Study in New Zealand: Top Universities, Admission Requirements, Visa, Cost and Scholarships

New Zealand is gaining importance as the new hub for international education with over 20,000 international students enrolled currently. The international student population in New Zealand represents over 160 countries. New Zealand attracts a greater number of candidates from the Asia Pacific region than others. Qualifications earned in New Zealand are highly regarded and recognized in more than 50 countries since it is a member of the Lisbon Qualification Recognition Convention.

  • Some of the highly sought after fields of study in New Zealand are Engineering and Technology, Business and Management, Agriculture and Environmental Studies, Health, Design, etc.
  • New Zealand has 8 state-funded universities, 18 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and over 550 Private Training Establishments (PTE).
  • University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, University of Otago, University of Waikato, University of Canterbury, Massey University, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington are universities that rank among the top in the world.
  • The tuition fee for pursuing a bachelor's degree in New Zealand is 22,000-32,000 NZD.
  • On an average a master's degree in New Zealand costs around 26,000-37,000 NZD.
  • The cost of living for international students in New Zealand is 20,000-25,000 NZD per year.

In terms of quality of living, New Zealand is rated among one of the best places in the world. Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin are among the most student friendly cities in the country. In comparison to other cities, Auckland and Wellington are more expensive in terms of the cost of living. International students will need to apply for a visa before coming to study in New Zealand. There are funding opportunities for international students studying in New Zealand, some of which are provided by the Government while others are provided by the university where the student is enrolled. With a progressive education system, New Zealand is one of the top 20 study abroad destinations for international students.


Capital City Wellington
Top Student Cities Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin
Languages Used English, Maori
Medium of Instruction English
Type of Visa Required Fee Paying Student Visa
Test Scores Required TOEFL/ IELTS/ GRE/ GMAT
Academic Calendar Semester-based (Trimester-based for Victoria University of Wellington)
Cost of Living 15,000 NZD per year
Average International Undergraduate Tuition 22,000-32,000 NZD
Average International Graduate Tuition 26,000-37,000 NZD
Financial Aid Institutional Scholarships, Government Scholarships
Work-Study Allowed

Top Universities to Study in New Zealand

New Zealand is home to 8 universities ranked among the top globally on influential rankings such as THE and QS. The top universities to study in New Zealand according to latest rankings are given in the table below:

University World University Rank 2022 (THE) New Zealand Rank 2022 (THE) World University Rank 2021 (QS) New Zealand Rank 2021 (QS)
University of Auckland =137 #1 #81 #1
Auckland University of Technology 201-250 =2 =437 #8
University of Otago 201-250 =2 #184 #2
University of Waikato 401-500 #4 =375 #6
University of Canterbury 501-600 =5 =270 #4
Lincoln University 501-600 =5 =387 #7
Victoria University of Wellington 501-600 =5 =223 #3
Massey University 601-800 #8 #272 #5

Admission Process to Study in New Zealand

To study in New Zealand, applicants will have to follow the standard application process set by their institution. Students who wish to handle the application process by themselves are encouraged to connect with their university representative to gather useful information and understand the requirements. Some students also prefer recognized education agencies for assistance during the admission process for studying in New Zealand.

Where to Apply?

  • New Zealand does not have any centralised application portal for students to apply to multiple universities at once.
  • Each applicant will have to apply individually to their choice of institution following the application process laid down by them.

When to Apply?

  • Universities in New Zealand follow a semester-based calendar with the exception of Victoria University of Wellington that follows a trimester-based calendar.
  • The primary admission intake in New Zealand for most institutions is in March while some courses may allow students to commence in July.

Admission Requirements to Study in New Zealand

While admission requirements largely depend on different institutions, the general admission requirements for international students are as follows:

  • Educational qualifications from previously attended institutions
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Valid visa
  • Copy of passport
  • Standardized test scores such as GRE/ GMAT
  • Recommendation letters
  • Statement of purpose
  • CV
  • Interview

Admission Requirements for Popular Courses to Study in New Zealand

Some of the most popular disciplines studied in New Zealand are Engineering, Technology, Business and Management, Agriculture, Animation, Gaming, etc.

  • The basic entry requirements for admission to a bachelor’s degree program is completion of high school education with overall 75% in class 12.
  • A completed bachelor’s degree in a relevant field is required for admission to postgraduate programs.
  • Applicants are expected to have grade B or GPA of 5.0 or above for admission to their choice of program.
  • International students seeking admission to universities in New Zealand must submit English language proficiency test scores.
  • A minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0 is recommended for admission to some of the top-ranked institutions in New Zealand. GMAT scores are required for admission to the MBA program.
  • GRE is not very popular in New Zealand and hence not required for most programs.

The admission requirements for some of the most popular courses in New Zealand are summarized in the table below:

Course Admission Requirements
MBA in New Zealand A relevant bachelor’s degree/ postgraduate diploma in business administration or postgraduate certificate in business from a recognized institution with a GPA of 5.0 or above; Gained at least 3 years of relevant managerial experience; GMAT score between 550 and 600 IELTS score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
Master of Engineering Completed 4-year engineering degree with a GPA of 5.0; IELTS score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
Master of Business Management Completed a relevant bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 4.0; IELTS score of 6.5 or above
Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences Overall average of 75% and a minimum of 60% in English in year 12; IELTS of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
Master of Information Technology Completed undergraduate degree in an IT related field such as computer science, information systems or software engineering with a GPA of 4.5; IELTS of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
Master of Game Design A bachelor’s degree in design-related subject with at least grade B or equivalent; IELTS of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0

Visa to Study in New Zealand

International students who want to enroll in a full-time program in New Zealand for a period of more than 3 months will require a fee paying student visa. Students on this visa can stay in New Zealand for up to 4 years. The visa allows international students to:

  • Study full-time the course that they are enrolled in and English language study
  • Work part-time up to 20 hours per week while studying or full-time during holidays.
  • If eligible, live by yourself or come with a parent or legal guardian if below a certain age.

