In New Zealand, students are taught in an English-speaking environment. You will share classes with New Zealanders and be encouraged to participate in all aspects of learning. New Zealand operates a British-based system that’s recognized overseas, so you can move between institutions in New Zealand or other English-speaking countries while you study.


  • New Zealand universities are research based and state owned
  • They offer courses from certificate level through to doctorates
  • The academic year is from March to November
  • A July start date may be available for some courses
  • Summer semester courses (January to March) may be available

Institutes of technology and polytechnics

  • New Zealand Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics are state owned
  • New Zealand ITPs offer courses that are equivalent in merit to those offered in New Zealand universities
  • ITPs offer courses from certificate level with some offering full degree and postgraduate level studies
  • The academic year is from March to November – a July start date may be available for some courses

Colleges of education

  • Most have merged with their regional university so course content and start dates will be in line with the university’s.

Private Training Providers (PTEs)

  • There are many throughout New Zealand
  • Some PTEs run courses in a particular discipline, such as business or travel and tourism
  • All are all required to be registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
  • Most runs on a timetable similar to state tertiary institutions

English language providers

  • Most tertiary and private English language providers have flexible start dates throughout the year
  • Many international students enroll in English for Academic Study courses prior to formal academic studies
  • Special English language courses are available throughout the year, and range from 4 weeks to 12 months
  • Students who are competent in English often do short-term foundation studies or pre-university orientation studies

Foundation studies

  • Many universities and some secondary schools offer foundation studies
  • These are generally an introduction to the New Zealand education system and courses
  • They are useful for students considering tertiary education

Secondary schools and colleges

  • Most New Zealand secondary schools are state owned
  • Some are private or integrated (half state funded) and may be single-sex or affiliated to a particular religion
  • New Zealand secondary schools are typically for students aged 13 to 19 (Years 9 to 13)
  • Students in Years 11 to 13 study towards the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)
  • The academic year runs from February to mid-December with breaks in April, July and September