Education system in New Zealand

New Zealand’s education system focuses on teaching students to solve problems, absorb, analyze and apply information, to work with others to create and innovate. The system supports debate, free thinking, and flexibility, and our teachers encourage students to be confident, connected and actively involved, lifelong learners.

Higher Education

Whatever higher education you’re looking for, you’ll find it in New Zealand. We have eight universities, 18 polytechnics, and institutes of technology, around 600 private training institutions, 27 English Language schools, and around 20 industry training organizations.

You can study for either academic or more practically focused qualifications, gaining everything from entry-level certificates to diplomas, degrees, and doctorates. What’s more, these institutes are located nationwide, so you can study just about anywhere you like.

Ph.D. students will pay the same fees as New Zealand students. There are scholarships available for international Ph.D. students, including the New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships. Each institution has specific scholarship opportunities too.

Types of Education

New Zealand offers international students the opportunity to study a number of high-quality, internationally recognized courses. New Zealand has 8 Universities, 25 Polytechnics and/or Institutes of Technology and about 440 secondary schools. New Zealand eight national universities offering degree programmes in academic and professional studies. All universities offer a broad range of subjects for degrees in Computing & IT, Engineering, Commerce, Science, and the Arts. Most degrees in New Zealand are for 3 years but there are also a number of degrees which take 4 years.

Students can undertake study at one of New Zealand’s eight universities as well as at a range of polytechnics, institutes of technology and private colleges. This section explores:

 English language studies

 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

 University preparation courses

 Undergraduate study

 Postgraduate study

 Study abroad and student exchange

Online and distance education qualification


There are 10 levels of study in New Zealand schools and universities. The lowest level is a certificate and the highest is a doctoral degree. It provides a comprehensive list of quality-assured qualifications, including the level of knowledge and skills that a student will have gained upon graduation. It also helps to establish high-quality education pathways between qualification levels. The NZQF is divided into 10 levels, ranging from certificate to doctoral degree level.


For more information, visit the New Zealand Qualifications Authority website.

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