Studying in New Zealand

Studying in New Zealand

The structure of the higher education system in New Zealand is the same format as in the UK, offering undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees.

There are a variety of institutions to choose from, including universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, private training establishments and wananga (Maori-based institutions).

The universities in New Zealand are funded by the government and tend to focus on academic topics. There are eight in total:

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

There are 18 institutes of technology and polytechnics which mainly focus on vocational and applied qualifications. Employers in the relevant industries often have some involvement in the courses offered at these institutions.

In addition to this there are around 600 private training establishments which offer a range of approved qualifications in specialist fields such as IT, design and tourism.

What courses can you study?

A full range of courses is available in New Zealand, covering topics you would expect to find in the UK. Universities offer subjects in the fields of commerce, science and the humanities, with some specialising in areas such as medicine, engineering, law or agriculture.

Masters degrees typically take one to two years to complete while a PhD usually involves three to four years of study.

A searchable database of institutions and courses is available at Study in New Zealand.

Study Options hold annual open days across the UK so you can meet representatives from a number of New Zealand universities.

How do you apply for postgraduate study?

Once you have decided you want to study in New Zealand it is best to apply to your preferred institutions as soon as possible in the year before the course is due to start. Each institution will have its own application deadlines so you should contact them directly for specific information.

Details of entry criteria will also be available from individual institutions, but in general you will need an undergraduate degree to apply for a masters course and a relevant masters degree to apply for a PhD. In some instances you may be accepted onto a PhD with a first class undergraduate degree.

In most cases you will be able to apply online but you may need to post copies of your academic certificates and provide proof that you meet the English language requirements of the institution.

Once you've been accepted you will receive an 'offer of place' that confirms the details of your course and the start date, which is one of the required documents you will need to get a student visa.

For a free application support service to help you decide what, where and how to study in New Zealand, check out Study Options.

Fees and scholarships

Tuition fees can vary widely depending on the level of postgraduate course, subject and institution. Information on fees is available in the database of courses which can be found on the Study in New Zealand website. You should also check the details with the individual institutions.

There are many scholarships that are available to international students who are studying at either masters or doctoral level. You can search for these at Study in New Zealand. You can also check with individual universities to see if they offer any international scholarships.

Are there any exchange programmes?

Some New Zealand universities have individual exchange programmes set up with institutions in the UK. Check the websites of the universities you're interested in going to or visit the international office at your university to find out about any existing exchanges.

Will your qualifications be recognised in the UK?

In general, qualifications from New Zealand are recognised on an international level. However, it is worth checking with the university or higher education institution where you are hoping to study to see if their qualification is recognised or has an equivalent in the UK.

Do you need a visa to study in New Zealand?

If you're planning to study in New Zealand you will need to make sure you get the right type of visa. For courses that are less than three months long you can get a visitor visa to cover your stay.

If your course will be longer than this you will need to apply for a student visa. To do this, you will need the offer letter from the institution where you'll be studying, proof that you have enough money to cover your living costs and a return travel ticket or enough money to be able to buy one.

If you have a student visa and are on a full time course you may be eligible to work up to 20 hours a week during the year and full time during holiday periods in the course. When you have finished studying you may be able to convert your visa to allow you to work in the country and continue living there. More information is available from Immigration New Zealand.

Written by AGCAS editors, September 2016