Qualification group

Preparatory programmes


A preparatory programme will get you ready for university study.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for preparatory programmes vary. Check the details of the programme you are interested in to see if you are eligible for entry.

UC preparatory programmes

Certificate in University Preparation

The Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) is for you if you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and don’t meet the requirements for university entry with your existing qualifications. It’s also a great option if you have been out of school for a few years and want to refresh your study skills.

Find out more about the Certificate in University Preparation.


Headstart courses are designed for you if you want to improve your confidence and refresh your knowledge before starting your course. The courses are two weeks long and run over summer after NCEA results have been released.

Headstart subjects include:

  • Academic skills
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Further chemistry

Find out more about Headstart.

Preparatory programmes offered by partner organisations

Certificate in English for University Study

Certificate in English for University Study is provided for the University by Christchurch College of English Ltd.

If you have narrowly missed the English language requirements then the Certificate in English for University Study is for you.
If you successfully complete the programme, you are eligible to apply for entry to 100-level courses at the UC.

Find out more about the Certificate in English for University Study.

Foundation Studies Certificate

The Foundation Studies Certificate is a 26 week full-time programme which covers English language and academic skills. This course is aimed towards you if you are an international student who wants to improve your English skills, understand New Zealand culture and understand what is expected from you at university.

Find out more about the Foundation Studies Certificate.

Transfer programmes offered by partner organisations

University Transfer Programme

These are offered on the UC campus by UCIC and are moderated by the UC to ensure the highest academic quality.

If you need to bridge the gap between previous study and undergraduate study then University Transfer Programmes could be suitable. UTPs allow you to transfer directly into the second year of a bachelor's degree at UC.


The duration of preparatory programmes varies from programme to programme, but typically they are for 3 months of full time study.

They are usually scheduled in line with normal university semester dates with Semester 1 beginning in February, Semester 2 in July and the summer semester in November.

Further study

Once you have finished your preparatory programme, you will be well placed to start an Undergraduate certificates and diplomas or Bachelor's degrees