Education

Studying in New Zealand at a University or Tertiary Institution is a great way to migrate to New Zealand and obtain an internationally recognised qualification. Depending on the course of study, you can also work while you are studying, and potentially be granted a Post study work visa at conclusion of your studies so you can then actively seek full time employment in New Zealand.

NZ Education System

The focus of the NZ education system is on teaching students to solve problems, absorb, analyse and apply information, to work with others to create, and to innovate.

The education system in New Zealand is a three-tier model which includes primary and intermediate schools, followed by secondary schools (high schools) and tertiary education at universities, polytechnics Private Institutions.

Secondary School & NCEA

NCEA is New Zealand’s national school-leaver qualification. NCEA (the National Certificate of Educational Achievement) is the main secondary school qualification in New Zealand.

NCEA is actually three certificates: it can be awarded at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Students usually begin studying for their NCEA Level 1 in Year 11 and continue through Years 12 and 13 (from ages 15 through to 18).

NCEA is well-recognised overseas. It is well-regarded by employers and used for selection by universities, both in New Zealand and in other countries.

Year 13 – NCEA (Level 3) = Malaysia STPM
Year 12 – NCEA (Level 2)
Year 11 – NCEA (Level 1) = Malaysia SPM

Tertiary Education

New Zealand qualifications are classified using levels and range from Level-1 to 10.
For example:

Diplomas – Levels 5 to 6: A diploma normally requires two years of full-time study, but some diplomas can be completed in one year.

Bachelor’s Degree – Level 7: A Bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate degree that normally requires at least three years of full-time study and are offered by various Universities and Polytechnics.

Graduate Certificates and Diplomas – Level 7: Graduate certificates or diplomas are open to people with a Bachelor’s degree (and sometimes people with equivalent study or work experience) to do further study at an undergraduate level. Certificates usually take one semester of full-time study to complete, while diplomas take a full year. Universities, Polytechnics and some Private training institutes offer such courses.

Post-Graduate Diplomas – Level 8: Post graduate diplomas are open to those with relevant Bachelor’s degree in that particular study area and are usually for 1 year tenure. Universities, Polytechnics and some Private training institutes offer such courses.

Master’s Degree – Level 9: Master’s degree is an advanced degree taken by someone who already holds a Bachelor’s degree or in some cases have extensive experience in the relevant field. It usually involves writing a research based piece of writing.

Doctorate – Level 10: A doctorate, also called a PhD and is highest university degree. It usually involves extensive research resulting in a thesis. Most Phd(s) require three year of full time study by someone who already holds a Master degree and or in some cases have extensive experience in the relevant field. Doctorates can be studied in Universities

NZ Tertiary Education Providers

New Zealand has eight state-funded universities, 16 institutes of technology & polytechnics (ITPs) and about 550 private training establishments (PTEs), which include English language schools.

Universities in New Zealand

Universities Established
University of Auckland 1883
Auckland University of Technology 2000
Lincoln University 1878
Massey University 1927
University of Canterbury 1873
University of Otago 1869
University of Waikato 1964
Victoria University of Wellington 1897

Institutes of technology and polytechnics

Ara Institute of Canterbury (ARA)

Eastern Institute of Technology (Te Aho a Māui) (EIT)

Manukau Institute of Technology

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)

Northland Polytechnic (NorthTec)

Otago Polytechnic

Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)

Tai Poutini Polytechnic

The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Unitec New Zealand

Universal College of Learning (UCOL)

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Whitireia Community Polytechnic

Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec)

Wellington Institute of Technology (Weltec)

Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT)

NZ Education Journey

Notes

The route for progression from a Bachelor Degree to an honours degree or masters degree, and from an honours degree or masters degree to a PhD will depend on a student’s bachelor degree and grade.

A postgraduate Diploma may be used either to gain entry to a masters degree or credited towards a masters degree depending on a student’s bachelor degree and grade.

Pink Arrow indicate pathways that are possible in some programmes

University pathways for International Students: Foundation Programmes

Certificate in Foundation Studies puts students on the pathway to their degree of choice. It lays the foundations for future success, giving them the entry requirements for their chosen programme, and preparing them for the challenges of degree-level study.

The foundation programme has also been approved for entry into all New Zealand universities and selected Australian universities.

The University of Auckland Certificate in Foundation Studies

AUT University Certificate in Foundation Studies

Taylors College

Waikato Pathways College

Victoria University Foundation

Lincoln University Foundation

Otago University Foundation

Foundation Studies at Polytechnics

Foundation Studies programs are also offered at all New Zealand Polytechnics. Students who are choosing to study a degree at a New Zealand polytechnic will be advised to study their foundation program at the same institution.

Academic requirements

Students must have completed a high school qualification from their home country ( OR )
Have completed secondary school study equivalent to New Zealand Year 12 or 13.

