Coming to study in New Zealand

Educational institutions in New Zealand offer a wide variety of programmes and New Zealand welcomes international students at all of its institutions.

When you study in New Zealand, you can be assured of gaining an internationally recognised qualification.

Quality assurance of education in New Zealand

The New Zealand Government has established strong national quality assurance systems, designed to help institutions maintain the quality and consistency of training programmes and assessment practices. NZQA is the quality assurance body for non-university providers, such as English language schools.

Private training establishments must be registered with NZQA in order to offer you an officially recognised (approved) course. Immigration New Zealand will only issue a student visa if the course, programme or qualification you are planning to do is approved by a quality assurance body.

For more information, see Quality assurance of education in New Zealand.

Caring for International Students - The Code

If you are an international student, your provider must be a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code).

The Code sets the minimum standards of advice and care that are expected of providers who enrol international students. The Code applies to care and welfare of students only, not to academic standards.

For more information, see Caring for International Students.

Schooling at secondary level in New Zealand

Secondary study lasts five years and begins when students are 12 or 13 years old. The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is the main school qualification at this level.

For more information, see Secondary school and NCEA.

Studying at tertiary level in New Zealand

The term ‘tertiary’ describes all aspects of post-school education and training. New Zealand has a large number of institutions that teach at the tertiary level. They include universities, polytechnics, wānanga and private training establishments (PTEs).

Your rights and protections

As a tertiary student in New Zealand you are protected:

  • NZQA requires all registered PTEs to have policies and procedures for student withdrawals and refunds. Your PTE sends you this information before you enrol.  For more, see Withdrawals and refunds
  • Registered PTEs must protect student fees if they stop offering a course in which a student is enrolled. This can happen if a PTE becomes insolvent, is de-registered by NZQA and/or partially or completely loses accreditation.  For more, see PTE course closure
  • If you have any problems with your provider you can make an official complaint to NZQA about the provider.

For more information, see Tertiary education.

More about New Zealand’s education system

You can read more about the New Zealand education system at the Ministry of Education website and Education New Zealand’s Study in New Zealand website.

Check your visa type before you enrol

The type of visa you get affects the type of course you can enrol in.

Before enrolling in a course, check your visa type.

For more information please refer to Immigration New Zealand.

Recognition of international qualifications

If you have a qualification gained outside New Zealand, and you wish to have it recognised in New Zealand or cross-credited to a New Zealand qualification, see International qualifications.

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