Admission and University Entrance

Before you can study at UC you must first meet University Entrance requirements. 

For admission to UC with a NZ qualification (including qualifications achieved at a NZ secondary/high school) you will need to meet the criteria for one of the following entrance pathways:

NCEA Requirements for University Entrance

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) administers NCEA and sets the NCEA requirements for University Entrance nationwide. This means details of NCEA requirements for University Entrance are listed on the NZQA website.  When you gain University Entrance with NCEA, it will also appear on your Record of Achievement. 

If you have submitted an Application to Enrol at UC and you gain University Entrance through NCEA, your admission to the University will be processed automatically once your NCEA results are available. 

Changes have been made to NZQA’s requirements for University Entrance in 2022, recognising the impact of student and teacher absences due to COVID-19 and other winter illnesses. Information about the changes is available here.

If you are a Year 12 student with an exceptional academic record applying for entry to UC before completing Year 13, or you have been on an official exchange programme (such as ASF or Rotary) studying overseas for 20 weeks or more, you will need to apply for Discretionary Entrance (see below). 

Falling short of University Entrance through NCEA

If you haven’t achieved University Entrance through NCEA, you may be able to qualify for admission to UC by completing the Certificate in University Preparation

Alternatively, if you are only 8 credits (or less) short of NCEA University Entrance, you may be able to catch up at your own secondary school, Hagley CollegeTe Kura Correspondence School or Logan Park High School. You will be able to start your studies at UC if you submit the work for your missing credits before the start of Semester One. Please note: this is not for students applying for a Teaching qualification (BTchLn). Read the relevant flyer below for details of the process. 

Please contact us on 0800 VARSITY (0800 827 748) if you have any questions.

Minimum CIE scores for University Entrance

  • A or AS level entrance requirement: A rank score of at least 120 points and a minimum grade of D in each of at least three subjects equivalent to those on the approved list (similar to NCEA approved subjects).
  • Literacy requirement: a pass in any of AS English Language, Language and Literature in English or Literature in English*.
  • Numeracy requirement: either (i) a D grade or better in IGCSE or GCSE mathematics or (ii) any mathematics pass at AS level.

*International applicants applying with CIE study outside of NZ may also meet the standard literacy requirement through an alternative approved English test. Admissions will contact you if we require more information regarding your English.

Changes for students completing CIE in 2022

Students completing CIE in 2022 for University Entrance in 2023 will have the amended CIE entrance standard applied. This is in line with changes made to NCEA. The amended CIE entrance standards are:

  • a minimum of 110 points on the UCAS Tariff at A or AS level
  • a D grade or better from at least two different syllabus groups and one E grade or better in another syllabus group (all excluding thinking skills).

Students completing CIE in 2022 are entitled to 2.5 additional Tariff points for every 10 points they achieve through assessment in the 2022 school year. These are subject to a maximum of 30 points.

Literacy and Numeracy requirements remain unchanged.

Rank score calculations

Your rank score is calculated by combining the tariff points of a maximum of six subject units (at AS or A level) over the last two years of study. One AS level is counted as equivalent to 1 subject unit, while one A level equates to 2 subject units. If you have studied more than six subject units, only the six best subject units are included in the calculation of the rank score.

NZ Cambridge International Tariff Table

Subject Grade A Level AS Level
A* 140 points -
A 120 points   60 points
B 100 points 50 points
C 80 points 40 points
D 60 points 30 points
E 40 points 20 points

Below is an example of how a rank score is calculated:

Subject/Syllabus Level Subject Grade Subject Units Tariff Points Rank Score
Literature in English A B 2 100 100
Chemistry A* 2 140 140
Information Technology AS A 1 60 60
Mathematics AS A 1 60 60
Geography AS C 1 40 -*
Total 360

*Geography was not included in the calculation because only the best six subject unit scores are used to determine the rank score. 

If you completed CIE with other NZ study

If you have taken CIE in combination with NCEA or other UC accepted pre-university qualification please email admission@canterbury.ac.nz.

If you completed A (A2) levels outside of NZ

You can gain admission to UC if you meet the following minimum requirements:

  • at least three A (A2) levels with at least one A (A2) level at grade C or above. A result in General Studies cannot be included. If English is not your first language you must meet additional UC English requirements.  

Minimum IB scores for University Entrance studied in NZ

You can gain admission to UC if you have been awarded the IB Diploma.

The literacy requirement for admission to university will be met if the IB diploma has been completed with English as the language in any of:

  • Language A: literature (SL or HL)
  • Language A: language and literature (SL or HL), or
  • Language B: (HL)

If you have a minimum of 24 points towards the IB, but have NOT been awarded the diploma, domestic fee paying students can apply for Discretionary Entrance (see further down the page for details).

If you completed the IB with other study

If you have taken IB in combination with NCEA or other UC accepted pre-university qualification contact the UC Admissions Team to discuss your admission options.