English Requirements

  • IELTS 5.5 (with 5.0 in writing) (or)
  • iBT (Internet Based TOEFL) minimum score of 46 with a writing score of 14 -18(or)
  • PTE Academic overall score of 49 and no less than 38 for writing(or)
  • Level 6 of the Certificate of Attainment in Academic English with a B grade average

Students who have achieved the following English scores in their high school qualifications do not need to provide additional evidence of English language proficiency apart from teacher Education.

Malaysia: UCLES English O levels (English 1119) with a grade B or above

Duration: Foundation studies is usually 6 months to 12 month program. The programme is offered in various formats, including a fast-track completion option and a standard plus course.

Bachelor Degree

New Zealand offers some of the most diverse degrees in the world. Unlike countries like the United States that take four years to complete a bachelor’s degree program, New Zealand actually lets you finish within 3 years. However, if you choose a course such as medicine, engineering or veterinary science then it will take more than 3 years to complete.

Can study at any NZ Universities/Institutes of Technologies/Polytechnics.

Academic Entry requirements:

New Zealand foundation programmes

Successful completion of any of the foundation certificates offered by a New Zealand university.

Other foundation programmes

The University accepts applicants from a number of foundation programmes offered in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and elsewhere. Please contact the University to find out if your programme is accepted for entry

GCE Advanced levels (outside UK)

Applicants must achieve a minimum of 6 points taken from three subjects, achieving a minimum grade of C in at least one subject. Points calculated as follows: A = 5, B = 4, C = 3, D = 2, E = 1. AS Level grades are not included.

Malaysia

A minimum of 6 points obtained from at least three Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) subjects. Points calculated as follows: A=5, A-= 4, B+=4, B=3, B-=2, C+= 2, C=1; or Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) with a maximum of 18 points over six academic subjects.

Academic entry requirements different for each countries. Contact us to find out more.

English requirements:

  • A minimum score of 6.0 in IELTS (no band less than 5.5) is required for admission at the graduate level. (or)
  • An alternative is TOEFL (internet based test): minimum score 80 with a score of 21 in writing (or)
  • Pearson PTE Academic: Overall score of 50 with no PTE communicative skills below 42 (or)
  • University English Language Pathways Programmes

It is important to note some universities require higher scores for some programmes (or) such as Bachelor of Teaching, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Laws etc.

Special admission

Students over 20 years of age with successful post-secondary education and/or work experience may be considered for special admission to a Bachelor degree if they do not meet academic requirements.

Subjects you may be interested in studying in New Zealand

Graduate Diploma in New Zealand

Graduate diplomas are designed for people who have a Bachelor degree in one area but want to change their area of specialization or career. The Diploma is typically designed as a bridging qualification to postgraduate study as well as broadening knowledge and skills in a familiar subject or discipline, or developing knowledge in a new area.

This can enhance the value of your undergraduate degree or be a first step to a new career or further study.

Can study Masters at any NZ Universities/Institutes of Technologies/Polytechnics.

Duration: 1 year

Samples of Graduate Diploma Courses:

Graduate Diploma in Law
Graduate Diploma in Dispute Resolution
Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching
Graduate Diploma in Strategic Management
Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management
Graduate Diploma in Commerce
Graduate Diploma in Digital Business and more……..

Academic requirements:

NZ Bachelor degree or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered to be equivalent. If you gained your qualifications overseas, these will need to be assessed to make sure they are of an equivalent standard.

English Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (no band less than 6.0) (or)
  • iBT (internet based TOFEL) “ 90-100 with a score of 21 in writing (or)
  • Pearson PTE Academic : Overall score of 58 and no PTE communicative skills below 50 (or)
  • University English Pathways Programmes: Successful completion of Level 8 with a B grade average in the Certificate of Attainment in Academic (CAAE) Programme.

It is important to note some universities require higher scores for some programmes

Benefits of Studying Graduate Diploma in New Zealand

  • Practical industry-based learning built into your qualifications means you are work-ready
  • Can apply for Post study work visa for 1 year or 2 years (depending on the location studied and year of completion).
  • A student visa is valid for one year and it allows you to work part-time up to 20 hours per week. Getting a part-time job while you study can help you pay your living expenses, meet new people and gain valuable experience of the New Zealand workplace.
  • Family Visa- A holder of a student visa for study at Diploma program level 7 can bring his family members to New Zealand on visitor visa. Work visa will only be granted to the partner of a student studying towards a Level 7 or 8 qualification where the qualification is specified on the Long Term Skills Shortage List.

Postgraduate Diploma & Master Degree

Academic requirements

Minimum entry requirement for 18 months or 2 year programme is a three year bachelor degree from New Zealand institution or an overseas equivalent.

