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Universities for Expats New Zealand

Submitted: October 2014

There are eight public universities in New Zealand, all but one of which are ranked in the top 500 universities in the world.
In recent years the old Colleges of Education, of which there were five, have all merged with universities, but still retain most of their original character. For instance the old Auckland College of Education still retains its original function of training teachers, but does so as the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland.  There is a world university ranking site here showing how New Zealand universities rank globally.

There are about 20 public institutes of technology and polytechnics which offer vocational courses in specific subjects. Many of the qualifications offered are equivalent to degrees and there are also postgraduate level courses available.  There is a list with links to each institute of technology here. Futhermore, there are many accredited private training establishments in New Zealand which offer courses of a specific nature, designed to improve the students’ chances of employment. There are over 30 in Auckland (list here) alone offering courses in everything from animation to commercial aviation.

All public universities in New Zealand receive limited funding from the State; however New Zealand students must still pay tuition fees.  Tuition fees vary depending on the university and the degree subject chosen. Each course taken by a student as part their chosen degree will have an individual price tag which is calculated with reference to a benchmark Equivalent full Time Student (EFTS). The sum total of the different course fees plus other sundry and administration fees will result in the final fees bill for the year. International students are required to pay much higher fees than domestic students, generally international fees are three or four times as high. International fees for a typical non-scientific degree are generally around NZ$20,000 to NZ$25,000 per year. International fees for science or engineering degrees are generally start at around NZ$30,000 (£15,000) per year.

Entry into higher education for New Zealand residents who were educated in New Zealand is decided the basis of their National Certificate of Educational Achievement programme (NCEA) certificate results. Individual universities and colleges will have different requirements for the courses that they offer. Each New Zealand university has its own entry requirements for international students. A minimum requirement for most institutions is four passes at GCSE level at grade C or above including both English and maths, and two passes at GCE A level at grade C or above, or an International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum total score of 24. Here is a list of the other international qualifications accepted by the University of Auckland as an example.

As an expat, you should be aware that the teaching language used in the vast majority of university courses in New Zealand is English. As a result you will need to be able to prove competence in the language. For natural speakers who have been educated in English for most of their life, or at least during the last two years of secondary education, this does not present a problem. For non-natural English speakers, acceptable qualifications include TOEFL, IELTS, CIE and CPE. Universities generally have their specific requirements on their websites.

If you are from an overseas country intending to study in New Zealand, you will generally require a visa, but there are some exceptions. You will also probably be expected to pay one year’s fees in advance.




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