Are you planning to study in New Zealand? If so, we understand why! This country really seems to have it all: well-reputed universities, high quality of life, diverse communities, vibrant cities, stunning natural scenery and an unbeatable range of outdoor pursuits, all within a relatively compact area. Cities such as Auckland and Wellington offer no shortage of cultural activities, while for those with a passion for the great outdoors, the range of terrains to explore is mind-blowing – including glaciers, mountains, rainforest and of course plenty of coastline.
Click on the tabs below to find out about the top universities in New Zealand, popular student cities, and practical information on applications, costs and visas.
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New Zealand consistently comes out near the top in ratings of the world’s best places to live in terms of quality of life. It has an appealing climate, stunningly beautiful natural landscapes, and cities which are modern and multicultural. Find out more about life in some of New Zealand’s top student cities:
On the east coast of North Island, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and home to its highest-ranking university, the University of Auckland. Auckland is known for its especially multicultural community, and (though this is true of the whole country) for the wide range of high-adrenaline activities available in and around the city. Jet-skiing, canyoning, surfing, abseiling, bungee-jumping, snowboarding, climbing, diving – you get the idea. Or of course you might choose to simply relax on the beach!
Other universities in Auckland include Auckland University of Technology and several institutes of technology and polytechnics, while Massey University’s Albany campus is less than 20km north of the city center.
On the south coast of North Island, Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand. It’s believed by some to be more aesthetically attractive than rival Auckland (we’ll let you make up your own mind), and offers a good selection of culture, cuisine and nightlife within a relatively compact area. And of course, stunning natural scenery is never far away in New Zealand – here, you’ll find beaches, forests, islands, hills and vineyards all within easy reach.
Universities in Wellington include Victoria University of Wellington and one of Massey University’s three campuses, as well as several institutes of technology and polytechnics. The University of Otago has a medical school here, and the New Zealand School of Music (run jointly by Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University) is also based in Wellington.
Located on the east coast of South Island, Christchurch is the largest city on the island and the third most-populous urban area in New Zealand. In recent years, Christchurch has undergone major redevelopment projects, following damage from earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, and the general consensus seems to be that it’s just as lively as before the natural disasters struck. Marketing itself as the ‘Garden City’, Christchurch prides itself on its large areas of public parkland and picturesque river banks, as well as its thriving arts and cultural scene. And yes, since this is New Zealand, you’ll find the usual broad selection of outdoor pursuits.
Universities in Christchurch include the University of Canterbury (New Zealand’s third highest-ranked) and Lincoln University, as well as a selection of specialist colleges, many of them private.
The second-largest city on the South Island, Dunedin is the main city in the Otago region. Again on the east coast of the island, Dunedin is about 300km (190 miles) south of Christchurch. Formerly New Zealand’s largest city (until around 1900), Dunedin retains a leading position in the country’s culture, and is a major student hub, with students accounting for a significant proportion of its community. Dunedin is home to New Zealand’s second highest-ranked and oldest university, the University of Otago.
Visas to Study in New Zealand
Those who are planning to study in New Zealand for more than three months need to apply for a student visa (for less than three months, a visitor visa is fine). New Zealand student visa requirements include:
- Proof of an offer of a place at an approved institution
- Evidence of sufficient funds to cover living expenses and a flight back to your home country
- For those under 18, a letter guaranteeing suitable accommodation has been arranged
- For those over 17, a police certificate of good character
- For courses over 12 months, medical certificates, which may include screening for tuberculosis
Visa applications are made via the nearest branch of the New Zealand Immigration organization. The application fee varies depending on where you’re applying from.
NZ Student Visa Requirements
- You must be accepted in a full-time educational course – at an approved and registered institution providing tuition to international students.
- You or your parents (sponsor, or sponsoring institution) must provide evidence of sufficient funds to support your stay, approximately NZ$10,000 per year.
- You must provide a proof that you plan to leave New Zealand after your studies are completed. A return ticket or funds to purchase one are often considered enough.
- Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after your estimated studies completion.
- You must have a clean criminal record.
- You must not have been deported from or asked to leave any country.
- You must not pose a risk to the national security, public order and interest.
- You must not be in New Zealand illegally.
- The Immigration New Zealand must believe you won’t breach the conditions of your visa.
- You must be free of any serious long-term illness or incapacity. You will be required to have a medical and a X-ray certificate.
Offer of a Place
To get a New Zealand Student Visa you need to have an offer of a place from a New Zealand education provider. This offer must include:
- the name of the course and the minimum time required for completing it;
- proof that the course and course provider meet New Zealand’s requirements for international students;
- the cost of the complete course, or if the course is longer than one year, the annual fee;
- whether you have to pay course fees and whether the fees are domestic or international fees;
- whether you will be studying full-time or part-time.
