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New Zealand university education − a gateway to success

By Wayne Angus

New Zealand, the land of Aotearoa or long white cloud, was originally inhabited by the Polynesians in 1300 CE. Thanks to the gold rush in the province of Otago in the 1860s, Europeans, especially Scottish missionaries, started coming in hordes. Settlements grew and a natural consequence of that was a huge demand for educational institutions which could cater to the settlers. The University of Otago, Dunedin School of Medicine and other institutions of learning were established during this time. With the gradual passage of time, universities in New Zealand have created a niche of their own in the world map of higher education.

The New Zealand university system is broadly based on the UK model.  Our bachelors’ degrees are typically three years but some professional programmes can run from 4-6 years.  Masters’ programmes are typically of two years incorporating research but there are increasing numbers of programmes available which are coursework focused and last 1-1.5 years in length.

Top ranking universities in New Zealand: All eight New Zealand universities are ranked in the top 500 on the QS World University Rankings.  This indicates the high quality of university education in New Zealand – you can’t make a bad choice. The University of Auckland is ranked in the top 100 on the QS rankings and the University of Otago is in the top 200.

All about completing a Ph.D.: PhD in New Zealand is a research only degree typically taking three years to complete.  Candidates for the degree normally need to have undertaken significant research preparation as part of previous master’s study. Given its research focus a PhD can be completed in any discipline area offered at any New Zealand university.  We currently have many students undertaking research study across areas of business, engineering, computing, sciences and health sciences.

Recognition of New Zealand degrees by employers: New Zealand degrees are well recognised globally and our graduates secure postgraduate places at top universities and secure employment readily around the world.

Costs involved and funding options: Tuition is approximately NZ$22,000-$38,000 per year and varies depending on the area of discipline.  PhD students are able to pay the same tuition rate as New Zealand students – approximately NZ$6-8,000 per year.  Living costs require at least NZ$15,000 per year.

Each university offers its own scholarship assistance, particularly at postgraduate level. Furthermore, the New Zealand government offers the International Doctoral Research Scholarships.

Where to stay? All universities will provide assistance with accommodation placement.  For some students this might be a university residential college while other students may share a flat or apartment with other students.

Post-study work rights and Permanent Residence: Most students completing a university qualification in New Zealand will be eligible for post-study work rights.  A good place for more information is here: Students’ work rights. Graduates with appropriate completed study and work experience in New Zealand may be eligible to apply for New Zealand residence.  Look here for further information, NZ immigration.

Safety: For many international students, safety is of prime concern. New Zealand is a very safe country.  International students generally rate New Zealand highly for its safe and friendly environments.

English language requirements: Applicants can generally meet English requirements by supplying an appropriate IELTS or TOEFL result. Students are advised to enquire from the respective university.

Most universities will require IELTS or TOEFL to meet English language requirements and GMAT may be required for some postgraduate business programmes.  SAT and GRE are not normally requested as part of admission processes in New Zealand.

The best place to search for information on study opportunities is Study in NZ. You can find out more about locations to study and institutions and also get information on approved India-based representatives who can assist you with application to New Zealand universities.

To conclude, New Zealand provides a university system which is consistent and high in quality. All universities are internationally ranked and provide good study and career outcomes for students. New Zealand is a safe and affordable destination with favourable government policies supporting work and residence outcomes. As a fellow Commonwealth country, New Zealand shares many sporting and cultural interests with India and this makes students comfortable in their new environments.


Wayne Angus works as Manager, International Marketing, International Division, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. He can be reached at His telephone no. is +64 3 479 8361.


For more stories, read Café Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Café Dissensus Magazine.

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