New Zealand Tertiary Education

New Zealand is a place where schools focus on teaching you to solve problems creatively and to absorb, analyse and apply information. It is the difference between truly understanding something and simply remembering it.

In New Zealand, you will be encouraged to collaborate and work with other students, which supports flexible, independent thought and open debate.

You will develop confidence, personal belief, and be amazed at what you learn here.

As a New Zealand higher education student, you can choose from a range of carefully designed pathways that all deliver the internationally recognized qualifications and practical skills you need to compete and succeed anywhere in the world.


New Zealand’s universities are committed to maintaining well established international links and to meeting international standards of scholarship. They undertake significant, ongoing research projects in order to boost their knowledge bases.

There are eight government-funded universities, all of them internationally respected for their academic and research performance.

All of New Zealand’s universities offer
a broad range of subjects for under- graduate, masters and doctoral (PhD) degrees in commerce, science and the humanities. Each university has its own specialist subjects such as medicine, engineering, law, veterinary science, agriculture and environmental studies.

A number of universities have more than one campus, often located in different cities, and some have overseas programmes. Our universities also work closely with the business community,
in New Zealand and overseas, to include students in leading-edge research
and development.

Highlights of studying at a university in New Zealand:

  • • Each is a public institution and part- funded by government.
  • • Each is independently governed by its own council.
  • • All offer general degrees with a large choice of subjects and each has strengths in specialised   professional degrees.
  • • All have flexible pathways between each other in their general degrees.
  • • All combine large-group, lecture-style teaching with small-group tutorials, discussions,   laboratory and field practice.
  • • All mix continual and end-of-year assessments.

Institutes of technology and polytechnics

New Zealand has 18 institutes of technology and polytechnics throughout the country, serving around 157,000 students.
These institutions focus on the delivery of high-quality vocational and applied qualifications from certificate to post- graduate level. Industry and employers have input in the design of qualifications to ensure the employability of graduates.
Courses strongly emphasise practical skills and experience, with relatively small class sizes using high-quality facilities such as kitchens, laboratories, workshops and health clinics that mirror industry settings.

Education features include:

  1. • Small class sizes.
  2. •  A strong focus on practical and applied training and education.
  3. •  A strong focus on the work readiness and employability of graduates.
  4. • Teaching in practical environments like studios, workshops, laboratories, hospitals and    kitchens.
  • • Degrees and postgraduate qualifications informed by applied research.
  • • Lecturers with industry qualifications and experience.

• Qualifications that feature internships and industry projects to boost graduate employability.
• Programmes at a wide range of levels, from foundation certificates to undergraduate degrees,   postgraduate programmes and masters degrees.
• Effective learning pathways that allow students to staircase from lower level foundation   qualifications to higher-level advanced and technical qualifications.
• Flexible delivery options including on campus, part-time, distance and online study.
• High-quality vocational and applied qualifications that are internationally recognised.

Private training establishments

New Zealand has approximately
600 private training establishments offering a wide range of approved and accredited higher education courses
and qualifications. These cover specialist fields like design, information technology, travel and tourism. They serve around 75,000 students.

Some of these establishments also have relationships with industry organisations to deliver industry-specific training.

Different ways to study

Distance learning

Many institutions offer courses
and qualifications through distance learning. This allows you to complete a New Zealand qualification from anywhere in the world.

Study abroad and exchange


A number of New Zealand’s higher education providers welcome study abroad students, or have partnered with other organisations to accept exchange students.

You can study here for either one or two trimesters. Studying in New Zealand
is a great opportunity for you to experience living in a new country, experiencing a new culture while completing a qualification from your home country.

English language courses

English language schools are located throughout the country. Courses include general English, English for academic purposes, university preparation, IELTS, TOEFL, holiday English and English for specific industries.

Bridging and foundation


Universities, and many institutes
of technology and polytechnics
and private training establishments, offer you bridging or foundation courses if you’re an international student and need help to meet your entry requirements.

Foundation courses help you learn essay writing, study and time management skills. They can also give you an introduction to a subject area before you commit to further study.