Study in New Zealand
Start your journey to New Zealand by discovering how to apply to study at a school, English language school or tertiary institution. Apply to study at a school or English language school. New Zealand’s relaxed pace of life gives you the time to enjoy everything our vibrant modern cities have to offer. Enjoy live music, theatre, film, dance, free festivals or international sports fixtures, or hang out with your new friends at a cafe, restaurant or bar. Most of our cities and towns are relatively small and uncrowded, making your daily commute easier and faster than back home. Wherever you live, you won’t be far from beaches, parks, walking trails and cycle tracks. Each day is a new adventure in New Zealand. Explore native forests, snow-capped mountains, white sandy beaches, picture-perfect lakes and stunning fjords - all without the crowds and queues you’ll find in most parts of the world. There’s something for everyone in New Zealand, whether you enjoy high-adrenalin sports like bungy jumping, skydiving or jet boating, or prefer to get closer to nature by hiking or cycling. You’ll be able to experience our unique Māori culture and see the landscapes made famous by the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies.
New Zealand has eight state-funded universities, 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and about 550 Private Training Establishments (PTEs), which include English language schools.
Choose the type of institution that’s best for your career path:
- Universities offer higher degree-level education. Programmes are research-led and generally academic rather than vocational. In the 2015/16 QS World University Rankings, all eight of New Zealand’s universities were in the top 100 in at least one subject.
- ITPs and a few larger PTEs offer vocational degree-level education.
- PTEs tend to offer specific vocational programmes, mainly at certificate and diploma level.
Document Checklist for Study Abroad
- A Letter of Offer from institutions
- An electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from universities; this is issued after you have paid your first installment, and other required fees
- A medical check-up
- Proof of academic history and English proficiency
- Proof of financial support
What are the visa conditions?
To maintain your visa, you must:
- Study full time while in Australia.
- Attend at least 80% of all scheduled classes (ELICOS).
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Maintain a valid enrolment at universities if you change your student status.
- Advise them within seven days if you change your Australian address.
- Have enough money to cover tuition fees and living expenses while in Australia.
- Not work more than 40 hours during a fortnight (see below).
- Maintain valid Overseas Student Health Cover (see below).
- Not transfer between registered education providers within the first study period (semester) of your course commencing, without a release letter from universities.
For the pre-Masters courses, typical entry requirements are at least 3 years of higher education and UKVI IELTS 5.5 (minimum of 5.0 in all skills).
If you do not meet the English language entry level but have at let UKVI IELTS 4.5 (minimum 4.0 in all skills) you can do a course that includes extended English and skills (EES).
Intake: Students may be able to start in spring (January – April), summer (May – August) or autumn (September – November)
Apply to Study at a Tertiary Institution
This is a general guide only – some tertiary institutions may have different steps.
- 1. Choose your institution and programme
- 2. Check the fees and entry requirements. You will need to provide evidence that you meet the English language requirements for university students or other tertiary students.
- 3. Collect documents. These may include a copy of your passport, academic transcripts and English language test results. Documents may need to be in English or translated into English, and you may be asked to provide certified copies
- 4. Submit application
- 5. Receive an offer of place
- 6. Pay fees.
This is a general guide only – some schools may have different procedures.
- 1. Once you have chosen your school, collect the required documents. These may include a copy of your passport, a medical certificate, school reports and exam results
- 2. Pay an application fee, if required, and submit application form
- 3. Attend an interview, if required. Your school may be able to interview you via Skype, WeChat or another messaging app
- 4. Take an English language assessment, if required
- 5. Submit your application
- 6. Pay your deposit or full fees once you have received a conditional offer of place
Once you have received a confirmed offer of place and, if you’re under 18, a written guarantee of accommodation, you are ready to apply for your student visa.
Documents you’ll be asked to supply include your offer of place, your accommodation guarantee, evidence you have enough money to live on while you study, and medical and travel insurance details.
You’re now ready to apply for your student visa. Documents you’ll be asked to supply include an offer of place, proof you have enough money to live on while you study, and medical and travel insurance details.
international students have the same legal minimum rights and entitlements as anyone else working in New Zealand.
These include your right to be paid at least the minimum wage, paid annual and public holidays, and rest breaks.
