Studying to become a nurse in New Zealand can take a few different forms depending on your educational and professional background. Most often, students will take an entrance exam to complete a Bachelor’s degree in one of the best nursing programs in New Zealand. However, some universities offer a Master’s degree only, aimed at those who may have already completed an undergraduate degree in a related discipline or for registered nurses looking to enhance their competencies. There are numerous research centers and institutions as well, for those looking to continue their studies even further.

There is also generally a shortage of nursing personnel in New Zealand, so nursing programs try to attract as many students interested in the healthcare professions as possible. This opens the door to many international students, too.

Here is a selection of the top nursing schools in New Zealand.

Best Nursing Schools in New Zealand

1. University of Auckland School of Nursing

  • Nursing Program
  • Degrees offered: Bachelor of Nursing, various postgraduate programs in nursing
  • Language of Instruction: English

The University of Auckland is the best nursing school in New Zealand, based in the capital and providing study opportunities for over 40,000 on-campus students. Established in 1883, the university has eight faculties spread around the city and its periphery.

The School of Nursing is accredited by the Nursing Council of New Zealand for a number of qualifications, undergraduate and postgraduate. Teaching here is interlinked with research and practical programs, with research-driven evidence underpinning clinical teaching.

The Bachelor of Nursing takes three years to complete and is taught on the Grafton campus. Its topics range from mental health nursing to geriatric nursing, but also cover Maori and Pacific health, as well as management and leadership in the field of nursing. This will put you in good stead for carrying on during your nursing career, into leadership positions.

2. Massey University School of Nursing

  • Nursing Program
  • Degrees offered: Bachelor of Nursing, Master of Clinical Practice (Nursing), Master of Health Science (Nursing), Master of Nursing, various others, and PhD
  • Language of Instruction: English

Massey University of New Zealand is based in Palmerston North and has campuses in Albany and Wellington too. It is the only university in New Zealand to offer programs in various niches like aviation, dispute resolution, and nanoscience, and is particularly sought-after for its agriculture program.

The School of Nursing is based on the Wellington campus and offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs all accredited by the Nursing Council.

The Bachelor of Nursing program is three years long and students can enroll in Auckland and Manawatu as well as Wellington. International students are welcome as long as they are living in New Zealand. Studying nursing at this top nursing school in New Zealand involves making full use of the nursing simulation suites on the university’s campuses, as well as participating in Empathy labs where you will wear special suits that simulate what it’s like to attempt normal tasks after suffering a stroke or simulate the restrictions of declining health.

3. Auckland University of Technology

  • Nursing Program
  • Degrees offered: Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing)
  • Language of Instruction: English

Auckland University of Technology (AUT), one of the best nursing schools in New Zealand, is a relatively young university formed in the capital of New Zealand in 2000 when a former technical college originally established in 1895 was granted university status. However, its teaching tradition across five faculties dates back over 100 years.

Nursing and midwifery are some of the areas of expertise of AUT, and here you can study for a BSc of Health Science with a Nursing concentration. The program teaches interprofessional practice looking to emulate as much as possible the real care environment.

The Bachelor’s degree is completed over three years of full-time study, at the end of which students can take the Nursing Council of New Zealand State Examination to become a Registered Nurse.

4. Victoria University of Wellington School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Practice

  • Nursing Program
  • Degrees offered: Master of Nursing Practice, Bachelor of Midwifery
  • Language of Instruction: English

Established in 1897, Victoria University of Wellington is famous for its law and humanities courses, but also for the sciences. The School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Practice has been evolving for 70 years, adding programs to complete the opportunities for students looking to train in the various fields of care.

The aim of the School is to provide courses that are directly relevant to contemporary healthcare disciplines, while also conducting research focused on worldwide health and wellbeing improvements.

The Master of Nursing Practice program is 4 trimesters long and combines classes, tutorials, and clinical learning experiences all in Wellington. You have to have completed a Bachelor’s degree to apply, and will need to prove your level of English proficiency if you are an international student.

5. Unitec Institute of Technology

  • Nursing Program
  • Degrees offered: Bachelor of Nursing
  • Language of Instruction: English

The final one on our article of best nursing schools in New Zealand is the Unitec Institute of Technology, which is also based in Auckland and is the largest such type of educational institution in the country. It was founded in 1976 under the name Carrington Technical Institute and changed names as it evolved into broader campuses and more specializations.

The Healthcare department at Unitec covers Nursing and Medical Imaging, with a Bachelor of Nursing being offered to students. It is a full-time three-year course of study, with a balance between classroom teaching and clinical experience and training. The teaching team is multi-cultural and care is given to the multi-cultural aspects of healthcare and life in New Zealand. Once you complete the program, you’ll be eligible to apply for the Nursing Council of New Zealand exam and become a registered nurse.


I hope that this article on the best nursing schools in New Zealand was helpful. If you are interested in knowing more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students!

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