design, Travel & Tourism, Hospitality, etc.

Private institutions Degree Providers provide a quality service to their students and a range of skills of value in the work environment.

Private Training Providers (PTEs) a range of courses including English language studies, aviation flight training, air traffic control, business computing, dance, design and arts, religious studies, travel and tourism and training for the hospitality industry.

Programme focus and teaching

You can study for either academic or more practically focused qualifications, gaining everything from entry-level certificates to diplomas, degrees and doctorates.

In New Zealand, higher education focuses on the individual. Challenges to traditional ideas are encouraged, and a climate of healthy, open debate helps students make their own discoveries.

Teaching standards are high. Small class sizes allow for high levels of personal attention. Even at first-year level, courses are delivered by respected teaching and research staff. Most university staff combine research and teaching. All programmes mix in-term assessment with end-of-year exams.

Language of education

English is the day-to-day language in New Zealand. Foreign students find it very easy to study, live and interact in the country. In addition, the local accent is easy to understand.

English exam preparation courses in New Zealand

Meet language requirements for university admission in New Zealand by choosing an English language preparation course offered by English language schools worldwide, including the UK. By taking the right English exam training course you will advance your language skills in order to get the needed scores for IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, or other English exams.

Preparation courses in New Zealand

Some international students may not be able to attend a degree in New Zealand because their previous studies do not match the academic system of the country. To be allowed to take an undergraduate or graduate degree in New Zealand, they will need to enrol in a one-year pre-Bachelor or pre-Master offered by a local university.

Popular foundation degree studies in New Zealand include pre-law degrees, pre-MBA courses, pre-medicine, pre-nursing studies, or other types of international foundation programmes in engineering, economics, finance, social science, science and other types of university pathway programmes. Preparation courses in New Zealand include academic English language training to help international students meet university language requirements for future undergraduate or graduate studies.

Foundation degrees in early years in New Zealand are perfect for increasing your chances of getting accepted to a New Zealand university. Pre-university business schools, law schools or med schools make sure international students develop the skills they need to succeed in the New Zealand academic system. Pre-university education also includes cultural integration classes that help students feel more at home. Some pre-university programmes guarantee enrolment to the institution if students complete the preparation with high grades.

Student visa

If you are enrolling in a programme of study for the first time, you need to have an offer of place from a New Zealand education provider. An offer must include the education provider’s name and contact details, the name of the study programme, proof that the programme meets New Zealand’s requirements for international students, delivery mode, tuition fee amount, etc.

Tertiary education providers can offer a programme of study to international students if they meet certain conditions. Private training establishments (PTEs) can only offer approved programmes of study that are longer than three months and registered with the NZQA.

Required documents include:
  • High-school graduation certificates
  • Confirmation of enrolment in a higher education institution in New Zealand
  • Health Certificate or other proof of health
  • Medical insurance
  • Evidence of funds to support yourself
  • Proof that you plan to leave the country after your studies
  • Passport