Guide to NZ University Degrees for International Students

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Here is a guide to all the most common University degrees that students can undertake and attempt to earn in New Zealand. Please note that some of the courses will be available only at specific establishments and that double or conjoint degrees are University dependent.

For more information on University in New Zealand you can check out our previous blog on the subject here.

List of NZ Universities (8 Total)

  1. Auckland University of Technology/AUT (Auckland), founded: 2000, students: 20,000
  2. Lincoln University (Lincoln), founded: 1878, students: 4,000
  3. Massey University (Palmerston North), founded: 1927, students: 20,000
  4. University of Auckland (Auckland), founded: 1883, students: 40,000
  5. University of Canterbury (Christchurch), founded: 1873, students: 15,000
  6. University of Otago (Dunedin), founded: 1869, students: 20,000
  7. University of Waikato (Hamilton), founded: 1964, students: 15,000
  8. Victoria University of Wellington (Wellington), founded: 1897, students: 20,000

All of New Zealand’s Universities are ranked in the QS World Rankings 2019 global top 500:

  • The University of Auckland is 85th overall
  • University of Otago is 175th equal
  • Victoria University of Wellington is 221st equal
  • University of Canterbury 231st equal
  • University of Waikato 274th
  • Lincoln University 317th equal
  • Massey University 332nd equal
  • Auckland University of Technology (AUT) 464th equal

Undergraduates – These are students who have not yet taken a first degree. An undergraduate degree is your first university degree (i.e. an Associate or Bachelors degree). Once you have received your undergraduate degree(s) you can graduate and take postgraduate courses. It will usually take three years at University to achieve your degree.

Fees for International student study will be approximately $30,000 NZD per year.

  • Bachelors – To get a Bachelor’s degree you must undertake at least three years of full-time study.
    - Bachelor of Arts (three years of study, 41 available majors including; Art History, Asian Studies, Chinese, Classical Studies, Criminology, Cultural Anthropology, Data Science, Development Studies, Economics, Education, Education and Psychology, English Literature, Film, French, Geography, German, Greek, History, International Relations, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Linguistics, Māori Resource Management, Māori Studies, Mathematics, Media Studies, Modern Language Studies, Music, Pacific Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Religious Studies, Samoan Studies/Matāupu tau Samoa, Sociology, Spanish, Te Reo Māori, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and Theatre).
    - Bachelor of Architectural Studies (three years of study, four available majors including; Architecture, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Architecture History and Theory).
    - Bachelor of Biomedical Science (three years of study, three available majors including; Human Genetics, Molecular Pathology and Molecular Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry).
    - Bachelor of Building Science (three years of study, 3 available majors including; Project Management, Sustainable Engineering Systems and Project Management and Sustainable Engineering Systems).
    - Bachelor of Commerce (three years of study, 14 available majors including; Accounting, Actuarial Science, Commercial Law, Data Science, Economics, Finance, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, Information Systems, International Business, Management, Marketing, Public Policy, Taxation, Tourism Management).
    - Bachelor of Communication
    - Bachelor of Criminal Justice
    - Bachelor of Dance
    - Bachelor of Design Innovation (three years, seven majors including; Animation and Visual Effects, Communication Design, Design for Social Innovation, Fashion Design Technology, Industrial Design, Interaction Design and Media Design).
    - Bachelor of Engineering (three years, four majors including; Electronic and Computer Systems Engineering, Network Engineering, Software Engineering and Cybersecurity Engineering).
    - Bachelor of Fine Arts
    - Bachelor of Forestry Science
    - Bachelor of Health Sciences (three years, five majors including; Population Health, Policy and Service Delivery, Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Informatics and Health Software Development).
    - Bachelor of Laws
    - Bachelor of Music (three years, four majors including; Classical Performance, Instrumental/Vocal Composition, Jazz, Music Studies, Sonic Arts and Music Technology).
    - Bachelor of Nursing
    - Bachelor of Product Design
    - Bachelor of Science (three years, 24 available majors including; Actuarial Science, Applied Physics, Biology, Biotechnology, Cell and Molecular Bioscience, Chemistry, Computer Graphics, Computer Science, Data Science, Development Studies, Ecology and Biodiversity, Electronic and Computer Systems, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Geophysics – Meteorology, Geophysics – Solid Earth, Marine Biology, Mathematics, Physical Geography, Physics, Psychology and Statistics).
    - Bachelor of Social Work
    - Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology with Honours
    - Bachelor of Sport Coaching
    - Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood)
    - Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary)
    - Bachelor of Tourism Management
    - Bachelor of Urban Planning
  • Double degrees/Conjoint degrees – These often take 4-5 years to complete instead of the 7-8 years needed to complete fully separate degrees (for example: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce). In these cases, both participating institutions reduce the amount of time required to be spent at each.
  • Double Majors – These are two majors attached to a single degree (for example: when a Bachelor of Arts (BA) student gets their degree with English Literature and Media Studies).

