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Study in New Zealand

New Zealand offers plenty of opportunity for students considering postgraduate study and thanks to the country’s stunning landscape it also offers the adventure of a lifetime

Relatively small and uncrowded – for some perspective think the size of the UK but with a population of only 4.7 million – New Zealand consistently leads world quality of life studies. The weather varies from warm and subtropical in the north to cool and temperate in the south. Summer runs from December to February and winter falls between June and August.

No matter the season the county has something for everyone. You can experience Māori culture, explore forests, snow-capped mountains, picturesque lakes and fjords as well as the country’s many sandy beaches. The active sort can go bungee jumping, skydiving, surfing, cycling or hiking and for those with more metropolitan tastes there are plenty of theatres, art galleries, cinemas, cafes, bars and restaurants. If you’d like to do a bit of sightseeing you can’t miss visiting the locations of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.

Known the world over for its quality higher education, popular student cities include the country’s largest, Auckland, the capital city of Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

New Zealand universities

Just like in the UK you can study for a Bachelors, Masters or a Doctorate at Kiwi institutions. The academic year begins in February. Semesters run from February to June and from July until November.

The country has eight state-funded universities offering degree-level education. Institutions include:

  • AUT University
  • Lincoln University
  • Massey University
  • University of Auckland
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Otago
  • University of Waikato
  • Victoria University of Wellington.

New Zealand also has 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and 550 Private Training Establishments (PTEs), which include English language schools. To see for institutions, see Study in New Zealand – Universities.

All eight of New Zealand’s universities feature in the QS World University Rankings 2019. The top five include:

  • University of Auckland (85th)
  • University of Otago (175th)
  • Victoria University of Wellington (221st)
  • University of Canterbury (231st)
  • University of Waikato (274th)

Over 7,000 students study at NMIT every year across 100 different programmes at certificate, diploma, bachelors and Masters level.

Degree courses in New Zealand

All qualifications in the country are ranked on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). Undergraduate courses, otherwise known as Bachelors degrees typically take three years to complete and can be studied in a variety of subjects.

Popular courses in New Zealand include:

  • agriculture
  • business and management
  • digital design
  • engineering
  • fashion design
  • food and hospitality
  • mathematics
  • science
  • technology.

To gain a place on an undergraduate programme you’ll need a recognised high school leavers certificate, for example A-levels if you’re from the UK. You’ll also need to prove your proficiency in English.

To search for Bachelors courses in New Zealand see Study in New Zealand – Study abroad programmes.

It’s also possible to study for certificates and diplomas as well as short-term foundation or pre-university studies to prepare you for university-level education.

Masters degrees

Postgraduate qualifications in the country are equivalent to their UK counterparts, with programmes offering full-time and part-time study options.

Qualifications on offer include postgraduate certificates and diplomas and Masters degrees. You can study either a taught or research Masters and after you graduate you’ll be eligible to work for up to three years in New Zealand on a post-study work visa.

Traditionally Masters courses take two years to complete, although there are now a number of programmes that can be completed in a year.

Like the UK, the minimum entry requirement for a Masters programme is a Bachelors qualification.


Doctoral degrees in New Zealand are similar to programmes in other countries. You’ll carry out your own in-depth, independent research and present your findings in a thesis. Your work will be marked by external examiners and you may be required to complete an oral examination.

PhDs usually take three to four years to complete when studied full time. Applicants require a Masters qualification in a related subject.

Thanks to a New Zealand government policy, all international PhD students are eligible to pay the same fees as domestic students. Luckily this cuts the cost of Doctoral fees significantly.

Foreign students wishing to undertake PhD study in New Zealand should expect to pay between $6,500 (£3,369) and $9,000 (£4,665) per year.

Student exchanges

Exchanges and placements are a great short-term option for those wishing to get a taste of what it’s like to study in a foreign country.

The universities of Bristol, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton all provide exchange opportunities to New Zealand.

Ask your university’s international study office about exchange agreements with Kiwi institutions. You will continue to pay domestic (UK) tuition fees for the duration of your overseas study.

Course fees

Institutions set their own fees and tuition costs vary widely depending on the course and the institution, so you’ll need to check with your individual university to find out more.

International students should expect to pay $22,000 (£11,409) to $32,000 (£16,595) for a Bachelors degree, and $26,000 (£13,483) to £37,000 (£19,188) for a postgraduate course, with higher fees for subjects such as medicine, engineering and veterinary science.

