Specific country requirements for the recognition of NCEA


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

Completing NCEA Level 3 is the equivalent of completing the standard Australian Year 12 programme. A suitably chosen NCEA programme normally satisfies the prerequisite(s) for application. More details can be found on the Entrance to Australian universities page.

Each year in early January, NZQA aggregates NCEA Level 3 results and converts them into a value called the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for students seeking entry into Australian universities. We make this information available to the Tertiary Admissions Centres and some Australian universities.

The conversion allows students with NCEA qualifications 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 to the European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas Leading to Admission to Universities (1953) since 1978. 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 with additional provisions 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 achieved NCEA from 2012 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.

You may find it useful to include a copy of a letter from the Association of Indian Universities with your university application: 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 informed 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).


The National University of Singapore has adjusted its university entrance requirements to accept NCEA Level 3 with University Entrance for university admission. They no longer require further university entrance exam scores (eg SAT or ACT) or English language requirements (eg IELTS or TOEFL). See its website for more details.

Nanyang Technological University and Singapore University of Technology and Design also accept NCEA Level 3 for university admission, without any further English language requirements or university entrance exam scores.


Spain accepts NCEA for further study.

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


NZQA provides an Overseas Results Notice that has been specifically developed for Thai foreign-fee paying students to use to support their  applications to enter further study in Thailand. To find out how to apply for an Overseas result Notice, see Ordering result documents.

The Thai Government has made changes to the way that students apply for admission to Thai universities from February 2017 onwards. These changes affect all Thai students studying overseas.

From February 2017

  • Students need to check admission requirements for the universities to which they plan to enrol. Thai universities  make their own admission decisions.
  • In Thailand, ‘Matthayom 6’ (or M6) is the secondary school leaving qualification, and is used for entrance into university. NZQA has been advised that some Thai universities will continue to use the previous NCEA Level 2 - Matthayom 6 equivalence criteria for admission. Students will need to check requirements in advance and apply directly to universities for admission.

United Kingdom

The UK recognises levels of NCEA as equivalent to different levels of GCSE and 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 Secondary Education (GCSE) (grades A*–C/9-4) / Scottish National 5 (grades A-C) standard.
  • NCEA Level 3 with University Entrance is comparable to the United Kingdom GCE Advanced (A) Level/Scottish Advanced Higher standard.

United States

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

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

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