The following requirements must be fulfilled to apply for a fee paying student visa to study in New Zealand:

  • Passport or certificate of identity
  • 1 photograph for online application or 2 photographs for paper application
  • Medical examination or chest x-ray or both as proof of good health
  • Police certificate as proof of good character
  • Evidence of genuine intentions
  • Admission offer from an approved education provider
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Full medical and travel insurance
  • Proof of at least 15,000 NZD for a full year or 1,250 NZD per month for living expenses
  • Evidence showing practical experience as a course requirement
  • Information regarding the course and holidays

Cost of Studying in New Zealand

International students planning to study in New Zealand must estimate the budget. While applying for admission, students will have to provide proof of sufficient funds to study in New Zealand. The components of the cost of studying in New Zealand includes tuition fees and the cost of living. New Zealand is considered to offer value for money for students studying abroad.

Tuition Fees to Study in New Zealand

The tuition fees for international students to study in New Zealand according to the level of study are given in the table below:

Program Average Tuition Fees (in NZD)
Diplomas/ Certificates 12,000-18,000
Bachelor’s Degree 22,000-32,000
Master’s Degree 26,000-37,000
Doctoral Degree 6,500-9,000
English Language Courses 5,100

Program Fees to Study in New Zealand

The average tuition fees for programs at different levels are discussed in the above table. However, the tuition fees vary with the choice of university. The program fees for various courses provided by the top universities in New Zealand are given in the table below to give prospective applicants an estimate regarding the cost of studying:

Program Average Tuition Fees (in NZD)
Master of Business Administration 60,000
Master of Engineering 47,000
Bachelor of Agriculture Sciences 34,000
Master of Design 36,000
Master of Information Technology 53,000
Bachelor of Engineering 45,000
Master of Game Design 48,000
Master of Science 47,000
Bachelor of Law 31,000
Master in Law 41,000
Master of Fine Arts 42,000
Master of Tourism 52,000

Cost of Living in New Zealand

International students must have at least 15,000 NZD on account of cost of living for the first year of study in New Zealand. Students enrolling for programs shorter than a year must have at least 1,250 NZD per month. Living expenses differ on the basis of individual choices, lifestyle and which part of the country you live in. The estimated weekly living costs for studying in New Zealand are as follows:

Expense Amount (in NZD)
Accommodation 270
Utilities 23
Food 120
Transportation 35
Entertainment 55
Mobile 10
Internet 8
Insurance 8

Scholarships to Study in New Zealand

The educational institutions, New Zealand Government, other governments, private institutions and philanthropists contribute towards scholarships for international students in New Zealand. Scholarships offered by the New Zealand Government can be checked on Education New Zealand’s website. Some popular Education New Zealand scholarships and Government scholarships awarded to students from any nationality are tabulated below:

Scholarship Eligibility Value of Award
New Zealand Excellence Awards (NZEA) International students from India are eligible to apply for this scholarship; applicants must have at least a GPA of B+ in the most recent or highest tertiary qualification. UG Scholarship: 10,000 NZD PG Scholarship: 5,000 NZD
New Zealand Global Research Alliance Doctoral Scholarship Applicants from India are eligible to apply for this scholarship if they are ready to complete PhD in Science. 124,600 NZD in total
New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships Applicants from Commonwealth countries pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in New Zealand Full tuition fees, a living allowance of 491 NZD and one time establishment allowance of 3,000 NZD.
New Zealand International Tertiary Scholarships These scholarships are awarded to citizens of Pacific, Asia, Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and Commonwealth countries. The preferred fields of study are those according to the needs of the applicant's country such as renewable energy, agriculture, disaster management, private and public sector development. Full tuition, a living allowance of 491 NZD per week, one time establishment allowance of 3,000 NZD, medical allowance and travel insurance

Work while you Study

International students can also look for part-time jobs to fund a part of their education. Student visa holders are allowed to work part-time up to 20 hours per week and full-time during holidays. Master’s by research or PhD students may be able to work full-time during term and holidays. Part-time work not only contributes towards expenses but also helps in making new connections, building networks, gaining employability skills, communication skills, teamwork, English language skills, etc.

Jobs After Studying in New Zealand

Education in New Zealand is recognised in over 50 countries and sought after by employers. Students who wish to stay in New Zealand after graduation and gain some practical experience will have to apply for a post-study work visa. Post-study work visa entitles international students to work in New Zealand for 3 years after graduation.

The top paying jobs in New Zealand after graduation according to Emoluments are tabulated below:

Job Title Average Salary (in NZD)
Legal Department 204,000
Financial Services 182,000
Executive Management and Change 170,000
Legal and Paralegal 166,000
Compliance, AML, KYC and Monitoring 136,000
Finance Control and Strategy 121,000

The top paying degrees in New Zealand and average salary are given below:

Program Average Salary (in NZD)
Masters in Finance 158,000
PhD 156,000
Executive Masters 150,000
Other Bachelor’s 131,000
LLM 124,000
Executive MBA 123,000

Education in New Zealand is available at a much more competitive rate than other study abroad destinations such as the US, UK or Canada. New Zealand has around 68% overall employment rate with sound career prospects for international students. There are considerable scholarships and financial aid opportunities for international students in the country. Most importantly, New Zealand welcomes international students with open arms and offers education that is sought after by employers and other institutions around the world.


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