The education system of New Zealand mainly focus on both educational attainment and practical learning, it is rated as one of the best education systems in the world by London’s Legatum Institute. It is based on a 3-tier model which includes primary and intermediate schooling, after that secondary schooling (high schools) and the final one is the tertiary education at universities and polytechnics. The nation is ranked as the best-funded education system in the world since they have the highest percentage of public funding in the education sector.

Universities in New Zealand provide a variety of courses and programs depending on their area of interest, students can undertake flexible courses. The country offers numerous options for international students.

New Zealand education system is 12+3+2 similar to that of Australia; each year of study is divided in 10 different Levels as below:

  • Certificates are levels 1 to 4
  • Diplomas are levels 5 and 6
  • Bachelors degree, graduate diplomas and certificates are level 7
  • Postgraduate diplomas and certificates and bachelor degrees with honors are level 8
  • Masters degrees are level 9
  • Doctoral degrees are level 10

International students can normally apply to study for Level 5 and above courses.

After 12th student can opt to study below options:

  • Level 5 – Diploma course; 1 year duration
  • Level 6 – Diploma/ Advance Diploma course; 2 years duration
  • Level 7 – Bachelor degree; 3 years duration
  • Level 8 – Bachelor degree with Honors; 4 years duration

After Graduation/ Bachelors degree student can opt to study below options:

  • Level 7 – Graduate Diploma course; 1 year duration
  • Level 8 – Post Graduate Diploma course; 1 year duration
  • Level 9 – Master degree; 2 years duration


Generally, a bachelor’s degree takes three years but if you are planning to do an honors, it will take 4 years of study. However, this rule is not universally applicable in all universities. Hence, it is advisable to check with the university you are planning to apply for foreign study in New Zealand.

Undergraduate Courses

  • Graduate Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree with Honours

Post Graduate Courses

  • Post Graduate Diploma
  • Post Graduate Certificate
  • Masters Degree
  • Doctorates