New Zealand is internationally recognised as a great place to study. In 2012, for example, there were 47,700 international students studying in NZ at the tertiary level, out of a total of 422,000 students (source).
Whether you are a domestic student who is finishing up with NCEA and looking for a future study option, or you are an international student looking to come and study in NZ, it pays to “know the market” and see what tertiary education providers exist in New Zealand.
On this page you’ll find our handy guide to some of the biggest tertiary education providers in NZ. Please note that some types of tertiary providers, such as Private Training Establishments, have not been included on the Tertiary Providers Page (there are simply too many to list!). For a comprehensive guide to tertiary-level Private Training Establishments please see the Education Counts website.
Before you read the list, it’s important to know that tertiary education institutions in New Zealand can fall under a number of different titles:
- Polytechnics/Institutes of Technology
- Wananga (these are tertiary institutes that teach in accordance to Maori principles and culture)
- Private Training Establishments (these have already been mentioned above – go here for a full list of PTEs)
- Workplace Training
- Adult and Community Education
For each New Zealand tertiary education provider listed below, some explanatory information has been included. The official website of each institution has also been included.
Disclaimer – Tertiary Providers Page does not make any claims as to the comprehensiveness of the listings on this site, or as to the accuracy of the information included. Treat this site as a “crib sheet” to help you learn more about some of the largest tertiary providers, not as a 100% complete database.
New Zealand Universities
Auckland University of Technology. Formed in the year 2000, and rebranded as AUT University in 2010, AUT is focused on new approaches to teaching, research, and learning. AUT has four campuses and over 27,000 students.
Lincoln University. This univeristy was formed in 1990 when Lincoln College was made independent of the University of Canterbury. Although a vast range of subjects are studied at this university of approximately 4500 students, Lincoln University has a strong focus on agricultural studies.
Massey University. As one of New Zealand’s largest universities (with approximately 35,000 students) Massey has an important role to play in the milieu of tertiary education in NZ. It is the only university in New Zealand to offer veterinary medicine as a qualification, and the degree from the school is recognised in a number of Western countries. Having formed gradually from conglomerations of other providers, Massey University formally came into being in 1966.
University of Auckland. With over 40,000 students and six campuses, the University of Auckland is NZ’s leading university (and ranks within the top 100 best universities worldwide). It was established in 1883, and has became an education powerhouse in the time since. Prominent alumni include Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Sian Elias, the New Zealand Chief Justice since 1999.
University of Canterbury. This is New Zealand’s second oldest university, and offers a range of degrees in subjects such as Arts, Commerce, Law, and Speech and Language Pathology. The University of Canterbury suffered some damage following the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010/2011, and fears were raised that student numbers would decline significantly (by 2013 the University had lost approximately 22 of its formerly enrolled students). However, it is the first university in New Zealand to be granted five stars by QS.
University of Otago. New Zealand’s oldest university has a history that dates back to 1869, and over 21,000 enrolled students. One of the most highly-rated universities in New Zealand, Otago excels in the field of research and is also famed for its medical school. The University of Otago is renowned within Kiwi popular culture for its student life (and occasionally outrageous behaviour from students known as ‘Scarfies’).
University of Waikato. One of the most interesting aspects of the University of Waikato is that it was the first university in New Zealand to be created “from scratch” – all other universities that exist today in NZ had existed in some previous form as a different institution. Waikato Management School at the University is one of only 59 business schools worldwide to have gained accreditation from AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA.
Victoria University of Wellington. With over 20,00 students and the highest average research grade in the NZ Government’s Performance-Based Research Fund, Victoria University of Wellington (frequently referred to as ‘Vic’) is an important tertiary education provider. It is particularly well known for its law, humanities, and social sciences programmes.
New Zealand Polytechnics/Institutes of Technology
Because there are such a large number of polytechnic/institutes of technology in New Zealand, information for the following is limited to official website links:
To help you learn more about tertiary education in New Zealand (and to make it easier for you to have a well-informed opinion about which provider is right for you) take a look at these recommended resources:
QS World University Rankings. See the global rankings for universities worldwide.
Wikipedia’s NZ Universities Guide. A list of all universities in NZ with key stats about student numbers, government funding etc.
Tertiary Education Commission. Government body in charge of managing funding for tertiary education in NZ.