New Zealand Admissions for International Postgraduate Students

New Zealand is an underrated yet perfect study abroad destination for international students with an adventurous mindset! How can you study in New Zealand as an international postgraduate student at the Masters or PhD level?

This application guide for international postgraduate students will help you find the best universities for your major and share everything you need to know about the process to study abroad in New Zealand. Let’s get started!

Are you an undergraduate? Read more here: Study in New Zealand Application Guide for International Undergraduate Students

Why Study in New Zealand?

  1. NZ is open for student visa applicants from August 1, 2022. It’s now possible to enter the country as an international student!
  2. NZ is one of the safest places to live in the world–extremely low crime rates and tolerant society. New Zealand ranks 2nd in the Global Peace Index for 2021.
  3. Stunning natural scenery–nature lovers will enjoy the accessible beaches, forests, and hiking trails. The nation is recognized globally as one of the most beautiful countries.
  4. The climate is perfect–not too hot or too cold! Mild temperatures and subtropical weather last the whole year.
  5. Healthy and lively society–sport, recreation, and community are important parts of New Zealand daily life.
  6. New Zealand is deeply influenced by Maori culture, including the Maori custom of Manaakitanga: extending love and compassion to friends and strangers alike.
  7. Ranked #10 in the world for education, NZ’s schools and universities are top notch. All their universities are ranking in the top 500 worldwide.

Why You Shouldn’t Study in New Zealand

If you want to pick a study destination, you should know both pros and cons of life there. Here are some reasons why you might not like studying in New Zealand:

  1. Very far from everything! Off the southern coast of Australia, it will take a minimum of an 11 hour direct flight or a transfer from Australia. From South America, the flight is 12 hours–From Europe, you may be in transit for 24 hours.
  2. Imports are expensive. Because of the long travel time, it’s very hard to find imported products in New Zealand. Therefore, the New Zealand diet mostly uses local foods and farm-fresh options from the island.
  3. Calm and quiet life. If you want to visit parties, big concerts, or night clubs during university, New Zealand might not be for you. The country’s small size and calm, easygoing lifestyle means less people, quiet weekends, and early evenings.
  4. Not much public transportation. With only a few rail and bus lines, New Zealanders get around the city by biking. You can cross between the North and South islands by ferry, or by domestic flight.
  5. Higher cost of living. As a developed country, the cost of living in NZ is a bit high. The estimated monthly costs per person are USD $2,588 (NZ$4,236).
  6. No air conditioning! If you easily overheat, you should know that most places in NZ do not use air conditioning. The daily temperature usually never goes about 30 degrees Celsius.

What are the qualifications to study Masters or PhD in New Zealand?

To study a postgraduate course at universities in New Zealand as an international student, you must first meet these requirements:


  • Must not be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand
  • Doctor of Clinical Psychology is restricted to New Zealand and Australian citizens and residents.

English language requirements to study a Masters/PhD in New Zealand

You must meet the following requirements:

TOEFL IELTS C2/Cambridge English Overall Grades
General guidelines 90+ 6.5, no bands below 6.0 Overall score of 176 and no bands below 169 B+ Level/85% overall


If English is your native language, or you studied an earlier degree in English, you may not need to submit an English language exam score.

What grades do you need to get admissions into New Zealand universities for postgraduate courses? In general, you need very high grades of 85% or above. You should be passing all your classes and have successfully completed the requirements for your Bachelor or Masters degree with above an 85% on your thesis.

Are you an undergraduate? Read more here: Study in New Zealand Application Guide for International Undergraduate Students

New Zealand postgraduate Law students
University of Otago postgraduate students

Application Timeline

The school year in New Zealand has between 2 semesters and 3 trimesters and runs between late February and November.

Application deadlines for February Intake (First Semester) are from October to December. The application deadlines for the July Intake (Second Semester) are February to June.

You should apply to New Zealand universities in the fall if you want to start the school year on time!

*Each university may have slightly different dates. This is just a general guide.

Application Documents to Prepare

To study in New Zealand as an international student, you will need to prepare different documents based on the degree you want to study.

New Zealand Application Documents
New Zealand Application Documents


*You may be required to submit an Educational Credential Evaluators report (ECE) if your country’s exams are not recognized by the university.

**For some arts or design programs, you may need to submit a portfolio of work.

***Preferably, the Doctoral Referee Reports (letters of recommendation) should be from academic staff of your previous university, especially your Masters thesis supervisor.

Find Universities in New Zealand

You can find and apply to universities in New Zealand on Global Admissions.

We offer free services and packages to give you extra, personalized support with our award winning team.

Begin your journey to New Zealand today!

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