Studying in New Zealand: an essential guide

New Zealand is known for its serene landscapes and high quality of life – and its eight universities are all ranked in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Aparna Chandrashekaran

10X International School, Bengaluru, India
8 Jul 2024
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New Zealand landscape, with mountains and lake
image credit: istock/zetter.

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New Zealand is a hidden gem among higher-education destinations around the world. Tucked away in the Southern hemisphere, New Zealand offers high-quality education and globally recognised qualifications.

Known for their research, innovation and practical hands-on learning, university courses in New Zealand prepare students with much-needed skills for the future of work.

Known for its serene landscapes and high quality of life, New Zealand also ranks as the fourth safest country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index 2023.

Studying in New Zealand

There are eight universities in New Zealand:

Auckland University of Technology
Lincoln University
Massey University
University of Auckland
University of Canterbury
University of Otago
University of Waikato
Victoria University of Wellington

The majority of bachelor’s degrees are three years long, with the honours programme adding a fourth year. Professional degrees take an average of four years – though medicine takes six years. Students can also opt for double-degree options, such as the bachelor of arts and science (BASc), which can be completed in four years.

Find out more about studying in New Zealand here.

How to apply to university in New Zealand

There are two intakes, in February and July. Students should start planning at least nine months in advance, so as to leave enough time for researching and shortlisting universities, submitting applications, searching for accommodation and applying for the student visa.

The application deadline depends on which semester students want to begin their course. 

For Semester 1, which usually starts in February or March, the deadline is in October, November or December. 

For Semester 2, which usually starts in July, the deadline is in March, April, May or early July. 

Students should check the university's website for the exact deadline. Applications must be submitted via individual university websites.

Entry requirements

Students should visit each university’s website to check the eligibility criteria and entry requirements for their choice of subject or course.

However, all international students who are from countries where English is not the native language will need to show evidence of English-language skills, and are required to take an English-proficiency test, such as TOEFL, IELTS or PTE.

Tuition fees and living costs

Tuition fees per annum: NZ$29,000-$43,000

Living costs per annum: NZ$20,000

Fees will be higher for subjects such as medicine and veterinary science. Living costs will also vary, depending on which part of the country students are living in. 

Work opportunities on a student visa

International students are allowed to work 20 hours a week part-time when the university is in session, and can work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

The minimum wage is approximately NZ$23.15 per hour.


Each university has generous scholarships for international students. Students should research individual university websites for additional information and eligibility criteria.

University of Otago: vice-chancellor’s scholarships for international students, worth NZD$10,000

Auckland University of Technology: multiple scholarships by region, department or faculty, and home government scholarships by certain countries

University of Auckland: University of Auckland excellence awards, worth NZ $10,000. There are also scholarships for students from specific countries, such as the University of Auckland India High-Achiever award, worth NZ $20,000

Lincoln University: vice-chancellor’s scholarship, worth NZ $5,000, and international school leavers’ scholarship, worth NZ $10,000

Massey University: Massey scholarships, worth NZ $5,000. Apply through the Massey University website. Also the New Zealand Excellence Awards, worth NZ $10,000, for which students must apply through Education New Zealand

University of Canterbury: UC International first-year scholarship, worth NZ $10,000-NZ $15,000. Also the Dean’s Award scholarship, worth 10 per cent of the tuition fee

Victoria University of Wellington: Vice-Chancellor's International Excellence Scholarship, worth NZ $10,000, and Tongarewa Scholarship, worth NZ $5,000-NZ $10,000.

University of Waikato:- VC International Excellence Scholarship, worth up to NZ $15,000  

Post-study work visa in New Zealand

Students can search the Green List to see if their role is Tier 1 for a Straight to Residence Visa, or Tier 2 for a Work to Residence Visa, as well as what qualifications, registration or experience they need to apply. 

Some of the skills in demand cover industries like construction, engineering, medical and health services, scientists, teachers, accountants and agriculture specialists. Find out more here

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