English Language requirement

A minimum score of 6.5 in IELTS overall (no band less than 6.0) is required for admission at the graduate level. (or)
An alternative is TOEFL (iBT): minimum score 90-100 with a score of 21 in writing
Pearson PTE Academic Overall score of 58 and no PTE communicative skills score below 50
It is important to note some universities require higher scores for some programmes (or)
University English Language Pathways Programmes

NZ Master‘s Degrees

Can study Masters at any NZ Universities/Institutes of Technologies/Polytechnics

Two types of Master’s Degrees:

Research Master’s

Build on your expertise with an extensive research project

Work closely with expert academic staff

Able to work full-time all year while studying

Your spouse or partner will be able to apply for open work visa for the duration of your studies

You will be able to enrol your dependent children as domestic students in New Zealand free state Schools

On completion of your Master’s degree, you can apply for a 3 year post study work visa

Taught Master’s

Develop your skills through structured course work

Education providers have close industry links ensure you graduate work ready

You will be able to work part-time while you study and full-time during holidays.

Your spouse or partner will be able to apply for open work visa for the duration of your studies

You will be able to enrol your dependent children as domestic students in New Zealand free state Schools

On completion of your Master Degree, you can apply for a 3 year post study work visa

Higher Degrees (PhD)

English Language Requirements:

A minimum score of 6.5 in IELTS (with no less than 6.0 in any band)is required for admission at the graduate level. (or)

An alternative is TOEFL (iBT): minimum score 90-100 with a score of 21 in writing (or)

Pearson PTE Academic: Overall score of 58 and no PTE communicative skills below 5: (or)

It is important to note some universities require higher scores for some programmes (or)

University English Language Pathways Programmes

Academic requirements

To be accepted to study for a PhD, you will have to show that your academic qualifications prove you have sufficient knowledge of your chosen subject area.

A Masters’ degree with first-class or second class honours, or the equivalent qualification.

You’ll also have to show that you have the skills and ability to carry out independent research

Study Duration: 3-4 years

Benefits of a New Zealand PhD Research Degree

PhD will give you a wider range of jobs to apply for, from academic roles to careers in government or industry.

With New Zealand’s PhD for international students, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Pay same fees as New Zealand Domestic Students (PhD tuition fees range from NZ$6500 to $9000 per year for most subjects)
  • Be able to work full time under the terms of your student visa
  • On completion of your PhD, you can apply for a 3 year post study work visa
  • Your spouse or partner will be able to apply for open work visa for the duration of your studies
  • You will be able to enrol your dependent children as domestic students in New Zealand free state Schools

Estimated Cost of Studying in New Zealand

New Zealand uses the New Zealand Dollar ($NZD) as their currency.

Institutions in New Zealand are permitted to set their own tuition fees. This means that what you pay will be different depending on your institution of choice. International students can expect to pay between $22,000 and $32,000 for a bachelor’s degree, and between $26,000 and $36,000 for a postgraduate course. However, if you choose a course such as medicine, engineering or veterinary science, your fees are likely to be higher as these are practical based programmes. All PhD students pay the same as New Zealand domestic fees, which is $6,500 to $9,000 per year.

New Zealand has about a 20% cost advantage over Australia and a 50% cost advantage over the US and UK due to its currency exchange rate. This makes it an affordable study destination for many existing and potential international students.

Secondary Schools (High Schools)

Approximate cost of tuition fees (NZ$) per year
State Schools $12,000 – $17,000
Private Schools $30,000 – $35,000

Universities

Approximate cost of tuition fees (NZ$) per year
Undergraduate $22,000 – $32,000
Postgraduate $26,000 – $36,000
PhD (Domestic Fees) $6,000 – $8,000

Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics

Approximate cost of tuition fees (NZ$) per year
Undergraduate $17,000 – $24,000
Postgraduate $18,000 – $25,000

Scholarships

There are scholarships available for international students at all levels, including students wanting to gain a PhD. These scholarships are offered by the institutions themselves, or the government. Contact your institution to get more information about your eligibility.

Cost of Living in NZ

Living costs depend on where you choose to live in New Zealand. As in most countries, the bigger cities will require a larger living budget than the smaller cities and towns. It is recommended that you allow $16,000 per year. If you will be studying in New Zealand for more than one year, you will be required to prove that you have at least $16,000 to support yourself for the first year. If you are studying for up to a year, you are required to prove that you have at least $1,250 for each month of study.

International Students’ work rights

If you have a student visa, you are able to work up to 20 hours per week during term time, and full time out of term time. Students completing Masters by Research or PhD are able to work full time throughout their studies, including term time.

Student Insurance

In order to study in New Zealand, you might have to purchase health insurance. This will depend on where you are from. If you hold a student visa, you are not eligible for publicly funded health services. The exception to this rule are students from Australia and the United Kingdom or PhD students. These students are entitled to publicly funded health care for immediately necessary treatment only. If you are from any other country, or need to access further medical treatment, you will need to make sure that you have valid medical and travel insurance throughout your stay. Your chosen institution will be able to provide more information regarding this.