International recognition of NCEA

NCEA is New Zealand's national school-leaver qualification

NCEA (the National Certificate of Educational Achievement) is the main secondary school qualification in New Zealand.

NCEA can be awarded at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Students usually begin studying for their NCEA Level 1 in Year 11 and continue through Years 12 and 13 (from ages 15 through to 18).

NCEA is accepted by overseas universities

NCEA is New Zealand's national school-leaver qualification and is accepted overseas. It is well-regarded by employers and used for selection by universities, both in New Zealand and in other countries.

For details, see the Specific country requirements for the recognition of NCEA.

University entrance requirements around the world

If you apply for admission to a higher education provider overseas, the provider usually requires you to have achieved the university entrance standard set by the country in which you studied. You may also need to demonstrate you have met the New Zealand university entrance requirements.

Each university will have their own entry requirements and may require additional requirements for students applying with NCEA.

Contact the university before you choose your NCEA subjects so you know in advance what is required.

International qualifications for entry to university or college

NCEA is listed in the guide ‘International Qualifications for Entry to University or College’. This reference guide is published annually by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). NZQA updates this entry annually.

Education providers in the United Kingdom use the guide to assess international students’ school leaving qualifications. Other countries also refer to it, as an authoritative guide.

You can read the New Zealand entry on NCEA in the International qualifications for entry to university or college on the UCAS website.

More about studying for NCEA

You can read more about NCEA in our brochure, ‘Study in New Zealand: a guide for students considering secondary school study’.

The brochure is available in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

You can download the brochure, or order print copies from NZQA brochures and videos.

International recognition of other qualifications

NZQA works on qualification recognition with countries around the world. Some of these are at the secondary level, and some are at tertiary level.

You can read about the countries we are working with in Our role in international education.

Contact us

For more information, or to give us feedback, please email us at

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