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30 October 2023

6 minutes read

Guide to Study Nursing in New Zealand: Pathway to Become a Nurse in New Zealand

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Are you intrigued by the idea of studying nursing amid the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand? You’re certainly not alone. With a reputation for excellence in healthcare and education, New Zealand is increasingly becoming the go-to destination for many aspiring nurses. This detailed guide will walk you through everything you need to know about pursuing a nursing degree in New Zealand.

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Why Choose New Zealand to Study Nursing?

New Zealand is more than just its captivating landscapes and unique culture; it offers an education system that blends high-quality academic instruction with real-world experience.

Internationally Recognized Qualifications

New Zealand’s nursing degrees are globally recognized and respected. Graduates from New Zealand universities are often sought after internationally due to the comprehensive training they receive.

A Blend of Theory and Practice

Unlike some programs worldwide where students may find themselves submerged in theoretical knowledge, New Zealand’s curriculum ensures that students get hands-on clinical experience. This practical exposure is vital, helping students transition seamlessly into their professional roles after graduation.

Emphasis on Holistic Care

The country’s unique approach to healthcare focuses not only on physical well-being but also on the emotional, cultural, and spiritual needs of patients. Such an approach ensures that students are well-prepared to provide care in diverse settings and to a multicultural patient base.

A Supportive Learning Environment

The tight-knit academic community in New Zealand fosters a supportive learning atmosphere. With a low student-to-teacher ratio in many institutions, students often find themselves benefiting from personalized attention and guidance.

Access to Modern Facilities

New Zealand universities are well-equipped with state-of-the-art simulation labs, libraries, and clinical facilities. Such resources play a crucial role in ensuring that students are not only theoretically competent but also practically adept.

Opportunities for Research and Specialization

For those inclined towards research or looking to specialize in particular areas of nursing, New Zealand offers ample opportunities. From pediatric care to geriatric nursing, students can dive deep into areas that resonate with their passion and career aspirations.

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Navigating the Path to a Nursing Degree in New Zealand

Understanding the academic landscape is crucial for both domestic and international students. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect.

Bachelor of Nursing: Your First Step

A bachelor’s degree is the foundation for any aspiring registered nurse in New Zealand.

Course Structure and Duration

The Bachelor of Nursing in New Zealand spans over three years. During this period, students engage in a blend of classroom lessons, lab sessions, and clinical placements. These ensure a well-rounded education, preparing students for challenges in their nursing careers.

Choosing the Right University

While several universities offer nursing degrees, it’s essential to choose one that aligns with your career goals. Institutions like the University of Auckland, the University of Otago, and Massey University are top picks for many due to their reputation and comprehensive nursing programs.

Beyond a Bachelor’s Degree: Exploring Advanced Programs

If you’re looking to enhance your qualifications and delve deeper into specialized areas of nursing, New Zealand has you covered.

Masters in Nursing

Typically a two-year program, the Master of Nursing in New Zealand allows students to specialize in areas like midwifery, clinical nursing, or leadership roles in healthcare. These programs are a mix of advanced theoretical knowledge, research, and intensive clinical practice.

Doctorate Programs

For those looking to contribute to the academic side of nursing or engage in high-level research, a doctoral program is the way to go. New Zealand universities offer Ph.D. programs in nursing that can span 3-4 years, focusing on independent research and contribution to the field’s existing body of knowledge.


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Essential Considerations for International Students

Making a move to a new country for education is a significant step. Here’s what international students, especially from India, need to consider.

Tuition Fees and Living Costs

Pursuing a nursing degree in New Zealand is an exciting endeavor, but understanding the associated costs is crucial for both financial and logistical planning. Let’s delve deeper into the tuition fees and living costs that potential nursing students, especially international ones, can expect.

Bachelor of Nursing

For the three-year Bachelor of Nursing program:

  • Public Universities: Fees for international students can range from NZD 20,000 to NZD 30,000 per annum. Notable institutions like the University of Auckland or the University of Otago might be on the higher end of this range given their global reputation.
  • Private Institutions and Colleges: These may have slightly lower fees, averaging NZD 18,000 to NZD 25,000 annually. However, it’s essential to ensure that these institutions meet the required educational standards and are recognized by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

Masters and Advanced Programs

For those looking at postgraduate or specialized courses:

  • Master’s in Nursing: Typically, the fees can range from NZD 25,000 to NZD 40,000 per annum.
  • Doctorate Programs: These research-intensive courses can cost anywhere between NZD 30,000 to NZD 45,000 annually.

Additional Costs

Apart from the base tuition fees, students should account for:

  • Application and Entrance Fees: These are one-time costs during the application process.
  • Lab and Equipment Fees: Some courses may require additional fees for labs, equipment, or special modules.

