Best universities in New Zealand 2019

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

October 26 2018
Tower at the University of Auckland

New Zealand is a Pacific island nation of around five 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, a connection seen most visibly through the performance of the traditional "haka" war dance at the start of New Zealand rugby games.

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 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 2019

The top 4 universities in New Zealand

=1. University of Auckland

Established in 1883 and spread across various campuses, not only is the University of Auckland 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 which is also the national animal of New Zealand.

Auckland is an internationally minded university, with an international airport in the city and over a quarter of its students coming from outside New Zealand. From 2016, Auckland requires that students obtain an Academic English Language Requirement before they can take undergraduate courses.

A unique way of fighting antibiotic resistance was discovered at Auckland by the team of Dr. Siouxsie Wiles, who took the genes from glowworms and placed them into microbes to be able to identify when they are killed off as the light goes out.

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.

=1. University of Otago

The University of Otago’s expansive grounds and sumptuous Scottish-influenced architecture give it a deserved reputation as one of the most beautiful campuses on earth. Founded in 1869 on the southeast coast of the South Island, Otago is the oldest university in New Zealand.

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

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

The boisterous social nature of Otago students can be seen in annual celebrations such as the Undie 500 car rally and Toga Parade, although past behavioural concerns have led to more tempered events in recent years.

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

=3. Auckland University of Technology

Auckland University of Technology was founded on 1 January 200 when a former technical college was granted university status. 

The university has three campuses with City campus being the largest in central Auckland. The two other campuses South and North are accessible via shuttle bus. 

The student's association at AUT 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, cartoon,s feature articles and columns. 

The student's association also supports more than 40 affiliated clubs and organises concerts, comedy shows, DJ sets, parties, festivals and other events. 

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=3. University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury is located in central Christchurch. After the city was badly affected by an earthquake in 2011 a dedicated reconstruction programme was undertaken to minimise the damage if such an event were to happen again.

The university has had an International College since 2013, dedicated to helping students adapt to studying in New Zealand. The college also offers a Foundation Studies certificate, which teaches English and academic proficiency.

The university founded the first art school in New Zealand, which continues to flourish today. There is strong competition for places on the four year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and the university provides facilities such as campus-based art galleries and workshops.

Past graduates of Canterbury include 2013 Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, gold medal winning Olympic rower Nathan Cohen, and most famously of all Ernest Rutherford, who devised conventional models of the atom and is regarded as the founder of nuclear physics.

Top universities in New Zealand 2019

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2019 results

New Zealand Rank 2019 WUR Rank 2019  University  City
=1  201–250  University of Auckland Auckland
=1  201–250  University of Otago Dunedin
=3  301–350  Auckland University of Technology Auckland
=3  301–350  University of Canterbury Christchurch
=5  401–500  Victoria University of Wellington Wellington
=5  401–500  University of Waikato Hamilton
=7  501–600  Lincoln University Canterbury
=7  501–600  Massey University Palmerston North

Read more: Best universities in the world


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