If you have a Student Visa you may be able to work:
- Up to 20 hours a week during term time
- Full-time during scheduled holidays
If you are a Masters by research or PhD student, you may work full-time.
To check whether you’re able to work while study.
Choose your programme
Some of our most popular subjects are below. Use the search bar above to see all programmes.
Explore how the natural world works and contribute to society.
Be part of the next wave of innovation.
Deepen your logical thinking and problem-solving abilities.Learn about Mathematics
Learn from the best in a world-leading agricultural country.Learn about Agriculture
Study animation, gaming or emerging tech with global experts.Learn about Digital Design
Fashion & Design
Harness your creativity and experience hands-on, practical learning.
Food & Hospitality
Build a career that can take you around the world.
Education systems in New Zealand
The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) has 10 levels and covers a range of qualifications, from certificates to doctoral degrees.
Any programme you’re considering studying in New Zealand should tell you which level of the NZQF you’d achieve when you graduated, as well as which qualification you’d obtain.The NZQF levels are:
- levels 1-4, which cover the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) - the main qualification in secondary schools - and basic trades training
- levels 5-6, which cover advanced trades, technical and business qualifications
- levels 7-10, which cover degrees, graduate and postgraduate qualifications.
Learn more about our qualifications on the NZQA website.
Student Visa Requirement
You can see a full list of student visa requirements and apply for your visa online at the Immigration New Zealand website. As a guide, you’ll usually need to provide the following documents with your student visa application:
- An offer of place from an approved education provider
- Evidence that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees
- Your passport and acceptable passport-style photo(s)
- Proof of funds – $15,000 per year, to cover your living expenses
- A copy of your air ticket home, or proof that you have enough money to buy one
- An accommodation guarantee, if you’re under 18
- Your visa application fee
- You may also be asked to provide a medical certificate and chest x-ray, and a police certificate.
Most visitor, student and work visas take 20-25 working days to process, but can take longer if more information is needed.
Cost of Living
As part of your student visa application, you must provide evidence that you can cover your living expenses while studying in New Zealand. If you’re studying in New Zealand on a scholarship or a sponsor/family member has agreed to accept financial responsibility for you while you’re here, you may not be required to show proof of funds.
If you will be studying in New Zealand for more than one year, you‘ll need to prove that you have at least $15,000 to support yourself for the first year. If you’re studying for less than a year, you must have at least $1250 for each month of study to contribute to your living expenses.
Living costs will depend on your lifestyle and which part of the country you live in. Some costs vary by region. For example, you may need to travel more in the main centres, and transport costs may be more expensive than in your home country.
As an example of how much to budget for, Victoria University recommends that students allow between $18,000-$27,000 each year, the University of Auckland recommends $20,000-$25,000, the University of Otago recommends $15,000-$17,000 and Massey University recommends $15,000-$18,000.
You may be able to offset some of your costs by working. Most student visas enable you to work up to 20 hours per week, or full-time in the holidays. See our section Working while you study for more details.
Typical living costs
Choose from halls of residence, home stays or flats. Accommodation costs vary widely by region: the national median weekly rent for a three to four-bedroom house in October 2016 was $440, or $510 in Auckland.
The University of Otago’s estimated weekly food costs for a basic healthy diet for an adult man in 2016 were: Auckland $64, Wellington $64, Christchurch $63, and Dunedin $65. Prices vary depending on where you choose to shop.
All New Zealand cities and most towns have buses, and some areas offer cheaper bus fares for students. Auckland and Wellington have train services to outer suburbs. Fuel prices are monitored by Petrolwatch.
Explore New Zealand’s stunning beaches, mountains, forests and lakes for free. Other free or cheap entertainment options include live music, festivals, outdoor movies, parks, gardens, museums and galleries. Many tertiary education institutions offer discount cards for students.
Most people have a choice of four to nine energy retailers, each with many different plans to choose from. Consumer Powerswitch and Glimp let you find and compare the best gas and electricity options in your area.
Phone and internet
Choose from monthly account plans or pre-paid plans for mobile phones. A pre-paid plan that includes calling, texting and data starts at about $19. Free Wi-Fi is available in central Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and Dunedin.