Incoming Student Exchange

View of Aoraki/Mt Cook in New Zealand

Study while discovering New Zealand and fall in love with the natural beauty here that is impossible to forget. The country's lakes, mountains, native forest, open spaces and clean air provide a magical backdrop and an outdoor adventure playground for your student exchange experience.

What is the Incoming Student Exchange at UC?

The Incoming Student Exchange is a programme between UC and our exchange partner universities. If you are studying at an exchange partner institution you may be eligible to apply for the Incoming Student Exchange. When you study through the Incoming Student Exchange programme, you are studying as an exchange student from your home institution and are not required to pay tuition fees to UC.

Partner institutions

To apply for the incoming student exchange programme, you must be nominated by one of UC's partner institutions. As an exchange student you are not required to pay tuition fees to the University of Canterbury and the credits you earn while studying here may be transferred back to your home institution.

Check from the list below to see if your institution is amongst UC's 50+ exchange partners.

Ready for a life-changing experience?
Fill out our Incoming student exchange application form now.

If your institution is not listed, your home institution's International Relationships Office will be able to tell you whether there is an exchange agreement in place with UC and advise you how to apply for nomination.

Application closing dates

There are two opportunities per year to apply for the Incoming Student Exchange programme:

  • Semester One (February to June) – the closing date for applications is the 1st of November of the previous year.
  • Semester Two (July to November) – the closing date for applications is the 15th of April.

Entry requirements for Incoming Exchange students

High academic standard in your studies at your home university are usually expected when applying for the Incoming Exchange programme. Your home institution needs to nominate you to be considered for the exchange programme, so check the entry requirements determined by your home institution.

If English is not your first language, you must also meet UC’s English language requirements.

Select your studies

Some UC courses run first semester, some second semester, and others are full year courses. When you apply, check that the courses you want to take are available.

Search or browse Qualifications and courses or Subjects to explore your options.

A standard workload is 60 points per semester, and although different courses have different points values, in most cases each course will be 15 points. A normal full-time programme for a semester would be three or four courses.

Course offerings are subject to change.

Confirm your course selection

Some courses may not be available to Incoming Exchange students. These include Fine Arts (studio art) courses, many teacher education courses, 200 level LAWS courses, Journalism courses, MBA courses, distance courses, clinical practice courses and Social Work field work courses. Some Physical Education and Sport Coaching courses also require police checks to be supplied. If you need to know in advance whether you are able to take a particular course, please include a course list in your Incoming Exchange application.

Some other courses are limited entry and may have additional entry requirements. Please contact the International Mobility Co-ordinator if you have enquiries about course restrictions.

Civil and Natural Resource Engineering

While the Department of Civil and Natural Resource Engineering welcomes exchange students and can usually accommodate most course requests, there are limits on capacity in some Civil and natural Resource Engineering courses.

In order to ensure that you know in advance whether you will be able to be accommodated into the courses you need, UC now require that all students wishing to take any Civil and Natural Resource Engineering courses (courses coded ENCN, ENNR or ENCI) include a list of courses they want to take at UC with their application.

Students who meet general admission requirements will be granted admission to the University first as per usual and your courses will then be sent to the Department of Civil and Natural Resource Engineering for a decision as to whether you are able to take your selected courses. The International Relationships Office will then advise you as to which courses have been approved.

If you are applying to other engineering courses it is also recommended that you provide a list of courses with your application.


Some courses have pre-requisite requirements and students need to have sufficient academic background to be considered for entry to these courses.

Tuition fees

As an exchange student, you will not be required to pay tuition fees to UC. You will pay tuition fees to your home institution.

Additional costs

There are additional costs to factor into your budget per semester:

  • Medical and travel insurance- see more information about insurance below
  • Living costs - Costs will vary but you should budget approximately $7,500 NZD per semester.


Most exchange students stay at the UC Accommodation Student Village on campus which offers an accommodation package for exchange students.

Find out more about accommodation for international students.


It is not possible for exchange students to travel to New Zealand on a visitor's visa and apply for a student permit upon arrival in New Zealand, even if you are a citizen of a country with which New Zealand has a visa waiver agreement. It is imperative that you get your student visa before travelling to New Zealand as you may be refused a student permit if you apply for a student visa once you are here.

Full details of visa and permit requirements, advice on rights to employment in New Zealand while studying, and supporting requirements are available from Immigration New Zealand. When your application for admission is approved, the University of Canterbury will provide you information on the location of the appropriate office of Immigration New Zealand.

Find out more about Visas and immigration.


Exchange students must have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance while studying in New Zealand. This insurance must meet requirements set by the New Zealand government under the NZ Ministry of Education Code of Practice.

Studentsafe‐University insurance is the University's current default insurance cover which meets the standards of the New Zealand Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. Exchange students can purchase Studentsafe‐University cover when they complete their enrolment in person on campus. If exchange students hope to utilise an alternative insurance policy, they must have the cover assessed at least four weeks before enrolment to determine whether it meets NZ government requirements. The application form for insurance assessment is available on the web page below. It is important to note that many overseas policies do not meet NZ requirements and students need to be aware that a policy required by their home university or issued in their home country may not necessarily meet NZ requirements and that purchase of the default insurance at enrolment may be required.

See Medical and Travel Insurance for incoming students for full details.

Apply for Incoming Student Exchange

Step 1. Complete the Incoming Student Exchange application form

If your institution is a University of Canterbury Exchange partner, you need to be nominated by your home institution to be able to apply. Once you have been nominated, complete the Incoming student exchange application form.

Step 2. Your home institution will send the completed form and supporting documents

Once you have completed the form you need to submit it to your home university. They will send your application to UC by email with the required documents including your official transcript, nomination letter from your home university and evidence that you have met UC's English language requirements, if English is not your first language.

If your transcript does not show the courses that you are currently taking at your home university, please provide a list of these courses signed by your home university.

UC cannot accept faxed applications and exchange applications sent to us from students by email.

Step 3. Application approval

When UC has received your application, we will send you an email to confirm this.

UC will then process your application and normally notify you within 4 weeks of the decision.

Step 4. Next steps

If you have been accepted, you will receive an email copy of your offer of a place, along with information on:

For more information please contact us.