Study in New Zealand

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Aside from being a beloved gap-year spot for budding travellers, New Zealand offers plenty of opportunity for students considering postgraduate study

Thanks to the hugely popular Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was filmed in New Zealand, the picturesque country now features even higher on the must-see list of curious tourists and students alike.

All New Zealand universities are consistently ranked amongst the world's best by QS World University Rankings, and rank in the world's top 100 in 31 subjects.

When you team such academic prestige with a diverse culture and welcoming locals, New Zealand becomes a popular place for those wishing to undertake further study elsewhere in the world.

Masters degrees

The education system in New Zealand is based on the British model, so is very recognisable. Postgraduate qualifications in the country are equivalent to their UK counterparts, with programmes offering full-time and part-time study options.

Qualifications gained in the country have global appeal - and as a member of the Lisbon Qualification Recognition Convention, a degree from New Zealand will be recognised in over 50 countries.

Like the UK, the minimum entry requirement for a Masters degree is a Bachelors qualification. Universities in New Zealand offer a wealth of postgraduate programmes, with the most popular subjects including:

  • business;
  • economics;
  • education;
  • engineering;
  • finance;
  • management;
  • tourism.

Search for Masters programmes at Find a Masters.

New Zealand universities

Many courses at the country's respected universities are familiar, for example, Masters and PhDs. Others are less so, such as Graduate Diplomas and Honours.

New Zealand has eight universities and these include:

  • Auckland University of Technology;
  • Lincoln University;
  • Massey University;
  • University of Auckland;
  • University of Canterbury;
  • University of Otago;
  • University of Waikato;
  • Victoria University of Wellington.

There are also a number of institutes of technology and polytechnics offering postgraduate programmes.

Course fees

The least expensive programmes are lecture-based such as a Master of Arts, and the most costly are specialist and professional degrees including medicine and engineering.

Postgraduate courses in New Zealand can cost up to $45,000 a year, but each university sets its own tuition fees so to get a more exact price, check with your chosen institution.

Funding to study in New Zealand

International PhD students are offered financial help to study at a New Zealand institution thanks to the government-funded New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships (NZIDRS).

The NZIDRS provide full tuition fees, plus a living stipend for up to 36 months and are administered by Education New Zealand.

Universities offer scholarships directly, so it's always best to visit their websites for the latest information on what options are available and what schemes you are eligible to apply for.

How to apply

Individual universities set their own entry requirements so these will vary depending on what course you choose, and of course, the institution itself.

In general, applicants are expected to hold a 2:1 or a solid 2:2, but to make sure you meet all the admissions criteria, contact the international office of the relevant institution.

If it's a PhD you're looking to undertake, you will need a relevant Masters degree. It is possible to be accepted with a first-class-honours undergraduate degree, although this is uncommon. A considerable amount of research experience within your field will serve you better in this instance.

You can apply directly to your chosen university, either by post or via an online application form.

To complete your enrolment, you're also required to provide supporting documents, including copies of your previous official academic transcripts and proof of your identity. (A certified copy of the personal details page of your passport or a birth certificate is usual.)

Specific courses may require additional information, so you should check with the particular programme for further details.

Student visas

International students undertaking postgraduate study in New Zealand are required to have a student visa for the duration of their studies.

You can only stay in the country on a student visa for a maximum of four years and you must have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance while you're studying.

Once you have a student visa, you must meet certain conditions during your stay, including:

  • you must attend the programme of study at the place of study noted on your visa;
  • if you have to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, you must live with that person;
  • you must be able to show that you are passing your course and meeting your attendance requirements;
  • you may only undertake work allowed by your student visa;
  • you must obey New Zealand's laws;
  • you must only stay in New Zealand for the time allowed by your visa.

A full guide to applying for a visa, including what evidence you need to provide with your application is provided by Immigration New Zealand.

Be aware, you must have an offer of a place from a New Zealand institution before applying.

New Zealand exchanges and placements

Exchanges and placements are a great short-term option for those wishing to get a taste of what it's like to study in a foreign country.

You should ask your own university's international study office about exchange agreements with New Zealand institutions. You will continue to pay domestic (UK) tuition fees for the duration of your overseas study.

Doctoral programmes

PhD applicants require a Masters qualification in a related subject. Most programmes last for three years.

Thanks to a New Zealand government policy, all international PhD students are eligible to pay the same fees as domestic students. Luckily this cuts the cost of doctoral fees significantly.

International students wishing to undertake PhD study in New Zealand should expect to pay between $6,000 and $9,000 per year.