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Study in New Zealand

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New Zealand is world-famous for its natural beauty, but it also offers a highly attractive option for those seeking to study abroad. Its universities are highly regarded, with every single one featuring in the QS World Rankings for top universities. The University of Auckland features in the top 100 while The Victoria University of Wellington is in the top 1% across 19 different subject areas.

Compared to countries such as the UK, New Zealand also offers a more affordable education system, with lower tuition fees and numerous scholarship options available. The country is also known for being very welcoming, with 90% of international visitors describing the people as friendly. Even better, it has been ranked as the second safest country in the world, after Iceland and, of course, it is undeniably stunning.

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Partner Universities
Partner Universities
Annual Tuition Fees
NZ $22,000 - NZ $32,000
Annual Tuition Fees
International Students
International Students
​ Monthly Living Costs
NZ $2968.36
​ Monthly Living Costs

Why study in New Zealand?

For international students, studying in New Zealand offers a wealth of unique experiences and opportunities. The country is a popular choice due to its friendly and welcoming population, as well as its high standard of living, having been named the Happiest Country in the World in 2020.

New Zealand is also recognised for its peacefulness, being named the world’s second most peaceful country by the Global Peace Index in 2019.

For those dreaming of studying and working in New Zealand, the country offers excellent work-life balance and post-graduation opportunities, including work experience in areas such as technology, travel, and government. Additionally, students can work in the country’s thriving hospitality industry while studying.

Students can also immerse themselves in New Zealand's rich culture by exploring live music, theatre, film, dance, free festivals, and international sports fixtures. The country's cities and towns are generally small and uncrowded, with beaches, parks, and walking trails always within easy reach.

Also read A guide to studying in New Zealand

Benefits of studying in New Zealand

Educational Excellence - The eight universities in New Zealand consistently achieve high rankings in both the QS World Rankings and Times Higher Education Rankings. Qualifications from any of these universities are recognised worldwide, providing opportunities in various fields. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) ensures that institutions are registered to enroll international students and meet the standards for qualifications. This accreditation adds to the global appeal of studying in New Zealand, allowing students to pursue their academic and professional goals with confidence.

Innovation - New Zealand offers numerous research opportunities for students with access to experienced faculty, state-of-the-art laboratories, and the latest technology and equipment. The country's innovative spirit has made it a hub for new technologies, research, and development in diverse fields, including healthcare, physics, geology, engineering, astronomy, computer science, and agriculture. The country’s track record of Nobel prizes in various fields highlights the significance and vast potential for research in the country. 

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There are two main intakes for universities in New Zealand, one in February and one in July, which are called semesters. Most international students opt for the July intake for undergraduate or postgraduate degree programs.


Top Universities

Massey University - Massey has more than 30,000 students including over 5,000 international students from 100 countries. It’s ranked in the top 300 global universities in the QS World University Rankings and has a QS 5 Stars rating. Its agricultural, animal and veterinary science programs are among the top 50 in the world and it is internationally recognised for its food science and technology programs.

University of Waikato - Waikato is ranked 331st in the QS World University Rankings 2023 and is in the top 300 by subject for 9 different subjects. These include Accounting & Finance, Education, English Language & Literature, Geography, Law, Philosophy and Sociology. It has also been given an overall rating of 5 QS Stars for its research quality and commitment to making a positive contribution.

Victoria University of Wellington - It has more than 22,000 students including over 2,000 international students from around the world and is partnered with 170 universities in 39 countries. It is ranked in the top 250 universities in the QS World University Rankings as well as being in the top 1% in 18 different subject areas. It’s also the top university in New Zealand for research intensity according to the Latest Performance-Based Research Fund Quality Evaluation.

Lincoln University - With around 3,000 students including students from around the world, Lincoln University is in the top 26% of universities globally, according to the QS World Rankings 2023, where it ranked 368th. It’s also been given QS Five Stars for reputation, facilities, research and teaching and has been ranked the 17th best small university in the world.

Browse all universities | Explore top universities in NZ

Study options

The higher education system in New Zealand is structured into three levels:

  • Level 4-6: Certificate, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma programs - These programs equip students with practical skills and knowledge for a specific job or industry and generally take between 6 months to 2 years to complete.
  • Level 7: Bachelor's degree - This undergraduate degree program typically takes 3-4 years to complete and provides a broad range of knowledge in a particular subject area, preparing students for employment or further study.
  • Level 8-10: Postgraduate programs - These programs include Graduate Certificates and Diplomas, Honours degrees, Master's degrees, and Doctoral degrees. They are designed for students who want to further their knowledge and skills beyond the undergraduate level and can take from 6 months to 4 years to complete.

