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Study in New Zealand: Application Process for International Students

Mansi Topa Mansi Topa
Content Curator

The student intake or admission cycle of New Zealand is between February and September. Practically, the admission cycle of universities are different from each other. Therefore, admission drive is conducted all around the year.

Before the application process begins, students must decide upon the universities of New Zealand according to their choice.

Factors affecting the choice of university in New Zealand by the students:

  • Level of education
  • High school performance
  • People around the students (family and friends)
  • Cost of education and location
  • Campus visit recruitment

It is not surprising, that the number of international students are growing considerably each year. It has increased from 86,596 in 2010 to whopping 104,418 in 2018.

Maximum enrolment of the students to study in New Zealand is from China (50%), India (21%) and Australia (29%). 

Timeline for Application Process in New Zealand



Before SeptemberResearch and shortlist options
SeptemberStart applying for universities as the deadlines start from October end
OctoberApplication response starts from the applied universities (within 4 to 6 weeks), Apply for student visa
DecemberApplication Deadlines. If applicable, attempt the English Language Proficiency test such as TOEFL, IELTS and more
JanuaryLet the university know about the landing to get assistance
FebruaryComplete all the formalities and begin the course

Note: IELTS and TOEFL are the most common exams for English language proficiency test

Application Process in New Zealand


English Language Proficiency Test

To apply in New Zealand, students who do not belong to the countries where English is the prime language, they are required to appear for the English Language Proficiency test. Students need to appear for any one of the required exams.

Mentioned are the threshold scores for different tests.

TestMinimum score required
Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)Overall score of 79 or more
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)Overall score of 58 or more
Cambridge English B2 First (FCE) or

B2 First for Schools (FCE for Schools)
Overall score of 176 or more
Occupational English Test (OET)Grade B or higher in all four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking)

OET Occupational English Test – for healthcare sector. Assesses communication skills, who wants English speaking environment.

OET is available for 12 professions: dentistry, dietetics, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry, radiography, speech pathology, and veterinary science.

IELTS bands for different Programs

ProgramBand Score
DiplomaOverall 5.5 no band less than 5.0
Bachelor’sOverall 6.0
Graduate DiplomaOverall 6.0
Master’sOverall 6.5

Study in New Zealand without IELTS

Conditions under which the IELTS could be exempted: -

  • Students must have studied in English – medium school from Grade 8 to 12.
  • IELTS exempt students are interviewed by New Zealand immigration.
  • Compulsory education from Grade 1 to 5 or at least 3 years during higher secondary education.

Documents required for admission without IELTS: -

  • Marksheets of the school indicating medium of instruction is English.
  • Marksheets of Grade 8 to 12 specifying medium of instruction is English if not during entire schooling.
  • A Bonafide certificate validating that the student has done schooling and attempted all the exams as per the mentioned information.

Admission Requirements

Based on Level of Education

For Undergraduates

  • Elementary and secondary school education proofs
  • Mathematics for some sciences is necessary
  • English language proficiency test score

Note: Most universities demand 75% aggregate and 60% in English language

For Graduates

  • Bachelor’s degree proof
  • English language proficiency test score
  • Relevant work experience (if applicable)

Based on Degree and Diploma Courses

Common requirements

  • Minimum age required – 18 years
  • English language proficiency test
  • Interview

Degree Courses

Completion of University Entrance qualification

Diploma Courses

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)  level 2 or adult entry if 20 years or older

Documents Required

  1. Proof of identity
  2. Statement of Intent – Why New Zealand?
  3. Letter of Recommendation (LOR) from Professors / Managers
  4. Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  5. Transcripts from secondary school or university courses in case the students attend one.
  6. Relevant Test scores such as GRE, GMAT, IELTS or TOEFL.
  7. If the students who have earned 30 credits and are getting transferred to New Zealand, no need to submit secondary school details.
  8. Application Fee (16 USD to 32 USD)
  9. Valid Passport
  10. Offer letter of the university
  11. Medical insurance is mandatory

Financial Documents

  1. Proof for sufficient funds
    1. Tuition fee (self/sponsor)
    2. Living expenses
    3. Scholarship proof (if applicable)
    4. Students need to show that they have 9,862 USD to support for a year
    5. Air tickets to return to the home country
  2. Fee receipt

How to Apply?

Mentioned are the steps to apply in New Zealand and become applicable for university, polytechnic, vocational training institutions and institute of technology to study in New Zealand.

  • Select the university and program
  • Find out the entry requirements
  • Know about the fee structure
  • Be ready with the documents
  • Submit the online application form
  • Pay the application fee

Application Deadlines (2018-19)

UniversityLevel of StudyDeadline
University of OtagoUGOctober 31, 2018
PGDecember 2018
Massey UniversityUGOctober 31, 2018
PGOctober 31, 2018
University of CanterburyUGNovember 1, 2108
PGNovember 1, 2018
Lincoln UniversityUGFebruary 12, 2018
PGFebruary 12 (2018)
Victoria University of WellingtonUGFebruary 1, 2019 
PGFebruary 1, 2019
University of WaikatoUGDecember 1, 2018
PGDecember 1, 2018
The University of AucklandUGDecember 1, 2018
PGDecember 1, 2018
Auckland University of TechnologyUGDecember 7, 2018
PGDecember 7, 2018


This is the last step of admission where the university authorities conduct a formal interview with the student through facilities such as Skype.

Reasons for Rejection of Admission Applications

There are few conditions under which the admission applications could be rejected: -

  • Applications do not offer the quality required
  • Behavioral problems such as discipline issue or suspensions
  • Erroneous or incomplete applications
  • Unfulfilled requirements from the aspirant
  • High level of competition for limited seats
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