Do you want to study in New Zealand?

/ / New Zealand Immigration Advice

study in new zealandWhen you choose to study in New Zealand, you’re guaranteed a world-class education. Your surroundings can’t be beat either. New Zealand is considered to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

It’s no surprise more than 60 000 international students chose to further their education in New Zealand in 2017.

More than 500 learning institutions

New Zealand has 8 universities, all of which are in the top 3% of the world.

New Zealand also has Institutes of Technologies and Polytechnics, Private Training Establishments and English language schools.

Qualifications are offered at every level – certificates, diplomas, graduate and post-graduate degrees.


New Zealand universities offer a broad range of subjects for undergraduates, as well as Masters and Doctoral degrees in commerce, science, and the humanities. Some universities also offer degrees in specialist fields such as medicine and engineering.

You’ll find that many New Zealand universities have more than one campus, often in different cities too.

Institutes of Technologies and Polytechnics (ITPs)

Institutes of Technologies and Polytechnics, or ITPs as they’re commonly known, offer professional and vocational education and training. While the emphasis is on practical experience and application to work situations, an ITP degree has equal status with a university degree.

Many of New Zealand’s 16 ITPs also offer English Language courses and post-graduate options, including up to doctoral level.

Private Training Institutions and English language schools

New Zealand has about 550 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 offer Bachelor and Masters degrees.

You’re guaranteed a quality education

New Zealand’s education standards are high and regulated with strong quality assurance systems:

  • Universities New Zealand (UNZ): UNZ is responsible for monitoring and maintaining standards at universities and approving qualifications.
  • New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA): NZQA monitor education standards at ITPs and TEPs.

This approach has paid off, as New Zealand universities often rank among the best in the world. In 2018, eight top universities in New Zealand are included among the world’s best in the QS World University Rankings. Five of these universities are in the global top 300.

New Zealand has also made sure that a New Zealand qualification is recognized by schools and universities world-wide, by participating in the Lisbon Recognition Convention and other inter-governmental agreements.

New Zealand takes care of its international students

When you study in New Zealand, you are protected by a Code of Practice. This Code sets the standards every institution must meet in supporting its international students.

You’ll also get support in the form of advice and guidance from live-in wardens at residences and hostels. All institutions hosting international students has staff dedicated to ensuring your time in New Zealand is successful and stress free.

Visas to study

You won’t require a student visa in all instances:

  • Is your course three months or less? You’ll only need a visitor visa.
  • Are you planning on studying full time for more than three months? You’ll need a student visa.

New Zealand student visa

The New Zealand student visa allows for a maximum stay of up to four years. To apply for a visa, you must have been offered a place at an appropriate New Zealand education provider. You must also be able to prove that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your course.

Please go to our student visa page for the full details and all requirements.

Partners and children are welcome

Your spouse or life partner and dependent children can join you in New Zealand while you study.
Partners can apply for a Partner of a Student Visitor visa, while dependent children can apply for a Child of a Student Visitor visa.

When granted, these visas will be valid for as long as your student visa. No other activities, apart from three months of studying, is possible though. If your partner or children would like to study for longer, they’d have to apply for student visas. Similarly, your partner would have to apply for another visa if they’d like to work.

How much does it cost to study in New Zealand?

Just like elsewhere in the world, fees vary depending on the course and the institution. The cost of living is similar to other OECD countries. As discussed, international students have to prove the financial means to support themselves for the duration of the course. For this reason, let’s take a look at the fees you can expect to pay, as well as New Zealand living costs:


The New Zealand Education Department gives the following costs to guide you:

Diplomas and certificates:

  • Engineering: NZ$18,500 for a two-year diploma.
  • Computing: NZ$12,425 for a one-term certificate.

Bachelor’s Degree:

Fees range from about NZ$22,000 to NZ$32,000. Subjects such medicine and veterinary science have higher fees.

Postgraduate Degree:

You can expect to pay between NZ$26,000 to NZ$37,000 for postgraduate degrees. Again, subjects such as medicine and veterinary science have higher fees.


International PhD students pay the same as New Zealand PhD students, which is about NZ$6,500 to NZ$9,000 per year for most subjects.

English Language Courses:

The fees for English Language courses range from NZ$300 per week for a general course to NZ$5,100 for a Cambridge English exam course of 12 weeks.

Important to note:

Students with domestic status, i.e. citizens and holders of resident visas, have their fees subsidized by the government. These students contribute about 30% of the cost of their course.

Living costs

Your living costs will depend on your lifestyle as well as on where you live in New Zealand.
With that said, the New Zealand Education Department shares the following estimated living costs recommended by universities:

  • Victoria University: NZ$18,000 – NZ$27,000 per year.
  • University of Auckland: NZ$20,000 – NZ$25,000 per year.
  • University of Otago: NZ$15,000 – NZ$17,000 per year.
  • Massey University: NZ$15,000 – NZ$17,000 each year.

Can you work while studying?

The New Zealand student visa allows you to work for up to 20 hours per week during terms and full-time during holidays. This could help you offset living costs and gain New Zealand work experience.

Note there are no restrictions for PhD and Masters research students.

Working in New Zealand after studying

New Zealand offers a post-study work pathway to international students with a New Zealand qualification. This pathway lets you find a job in New Zealand and gain work experience. It’s an attractive pathway for many students, as it could make it easier to apply for residence.

The pathway is a two-part process:

  • Post-study work visa (Open): This visa gives you 12 months to find a job that’s relevant to your studies.
  • Post-study work visa (Employer Assisted): Once you have found a job, this visa lets you work in that specific job. You’ll be allowed to work for two years.

Read more about these visas here.

Need help with a student visa?

If it’s your goal to study in New Zealand, let us help you apply for a student visa. The first step is doing an immigration assessment to see if you do qualify for this visa. If you do, our team will guide you through the emigration process from start to finish.

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