University Entrance

Please note: Changes have been made to the requirements for University Entrance in 2022, recognising the impact of student and teacher absences due to COVID-19 and other winter illnesses. Information about the changes is available here.

University Entrance (UE) is the minimum requirement to go to a New Zealand university. To be awarded UE you will need:

  • NCEA Level 3
  • Three subjects - at Level 3, made up of:
  • Literacy - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of:
    • 5 credits in reading
    • 5 credits in writing
  • Numeracy - 10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of:
    • achievement standards – specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects, or
    • unit standards - package of three numeracy unit standards (26623, 26626, 26627- all three required).

Once you have met the requirements for University Entrance it will appear on your Record of Achievement.


Credits can be accumulated over more than one year.

If a unit and an achievement standard assess the same learning outcome, only the credits for ONE standard can be counted. In other words they are 'mutually exclusive'. A list of such exclusions is published each year.

Discretionary entrance

When an applicant does not qualify for University Entrance to a New Zealand university, they may be eligible for Discretionary Entrance.

See Universities New Zealand - Discretionary Entrance for more information.

Appeals process for Discretionary and Ad Eundem Statum Entrance

Applicants who are not happy with the decision of a University regarding discretionary entrance may appeal that decision.

Review of University Entrance requirements

During 2016-2017, NZQA reviewed the University Entrance requirements. Please go to the Review page for more information.

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