As well as tuition fees, you’ll also need to factor in living costs, which depend on your location and lifestyle. You’ll need to take into consideration accommodation, food, travel, entertainment and phone and internet costs.

If you intend to study in New Zealand for more than a year, you’ll need to prove that you have at least $15,000 (£7,779) to support yourself during the first year. If you’re studying for less than a year, you’ll need to prove that you have $1,250 (£648) for each month of study to contribute to your living expenses.

Funding to study in New Zealand

Scholarships are available to international students studying for either a Masters or PhD. Universities may provide opportunities themselves, or you could be entitled to a government scholarship. Check institution websites for the latest information on what options are available and what schemes you are eligible to apply for.

For example the Go Overseas scholarship is open to students from the USA and Europe and covers tuition fees up to $15,000 US dollars.

Most student visas enable you to work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and full time during scheduled holidays. This may help to offset some of your living and study expenses.

Student visas

Students from the UK need a visa to study in New Zealand. There are different visa options available and you’ll need to do your own research to discover which one best fits your needs.

The type of visa you need largely depends upon the duration of your course. If you plan to study for less than three months a visitor visa will do. If your programme of study lasts for more than three months, you’ll need to apply for a student visa.

On this visa you can stay in the country for up to four years. To be eligible, you must be enrolled with an approved education provider and have the means to pay the full amount of your course.

You can apply for this visa online and will need to send:

  • the ‘offer of place’ from your educational institution
  • proof that you have enough money for living costs for the duration of your stay
  • passport style photos
  • a return airline ticket to your home country or proof that you have the funds to buy one
  • a medical certificate.

You must also have appropriate and current travel insurance while you’re studying.

Student visas can take up to 25 days to process.

A full guide to applying for a visa, including what evidence you need to provide with your application, is provided by Immigration New Zealand.

How to apply

Universities set their own entry requirements, so these vary depending on what programme you choose, and of course, the institution itself.

New Zealand does not have a centralised university application service so you’ll need to apply directly to your chosen university, either by post or via an online application form.

To complete your enrolment, you’re also required to provide supporting documents, including:

  • certified copies of academic certificates and transcripts
  • proof of English language proficiency
  • a recent CV.

Once you’ve been accepted, your university will send you an ‘offer of place’ that confirms course details and start dates. After paying your fees, you’ll then receive a ‘confirmed offer of place’ letter, which you’ll need when applying for your student visa.

Language requirements

All courses are taught in English so if it’s not your native language, you’ll need to prove your proficiency before being admitted onto a programme.

English language courses you can study in New Zealand include:

  • General English
  • English for academic purposes
  • English for specific purposes.

Requirements To Study In New Zealand

International students that are seeking for study in New Zealand can apply for study visa after fulfilling the following requirements


  • Properly filled application form
  • Statement of purpose if you are applying for degree programs
  • If you are applying for masters then graduation degree certificate or provisional is required
  • Mark sheets of all three years of bachelor degree
  • Mark sheets of 10th and 12th
  • Recommendation letter academic and also from work place if you are working.
  • Score cared of IELTS/TOFEL or PTE
  • Any other relevant certificates
  • In case of working students, work experience letters are required
  • If you are applying for courses like art or design then portfolio of work should also be mentioned


For applying study visa in New Zealand students need to show the living expenses of 12 months and one year advance fee for the course chosen.

Students can transfer living expenses in the bank account in new Zealand and 1 year tuition fee to the education provider as per immigration of new Zealand. This transferred amount remains locked for one year and then drip fed to the student on the pre arranged basis.

This fund transfer scheme can also be opted for two years and it is for the students that genuinely intend to study but have not access to funds older than six months. Under this scheme, students need not to submit the verifiable documentary proof to demonstrate sources of funds but in the application form there must be satisfactory proof given for funds and source of income for their financial guarantors.


