Entrance to Australian universities

Requirements for university entry

The Australian education system is federal. Each state has its own secondary education system and university entry requirements vary by state. Each university sets its own admission requirements and criteria.

NZQA recommends that students contact the university they wish to attend as early as possible to ensure that their Year 13 course will enable them to meet all the entry requirements.

In general, for applications to be considered:

  • you must achieve New Zealand University Entrance
  • you need to achieve a high ATAR score (the Australian tertiary system is very competitive)
  • you need to meet the states university entry criteria
  • you need to meet the states English language requirements (if there is one)
  • the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) conversion uses each students best 90 level 3 results from years where they have secondary enrolments.
  • to maximise your potential ATAR score you should have at least 90 assessed level 3 credits results (assessed credits are those with results of Achieved, Achieved with Merit, Achieved with Excellence and Not Achieved)
  • aim to get as many level3 excellence and merit results as possible in externally and internally assessed achievement standards in University Entrance approved subjects

Requirements may differ between Australian states.

Australian Year 12 is New Zealand Year 13 and NCEA Level 3. This means that you need to be aware of the different requirements, particularly Australian Year 12 English which is NCEA Level 3 results from achievement standards in University Entrance approved subject - English.

What is Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) score?

The ATAR (previously known as the Interstate Transfer Index – ITI) is used to compare and rank Australian Year 12 students educated in different states by ranking students in their year group cohort. ATAR score range from 99.95 to 0.00 in 0.05 increments with 99.95 being the top score. 0.05% of the table is allocated to each ATAR score.

NZQA calculates ATAR scores on behalf of Australian Tertiary Admission Centres Australia (ATACA) for every eligible student in January each year using a process devised in conjunction with, and regularly reviewed by, ATACA.

How is ATAR calculated?

NZQA calculates ATAR scores using a statistically based process.

ATAR scores are based on the best 90 NCEA Level 3 assessed credits with a maximum of 24 credits from a subject.

Standards are prioritised:

  • University Entrance (UE) approved subject standards are used ahead of non-UE approved subject standards
  • Achievement standards are used ahead of unit standards; and
  • externally assessed achievement standards are typically ranked higher than internally assessed achievement standards for the same subject and result.

The best grade is used where a standard has been assessed more than once.

It is not possible to predict ATAR scores in advance.

How do I apply?

The Australian education system treats New Zealand citizens as domestic interstate students who typically apply through a Tertiary Admission Centre who work on behalf of the universities within their state/territory. Some universities require students to apply directly to them for admission to particular courses.

Everyone else, including New Zealand residents are treated as an international student by the Australian system and need to apply as such.

If you are... Then you must
a New Zealand citizen

apply to the relevant Tertiary Admissions Centre or university

The Tertiary Admission Centre or university logs into a portal on the NZQA website to access your results records and ATAR scores in early January using NSNs provided by students.

a New Zealand resident


an international or foreign fee-paying student who has studied in New Zealand

if you are applying to an university in New South Wales or Australian Capital Territory, send your application to the University Admission Centre (UAC)

if you are applying to any other Australian university, send you application to:

- the Tertiary Admissions Centre that works on behalf of the universities within that state/territory OR

- check with the institution first about how to apply.

The UAC, Tertiary Admissions Centre or university logs into a portal on the  NZQA website to accessresults records and ATAR scores using the NSNs provided by students.

Contact details for tertiary admission centres and universities are available from the Australian Tertiary Admission Centres Australia (ACTAC) website.

How Australia gets results

What you need to do

If you plan to study at an Australian university and have completed NCEA Level 3, or are in your final year of NCEA Level 3 study and expect to gain University Entrance:

  • provide your New Zealand National Student Number (NSN) when applying (please take care to ensure that this is accurate)
  • ask your school’s Principal Nominee to check that your tertiary release indicator (privacy flag) on the school management system is set to "Yes". If it’s “No” the Australian Tertiary Admission Centres and Australian and New Zealand universities can’t access your results
  • tell the Australian Tertiary Admission Centre or university you applied to if your results change after the January results release due to a result of the review and reconsideration process or if results are reported late. This is so they can log into the NZQA website to obtain your updated records and ATAR score.