Each level of study is associated with a specific credit value, and credits earned at each level can be transferred to other programs and institutions within the New Zealand education system. Additionally, many tertiary institutions in New Zealand offer flexible study options such as part-time, online, distance learning, and evening classes.

Explore Bachelors in New Zealand | Masters in New Zealand

Exam Required

If you are an international student planning to study in New Zealand, you will generally need to provide evidence of your English proficiency by taking an English language test. The most widely recognised English language tests for international students in New Zealand include:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) and Proficiency (CPE)

There are also subject-specific tests you may need to take for your course, including the GRE (Graduate Records Examinations) and the UCAT ANZ (University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand), which is for medical, dental and clinical science students.


Student visa to New Zealand 

There are several student visa options available in New Zealand, including:

  • Fee Paying Student Visa: This four-year visa is intended for individuals who are over 18 years old and paying for their entire university education. It allows you to work for up to 20 hours per week.
  • Exchange Student Visa: This visa is suitable for those who are studying full-time in New Zealand for up to four years as part of an international exchange program. You can also work for up to 20 hours per week.
  • Foreign Government Supported Student Visa: This four-year visa (also allowing part-time work) is designed for students who are receiving a foreign government loan or scholarship to study in New Zealand.
  • Pathway Student Visa: This single visa enables you to study up to three consecutive courses in New Zealand, with the option to stay for up to five years and work part-time up to 20 hours a week.

Also read How to get a New Zealand student visa

Student visa requirements for New Zealand

To apply for a student visa in New Zealand, international students are typically required to fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Enrollment in an approved educational institution: Students must provide evidence of acceptance to study at a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) approved institution.
  2. Financial capacity: Students must show that they have sufficient funds to cover their living expenses, tuition fees, and return travel to their home country. The amount required may vary depending on the length of stay and whether they are accompanied by family members.
  3. English language proficiency: International students may need to demonstrate their proficiency in English by taking recognised tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic, or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) and Proficiency (CPE).
  4. Good health and character: Students may be required to undergo a medical examination and provide a police certificate to demonstrate good health and character
  5. Medical and travel insurance: Students must have appropriate medical and travel insurance for the duration of their stay in New Zealand.

Application Process 

Application Process - Early planning and preparation is crucial once you receive a course offer from your university. Applying early can help you address any possible concerns promptly and allow you to concentrate on your studies. You can start by requesting an application form. You can either do this in person at a New Zealand embassy or complete the entire application process online. 

Applying online is the preferred and more straightforward option for most people. As part of your application, you must pay the appropriate fees. Presently, New Zealand student visa fees differ depending on how you apply and where you’re applying from. As part of the application process, you may have to attend an interview. This is used to assess your eligibility for the New Zealand study visa. Often, the interview takes place over a video or phone call.

Admission Requirements to study in New Zealand

  • Language proficiency proof (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc.)
  • Completed application form (university-specific forms for undergraduate and postgraduate)
  • Translated and evaluated transcripts/credentials
  • High school diploma, post-secondary diploma, or degree (as applicable)
  • Personal statement or letter of intent (depending on the level of study)
  • Letters of recommendation (usually two, depending on the level of study)
  • Standardised test scores (if required, e.g., GRE, GMAT for postgraduate programs)
  • CV or resume (for postgraduate programs or work experience requirements)
  • Portfolio/audition (for arts/performance programs)
  • Proof of financial support (bank statements, scholarship letters, etc.)
  • New Zealand student visa (Fee Paying Student Visa or Exchange Student Visa)
  • Medical examination and immunisation records (if required)

Cost to study in New Zealand

  • Usually, the most common visa that international students use is the “fee-paying student visa”. This costs around NZ $295.
  • Course fees - Undergraduate programs in New Zealand generally have tuition fees between NZ$22,000 to NZ$32,000 per year, while postgraduate programs typically range from NZ$26,000 to NZ$37,000 per year. However, specialised programs such as medicine or veterinary science may have higher tuition fees.
  • Living costs - As an international student living in New Zealand, you should budget for living expenses in addition to tuition fees. The average cost of living in New Zealand can vary depending on your location, lifestyle, and accommodation preferences. Generally, students should budget around NZ$20,000 to NZ$25,000 per year to cover accommodation, food, transport, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Explore about cost of studying in New Zealand

Student life

International students in New Zealand can enjoy a variety of enriching experiences beyond the classroom. The country offers a range of co-curricular programs, including sports, arts, and additional learning opportunities. Students can also explore New Zealand's stunning landscapes, from lush forests to snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches, lakes, and fjords.

