New Zealand combines a culture of innovation and ingenuity with the rugged beauty of the great outdoors, and is a popular destination for international students. Data from the International Institute of Education (IIE) shows that New Zealand is a top 20 destination for Americans studying abroad.
There are a few key differences in terminology between the US and New Zealand when discussing university study:
Universities in New Zealand
University education in New Zealand was established in 1870 and has a similar tradition to the British university system.
There are eight government-funded universities in New Zealand offering a broad range of subjects in the arts, business and science. A number of universities have become well-known in specialist subject areas such as Medicine, Engineering, Law, Veterinary Science and Agriculture and Environmental Studies.
Research in New Zealand
Research by New Zealand university staff covers a wide spectrum and forms a vital aspect of university teaching. Research is the principal characteristic that distinguishes universities from other tertiary education institutions in New Zealand. New Zealand universities maintain a high level of research activity that continues to be internationally recognised.
The following websites are very good for further background information about New Zealand universities and the university system:
Graduate study is called ‘postgraduate’ study in New Zealand.
A postgraduate diploma usually requires one year of full-time study after a bachelor’s degree and builds on the subject matter in the academic field of the bachelor’s degree. Some graduates may be required to study towards a Graduate Diploma as a first step to confirm their academic level before proceeding to post-graduate studies.
An Honours degree requires one year of full-time study after a bachelor’s degree, building upon the knowledge gained in the bachelor’s degree. Honours degrees usually combine coursework and research. Entry into honours degrees may be restricted based on merit.
A Master’s degree usually requires two years of full-time study after a bachelor’s degree (or one year of study if the student has completed a postgraduate diploma or honours year in the same field). The master’s degree normally builds upon the knowledge gained in the bachelor’s degree. Master’s degrees traditionally consist of a thesis based on the results of original research, but increasingly, master’s degrees by coursework, or a mix of coursework and research, are becoming available.
Admission to PhD study requires a first class or good second class honours degree, a master’s degree, or comparable qualifications.
The doctoral (PhD) degree normally takes three years of full-time study and research. The degree is awarded on the basis of a thesis requiring original research and an oral examination. Sometimes the PhD candidate may also be required to take a written examination.
If you are carrying out research for a US doctorate or you are a post-doctoral scholar, you may not need to enrol in a specific course of study. Be sure to confirm your status with the University that you are attending if you are not specifically enrolled. University policy on this varies from institution to institution.
Universities in New Zealand are self-managing and have mechanisms for internal and external monitoring and review of their academic programmes.
The Committee on University Academic Programmes of Universities New Zealand is responsible for ensuring that New Zealand university academic programmes meet quality standards.
Universities must also satisfy New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) standards and demonstrate that appropriate criteria are being applied and that standards are being maintained.
The academic year in New Zealand begins in late February or early March (end of summer) and finishes in November (spring). Most of the universities in New Zealand operate on a semester system, although a few operate on a trimester or quarter system.
A student visa allows you to travel to New Zealand for the purposes of study. If you will conduct research instead of enrolling in an academic programme, you will need a work visa. Information about visas can be located on the Immigration New Zealand website.The New Zealand Embassy in Washington deals with visa applications from people living on the eastern side of the US and the Consulate-General in Los Angeles with the western side.
You should organise your flight bookings around three months before you plan to arrive.
Keep in mind that the main summer holiday period is between Christmas and New Year and many New Zealand organisations (including Fulbright New Zealand) will be closed until early/mid-January. January/February is a peak travel time so book as early as you can if you will be traveling during this period.