You do not need to contact NZQA to send a copy of your results record and ATAR score.

  • In early January of the year following the completion of your Level 3 external examinations and if you have set your tertiary release indicator to "Yes", NZQA will make your results record and ATAR score available electronically to the Australian Tertiary Admissions Centres, and universities.
  • The Tertiary Admissions Centre or university that you have applied to can access your results record and ATAR score via a secure portal on the NZQA website. To do this they need your correct NSN and your tertiary release indicator (privacy flag) on the school management system set to "Yes".

Note: NZQA strives to achieve the earliest possible release date of annual NCEA assessment results. However, the results release date of the New Zealand assessment cycle may not always satisfy the first-round cut-off dates of all the Tertiary Admissions Centres.

NZQA works closely with the Tertiary Admissions Centres to agree on a release date that best meets the NZQA marking requirements and the Tertiary Admissions Centres' cut-off dates. ATAR and results records are released under embargo several days before NCEA results are released to students in New Zealand.

What results does NZQA make available?

If you have set your tertiary release indicator to "Yes" NZQA makes available an electronic copy of your individual results record with your University Entrance status, Australian defined level 3 subject scores, NCEA Level 2 and Level 3 results, and ATAR score for the tertiary institution requesting them:

  • Australian universities
  • Australian Tertiary Admissions Centres who work on behalf of the universities within their state/territory

The individual results record and ATAR score enables applicants from New Zealand to be considered fairly against applicants from Australian states.

NZQA does not provide students with official documentation of ATAR scores. However, you can obtain your ATAR scores after NCEA results are released in January by contacting the PRS team (Psychometrics, Statistics and Reporting) at NZQA:

  • by phoning +64 4 4633000 or 0800 697 296; or
  • emailing PRS@nzqa.govt.nz with your full name, NSN, Date of Birth and the last school you attended.

NZQA will email you the ATAR score once results are released.

Mid-year admission

To apply for mid-year admission at a university in Australia, the above process is the same except you will need to:

Alternatively, NZQA can supply a copy of your NZROA directly to the Australian university of your choice but as the electronic NZROA can be verified by third parties this is not necessay.

The Tertiary Admissions Centre or university may request NZQA to supply confirmation of your results. Note that ATAR scores will not be calculated until January the following year once all level 3 results are available, and will only be made available if you have sety your tertiary release indicator to "Yes".

NZQA will answer any requests for supporting information direct from Australian Universities within two business days direct to the Tertiary Admissions Centre or university.

Privacy of your information

NZQA is not aware of what future use or disclosure is made of your information by Australian organisations which access it.

It is unknown whether recipient Australian organisations will protect your information in a way that provides comparable safeguards to New Zealand's Privacy Act 2020.


Information on how and when to apply for each state is available from the websites below.

Please check the information about participating institutions and key dates for submissions on each Admission Centre website.

State(s) covered

Name of Admissions Centre

Contact details


Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre Ltd

Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre Ltd
PO Box 1331
Queensland 4064
Phone +61 7 3858 1222

South Australia

Northern Territory

 South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre

South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre
104 Frame Street
South Australia 5000
Phone +61 8 8224 4000

Western Australia

Tertiary Institutions Service Centre

Tertiary Institutions Service Centre
100 Royal St
East Perth
Western Australia 6004
Phone +61 8 9318 8000

New South Wales

Australian Capital Territory


Universities Admissions Centre

Universities Admissions Centre
Locked Bag 112
New South Wales 2128
Phone +61 2 9752 0200


University of Tasmania

University of Tasmania
Private Bag 45
Tasmania 7001
Phone +61 3 6226 2999


Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre

Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre
40 Park Street
South Melbourne
Victoria 3205
Phone +61 3 9926 1020 

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