Blog

Education in New Zealand

Post-compulsory education is regulated within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training. Until 1961, all university education was organised under the University of New Zealand, with university colleges around the country. Eventually the colleges became universities in their own right. Typically, a bachelor's degree will take three years, and a further year of study will lead to an Honours degree. Not every degree follows this 3+1 pattern: there are some four year degrees (which may or may not be awarded with Honours), and some specialist bachelor's degrees which take longer to complete. Typically, Honours may be awarded with first class, upper second class, lower second class or third class, but this can vary from degree to degree. A bachelor's degree may be followed by a master's degree. A candidate who does not hold an Honours degree may be awarded a master's degree with honours: such a degree usually involves two years study, compared to one year for a master's degree for a candidate who does have an Honours degree. A candidate who has either a master's degree or a bachelor's degree with Honours may proceed to a doctoral degree. Entry to most universities was previously "open" to all who met the minimum requirements in school-leaving examinations (be it NCEA or Bursary). However, most courses at New Zealand universities now have selective admission, where candidates have to fulfill additional requirements through qualifications, with the University of Auckland offering the largest number of selective-entry courses. Mature students usually do not need to meet the academic criteria demanded of students who enter directly from secondary school. Domestic students will pay fees subsidised by the Government, and the student-paid portion of the fee can be loaned from the Government under the Government's Student Loan Scheme. Weekly stipends can be drawn from the loan for living expenses, or the student can apply for a needs based (on assessment of parental income) "Student Allowance", which does not need to be paid back. "Bonded Merit Scholarships" are also provided by the Government to cover the student-paid portion of fees. The New Zealand Scholarship is awarded to school leavers by a competitive examination and also provides financial support to school-leavers pursuing a university degree but does not entail any requirement to stay in the country after they finish university. International students pay full (non-subsidised) fees and are not eligible for Government financial assistance.