New Zealand also offers cultural experiences, such as learning about Maori culture and visiting locations made famous in popular movies like Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. There are also natural wonders to discover, such as Abel Tasman National Park, Franz Josef Glacier, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and Fiordland National Park.

For those who prefer city life, New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, boasts the National Botanic Gardens, Wellington Harbour, and the Museum of New Zealand, among other attractions. In short, this is a country that provides something for everyone, making it an ideal destination for international students seeking a well-rounded educational experience.

Also read What's student life like in New Zealand? | Popular cities in NZ for international students


Scholarships are available from the New Zealand government as well as private scholarships and individual universities for international students. The NZIDRS scholarship is provided to exceptional Indian students who are pursuing their doctoral studies in New Zealand. This scholarship is fully funded and includes coverage of tuition fees, living expenses (up to NZ$25000 annually), as well as medical expenses (up to NZ$600).

The New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship is a fully-funded opportunity available to students from Commonwealth countries. Successful applicants will receive a weekly living allowance of NZ$491 and an initial set-up allowance of NZ$3,000. In addition to these financial benefits, the scholarship covers tuition fees, medical and travel insurance, and any research expenses that may be incurred.

The NZEA scholarship is awarded to high-achieving students by Education New Zealand (ENZ) and New Zealand universities. Out of the applicants, 28 postgraduate students are selected to receive NZ$5,000 each, while 3 undergraduate students are chosen to receive NZ$10,000 each. This scholarship recognises academic excellence and is highly competitive.

How to secure funding for your studies in New Zealand


1. How much does it cost to study in New Zealand?

The expense of studying in New Zealand can vary depending on various factors such as the type of program, institution, and location. Typically, international students should expect tuition fees ranging from NZ$22,000 to NZ$32,000 per annum for undergraduate programs and NZ$26,000 to NZ$37,000 per annum for postgraduate programs. However, specialised programs like medicine or veterinary science may require higher tuition fees.

2. Is it cheaper to study in Canada or New Zealand?

Generally, studying in New Zealand is likely to be less costly than studying in Canada. Based on recent data, the average tuition fees for international undergraduate students in Canada range between CAD 30,000 and CAD 40,000 per year In contrast, the average tuition fees for international students in New Zealand are between NZD 22,000 and NZD 32,000 per year for undergraduate programs. Canada also tends to be slightly more expensive for its cost of living than New Zealand, particularly in cities like Vancouver and Toronto. 

3. Is New Zealand a good option to study?

Many international students consider New Zealand an excellent option for studying abroad due to its well-developed education system and top-ranked universities that consistently excel in academic excellence, research capabilities, and modern facilities. The country is known for its safe and inclusive environment and diverse culture, making it an attractive destination for students from around the world. New Zealand offers a wide range of study programs at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in fields such as engineering, business, healthcare, humanities, and sciences. The education system emphasizes practical learning and fosters critical thinking, creativity, and innovation.

4. Can foreigners study in New Zealand?

New Zealand welcomes international students, who constitute a significant proportion of the student community in the country. If you are an overseas student and wish to study in New Zealand, you must apply for a student visa and satisfy the visa prerequisites. To obtain a student visa, you must obtain an admission offer from a New Zealand educational institution endorsed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Additionally, you must demonstrate your financial capability to cover your expenses throughout your stay in New Zealand, fulfill health and character criteria, and obtain adequate medical and travel insurance.

5. Which English language tests are accepted by New Zealand Universities?

Some of the most commonly accepted English language tests in New Zealand universities are:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) and Proficiency (CPE)

6. Can students work while studying in New Zealand?

Typically, international students studying in New Zealand can work part-time while they pursue their studies, subject to certain limitations on the number of hours they may work. Students who are enrolled full-time in a New Zealand institution and possess a valid student visa are typically authorized to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks.

7. Are degrees obtained from New Zealand recognized worldwide?

Degrees earned from universities in New Zealand are widely acknowledged and esteemed across the globe. The New Zealand higher education system is meticulously regulated, and the degrees provided by its universities hold worldwide recognition. New Zealand universities offer a diverse array of programs and degrees, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and many of them are recognized by relevant professional bodies and organizations within their respective fields.

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