Study Abroad

three girls next to glacial lake

What is Study Abroad at UC?

Study Abroad is for students who wish to study at UC for one or more semesters as part of an overseas degree.

Studying at UC allows you to study at an internationally recognised institution in a city that is the gateway to the beautiful South Island in New Zealand. Our lakes, mountains, native forest, open spaces and clean air provide a magical backdrop and an outdoor adventure playground for your Study Abroad experience.

See how our Study Abroad and Exchange students have experienced New Zealand with their own photos and videos in our gallery.

You can also explore our Facebook page for helpful links, photos, and updates from other study abroad students.

Global Rugby Abroad ProgrammeCrusaders logo 2

UC is also offering an exciting Global Rugby Abroad programme to College rugby enthusiasts with an opportunity for a rugby Study Abroad semester in Christchurch. See more details about the programme on the webpage for the UC Global Rugby Abroad programme.


Photo and Video Contest

Congratulations to Matthew Oglesby from the University of Alabama, one of the winners of the Semester 1 2015 Photo and Video Contest! Check out Matthew’s winning video of his Study Abroad adventures below.

Experiential opportunities

While studying at UC you have the option to gain valuable real world experience and transferable skills through internships, field study, service learning, community engagement and more. Choose from a range of experiential learning opportunities to experience a Kiwi semester to the full.


A number of UC International Mobility Inbound Study Abroad Awards are available to Study Abroad students who are enrolled in a full-time degree programme at a recognised institution outside of New Zealand, and who want to study at the University of Canterbury for one or two semesters under UC’s Study Abroad programme. Awards are usually worth $2,000 NZD, although some awards may be for lesser denomination. To ensure you are considered for the Award, please email a brief statement outlining why the Award will be useful to you to Anna Foster at by 15 November. Students must be full fee paying Study Abroad (non-degree) students enrolling at UC in the Study Abroad Programme. New Zealand and Australian citizens or permanent residents are not eligible for the Awards.

Ready for a life-changing experience?
Fill out our 2017 Study Abroad Application Form.

Recommended application dates

  • Applications for Semester One (February – June) should be received by the 15th of November
  • Applications for Semester Two (July – November) should be received by the 15th of April

Applications for admission after these dates will be processed, but please make sure that you allow time for all the necessary travel preparations, including applying for and receiving a student visa before you travel.

There is a separate online application for accommodation.

You must apply for accommodation by the following deadlines:

  • Semester One (February start) – 1st of December
  • Semester Two (July start) – 1st of May

The academic year in New Zealand is usually the reverse of the northern hemisphere year. The US or European first semester will normally be the dates of Semester Two at Canterbury, and the US or European second semester will be the dates of Semester One at UC. Our long summer recess runs November to February.

Entry requirements for Study Abroad Students

International students may apply to enrol as a Study Abroad student for one or more semesters. Study Abroad students are required to pay a set tuition fee at UC.

You’re usually able to apply as a Study Abroad student at UC if: 

    • You have completed at least one year of university study at a recognised university or college. Students with less than one year of university study may also be eligible in many cases, contact for advice
    • You have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 or higher (on a scale of 4.0), or a B average or higher

If you are a postgraduate student, you will need to provide evidence of your completed undergraduate degree. Please see postgraduate students for more information.

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

For students coming from Germany for a one or two semester Study Abroad programme, we will also accept a DAAD English test score which meets UC requirements.

Email us if you’re unsure that you meet the requirements set out above, or for any further details.

Select your studies

Browse Qualifications and courses or Subjects to explore your study options at UC.

UC offers a Certificate of Proficiency for courses completed which can be taken back to your university as a component of your degree. Although there is seldom any problem, it is important for you to check that the courses you propose to take are acceptable for credit in your home university.

Some UC courses run for the first semester only, some for the second semester, and others which are full year courses. You will need to check when applying that the courses you want to take are available for the semester you want to be here.

A standard workload is 60 points per semester and individual courses are worth either 15 or 30 points.

Choose your courses

Study Abroad students can select courses from across UC’s wide study options and are accepted provided the entry requirements for each course are met. There are some courses which may not be available to Study Abroad students. These include Fine Arts (studio art) courses, some teacher education courses, 200 level LAWS courses, distance courses and clinical practice courses. Some Physical Education and Sport Coaching courses may require police checks. If you need to know in advance whether you are able to take a particular course, please include a course list in your Study Abroad application.

If you are a postgraduate student you must provide a complete list of courses you want to study.

While the Department of Civil and Natural Resource Engineering welcomes Study Abroad students and can usually accommodate most course requests, there is limited capacity in some Civil and Natural Resource Engineering courses. If you want to take any Civil and Natural Resource Engineering courses (courses coded ENCN, ENNR or ENCI) you must include a list of courses you want to take at UC with your application.

If you meet the general admission requirements you will be granted admission to the University first as per usual and your courses will then be sent to 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.

Tuition fees

As a Study Abroad student, you are required to pay tuition fees to the University of Canterbury.

  • Tuition fees for one semester of undergraduate courses for 2017 are $12,250 NZD (flat fee)
  • Tuition fees for postgraduate courses are calculated on a course-by-course basis. Tuition fees for a Study Abroad programme containing postgraduate courses may therefore be higher than the undergraduate flat fee.

Additional costs

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


Most Study Abroad students stay at Ilam Apartments on campus, which offers an accommodation package for Study Abroad students. 

Find out more about our accommodation package for study abroad students.


As a Study Abroad student, you must apply for and receive a student visa prior to arriving in New Zealand, even if your country of citizenship has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand.

Find out more about visas and immigration.


As a Study Abroad student it is compulsory to have medical and travel insurance, and your insurance must be valid for the duration of your stay. Please check here about insurance requirements.

Apply for Study Abroad

Step 1. Complete the Study Abroad application form

You may either make applications directly to UC or through a Study Abroad programme based in your home country.

Download and complete the 2017 Study Abroad Application Form‌.

Step 2. Send in your completed form and supporting documents

Once you have completed the form you need to post or email it along with:

  • Originals or certified true copies of university (or other acceptable tertiary institution) academic transcripts, which list the courses studied and the grades achieved
  • Evidence of your English language proficiency if English is not your first language. If you are from Sweden, Norway, Germany or Denmark with a pass at a specified level in your final year of high school study you may be exempted from a language test.

Post to

International Relationships Office
Level 3, Matariki
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Or Email to:

Note: If you are emailing your application to us, please ask your home university to email your academic transcript to us directly from their transcript office or Study Abroad office.

Step 3. Application approval

When the International Relationships Office has received your application, UC will send you an email to confirm this. UC will then process your application and normally notify you within 2 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 accommodation for international studentsinsurance for incoming studentsorientation and enrolment.

Applying through an outside organisation

It is also an option to apply through one of the organisations below. UC has been working with the partners listed below for many years and welcomes all students that apply through their programmes.

Whether you apply directly or through one of the following partners, you will still be considered for UC's International Mobility Inbound Study Abroad Award.  

Photo Story

Incoming Exchange student Harry Whan from the University of Nottingham, spent Semester 2 2015 and Semester 1 2016 at UC. From saying goodbye to Mum at the airport to making new friends at UC and exploring the South Island, Harry has chronicled his time at UC in a series of photos, below. Check out his photo story here!

Harry Whan Photo Story

Study Abroad Student Profiles

For more information please contact us.