New Zealand is an island country known for picturesque landscapes, wine regions, Maori culture, and hospitable residents. Modern New Zealand is also a melting pot of cultures, with people coming from European, Asian, and Pacific Island backgrounds. But besides captivating scenery and a welcoming community, New Zealand is renowned internationally for its high standard of education. All in all, the country makes an excellent study destination for international students. In this article, we will be looking at the best universities in New Zealand for international students.

Is New Zealand Good Place to Study for International Students?

New Zealand has some world-ranking universities offering undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degree programs. There are also polytechnics and private training centers, including language schools, that cater to the different learning needs of students. What truly sets New Zealand apart from other international study destinations, is the country’s progressive approach to education. Students are trained to be independent, think critically, and develop their unique strengths.

Tuition fees for international students depend on their chosen institution since every university is permitted to manage its own fees. Students can expect to pay study costs starting at 22000 USD for a bachelor’s degree and 26000 USD for a postgraduate degree. Ph.D. students can allot 6,500 – 9,000 USD per year.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Can International Students Work in New Zealand while Studying?

International students are allowed to work in New Zealand, but there are very specific conditions depending on the learner’s program of choice. Part-time work is allowed for students enrolled full-time for at least two regular academic years, or at least one year in a student exchange program. They can work up to 20 hours a week. Full-time work on scheduled breaks is allowed only for students enrolled full-time for at least one regular academic year or in a course with 120 credits at minimum.

English language students can also work 20 hours a week if enrolled in full-time study in 14-week and 24-week teaching programs. Ph.D. and Master’s students have no restrictions on the hours of work.

Can International Students Stay in New Zealand After Graduation?

International graduates who wish to stay in New Zealand must apply for the right type of visa to do so. They can initially apply for a Post Study Work Visa which grants one, two, or three years of stay after graduation, depending on the graduate’s level of qualification. A Post Study Work Visa allows foreign citizens to access New Zealand’s job market. Moreover, their partner will also be eligible for a work visa and any dependent children can study for free.

Foreign nationals can apply for another Post Study work visa if they complete another degree higher than their previous one. To permanently reside in New Zealand, one can apply easier by looking for a skilled job in one of the industries with a shortage of manpower.

Top Universities in New Zealand for International Students

1. University of Auckland

The University of Auckland is the largest tertiary education institution in New Zealand. It is a comprehensive university providing first-rate teaching and research to over 44000 students, including 8000 international learners. Within five campuses all over Auckland, the university manages eight faculties, including a business school and a law school. It also hosts affiliated institutes in Hangzhou and Harbin, China. The University of Auckland is the best university in New Zealand for international students.

The University of Auckland fosters a strong research culture which made them known in the international academic scene.Itt is the only New Zealand member of prestigious global academic organizations such as Universitas 21, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, and the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN).

2. University of Otago

The University of Otago is a collegiate university regarded for its high number of academic researchers and excellent research quality. It was founded in 1869 by Dunedin leaders which makes it the oldest university in the country. Having maintained the architectural grandeur of its time-honored buildings and gardens, the university ranked as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.

This top university in New Zealand is composed of four divisions, including sciences, health sciences, humanities, and commerce, or the Otago Business School. While each division is independent, undergraduate students can select major and minor courses across the four colleges for a multidisciplinary learning style.

3. Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

Auckland University of Technology was first established as a technical school in 1895. It was granted university status in 2000 and adopted its current name. Presently, AUT has five faculties: Business and Law, Culture and Society, Health and Environmental Sciences, Design, and Creative Technologies, and Te Ara Poutama or Mauri and Indigenous Development. Furthermore, the university tops world rankings in several subjects, including Clinical, pre-clinical & health, Arts & Humanities, Business, and Computer Science, to name a few.

As a top university in New Zealand for international students, AUT consistently ranks first in New Zealand in terms of International Outlook, which can be seen from over 6000 international students from 141 countries enjoying their stay at the university.

4. University of Canterbury (UC)

The University of Canterbury was originally established as Canterbury College in 1873. It was based on the Oxbridge model of education by its founders, who had historic ties to the two European institutions. It became an independent university in 1961 and moved to its present location in the Christchurch suburb. Its 87-hectare campus houses three libraries, eleven residence halls, several research units, and four field stations, which are the most in number among all New Zealand universities.

International students can pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees at UC’s five colleges: Business and Economics, Engineering and Science, Arts, Education, and a School of Law. Among these faculties’ programs, UC particularly ranks in Arts & Humanities, Engineering & IT, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.

5. Victoria University of Wellington

The Victoria University of Wellington was founded in 1897 by the Act of Parliament during the reign of Queen Victoria and was therefore named after her. It is a highly regarded university when it comes to programs in law, humanities, and sciences. Other programs at this top university in New Zealand are architecture & design innovation, education, engineering, health, and business.

The university consistently achieves a high average in the government’s Performance-Based Research Fund, meaning they deliver quality research outputs. After all, it manages over 40 research centers with interesting focus, such as nanotechnology, coastal ecology, and electronic text.


We hope that this article on the best universities in New Zealand for international students was helpful. If you are planning to study in New Zealand, you can check numerous academic opportunities and scholarships on our Currently Open Scholarships in New Zealand Page!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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