Specific country requirements for the recognition of NCEA


Australia recognises NCEA Level 3 as broadly equivalent to their Senior Secondary Certificates of Education,and accepts it for applications for entry to their universities.

Completing NCEA Level 3 is the equivalent of completing the standard Australian Year 12 programme, and normally satisfies the prerequisite for application.

Each year in early January, NZQA aggregates NCEA Level 3 results for students seeking entry to Australian universities. We convert the results to a percentile scale called the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and send this information to the Tertiary Admissions Centres. The conversion allows New Zealand students to be treated equitably with Australian students for tertiary entry and selection purposes.

Read more about gaining Entrance to Australian universities.


New Zealand has been a signatory country since 1978 to the European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas Leading to Admission to Universities (1953). Article 1.1 of the convention recognises the equivalence of university entrance qualifications between signatory countries, where that entrance is subject to state control.

Read the full text of the European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas leading to Admission to Universities.


Germany recognises NCEA.

The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz or KMK)of the German states (Länder) has recommended to German universities that they accept NCEA results for entry to German universities.

In Germany ‘Abitur’ is the school leaving qualification for students intending to study at university. The Abitur provides an average score, allowing universities to rank students for allocation of university places.

NZQA has an agreement with the KMK to convert NCEA Level 3 results for Abitur. This procedure applies to students who have commenced study in 2011 and onwards.

Applicants must meet the requirements listed on the German language ‘Anabin’ at Informationsportal zur Anerkennung ausländischer Bildungsabschlüsse - Information portal for the recognition of foreign qualifications

Read the full German recognition requirements for university entrance

NZQA provides an Overseas Results Notice that has been specifically developed for German foreign-fee paying students, to help German authorities and institutions understand NCEA.  To see how to order one, see Ordering result documents.


The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) recognises NCEA Level 3 as equivalent to its university entrance requirement.

Read more about Indian recognition of international qualifications by the Association of Indian Universities.

You may find it useful to include in your university application an AIU letter (PDF, 63KB).

Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea formally recognises that the senior secondary school curricula of Korea and New Zealand are broadly comparable.

A historic statement was signed by Education officials from Korea and New Zealand on 23 February 2017 to acknowledge the completion of a joint research report, the first of its kind signed by Korea.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE) completed a joint research report on the Comparison of Senior Secondary School Qualifications between the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The report looked at the education systems of the two countries, and provided a curriculum-to-curriculum analysis of Mathematics and Science subjects.

The joint research report supports higher education institutions in both countries to make decisions about the comparability of the Korean High School Certificate and the New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement Level 3.

Read the Joint Statement. (PDF, 156KB)

Read the full report. (PDF, 2MB)


Spain recognises NCEA when Spanish students with NCEA return to Spain for further study.

The university application process and confirmation of recognition is in a letter from the Embassy of Spain (PDF, 275KB).


Please read the important update for School International Directors about proposed changes for students applying to Thai universities in 2017

In Thailand, ‘Matthayom 6’ (or M6) is the secondary school leaving qualification, and is used for entrance into university.

If you are an international student from Thailand who has studied in New Zealand, and you want to be eligible to apply for university in Thailand, you must get an M6 certificate.

Note that you will also need the M6 certificate to pursue many other post-school study and employment opportunities, not just university study.

Apply to the Bureau of Educational Testing (BET). BET is a part of Thailand’s Ministry of Education. You can apply for M6 equivalency if you achieve either of two options. One of these options is achieving NCEA Level 2.

Read the full Thai recognition requirements for university entrance.

Confirmation by BET of M6 equivalence is in a letter from BET (PDF, 85KB).

NZQA provides an Overseas Results Notice that has been specifically developed for Thai foreign-fee paying students to give to BET as part of their equivalence application.  To find out how to apply for an Overseas result Notice, see Ordering result documents.

United Kingdom

The UK recognises levels of NCEA as equivalent to different levels of GCE.

UK NARIC (the United Kingdom National Academic Recognition Information Centre) states that:

  • NCEA Level 2 is comparable to the United Kingdom General Certificate of Education (GCE) (grades A–C)
  • NCEA Level 3 is comparable to the United Kingdom GCE A-Level
  • University Entrance with NCEA Level 3 (with Merits/Excellences in subjects to be studied at higher education institutions) is comparable to those with the overall GCE Advanced Level.

The NARIC statements for NCEA Level 2 and 3 below confirm recognition.

NARIC statement for NCEA Level 2 (PDF, 135KB)
NARIC statement for NCEA Level 3 (PDF, 141KB)

United States

NCEA is generally accepted by colleges and universities in the United States as part of their admissions process.

College and university admission is determined by a number of factors, including Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores and senior secondary school qualifications. Talk to your chosen college or university about their particular requirements. Find out about the admission process and ways NZQA can help.

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