A small island nation of just over 4.5 million people, New Zealand is made up of two major land masses (North Island and South Island) and a number of smaller islands including Stewart Island located in the south-western Pacific Ocean. The two main islands are divided by a 22 km stretch of water called the Cook Strait.
New Zealand is located approximately 1,500 km east of Australia and about 1,000 km from the Pacific Islands. Due to its relative remoteness and being water locked, New Zealand was one of the last countries to be settled.
Maori were the first to arrive in New Zealand, journeying in canoes from Hawaiki about 1,000 years ago. A Dutchman, Abel Tasman, was the first European to sight the country but it was the British who made New Zealand part of their empire. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, an agreement between the British Crown and Maori. It established British law in New Zealand and is considered New Zealand’s founding document and an important part of the country's history.
The capital of the country is Wellington and the national currency is the New Zealand Dollar. A New Zealand Dollar is about 0.8 US Dollars.
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy under England. The Queen is the head of state, but New Zealand governs itself through its parliamentary system with a Prime Minister.
New Zealand's free trade economy is dependent on International trade, with the principal export industries being agriculture, horticulture, fishing, forestry and mining.
Most of the country lies close to the coast, resulting in mild temperatures. The average New Zealand temperature decreases as you travel south. January and February are the warmest months, and July is the coldest month of the year. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC (70-90°F) and in winter between 10-15ºC (50-60°F).
University education was established in New Zealand in 1870 and has a similar tradition to the British university system. New Zealand has eight universities, 18 polytechnics and institutes of technology, around 600 private training institutions and 20 industry-training organisations.
The higher education system in New Zealand follows current trends and is up-to-date with global standards. In fact, academics and teachers from many different countries choose to study and work in New Zealand to take advantage of the country’s new way of thinking. This is also the reason why large numbers of students from all over the world come to New Zealand.
All New Zealand universities are featured in the 2013/14 QS World Top 500 University Rankings. New Zealand ranked in the World’s top 50 in 18 subjects including Accounting and Finance, Engineering – Civil and Structural, Education, Law and Psychology. Two thirds of New Zealand universities are featured in the 2012/13 Shanghai Jiao Tong top 500. The prestigious Legatum Institute in London has rated New Zealand No.1 in the world for education.
Find the best information about what to expect when studying in top cities in New Zealand. Read about degree course offers, career opportunities, student life, living costs, and more.
Complete and return the university application forms. While this can often be done online, you’ll still need to post or courier some documents, such as:
Once you’ve been accepted, the institution will send you an ‘offer of place’ that confirms your course details and the start dates. You’ll also receive an invoice, as you need to pay your tuition fees before you can apply for a visa.
Admission requirements vary depending on the chosen higher education institution. For detailed information, you need to check with the tertiary education provider you’re considering.
Find more information about how to apply for a university in New Zealand.
Universities offer a broad range of subjects in Arts, Commerce and Science. Each has developed its own specialist subjects such as Medicine, Engineering, Veterinary Science. Computer Studies, Agriculture and Environmental Studies, Sports-Science, Biotechnology, Architecture etc.
Each university is a public institution, independently governed by its own council and partly funded by the government. New Zealand’s universities are committed to maintaining well established international links and to meeting international standards of scholarship.
Polytechnics provide education and training at all levels. A few of them offer Postgraduate programmes as well. Polytechnics offer diverse courses like Arts and Design, Travel & Tourism, Hospitality, etc.
Private institutions Degree Providers provide a quality service to their students and a range of skills of value in the work environment.
Private Training Providers (PTEs) a range of courses including English language studies, aviation flight training, air traffic control, business computing, dance, design and arts, religious studies, travel and tourism and training for the hospitality industry.
You can study for either academic or more practically focused qualifications, gaining everything from entry-level certificates to diplomas, degrees and doctorates.
In New Zealand, higher education focuses on the individual. Challenges to traditional ideas are encouraged, and a climate of healthy, open debate helps students make their own discoveries.
Teaching standards are high. Small class sizes allow for high levels of personal attention. Even at first-year level, courses are delivered by respected teaching and research staff. Most university staff combine research and teaching. All programmes mix in-term assessment with end-of-year exams.
English is the day-to-day language in New Zealand. Foreign students find it very easy to study, live and interact in the country. In addition, the local accent is easy to understand.
Meet language requirements for university admission in New Zealand by choosing an English language preparation course offered by English language schools worldwide, including the UK. By taking the right English exam training course you will advance your language skills in order to get the needed scores for IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, or other English exams.
Preparation courses in New Zealand
Some international students may not be able to attend a degree in New Zealand because their previous studies do not match the academic system of the country. To be allowed to take an undergraduate or graduate degree in New Zealand, they will need to enrol in a one-year pre-Bachelor or pre-Master offered by a local university.
Popular foundation degree studies in New Zealand include pre-law degrees, pre-MBA courses, pre-medicine, pre-nursing studies, or other types of international foundation programmes in engineering, economics, finance, social science, science and other types of university pathway programmes. Preparation courses in New Zealand include academic English language training to help international students meet university language requirements for future undergraduate or graduate studies.
Foundation degrees in early years in New Zealand are perfect for increasing your chances of getting accepted to a New Zealand university. Pre-university business schools, law schools or med schools make sure international students develop the skills they need to succeed in the New Zealand academic system. Pre-university education also includes cultural integration classes that help students feel more at home. Some pre-university programmes guarantee enrolment to the institution if students complete the preparation with high grades.
Where can I study a foundation course in New Zealand?
The top New Zealand cities where students can take a foundation year programme include: Auckland, Christchurch, Wellingtonand more.
If you are enrolling in a programme of study for the first time, you need to have an offer of place from a New Zealand education provider. An offer must include the education provider's name and contact details, the name of the study programme, proof that the programme meets New Zealand’s requirements for international students, delivery mode, tuition fee amount, etc.
Tertiary education providers can offer a programme of study to international students if they meet certain conditions. Private training establishments (PTEs) can only offer approved programmes of study that are longer than three months and registered with the NZQA.
Required documents include:
For detailed information about visa application, contact the local New Zealand embassy or consulate in your country.
Find more information about the study visa for New Zealand.