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31 October 2023

7 minutes read

The Best Study Courses in New Zealand for International Students

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New Zealand, with its stunning natural landscapes, friendly culture, and high-quality education system, has become a prime destination for international students.

This guide will delve into the best study courses in New Zealand, offering an in-depth exploration of universities, popular programs, and study abroad opportunities, helping you make an informed decision about your academic journey.

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Why Study in New Zealand?

New Zealand, also known as Aotearoa in the indigenous Maori language, is a country of captivating beauty and warm hospitality. But what sets it apart as a study destination for international students?

The Welcoming Environment

New Zealand has earned a reputation for being one of the most welcoming and inclusive countries in the world. Its multicultural society embraces diversity, making it a safe and supportive place for international students.

A World-Class Education System

New Zealand boasts a world-class education system with universities consistently ranking among the top in the world. The country’s commitment to quality education is reflected in its rigorous academic standards and cutting-edge research opportunities.

Post-Study Work Opportunities

One of the significant advantages of studying in New Zealand is the opportunity to work after completing your degree. The country offers various post-study work visas that allow international students to gain valuable work experience.

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Top Courses for International Students

New Zealand universities offer a wide variety of courses catering to the diverse interests and career aspirations of international students. Here are some of the top courses you can consider:

Business and Management

Business and management programs in New Zealand are highly regarded for their practical approach to education. They equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the corporate world.

New Zealand universities, such as the University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington, offer world-class business programs. Students can pursue undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in areas like Business Administration, Marketing, Finance, and Entrepreneurship.

International students studying business in New Zealand often find themselves well-prepared for global career opportunities, thanks to the country’s international business focus.


Engineering is another field where New Zealand excels, offering comprehensive programs that meet international standards and equip students with the expertise needed in the engineering industry.

The University of Canterbury and the University of Auckland are renowned for their engineering programs. Whether you’re interested in civil, mechanical, electrical, or software engineering, New Zealand has options for you.

The engineering courses emphasize practical learning and hands-on experience, ensuring graduates are job-ready.

Computer Science and IT

New Zealand is a hub for computer science and IT education, with a curriculum that keeps pace with rapidly evolving technology trends.

The University of Otago and the University of Waikato are known for their strong computer science programs. From software development to cybersecurity, New Zealand offers a wide array of IT courses.

Graduates from New Zealand’s IT programs are highly sought after by global tech companies, making it a fantastic choice for aspiring IT professionals.

Health Sciences

For those interested in healthcare, New Zealand offers excellent health sciences programs that prepare students for careers in medicine, nursing, and public health.

The University of Otago and the University of Auckland are renowned for their medical programs. They provide a solid foundation for students pursuing careers in healthcare.

Studying health sciences in New Zealand provides access to cutting-edge research and clinical experience.

Environmental Studies

With its stunning natural beauty, New Zealand is an ideal place to study environmental sciences and conservation.

The University of Canterbury and Massey University are leading institutions for environmental studies. They offer programs that focus on sustainability, conservation, and ecological research.

New Zealand’s commitment to environmental protection and sustainability makes it a perfect destination for those passionate about preserving the planet.

Arts and Humanities

New Zealand’s universities offer a wide range of programs in arts, humanities, and social sciences, providing students with a broad spectrum of academic and creative opportunities.

The University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington excel in arts and humanities programs. Whether your interests lie in literature, history, sociology, or the visual arts, you’ll find a program that suits your passions.

Studying arts and humanities in New Zealand allows for the exploration of diverse cultures and perspectives.

Tourism and Hospitality

Given its thriving tourism industry, New Zealand provides excellent programs in tourism and hospitality management.

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and Otago Polytechnic offer top-notch tourism and hospitality courses. These programs provide hands-on training and insights into the dynamic tourism sector.

Graduates of tourism and hospitality programs in New Zealand have excellent opportunities to work in the vibrant tourism industry.


If you aspire to become an educator, New Zealand universities offer top-notch teacher education programs.

The University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury are renowned for their education programs. They prepare future educators with the knowledge and skills required to excel in the classroom.

New Zealand’s education programs emphasize practical teaching experience and the latest pedagogical techniques.


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Top Universities in New Zealand

Now that you know about the popular courses let’s explore some of the top universities in New Zealand known for their academic excellence:

University of Auckland

The University of Auckland consistently ranks among the top universities globally, known for its research and teaching excellence.

Located in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, this university offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Its vibrant campus and multicultural student body create a dynamic learning environment.

University of Otago

This university is known for its strong science and health science programs.

Situated in the picturesque city of Dunedin on the South Island, the University of Otago is a hub for medical and scientific research. It offers a diverse range of courses and has a rich history of academic achievement.

University of Canterbury

Offering a wide variety of courses, this university is a popular choice for international students.