  • Draft of INR 11100 payable at New Delhi in the favor of IMMIGRATION NEW ZEALAND
  • Another draft of INR 625 payable at New Delhi in the favor of TT services
  • Recent 4 passport size photographs
  • Qualification documents from metric onwards both in original form and photocopy
  • Valid passport copy and original
  • Income tax returns of 3 years for all sponsors
  • Photocopy of work experience if has
  • Contact number of institution where funds are held
  • Stamp papers of Rs 10 for self and Rs 10 for parents and same amount for each additional sponsor
  • Residential address of all sponsors
  • Contact numbers of sponsors and their relationship with visa applicant
  • Employer name of each sponsor and years of service


  • Educational loan letter
  • Personal savings of student or sponsor that can include only parents, blood relatives and family friends
  • Saving bank statement 3 months old
  • Last 6 month old statement of fixed deposit
  • One year old P.O.MIS
  • 6 months old P.O. RD A/c
  • 6 months old NSC/KVP/IVP
  • LIC policy
  • GPF or PPF but only withdraw able part Income tax returns of all family members of last 3 years
  • If income is coming from agriculture then certificate from Patwari or Tehsildar is required for verification of land
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Medical


Students can also show the funds provided by the educational loans but these loans are considered in full amount only if loan sanctioned letter cover the following points

  • Total loan amount
  • Specification for the margin money inclusion
  • Purpose of loan
  • Interest applicable
  • The collateral used
  • Name of Guarantor that can be only parents with relation specification
  • Terms of repayment /EMI/ period of repayment


If students are applying for study visa along with his/her spouse then following additional documents are required

  • Certificate of registered marriage
  • Marriage photographs and video CD as evidence
  • 2 Affidavits from blood relatives who attended the marriage
  • HC Fee DDs

New Zealand has eight universities that offer academic programmes, rather than vocational.

All New Zealand’s universities offer a broad range of subjects for undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral (PhD) degrees in commerce, science and the humanities. Some universities offer degrees in specialist fields – such as medicine, agriculture, engineering, etc. A number of universities have more than one campus, often located in different cities, and some have overseas programmes.

New Zealand also has 18 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs). They provide professional and vocational education and training ranging from introductory studies through to full degree programmes. Many ITPs also offer English language training and postgraduate study options, including up to Doctoral (PhD) level. Courses are more vocationally oriented, emphasising practical experience and application to work situations. A degree from one of these institutions has equal status with a university degree.

There are three Wānanga in Aotearoa New Zealand. These tertiary institutions offer teaching and learning environments that are based on Māori values and principles. Many offer qualifications in te reo Māori (Māori language), teaching, nursing, business, health, English language and Māori arts. Wānanga offer many undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including master’s and doctoral (PhD) level qualifications.

Admission requirements

To study for diplomas and degrees at Universities, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, students coming through New Zealand’s secondary school system generally need NCEA Level 3 qualifications.

Students from overseas need to be able to show they’ve achieved a similar University entrance level of education – that can include GCSE A levels for students from the UK, Hong Kong ‘A’ Levels, STPM /Malaysian Higher School Certificate Australian Matriculation Year 12 Certificate. They also need to be able to prove their English skills.

The Universities New Zealand website has more information about the admission requirements for students with overseas qualifications.

Domestic students over 20 don’t need formal qualifications to apply for entry.

Students can also do short-term foundation studies or pre-university orientation studies at PTEs or universities to prepare for university-level study. You need to check with the tertiary education provider you’re considering.


Tertiary academic year

The academic year is from March to November. However a July start date may be available for some courses and summer semester courses (January to March) may be available.

Once you’ve found the institution and course you want, you’ll need to complete and return the relevant paperwork. Once accepted, the institution will send you an ‘offer of place’ letter and once you’ve paid the fees, the institution will send you a ‘confirmed offer of place’.

If your course is for less than 12 weeks, or your country has a visa-free agreement with New Zealand, you don’t need a visa.

In all other cases you’ll need to apply for a New Zealand student visa and be able to show the confirmed offer.

International Students – For more detailed information on courses, institutions and applying, visit Education New Zealand’s Study in New Zealand website.

Fees and allowances

Students with ‘domestic’ status have their fees subsidised by the government, although they’re expected to contribute about 30% of the cost of their course. That applies to New Zealand citizens and holders of residents’ visas. There are some other categories of people eligible for domestic status – check the Ministry of Education website for more information.

Other students can access tertiary education in New Zealand but they pay international fees.

Fees can vary widely depending on the course and the institution, so check the websites of the institutions you’re considering.

In some cases, you might be eligible for the government’s fees free scheme – check their website.

Student loans, allowances and the fees free policy

Citizens and residents must be resident in New Zealand for at least three years before they are eligible to apply for any of these:

  • a student allowance, which will help with living costs
  • a student loan to help pay for fees and course-related costs
  • the fees free policy.

Loans need to be repaid, but allowances don’t.

Check the Study link website for information about loans and allowances, including eligibility.












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