If you have studied towards a high school qualification other than NCEA, CIE or IB, or you have studied outside of the NZ schooling system, you may be eligible for admission to UC through one of the following alternative pathways. 

Home-school

If you’ve been home-schooled and have not achieved a complete high school qualification such as NCEA, UE/IB Diploma/CIE then please visit the Home-school students and UC page for information on admission requirements.

University Entrance via Steiner School Certificate

You can gain University Entrance by completing the Steiner School Certificate Level 3 endorsed with University Entrance. When you Apply to Enrol through myUC please select "AES (Academic Equivalent Standing)" as your admission reason.

Christian Education New Zealand (CENZ) Level 3 Certificate

You can gain admission to UC with a completed CENZ Level 3 Certificate, which includes at least four subjects designated Level 3 and passes in Algebra 1 (1097-1108) and English 1 (1097-1108).

University Entrance via Accelerated Christian Education

You can gain University Entrance through a Year 13 Academic Certificate. When you Apply to Enrol through myUC please select "AES (Academic Equivalent Standing)" as your admission reason.

University Entrance via pre-2004 NZ high school qualifications

If you studied at a NZ secondary school before 2004 you may qualify for admission to UC with an older qualification such as:

  • University Entrance (pre-1986)
  • University Bursary (see details below) 
  • University Scholarship
  • Sixth Form Certificate

When you Apply to Enrol through myUC please attach your qualification.

Bursary

If you studied at a NZ secondary school in 2003 or earlier and completed a Bursary qualification, you may qualify for admission with one of the following:

  • An A or B Bursary
  • At least 3 'C' passes in New Zealand Bursaries and Higher school certificate

You must also provide evidence of English language proficiency. You may do this in one of the following ways:

  • Be aged 20 years or over and a New Zealand citizen or residence class visa, or Australian citizen or PR
  • Be a native English speaker
  • Have achieved a 'C' pass or higher in one of the following Bursary subjects: Accountancy, Agriculture, Biology, Classical studies, Drama, Economics, English, Geography, History, History of Art or Media studies
  • Provide a satisfactory score in an English language test.

 Please note: if your school study has followed a study path NOT listed here, contact the Admissions Team to discuss your options.

Transition programmes are offered at most New Zealand universities if you have fallen short of the requirements for university admission.

University Entrance with a UC Transition Qualification

UC has three transitionary qualifications that you can study towards to gain University Entrance to undergraduate qualifications:

  • Certificate in University Preparation
    If you are a New Zealand student, University preparation programmes are for you. They focus on analytical skills and communication required to succeed at university.
  • Foundation Studies Certificate
    If you are an International Student whose first language is not English, foundation studies will be a better fit. Foundation studies have a dual emphasis on university study skills and academic English.
  • University Transfer Programme
    If you are an International Student whose first language is not English, and you want to go on to study towards a commerce, engineering or science degree, a UCIC University Transfer Programme may be for you.

University Entrance with  other NZ university recognised transition qualifications

UC accepts some foundation and university transfer certificates awarded by other New Zealand universities for admission into UC undergraduate programmes:

University

Approved Qualifications

University of Auckland

  • Foundation Studies Certificate and IELTS Academic of 6.0 with a minimum score of 6.0 in every section
  • Certificate in Health Science
  • Tertiary Foundation Certificate

Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

  • International Foundation Certificate with a minimum score of 65 percent in English 2

Lincoln University

  • Certificate in Foundation Studies with at least a C grade in English Language and Communication, Learning and Study Issues and Integrative Study Skills
  • Certificate in University Preparation

Massey University

  • Certificate in Foundation Studies
  • Certificate of University Preparation

University of Otago

  • Foundation Studies Certificate 
  • Certificate in University Preparation

Victoria University of Wellington

  • Certificate of Foundation Studies
  • Certificate of University Preparation

University of Waikato

  • Certificate of Attainment in Foundation Studies
  • Certificate of University Preparation

Transitionary qualifications earned at universities in Australia, Fiji and Samoa may be considered for UC admission. Contact the Admissions Team to confirm your eligibility through a certification not specified below.

Minimum scores for University Entrance

In most cases, successfully completing a preparatory qualification is considered to be equivalent to gaining University Entrance. Once you have successfully completed one of these you can apply for undergraduate qualifications.

If you’re a Year 12 student with an exceptional academic record you may be eligible to apply for Discretionary Entrance to UC.

Requirements for Discretionary Entrance

To be considered for Discretionary Entrance you must have exceptional results in Year 12 and you should be able to demonstrate a high level of maturity and motivation. You will also need the support of your school principal as they will be required to make a confidential assessment of your readiness and suitability for university study.

