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Study in New Zealand

Graduate programs in New Zealand

Originally home to only one University (the University of New Zealand), this eminently beautiful country is now home to dozens of educational establishments and is fast becoming noticed for educational excellence around the world.

Studying a graduate program in New Zealand will broaden your academic, research and employment horizons, meaning will be valued for your specialised skills and knowledge when it comes to starting a career.

Population: 4,445,436

Education overview

There are eight universities in New Zealand, as well as several colleges of education and polytechnics, all offering comprehensive and interesting postgraduate courses in dozens of subjects.

Graduate programs in New Zealand fall into three main categories:
  • Taught Masters (MAs/MScs/MEng)
  • Research Masters (MRes/ MA by Research)
  • Doctorates and PhDs
Taught Masters are postgraduate courses that follow a similar pattern to undergraduate study, with lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will be expected to research topics yourself and take and independent approach to studying.

Research Masters are often seen as pre-cursor to a PhD. You will research a particular topic independently and focus on improving your research skills to produce a dissertation or final projects.

Masters programs in New Zealand generally last a year (two if accepted without Bachelor honours), with PhDs taking up to four years to complete. 

Immigration and visas in New Zealand

International students planning to study full time for more than three months will need a student visa and a student permit, unless your home country has a special agreement with New Zealand.

Contact the New Zealand embassy in the country you live in for details of how to obtain your visa and permit. You will have to meet certain health requirements and pay a fee to apply.

It is normally also necessary to demonstrate that you have adequate study abroad travel insurance, which you must buy before you travel.

Life in New Zealand

Visually, the geography and environment will probably be more dramatic than any you have previously lived in. The breath-taking scenery has made New Zealand famous throughout the world, and the environment boasts some of the rarest species of plants and animals in the world.

New Zealanders, or ‘Kiwis’, are known for their friendly and laid-back attitude, and are happy to welcome newcomers into their midst. New Zealand may seem like a thoroughly modern country, but ancient Maori traditions still exist to this day, such as the importance of time-keeping and bringing small gifts to gatherings.

Working in New Zealand

If you're a full-time student, you can work up to 20 hours a week during the academic year as well as during the Christmas holidays on a student visa.

If you would like to live and work in New Zealand permanently, you will need to obtain a visa or work permit. You can learn more about whether you qualify for one of these on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Careers in horticulture and viticulture continue to be big in New Zealand, and since Peter Jackson’s award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, the New Zealand film industry has grown considerably. There also continue to be shortages in engineering, teaching, biotechnology, healthcare, IT and the creative industries, in which jobs are in higher demand.


There are three main types of accommodation available to New Zealand postgraduates:
  • University residence halls
  • Private student housing
  • Homestay accommodation
On-campus accommodation is more convenient, but can be more expensive. As a guide you can expect to pay around NZ$200-$300 per week, including room, board and utilities.

Private can be cheaper, but is much more relative. As a guide, you can expect to pay between $70 and $150 a week (bills not included), but living on your own will cost you more than house-sharing.

Staying with a Homestay family is a more unusual choice, but is a very good way to save money and adjust quickly to New Zealand life. It will, on average, cost NZ$180 per week, not including certain expenses.


New Zealand has a mild and temperate maritime climate.

Conditions vary sharply across regions, going from extremely wet in the South Island to almost semi-arid in the centre and subtropical in North Island.


Car travel is the most popular form of travel in and around New Zealand, however in terms of public transport, bus travel is the most popular.

Auckland and Wellington both have popular suburban rail systems, and some other cities operate local ferry services.

Bus travel will normally cost about $2 for a single, depending on the city and distance travelled. A train journey of about ten stops will cost you about $10. Student discounts are available on a variety of transport systems.


The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZD).

What to do next

If you would like more information about studying a graduate program in New Zealand, fill out our Free Application Service and we'll get in touch with you promptly with tailored information on studying abroad, great courses and advice on how to apply online.

Universities and cities in New Zealand