Living Costs in New Zealand

New Zealand is known for its high living standards, and while the experience is enriching, it’s crucial to budget accordingly.


  • University Hostels or Halls of Residence: These are ideal for first-year students, offering a comfortable living environment and often including meals. Costs can range from NZD 8,000 to NZD 14,000 annually.
  • Shared Apartments or Flats: Older students or those looking for more independence might prefer sharing an apartment. This can cost between NZD 7,000 to NZD 12,000 per year, excluding utilities.
  • Homestays or Private Board: Living with a New Zealand family is another option, particularly for those seeking a deeper cultural immersion. This can range from NZD 8,000 to NZD 15,000 annually, often inclusive of meals.

Daily Expenses

  • Food: If not staying in catered accommodation, students should budget around NZD 3,000 to NZD 5,000 annually for groceries and eating out.
  • Transport: While many students prefer walking or cycling, those using public transport might spend NZD 1,000 to NZD 2,000 annually.
  • Personal Expenses: This includes entertainment, phone bills, health insurance, and miscellaneous expenses. Budgeting an additional NZD 2,500 to NZD 4,000 per year is advisable.

Budgeting for Living Expenses

Living in New Zealand is an experience in itself. From rent to food and transportation, international students should budget for approximately NZD 15,000 to NZD 20,000 annually.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

New Zealand’s commitment to quality education is evident not just in its curriculum and facilities, but also in its efforts to make education accessible to deserving students worldwide.

While the costs of studying abroad might seem daunting, various scholarships and financial aid options can significantly reduce the financial burden. Let’s explore the myriad opportunities available for aspiring nursing students in New Zealand.

University-specific Scholarships

Most universities in New Zealand offer scholarships specifically for international students:

  • University of Auckland International Student Excellence Scholarship: This scholarship is available for high-achieving international students in undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The award can cover up to NZD 10,000 of the tuition fees.
  • University of Otago International Excellence Scholarship: Targeted towards postgraduate students, this scholarship offers a tuition fee waiver of up to NZD 10,000.

Government-sponsored Scholarships

The New Zealand government, recognizing the importance of international students, offers several scholarships:

  • New Zealand Excellence Awards: These awards are for students from selected countries, offering partial scholarships for undergraduate or postgraduate studies.
  • New Zealand ASEAN Scholar Awards: Aimed at students from Southeast Asian countries, these awards cover full tuition, living expenses, and airfare.

External Organization Scholarships

Various organizations and foundations offer scholarships to international students:

  • New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) Scholarships: Specifically for nursing students, these scholarships support studies and research in nursing and can range from NZD 500 to NZD 2,000.
  • Fulbright New Zealand Scholarships: For US citizens looking to study in New Zealand, the Fulbright program offers several scholarships at different study levels.

Financial Aid and Student Loans

For students who might not qualify for scholarships or need additional assistance, other financial aid options are available.

In-house University Financial Aid

Some universities offer financial aid programs based on students’ financial needs. These programs aim to bridge the gap between a student’s resources and the actual cost of education.

Student Loans in New Zealand

Although international students aren’t typically eligible for government student loans, some private institutions and banks offer loans to international students:

  • StudyLink: While primarily for domestic students, some specific categories of international students might be eligible based on residency status or specific criteria.
  • Private Bank Loans: Several banks in New Zealand offer education loans to international students. While the interest rates might be higher than government loans, they can be a viable option for those in need.

Part-time Work Opportunities

To support themselves financially, many international students opt for part-time work. New Zealand’s student visa regulations permit students to work up to 20 hours per week during academic sessions and full-time during vacations.

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New Zealand, with its mix of quality education, holistic approach to healthcare, and stunning landscapes, is undoubtedly a top destination for nursing aspirants. Whether you’re just starting or looking to specialize, New Zealand’s universities and colleges promise a fulfilling and enriching journey in nursing.


Why is New Zealand a preferred destination for nursing studies?

New Zealand offers top-tier universities, high-quality education, and a great lifestyle, making it a sought-after destination.

How long is the bachelor of nursing programme in New Zealand?

It is typically a three-year full-time study program.

Are scholarships available for international students?

Yes, scholarships like the Auckland International Student Excellence Scholarship are available for deserving candidates.

Is IELTS mandatory for nursing in NZ?

English language proficiency is crucial. IELTS is one of the accepted tests, but specific requirements vary by university.

What are the career prospects after completing a nursing degree in New Zealand?

Graduates can work as registered nurses in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. With experience, they can also take on specialized roles or administrative positions.

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