To gain a New Zealand Student Permit you need to show that you are able to meet your living costs during your stay in New Zealand. Evidence of funds may be in the form of cash, travellers’ cheques, bank drafts, or a recognised credit card with enough credit. Evidence can include:
- money held in New Zealand by you, or on your behalf,
- an undertaking by another person to cover your accommodation and living costs (you need to give this evidence before you leave for New Zealand),
- an undertaking by a New Zealand sponsor to cover your accommodation and living costs, or
- financial assistance available to you under aid programmes operated in New Zealand by a government agency.
Evidence of Funds
You need to show that you have sufficient funds to pay for your ongoing studies and living expenses for the duration of your studies.
- Tuition fee for language study: NZ$15,000 per year*
- Tuition fee for undergraduate study: NZ$18,000 per year*
- Living expense: NZ$10,000 per year*
- Total funds for one year language study plus three years degree study and living expense: NZ$109,000.*
- You will need to provide evidence to show that you or your family members have the income and/or assets to pay for your tuition fees and your stay in New Zealand.
- You also need to provide the evidence of the source of your funds and show that the funds are available for you to use.
- For applicants from some countries, it is required to provide evidence that funds have been in term deposit for more than six months.
(Note: Tuition fee figures shown above are indicative only. )
Student Visa Conditions
During your stay in New Zealand, you will have to abide by the following requirements of your student visa or your visa may be revoked:
- You must attend the place of study indicated in your permit. However, you can apply to us to change your course or institution.
- If you are accompanied by a guardian, you must live with that person.
- You must be able to show that you are passing your course.
- You can only undertake work allowed by your student permit.
- You must obey New Zealand’s laws.
- You must leave New Zealand before your visa expires.
Working on a Student Visa
Student visa holders are eligible to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week. To have working rights, your education programme must meet one of the following requirements:
- Is no less than two years in duration.
- Graduating leads to a qualification that is eligible for a Skilled Migrant Visa.
- Is part of an approved international students exchange scheme.
- The main purpose of education is to develop English language skills.
- Is part of a New Zealand Aid Programme, providing a scholarship to students under certain schemes.
- Full-time work is allowed only during scheduled vacations, and the summer vacation period.
Massey University offers more than 40 undergraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates to international students studying on one of our three campuses in Auckland, Palmerston North and Wellington, as well as a growing number now available fully online. These programmes are delivered by our five academic colleges of Business, Creative Arts, Health, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Sciences. Massey University is characterised by the applied nature of many of its programmes and we are proud of our special expertise in the areas of technology, science, applied science and business studies.
In additional to an excellent education, Massey University can offer you a great student experience, a variety of accommodation options and plenty of support while you study.
Massey University is also the leading university in New Zealand for online and borderless education and we offer a range of undergraduate degrees that you can complete fully online.
Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is New Zealand’s second largest and fastest-growing university, offering a comprehensive range of degrees and research that reflect and inform our changing world.
AUT is a contemporary university focused on providing student-centred, innovative, stimulating and responsive learning experiences that prepare students for an exciting future. Programmes are developed in conjunction with industry to ensure they reflect workforce needs, and work-integrated learning is a central feature of most undergraduate programmes. This focus on work-integrated learning yields results, with AUT ranked #1 for Employability in New Zealand (QS Employability Rankings 2015), and 96% of available graduates in the workforce.
University of Canterbury
The University of Canterbury enjoys an international reputation as a university that has a distinguished heritage, embraces and extols traditional values of academic excellence and takes singular pride in its strong research culture. The University (five colleges – Arts, Business and Economics, Education, Engineering and Science and School of Law) is located in attractively landscaped grounds in the suburb of Ilam, ten minutes drive from the city centre and an international airport. Lecture theatres, research centres, libraries, laboratories, studios, computer workrooms, halls of residence and a host of other student services and facilities are all located on campus. The University has an impressive profile in research, learning and advanced scholarship as is evidenced by its strong performance in recent Performance-Based Research Fund exercises. This fuels the University’s resolve to continue with strong contributions to fundamental and applied research, with well-regarded postgraduate and research programmes and with strong research and collaborative links with other leading tertiary institutions and research organisations, nationally and internationally. The University’s teaching programmes represent a heritage of solidly-grounded basic disciplines in the laboratory sciences, commerce, education, engineering, field sciences, forestry, humanities, information and communication technology, law, life sciences, social sciences and visual and performing arts.
Victoria University of Wellington
Victoria University of Wellington is not only the number one ranked university in New Zealand for research quality it is located in the capital city of New Zealand. As a capital city university, Victoria has strong links with government departments and agencies, international agencies, industries, regional and local government, iwi and environmental organisations, as well as some of New Zealand’s major research institutes.
Victoria consistently ranks among the world’s best universities, in 2015/12016 it was ranked 229 equal in the QS World University Rankings and in 2015 it received five stars from QS Stars University Rating in each of the eight caterories.
Victoria aims to produce graduates whose learning has been developed inside and outside of the classroom, experientially, and informed by a global perspective. There nine faculties, seven of which conduct teaching and research—Architecture and Design, Education, Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences, Law, Science and Victoria Business School.
Wellington sits on a stunning natural harbour and is surrounded by lush green hills, wellington is a beautiful, vibrant and cosmopolitan city and region.