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Study in New Zealand

Requirements to Study in New Zealand

Requirements to Study in New Zealand

New Zealand


Studying abroad in New Zealand is a dream many international students have, and about 100,000 international students across the world are currently studying in higher education institutions. New Zealand universities offer many degree programs for all international students across all levels.

Being eligible for admission to higher education institutions in New Zealand takes work and effort. The requirements for admission vary depending on the degree level, and the eligibility criteria include basic requirements similar to those of European countries' universities. The only requirement, with no exceptions, is English language proficiency, considering all degree programs are taught in English.

Here are the requirements to study abroad in New Zealand:

What Are the Admission Requirements to Study in New Zealand?

The requirements to study abroad in New Zealand vary dramatically depending on the degree level and the degree program students choose to pursue. The general requirements in New Zealand are basic in assessing students’ qualifications and prior academic achievements.

Typically, undergraduate degree programs require an entrance exam, and postgraduate studies ask for some previous work experience and at least one degree in a relevant field. To find out more about the admission requirements, below is a thorough description of the eligibility criteria for each degree level.

What Do I Need to Enroll at the Bachelor’s Level?

One of the main and crucial eligibility criteria for admission to the undergraduate level in New Zealand is proof of English language proficiency. Considering English is the official spoken language in New Zealand, it is a must for international students to be able to pursue higher education studies.

To be eligible for Bachelor’s degree admission, students must complete their higher secondary education, which is considered equivalent to New Zealand year 13.

As such, international students must complete the 13th year of secondary education in New Zealand, which is longer than the usual 12-year duration, in order to be eligible for undergraduate studies.

Here is what you can do to complete the 13th year of secondary education in New Zealand and be eligible for undergraduate studies:

  • Score high in the entrance exam held by the university.
  • Enroll in a foundation course before undergraduate studies.
  • Complete an undergraduate-level year in your home country.

To prove language proficiency at the undergraduate level for universities in New Zealand, it is sometimes necessary to score high in the following internationally recognized language exams:


What Do I Need to Enroll at the Master’s Level?

The postgraduate degree level in New Zealand is a little more challenging to enroll in compared to the undergraduate level. Except for the language proficiency proof in English, most universities in New Zealand require master's degree candidates to submit a bachelor's degree in the relevant field they are applying for.

Other requirements to be eligible for admission at the master’s level include the following:

  • Test scores. GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL (depending on the university and field of study).
  • Portfolios (for specific degree programs).
  • Interviews. Some universities in New Zealand invite applicants to arrange interviews to finalize their decision for admission.
  • Work experience and extracurricular activities.

What Do I Need to Enroll in the Ph.D. Level?

The doctorate level at universities in New Zealand requires a higher level of knowledge and qualifications than previous degree levels. When you apply for a Ph.D. degree, most programs will ask for a master’s degree in the relevant field. Furthermore, applicants must also have passed the master's degree with a certain GPA, depending on whether the degree program requires a high grade for admission.

Aside from the basic examination requirements such as TOEFL or IELTS, candidates for a Ph.D. must also submit GRE or GMAT score results, mainly required for admission in Business or Management Studies. Other essential qualifications for admission to a Ph.D. degree include letters of recommendation and a study/research proposal, depending on the program the applicant chooses.

What Are the Requirements for an MBA Degree in New Zealand?

The MBA is a Master’s in Business Administration, and New Zealand universities require separate criteria for admission compared to other master's degree programs. To be eligible for an MBA in New Zealand, the applicant must have obtained at least 4 to 5 years of work experience in the same or related field.

To get admission for an MBA, candidates must also have the following qualifications:

  • Diplomas. MBA programs require a bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline.
  • GPA. To get an MBA, applicants must have a minimum of a 6.0 GPA.
  • Interview. The admission office may invite MBA candidates to attend an interview, depending on the university and the number of applicants.

What Documents Do I Need to Submit for Admission?

Aside from the specific requirements that each degree level may require, higher education institutions in New Zealand require a general list of requirements for all international students. These requirements include several documents that most students must provide the admission office, along with the application form, as the first application step.

Here are the general documents required to study abroad in New Zealand:

  • Statement of Purpose. Typically at the undergraduate level, most universities ask for a statement of purpose or essay of around 500 - 1000 words in English.
  • Passport. The passport should be valid for at least three months after graduation.
  • Diplomas and transcripts. Depending on the degree level you are applying for, you must submit proof of high school and bachelor's degree transcripts and diplomas.
  • Recommendation/Reference Letters. Most universities in New Zealand require applicants to submit at least two reference letters from previous professors. Applicants can submit letters of recommendation from their previous or current employers/managers if applicable.
  • CV. A CV or Resume is essential, especially for postgraduate degrees, presenting the applicants' full employment and academic history, including extracurricular activities (which universities in New Zealand take seriously).
  • Student Visa. International students must apply for a visa to study abroad in New Zealand. You must apply for a student visa immediately after you get accepted.
  • Proof of Funding. International students should provide the admission office with financial proof, proving they have sufficient funds to pay their tuition fees and living expenses (unless they have a scholarship).

Read more about the university application process in New Zealand here.

How Do I Prove Language Proficiency to Study in New Zealand?

Language exams are almost always mandatory for admission to universities in New Zealand. International students must prove English proficiency to be eligible for any higher education degree in New Zealand. If proof is not provided, they must enter an internationally recognized exam such as TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE as the most popular.

Here is a detailed list of language proficiency exams that New Zealand accepts and the corresponding scores:

  • IELTS: A minimum score of 6.5 for both Bachelor's and Master's degree programs. Some universities require at least a 6.0 score for admission, depending on the degree program.
  • TOEFL: To study abroad in New Zealand, applicants must have a minimum score of 79 for undergraduate studies and a minimum score of 95 for postgraduate studies.
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): A minimum score of 50 is required for undergraduate studies and 64 for Master's degree programs.

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