6 January 2020

How do I study in New Zealand

Linley Boniface

Are you considering studying in New Zealand, but not sure where to start? Find out what you’ll need to do to study here.

Studying in New Zealand could give you a globally-recognised qualification and an experience that will change the way you think and give you a new perspective on the world. 

But how do you get here?

Deciding to study overseas may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. 

If you’re interested in studying at a school, university or another education institution in New Zealand, the first thing to consider is how to apply for a course and for your visa. 

It might be easier than you think. 

Choosing a course 

How do other students decide what to study in New Zealand?

Lindsay Wickham, from the US, decided to enrol for her Master of Marine Science at the University of Otago because she knew she’d be taught by world-renowned experts in marine mammal conservation. 

She also loves being able to get out on a boat at least once a month. “The study of marine science is very practical and hands-on here,” she says.

Lord of the Rings fan Mohit Batta, from India, chose to study animation and 3D graphics at ACG Yoobee School of Design in Auckland to gain the real-life skills he’d need to work in the gaming industry.

“The tutors are awesome. They introduced us to heaps of industry guests, taught us how to work under pressure and meet deadlines, and lots of valuable tips and tricks,” he says. 

So what will you choose to study?

Applying for a course 

Once you’ve chosen a school or tertiary institution, your next step is to check the fees and entry requirements. 

If you’re planning tertiary study, you may be asked to send in a copy of your passport, academic transcripts and English language results. 

If you’ll be studying at a school or English language school, you may have to provide a copy of your passport, a medical certificate, school reports and exam results. 

Once you’re accepted, your institution will send you an ‘offer of place’ letter. It may not be confirmed till you’ve paid your fees.  

You can find more details on the Enrolment Guide on the Study in New Zealand site. 

Studying at a New Zealand university

Thinking about studying at one of New Zealand’s eight world-ranked universities? These are the basic entry requirements that you will need to meet.

Note that each university sets its own specific entry requirements for each programme, so specific requirements will vary.

Bachelor’s degrees

To gain entry to a bachelor’s degree, you have a few options:

  • New Zealand universities accept a range of overseas school-leaver qualifications. Check the university websites for the most up-to-date information about what qualifications are accepted.
  • Gain University Entrance or its equivalent by studying NCEA or another school-leaver qualification at a New Zealand secondary school
  • Complete a foundation programme offered by a New Zealand university or other tertiary provider.

Postgraduate degrees

At a minimum, you’ll need a qualification equivalent to a New Zealand bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject area. Specific entry requirements depend on the programme.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to show evidence of your English proficiency. Most universities accept IELTS and similar international English language tests, and offer pathway programmes to help you meet requirements.

Applying for a visa

If you’re planning to study in New Zealand for more than three months, you’ll need a student visa. 

The fastest and cheapest way to apply for your visa is online. 

There’s even a checklist to guide you through the process. 

Find an agent 

If you need support to reach your goal of studying in New Zealand, think about consulting an education agent. 

An education agent can help you learn about your options, give you advice on where to study, and help you with study and visa applications. 

To be sure you’re being given the best advice about studying in New Zealand, consider choosing an Education New Zealand Recognised Agency.

Need more help?

Do you need any more information to get started on your way to New Zealand?  

Our step-by-step guide can take you through every stage of the journey, from planning your budget to choosing accommodation.

And then your biggest challenge will be deciding what to bring with you to New Zealand! Check out Vietnamese student Lucy Dao’s awesome tips on how to pack your life into just 30kg of luggage.

Share this story
About the contributors
Linley Boniface

Linley Boniface is a contract writer for Education New Zealand. She is based in Wellington, her favourite city in New Zealand. A former journalist, Linley spent a year in Montreal, Canada, as a secondary school student.