Studies & research opportunities at NZ Universities

In recent years, the international student population in New Zealand has grown rapidly. New Zealand is now recognised as a world-class provider of international courses for students, offering impressive institutions and a progressive education system

“New Zealand universities offer international students a host of study and research opportunities,” says Megan Watson of the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, “in a country with a welcoming society and stunning landscape.”

The eight institutions which constitute the New Zealand university system are located in cities in the country’s two main islands and this geographic spread gives students the chance to pursue an enviable range of lifestyle choices around study, work, recreation and culture.

The University of Auckland and AUT University are located in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city where a quarter of the population live.

On the other end of the geographical scale, Lincoln University is situated on the rural outskirts of the largest South Island city, Christchurch, with the snow-covered Southern Alps as a backdrop.

Victoria University of Wellington’s location in New Zealand’s capital city gives it proximity to government and its agencies in a harbourside setting, while the other North Island universities – Waikato and Massey – are situated in the provincial cities of Hamilton and Palmerston North, ideal for international courses in the agriculture and horticulture industries. Massey also has campuses in Auckland and Wellington.

The University of Canterbury’s roots lie in the heart of Christchurch and it is now located on an expansive, leafy campus which is still close to the city centre.

Dunedin, New Zealand’s southernmost major centre, with a strong Scottish and architectural heritage, is home to the University of Otago.

The proximity of all eight universities to New Zealand’s superb natural environment affords students the scope to research anything from endangered marine mammals to earthquake engineering.

While every university offers core degrees in arts (the humanities and social sciences, including teacher education), business and the sciences, each also has its own distinctive profile.

Auckland and Otago have the country’s two medical schools, featuring hospital-based learning; AUT University has a reputation for being highly innovative with applied knowledge; Waikato has a strong background in indigenous culture and a successful business school, while Canterbury and Auckland have an international profile for their engineering schools.

Veterinary science, food technology and land production are among the strengths of Massey University; Victoria is strong on public policy, international relations, law and governance; and Lincoln has strengths in land-based sciences and environmental studies.

This is only an extremely brief survey; more about the specialisms of each university can be found on their respective websites, listed at the end of this article.

At any one time, more than 120 countries are represented in the New Zealand university international student body, attracted by the quality of the education (three of the eight universities feature in the Times Higher list of the top 200 universities in the world and five appear in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Top 500 World University rankings), the moderate cost of both tuition and living expenses and New Zealand’s wonderful natural environment. The cosmopolitan feel of the campuses is enhanced by the vibrant culture of the indigenous Maori people and the high proportion of New Zealand permanent residents, from Polynesian migrants of the Pacific Islands to new immigrants from Europe and Asia.

A high quality learning experience
Historically based on the British model, the New Zealand university system is research-based. All academic staff are expected to be active researchers as well as teachers. This insistence on research-informed teaching ensures a high quality learning experience.

The universities’ representative body, the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, has statutory responsibility for university course approval and moderation procedures. That quality assurance mechanism is supported by the New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit. These systems ensure that university education in New Zealand is of a consistently high standard.

A warm welcome
International students are welcomed by New Zealand society, both for the cultural diversity they bring and their contribution to the economy. They are gladly received into New Zealand homes and student social networks.

The ethnic diversity of the population means that there are numerous cultural, sporting and religious events and festivals, in which international students frequently take part.

New Zealand has a well-developed system of pastoral care for international students, backed by a government-monitored Code of Practice. The country has a comparatively low cost of living, abundant fresh food at reasonable prices and a wide variety of student accommodation options.

Transport is also moderately priced, affording easy access to rivers, mountains, lakes, forests and beaches and the recreational opportunities they provide.

Moving forward
Your best course of action, if you want to find out more, is to explore the Education New Zealand website at:

Here you can find more information about New Zealand life and education, together with a searchable list of study programmes and institutions that will suit you.

You could also explore the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee website at:

The links below will take you direct to the International Office of each of the eight universities

There are eight state-funded universities in New Zealand, all of them internationally respected for their academic and research standards:

The University of Auckland
Manager, International Student's Office
Private Bag 92019, Auckland,
New Zealand

Telephone 64 9 373 7513 Fax 64 9 373 7405

AUT University
International Marketing Manager
AUT  International
Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Telephone 64 9 9219637 Fax 64 9 9219925

The University of Waikato
Manager, International Office
Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand

Telephone 64 7 838 4439 Fax 64 7 838 4269

Massey University
Manager, International Student's Office
Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North,
New Zealand

Telephone 64 6 350 6148 Fax 64 6 350 5698

Victoria University of Wellington
Manager, International Students' Office
P O Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand

Telephone 64 4 472 1000 Fax 64 4 495 5056

University of Canterbury
International Office, Private Bag 4800,
Christchurch, New Zealand

Telephone 64 3 364 2459 Fax 64 3 364 2171

Lincoln University
Director, International, P O Box 94, Canterbury, New Zealand


University of Otago
Manager, Research and International, P O Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand

Telephone 64 3 479 8344 Fax 64 3 479 8367



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