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Best universities in New Zealand 2024

Explore the top universities in New Zealand using data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024

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September 29 2023
Tower at the University of Auckland


Top 6 universities in New Zealand

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in New Zealand

New Zealand Rank 2024 World University Rank 2024 World University Rank 2023 University City
1 =150  =139  University of Auckland Auckland
2 301–350  301–350  University of Otago Dunedin
=3 401–500  251–300  Auckland University of Technology Auckland
=3 401–500  401–500  Lincoln University Lincoln
=3 401–500  401–500  Victoria University of Wellington Wellington
=3 401–500  401–500  University of Waikato Hamilton

New Zealand is a Pacific island nation of about 5 million people. While New Zealand has a history of colonialism, its distinct culture has also been strongly influenced by the native Maori people of the island.

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New Zealand is a member of the Commonwealth, and its lasting ties with the United Kingdom are evidenced by English as the first language of the nation, and the standard language for its universities.

The temperate climate of New Zealand has allowed its agricultural sector to flourish over the centuries, and there are actually six times more sheep than people in the nation. There also some great cities in New Zealand, including Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

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Famous faces from New Zealand include pop singer Lorde and actor Karl Urban. The country is well known as the filming location of the Lord of the Rings movies, and is also the basis for much of the material from New Zealand musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords.

Below are some of the best universities to study at in New Zealand based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024.

The top 6 universities in New Zealand

= 3. University of Waikato

University of Waikato was established on 1 January 1964, initially as a university college, before gaining full university status.

The university has three vibrant campuses, with its Hamilton campus being the largest and most prominent.

The university's students' association is actively involved in producing The Nexus, a bi-weekly student publication. This publication features a blend of news, opinions, artistic creations, and insightful columns.

The students' association at the University of Waikato supports over 40 student clubs and orchestrating an array of events, including concerts, comedy gigs, DJ performances, parties, festivals, and more.

= 3. Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington, founded in 1897 as Victoria College, has three campuses across Wellington: Kelburn, Pipitea, and Te Aro.

The Kelburn campus, located in the heart of New Zealand's capital city, serves as the main hub. The Pipitea campus is home to the Wellington School of Business and Government, strategically positioned near Parliament and the central business district.

At Victoria University of Wellington, students engage in a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including recently introduced taught master's programmes. Additionally, students actively participate in producing Salient, a weekly magazine that focuses on student news and university-related content.

The university has its own art gallery, the Adam Art Gallery, situated on the Kelburn Campus.

=3. Lincoln University

Lincoln University, known as Te Whare Wanaka o Aoraki in Maori, originated as a School of Agriculture on 4 July 1880.

Situated in New Zealand's South Island, the university's main campus is the Lincoln campus. Additionally, students have access to the Te Waihora and Christchurch campuses through a convenient shuttle service.

The university comprises several faculties, such as the faculty of agribusiness and commerce, which focuses on sustainable agricultural management, and the faculty of agriculture and life sciences, dedicated to enhancing agricultural productivity through scientific disciplines. The faculty of environment, society, and design offers courses in areas like landscape architecture and tourism.

Lincoln University also manages farms across New Zealand, serving as practical learning environments for students and contributing profits towards scholarships.

=3. Auckland University of Technology

Auckland University of Technology was founded on 1 January 2000, when a former technical college was granted university status.

The university has three campuses, with its City campus being the largest in central Auckland.

The two other campuses, South and North, are accessible via shuttle bus.

The students’ association at the university produces a fortnightly student magazine called Debate. It is put together by a full-time editor and a team of student contributors. It features news, views, cartoons, feature articles and columns.

2. University of Otago

Founded in 1869 on the south-east coast of the South Island, the University of Otago is the oldest university in New Zealand.

Medical researcher Muriel Bell, mountaineer Christine Jensen Burke and astrophysicist Mazlan Othman all graduated from Otago.

The University of Otago’s expansive grounds and Scottish-influenced architecture give it a deserved reputation as one of the most beautiful campuses.

A research-led atmosphere is fostered at the University of Otago, and the university is known to excel in the field of health sciences, with undergraduate and doctoral programmes offered in the field. Outside the student town of Dunedin, Otago has health science institutes in Christchurch and Wellington.

International students are welcomed, with exchange partnerships established with more than 90 university campuses globally. Otago has also awarded Rhodes Scholarships to a select group of New Zealander graduates since 1904.

1. University of Auckland

The University of Auckland was established in 1883.

The University of Auckland is not only the largest university in New Zealand, it is also one of the most prestigious.

The Auckland badge of arms is topped by three kiwis, the flightless bird that is the national animal of New Zealand.

The University of Auckland is an internationally minded university; there is an international airport in the city, and over a quarter of the university’s students come from outside New Zealand. The university is spread over multiple campuses. 

Since 2016, Auckland has required that students obtain an Academic English Language Requirement before they can take undergraduate courses.

Chairman of HSBC Vincent Cheng is an alumnus of Auckland, as is the 37th prime minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Philippa Boyens.

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Top universities in New Zealand 2024

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2024 results

New Zealand Rank 2024 World University Rank 2024 World University Rank 2023 University City
1 =150  =139  University of Auckland Auckland
2 301–350  301–350  University of Otago Dunedin
=3 401–500  251–300  Auckland University of Technology Auckland
=3 401–500  401–500  Lincoln University Lincoln
=3 401–500  401–500  Victoria University of Wellington Wellington
=3 401–500  401–500  University of Waikato Hamilton
=4 501–600  601–800  University of Canterbury Christchurch
=4 501–600  601–800  Massey University Palmerston North
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