graduate program in christchurch, new zealand, postgraduate, graduate, programs, courses, university

Study in Christchurch, New Zealand

Population: 348,000

City Overview

Devastated by a series of major earthquakes between 2010 and 2012, Christchurch is a city trying to feel its way back onto the world stage.

As New Zealand’s second largest city and the main entry point to the South Island, Christchurch has always been a thriving destination for postgraduate international students. However, the city is a markedly different place to the one it was pre-2010. More than half of the city’s buildings over five stories high have collapsed or been demolished, while the central business district is still inaccessible.

Consequently, Christchurch is a changing city, full of creativity and new ideas. This upbeat positivity and sense of optimism is something that makes Christchurch a great place for postgraduate students to study.

Education profile

Christchurch has a number of further education institutions offering postgraduate courses. You can study a graduate program in Christchurch at:
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

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 for studying in Christchurch. You will have to meet certain health requirements and pay a fee to apply.

Life in Christchurch

Although the earthquakes have changed life in Christchurch, this is still a city brimming with optimism, creativity and things to do.

Christchurch remains New Zealand’s most affordable major city and is a calm and relaxing place to take a postgraduate course. Known as the ‘Garden City’, Christchurch has many public parks and is one of the few cities in the world where you can sky in the mountains and then swim in the sea on the same day.

The city has a thriving cultural scene which has become more important since the earthquake damage. Expect to see at least one outdoor concert at Hagley Park during your stay in Christchurch and get involved with the numerous festivals during the summer months.

Working in Christchurch

Agriculture and farming has always been at the heart of Christchurch’s economy and in modern times the city has moved into biotechnology operations in order to diversify its overseas offerings. Dairy farming is still particularly popular in Christchurch.

The growth of education in Christchurch has meant that engineering, technology and technicians have become more sought after in the city, as graduates begin to set up their own businesses after their studies.

As with most of New Zealand, tourism plays a major part in the local economy. The local scenery, closeness of ski fields and the Southern Alps means the city is a popular stopover destination for tourists, particularly those from Japan.


Most of the further education institutions offering graduate programs in Christchurch will be able to offer you a room in a student hostel.

This is a great way to meet fellow students and also avoids the hassle of having to sort out your own rent and place to stay prior to arrival.

However, there are a number of options open to you if you do decide to go private. You could choose to stay in homestay, which means staying with a local family in Christchurch and learning the kiwi way of life.

Alternatively, you could choose to rent a private property or room with friends, family or fellow students. Expect to pay around NZ$100-$200 for a room in a shared house.

Weather and Climate

Christchurch has a moderate climate with cool summers and frosty winters. The main summer months are between December and February, when temperatures average out at around 20C during the day. Winter is at its coldest between June and August where it’s not unusual for temperatures to drop below freezing.

What to do next

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