Postgraduates – Study starts after you have completed an undergraduate degree and include courses such as; Diplomas, Honours, Masters and PhD’s. This is study undertaken in a programme with a more direct focus.

  • Honours - Honours degrees usually take 1-2 years to complete following the completion of undergraduate study.
    - Bachelor of Arts with Honours
    - Bachelor of Biomedical Science
    - Bachelor of Communications with Honours
    - Bachelor of Commerce with Honours
    - Bachelor of Design with Honours
    - Bachelor of Engineering with Honours
    - Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours
    - Bachelor of Food Technology with Honours
    - Bachelor of Laws with Honours
    - Bachelor of Speech and Language Therapy with Honours
    - Bachelor of Science with Honours
    - Bachelor of Tourism Management with Honours
    - Bachelor of Music with Honours
  • Masters - A Masters degree can be undertaken once you achieve your Honours and also 1-2 years to complete.
    - Executive Master of Business Administration
    - Master of Advanced Leadership Practice
    - Master of AgriCommerce
    - Master of Agriculture
    - Master of Analytics
    - Master of Applied Linguistics
    - Master of Applied Social Work
    - Master of Applied Statistics
    - Master of Arts
    - Master of Aviation
    - Master of Business Studies
    - Master of Clinical Psychology
    - Master of Communication
    - Master of Construction
    - Master of Counselling Studies
    - Master of Creative Enterprise
    - Master of Creative Writing
    - Master of Dairy Science and Technology
    - Master of Design
    - Master of Education
    - Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology
    - Master of Educational Psychology
    - Master of Emergency Management
    - Master of Engineering
    - Master of Engineering Studies
    - Master of Environmental Management
    - Master of Finance
    - Master of Fine Arts
    - Master of Food Safety and Quality
    - Master of Food Technology
    - Master of Health Science
    - Master of Information Sciences
    - Master of International Development
    - Master of International Security
    - Master of Journalism
    - Master of Management
    - Master of Māori and Indigenous Business
    - Master of Māori Visual Arts
    - Master of Nursing
    - Master of Philosophy
    - Master of Professional Accountancy and Finance
    - Master of Professional Public Relations
    - Master of Public Health
    - Master of Quality Systems
    - Master of Resource and Environmental Planning
    - Master of Science
    - Master of Social Work
    - Master of Specialist Teaching
    - Master of Speech and Language Therapy
    - Master of Sport and Exercise
    - Master of Sport Management
    - Master of Supply Chain Management
    - Master of Teaching and Learning
    - Master of Veterinary Medicine
    - Master of Veterinary Science
    - Master of Veterinary Studies
  • Diplomas – There are graduate and postgraduate diplomas. Graduate diplomas are open to those with Bachelor’s degrees. Postgraduate diplomas are open to graduates.
  • Certificates – There are graduate and postgraduate certificates. Graduate certificates are open to those with Bachelor’s degrees. Postgraduate certificates are open to graduates.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD’s) – Following the completion of your Masters you can take on a PhD, this can take 3-4 years to complete. Therefore, those who decide to obtain a doctorate will spend 10-12 years at University in total, from Undergraduate level to PhD level.

A Doctor of Philosophy is the highest academic degree awarded by universities in most countries. New Zealand is unique because as an international student you won’t pay any extra fees to study a PhD in NZ.

Phd’s are completed after a Masters degree has been obtained and will consist of research and working on your thesis. After the public defence of the thesis you will receive a PhD certificate and may call yourself a Doctor. This means that you are ready for an academic career.

For more information on the levels of qualification rankings in New Zealand click here.


Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand.
As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.