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Study in New Zealand

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Where & what to study


Education providers offers qualifications at every level - certificates, diplomas, graduate and post-graduate degrees. They’re all ranked on what’s called the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. The NZQA website has details of the different levels of qualification available and where they fit on the Framework.

Another great source of information is the Careers NZ site. It has a ‘job library’ you can use to search for descriptions of what people actually do in that sort of job, what skills and qualifications you need, what you might earn and what opportunities there are for employment.

Universities, Institutes of Technology/Polytechnics, and Wānanga


New Zealand has eight universities that offer academic programmes, rather than vocational.

All New Zealand’s universities offer a broad range of subjects for undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral (PhD) degrees in commerce, science and the humanities. Some universities offer degrees in specialist fields - such as medicine, agriculture, engineering, etc. A number of universities have more than one campus, often located in different cities, and some have overseas programmes.

New Zealand also has 18 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs). They provide professional and vocational education and training ranging from introductory studies through to full degree programmes. Many ITPs also offer English language training and postgraduate study options, including up to Doctoral (PhD) level. Courses are more vocationally oriented, emphasising practical experience and application to work situations. A degree from one of these institutions has equal status with a university degree.

There are three Wānanga in Aotearoa New Zealand. These tertiary institutions offer teaching and learning environments that are based on Māori values and principles. Many offer qualifications in te reo Māori (Māori language), teaching, nursing, business, health, English language and Māori arts. Wānanga offer many undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including master’s and doctoral (PhD) level qualifications.

Private Training Institutions and English language schools


You also have the choice of 600 registered Private Training Establishments (PTEs). PTE courses are generally specific to English language learning or niche occupations such as travel and tourism, design and ICT.

Most PTEs provide certificate and diploma level qualifications, but some also deliver Bachelor and Masters degrees. They also normally have flexible start dates throughout the year.

Many international students enrol in English for Academic Study courses prior to formal academic studies. Special English language courses are available throughout the year, and range from four weeks to 12 months.

Students who are competent in English often do short-term foundation studies or pre-university orientation studies at PTEs or universities.

Visas & citizenship


New Zealand has a range of visa options depending on whether you want to work here, study, invest or simply enjoy a visit.

There are a range of New Zealand visas, some of which you may be eligible for. Choosing the best option for your circumstances will likely depend on how long you want to stay, whether you’ve already got a job lined up and if there is a shortage of your skills in New Zealand.

Admission requirements

To study for diplomas and degrees at Universities, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, students coming through New Zealand’s secondary school system generally need NCEA Level 3 qualifications.

Students from overseas need to be able to show they’ve achieved a similar University entrance level of education - that can include GCSE A levels for students from the UK, Hong Kong ‘A’ Levels, STPM /Malaysian Higher School Certificate Australian Matriculation Year 12 Certificate. They also need to be able to prove their English skills.

Applying

Once you’ve found the institution and course you want, you’ll need to complete and return the relevant paperwork. Once accepted, the institution will send you an 'offer of place' letter and once you’ve paid the fees, the institution will send you a ‘confirmed offer of place’.

If your course is for less than 12 weeks, or your country has a visa-free agreement with New Zealand, you don’t need a visa.

In all other cases you’ll need to apply for a New Zealand student visa and be able to show the confirmed offer.

Fees and allowances

Students with ‘domestic’ status have their fees subsidised by the government, although they’re expected to contribute about 30% of the cost of their course. That applies to New Zealand citizens and holders of residents’ visas. There are some other categories of people eligible for domestic status: check the Ministry of Education website for more information.

Other students can access tertiary education in New Zealand but they pay international fees.

Fees can vary widely depending on the course and the institution, so check the websites of the institutions you’re considering.

Student loans and allowances

Citizens and permanent residents who have been resident in New Zealand for three years can apply for a Student Allowance, which will help with living costs, and a Student Loan to help pay for fees and course related costs. Loans need to be repaid, but allowances don’t.

Check the Study link website for information about loans and allowances, including eligibility.

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