The University of Canterbury, located in Christchurch, is renowned for its engineering, science, and arts programs. It provides a supportive and inclusive environment for international students.

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Cost of Studying in New Zealand

While New Zealand offers high-quality education, it’s essential to consider the cost of studying there. Tuition fees and living expenses can vary, so it’s crucial to plan your budget accordingly.

Tuition Fees

New Zealand’s tuition fees vary depending on the course, level of study, and university. Generally, undergraduate degrees cost between NZD 20,000 and NZD 35,000 per year, while postgraduate degrees range from NZD 25,000 to NZD 40,000 per year.

Living Expenses

Living expenses in New Zealand can also vary significantly. On average, international students should budget around NZD 15,000 to NZD 27,000 per year for accommodation, food, transportation, and other essentials.

Scholarships for International Students

Studying abroad can be a significant financial commitment, but New Zealand recognizes the value of international students and offers a range of scholarships to help ease the financial burden.

These scholarships are typically awarded based on various criteria, including academic merit, leadership qualities, and specific fields of study. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the prominent scholarships available for international students in New Zealand:

1. New Zealand Scholarships for Developing Countries (NZDS)

The New Zealand Scholarships for Developing Countries (NZDS) program is a prestigious scholarship initiative funded by the New Zealand government. It is designed to assist students from eligible developing countries in pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate studies in New Zealand.

These scholarships cover tuition fees, living expenses, travel, and insurance. The NZDS program aims to empower students to contribute to the development of their home countries after completing their studies in New Zealand.

2. New Zealand Excellence Awards (NZEA)

The New Zealand Excellence Awards (NZEA) recognize exceptional academic achievement among international students. These awards are available to students enrolling in New Zealand universities for undergraduate or postgraduate studies. Recipients of NZEA scholarships receive a significant reduction in their tuition fees, making a New Zealand education more accessible to deserving individuals.

3. Commonwealth Scholarships

New Zealand participates in the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, offering scholarships to citizens of Commonwealth countries. These scholarships are available for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

They cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other associated costs. Commonwealth Scholarships aim to promote international collaboration and cultural exchange.

4. University-specific Scholarships

Many New Zealand universities offer their own scholarships tailored to international students. These scholarships may target specific academic fields, research projects, or exemplary leadership qualities.

For instance, the University of Auckland offers the Auckland International Excellence Scholarship, while the University of Otago provides the Doctoral Scholarships for international PhD candidates.

5. New Zealand Pacific Scholarships

The New Zealand Pacific Scholarships are designed to support students from Pacific Island countries pursuing tertiary education in New Zealand. These scholarships cover tuition fees, living expenses, and additional costs such as travel and insurance. The program aims to strengthen educational ties between New Zealand and the Pacific region.

6. Fulbright New Zealand Scholarships

The Fulbright Program offers a range of scholarships for both New Zealand and American students, fostering academic exchange and cultural understanding between the two countries.

These scholarships encompass various academic disciplines, including science, technology, and the arts. Fulbright scholarships provide financial support for study, research, or teaching opportunities in the United States.

7. Research Scholarships

New Zealand is known for its strong emphasis on research and innovation. Consequently, there are numerous research scholarships available for international students pursuing postgraduate or doctoral studies. These scholarships often require candidates to contribute to ongoing research projects and produce significant academic work.

Application Procedures

Each scholarship program has its unique application process and eligibility criteria. It’s essential for prospective international students to research and identify scholarships that align with their academic goals and backgrounds.

Applications usually require documentation such as academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and proof of English language proficiency (often IELTS or TOEFL scores).

Applicants should pay close attention to deadlines and follow the application instructions provided by the respective scholarship providers. Additionally, seeking guidance from the international student office at their chosen New Zealand institution can be immensely helpful during the application process.


New Zealand offers a unique blend of natural beauty, high-quality education, and a welcoming atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for international students.

With a wide range of courses, top universities, and post-study work opportunities, New Zealand stands as an excellent choice for those seeking a transformative academic journey.

Explore the courses and universities mentioned above, and embark on a fulfilling educational experience in this breathtaking country. Whether you’re pursuing business, engineering, IT, or any other field, New Zealand has something exceptional to offer.


Q1: Can international students work while studying in New Zealand?

Yes, international students can work up to 20 hours a week during their studies and full-time during scheduled breaks. This allows them to gain practical experience and support their living expenses.

Q2: Are there scholarships available for international students in New Zealand?

Yes, many New Zealand universities and government organizations offer scholarships to international students based on academic merit. These scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden of studying in New Zealand.

Q3: How do I apply for a student visa for New Zealand?

To apply for a student visa, you will need to provide proof of acceptance at a New Zealand institution, proof of funds to cover your tuition and living expenses, and meet health and character requirements. The application process can be done online through the New Zealand Immigration website.

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