• New Zealand

How does the New Zealand Education System work?

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  • By:CANAM Group
  • Updated On:Oct 16,2023 04:18 PM IST

New Zealand’s education system continues to excel in literacy and ranks well by global standards. The country is influenced by a wide employment market and an increasingly mobile network of teaching staff, researchers and a well-travelled population of students. 

How does the New Zealand Education System work.webpThe Education System of New Zealand has a national curriculum which applies to all state schools and state-integrated schools. The curriculum describes the key competencies and learning outcomes people need in order to live, learn, work and contribute as active members of their communities rather than prescribing what school students must learn or what teachers must teach. 

A variety of special projects in specific areas of the curriculum are making a difference, especially in ages and groups. Community involvement and meeting each student’s needs are fundamental principles. 

How does the New Zealand Education System work?

There are ample reasons for international students to study in New Zealand. New Zealand offers a very supportive environment for its international students. The support for international students goes even further than the classroom, with the New Zealand government being the first in the world to create a code of practice that outlines a standard of care for international students both in the classroom and outside of it. 

The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) is a system for acknowledging the level and quality of qualifications offered by New Zealand education providers. 

new zealand qualification framework.webp

Detailed explanation of qualification levels


New Zealand Certificate qualifications may be approved at several levels. All certificates must comprise at least 40 credits. Certificate qualifications are delivered at levels 1-5.

What are Credits?

A total of 120 credits is considered an annual full-time study loan for a student. 120 credits are equivalent to 60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). Each credit represents 10 learning hours (both face-to-face and self-directed learning). 


New Zealand Diploma qualifications may be approved at levels 5-7. They must be at least 120 credits. New Zealand Diploma qualifications are delivered at levels 5 and 6, both one and two-year diplomas. 


The degree gives a systematic and coherent introduction to a body of knowledge of a recognized major subject. It requires a minimum of 360 credits from levels 5 to 7 and gives eligibility to enrol in a postgraduate qualification. 

Graduate Certificate

It broadens or deepens skills learnt in an undergraduate degree and requires a minimum of 60 credits, with a minimum of 40 at level 7 or above. 

Graduate diploma

It broadens knowledge and skills in a familiar subject or discipline or develops skills in a new area. It requires a minimum of 120 credits, of which 72 credits must be at level 7 or above. 

Bachelor Honors Degree

It may be either a 480-credit degree or a discrete, 120-credit degree following a bachelor’s degree. It requires a minimum of 120 credits at level 8, with a research component that represents at least 30 credits at that level. 

Postgraduate Certificate

It is open to those with a Bachelor’s degree or Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in a relevant subject. It requires a minimum of 60 credits at level 8 and provides the basis for further postgraduate study. 

Postgraduate Diploma

It is open to those who have completed all requirements of the relevant Bachelor’s Degree, Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma. It may make one eligible to enrol in a Master’s Degree and requires a minimum of 120 credits from levels 7 and above, with a minimum of 72 credits from level 8. 

Master’s Degree

It has a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent. It must include at least 40 credits at level 9, with the remainder at level 8. It may give one eligibility to apply for admission to a program of advanced study. 

How Does the New Zealand Education System Work? Universities and Programs

For international students, there are various things to know when planning to study in New Zealand. Students attend university to undertake bachelor's degrees or postgraduate courses (including certificates, postgraduate diplomas, master programs). Students can take higher education courses to earn an advanced degree and continue their studies in New Zealand. Teaching at universities normally takes place in large-group lectures and small-group tutorials.

Aspire 2 InternationalLevel 7
• Graduate Diploma in Applied Management
Level 8
• Postgraduate diploma in Digital Transformation in Business
Auckland Institute of StudiesLevel 7
• Bachelor of Business
Level 8 
• Post Graduate Diploma in business Administration
Level 9 
• Master of Business Administration
Auckland University of TechnologyLevel 7
• Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science
Level 8
• Bachelor of Arts (Honors) with a Specialization in Education
Level 9 
• Master of Analytics
Massey UniversityLevel 7
• B.Sc. Arts-Media Studies
Level 8 
• Bachelor of Engineering(Honors) in electronics and Computer Engineer
Level 9
• Executive Master of Business Administration
Manukau Institute of TechnologyLevel 7
• Bachelor of Accounting
Level 8 
• Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Technologies
Level 9 
• Master of Applied Technology
Media Design School
Otago Polytechnic
Level 7
• Bachelor of Art and Design – 3D Animation and VFX
Level 8
• Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Management-Business Information Systems
New Zealand Skills and Education College
Unitech Institute of Technology
Level 7
• Diploma in Applied Network and Cloud Technology
Level 8 
• Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Business

The New Zealand Education System offers qualifications across all of the NZQF levels, from Certificates to Doctoral Degrees. 

International students consider New Zealand as an emerging education destination. The New Zealand qualification has ten levels of qualifications, each based on complexity. Level 1 is the least complex, and level 10 is the most complex. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the level, the longer the time to complete it due to the learning material and credits required to achieve the full qualification. 

New Zealand Education System Admission Requirements

Graduate Certificate/ Diploma (Level 7)

Minimum level of education required to be accepted into this program: 

• Students must hold at minimum a level 6 diploma in the following areas- technology and/or technology-related or management-related from a recognized institution. 
IELTS : With no band less than 5.5
PTE : Minimum overall score- 50 

Postgraduate Diplomas (Level 8)

Minimum level of education required to be accepted into this program; applicants must have a relevant Bachelor’s degree.

• IELTS: With no band less than 6.0
• PTE: Minimum Overall Score- 58

Postgraduate degrees (Level 9)

Minimum level of education required to be accepted into this program; applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree. 

• IELTS : With no band less than 6.0
TOEFL : Minimum overall score- 79.0
• PTE : Minimum overall score- 58

For complete guidance on how the New Zealand Education System works, contact Canam Consultants.


New Zealand’s education system follows a variety of flexible structure that covers all the years of schooling and is compulsory from year 1 to 10. New Zealand has specific programs for formative assessment, known as assessment for learning. Such assessments become formative when the evidence is actually used to adapt the teaching to meet the student’s learning needs. The New Zealand Education System has been designed to strengthen the evidence base that informs education policy and practice. 


Education in New Zealand is a student-centred pathway providing continuous learning progression and choice so that students’ progress every year and their learning at one level sets the foundation for the next steps along a chosen pathway. 
Many universities in New Zealand require students to have at least approximately 65% to 75% in their earlier degree qualifications. 
An international student’s annual cost of living in New Zealand is approximately 1,500 NZD, and to study in New Zealand is an additional expense of approximately 35,000 NZD. 
Education level in New Zealand is a three-tier structure consisting of primary level, secondary level, and tertiary level at polytechnics and universities. 
New Zealand is unique for scenes of sweeping, verdant landscapes and pristine wilderness abound. It is also known for its rich culture, friendly locals, and excellent food and wine. 

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