Providers and partners

Programme approval and provider accreditation

An education organisation that proposes to provide a programme of study that leads to a qualification listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) must apply to NZQA for approval of the programme under the Education Act 1989 section 249. Approved programmes can only be delivered by accredited providers.

This page also has information on:

  • programmes leading to degrees and related qualifications at levels 7-10
  • approval of programmes leading to professional registration
  • Tertiary Education Commission and StudyLink requirements
  • programmes for international students.

Registration requirements for private training establishments

The registration of private training establishments (PTE) will lapse if more than 12 months have passed since the institution last provided an approved programme or training scheme. 

Guidelines for programme approval and provider accreditation

NZQA has developed Guidelines for applying for approval of programmes leading to New Zealand qualifications at Levels 1 - 6 on the NZQF and the accreditation of organisations to provide approved programmes (PDF, 545KB).

These guidelines apply to programmes leading to a qualification listed at levels 1-6 on the NZQF. Please follow the guidelines closely when submitting an application for programme approval and/or accreditation.

The guidelines provide programme owners, education providers, and quality assurance body analysts with information and guidance about how to meet the criteria for programme approval (Section 5) and for accreditation (Section 6). They also describe how NZQA will make decisions to approve applications.

Applications for approval of programmes leading to New Zealand qualifications at Levels 1-6 on the NZQF and accreditation

Please note that the existing online application for the above can be used with the new guidelines.

Some terminology may differ between the guidelines and the application. This will be amended shortly.

Programme approval

Programme approval confirms that a programme leading to one or more qualification listed on the NZQF is aligned with the qualification's outcomes and is based on clear and consistent aims, content, and assessment practices.

Qualification and programme approval may occur at the same time.

Once a programme is approved, NZQA needs to approve any changes made to a programme. See Changes to programme approvals.

Provider accreditation

Accreditation confirms that NZQA considers the educational organisation is capable of delivering an approved programme. An educational organisation may seek accreditation to deliver their own or another organisation's approved programme.

The educational organisation must have consent to assess for any unit standards assessed in a programme before obtaining programme approval and accreditation. Consent to assess confirms that the educational organisation is capable of assessing against standards.

Programme approval and provider accreditation are often linked, and can be applied for as one application. Consent to assess against standards must be applied for before an accreditation or programme approval and accreditation is made. A separate application for consent to assess is required.

Applications can be submitted online.

Programmes leading to level 7 diplomas

Programmes leading to level 7 diplomas have some specific requirements.

For more information see Programmes leading to level 7 diplomas.

Programmes leading to degrees and related qualifications at levels 7-10

Information on the requirements for programmes leading to other qualifications at levels 7-10 can be found under Degree approval, accreditation and monitoring.

Approval of programmes leading to professional registration

Where programmes lead to qualifications which then lead to professional registration, NZQA works closely with the relevant registration authority on programme approval and provider accreditation.

Tertiary Education Commission and StudyLink requirements

Educational organisations must gain programme approval and accreditation to be eligible for Tertiary Education Commission Student Component Funding, or for their learners to be eligible for student allowances and loans.

For more information, see Tertiary Education Commission or StudyLink.

Programmes for international students

Programme approval and provider accreditation are required for programmes that will be offered to international learners.

To enrol international students, educational organisations must also be signatories to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice. NZQA administers this Code.

See the Becoming a signatory of the new Code of Practice page for information on how to apply for approval to enrol international students.

Further information

For further information about programme approval and accreditation, refer to the Guidelines (PDF, 545KB) or contact the Client Services team at NZQA. Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics should contact their advisor.

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