You must be at least 16 years of age, and under 20 years of age on the official start date of your study at UC. You must not have undertaken NCEA Year 13 study beyond 1 June if intending to enrol in February the following year. Discretionary Entrance is not available to international students

To be considered for Discretionary Entrance you must have:

NCEA Level 2

  • 72 credits at NCEA Level 2, including a minimum of 14 credits in each of four subjects (three of which must be approved subjects) and a minimum of 60 Merit and Excellence credits
  • the literacy and numeracy standards for University Entrance
  • a completed Discretionary Entrance Recommendation Form (sent directly to UC from your school principal) - see below

International Baccalaureate (IB)

  • a minimum International Baccalaureate score of 24 points
  • you must not have been awarded the International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • a completed Discretionary Entrance Recommendation Form (sent directly to UC from your school principal) - see below

Exchange programme

  • NCEA Level 2, including a minimum of 14 credits in three approved subjects
  • the literacy and numeracy standards for University Entrance
  • evidence of having studied overseas for a minimum of 20 weeks on an official exchange programme such as AFS or Rotary
  • a supporting letter from the principal of the school you attended overseas (with a translation if it is not in English). This supporting letter must be on school letterhead and should include the dates you studied at the school as well as a comment on your overall standard of academic conduct and participation. 
  • an academic transcript or report of the study you completed while on exchange (if possible) 

How to apply for Discretionary Entrance

  1. Contact our Liaison Team for course advice.
  2. Submit an Application to Enrol via myUC for one qualification only (this can be a double degree), unless your preferred qualification has limited entry, in which case you may add a second qualification choice to your application. 

  3. Email discretionary-entrance@canterbury.ac.nz with details of the type of Discretionary Entrance you are applying for and your reasons for applying.  Please include your UC student ID. 
  4. Send the Discretionary Entrance Recommendation Form (below) to your Principal or Advisor to complete. Your Principal/Advisor will send the completed form directly to UC as it must be confidential.

  5. Upload any additional letters of support in myUC if you wish to include them in your application.  

Outcome

You will be notified of the outcome of your application for Discretionary Entrance via email.

Discretionary Entrance to UC does not necessarily mean automatic approval into your preferred qualification as some qualifications and courses have limited entry and/or specific pre-requisites. Your admission to your preferred qualification will be assessed by the relevant Department and/or Faculty and the outcome will be recorded in your Application to Enrol in myUC. 

If your application for Discretionary Entrance is unsuccessful and you are declined admission to the University, you may ask for the decision to be reviewed. Additional supporting documentation can be provided as part of the review process. 

If you are over the age of 20 and do not have University Entrance through NCEA or its equivalent, you may be eligible to apply for 20+ entry to UC.

Skills you need for study at university

Starting university can be both challenging and exciting. Formal study at tertiary level requires you to develop research and study skills.

You must be able to read complicated academic texts and locate useful information in them quickly and accurately. You’ll need to evaluate the quality of information that you find and record it in a suitable way. You must also be able to manage your time effectively to get the most out of your study.

Requirements

  • You must be a citizen or hold a NZ Residence Class Visa of New Zealand or Australia, or be a citizen of the Cook Islands, Tokelau, or Niue.
  • You must also be 20 years of age or older by the official course start date.

How to apply for 20+

To apply for 20+ entry, submit your Application to Enrol through myUC. To enable a quicker assessment please attach any academic documents you may have achieved to date.

Assessment and notification of application outcomes

  • You will be notified of the outcome of your application by email.
  • 20+ Entry provides you admission to UC however acceptance into specific qualifications and/or courses may require approval from the relevant academic department.
  • You are strongly encouraged to contact the Liaison Office before applying for 20+ entry to make sure it is the right choice for you.

Other pathways to UC admission

  • If you don’t quite feel ready to tackle degree level study, there are a variety of study options available to prepare you for successful university study.
  • If you’re a NZ student and do not yet meet the requirements for UC admission, you may still be eligible to gain admission through the Certificate in University Preparation.
  • If you’re from outside NZ and want to study at UC but don’t yet meet the UC entry requirements, you may be eligible for another transition programme.

Please note: Discretionary Entrance, 20+ entry, and University Entrance with a Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) are only available to New Zealand Citizens or holders of a Residence Class Visa and Australian Citizens, or Permanent Residents of Australia, Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue.

For further information on domestic admission

Admission to UC with an international qualification

If you are seeking admission to UC with an international qualification (from an overseas secondary school or university) you will need to make an application for Admission with Academic Equivalent Standing (AES) in myUC. You may also be required to apply for admission to your chosen qualification.  

Qualification Admission

Check the requirements for admission to your chosen UC qualification to see if the international qualification you have is sufficient. You may also be required to demonstrate English language proficiency and provide other supporting documentation. 

Note: if you are an international student with a qualification from a NZ high school or university, you should follow the process for 'Admission with NZ Qualifications'.

Admission requirements for UC qualifications

When to apply

The closing date for applications for admission to UC with an international qualification (that is, not from a NZ university) depends on whether you intend to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level at UC and when you intend to start your studies:


Undergraduate applications

Semester 1 (February start) by 31 October

Semester 2 (July start) by 30 April

Postgraduate thesis applications

At least 6 months before the planned start date.

 

Note: applications must be complete with all necessary documents by the closing date. Failure to submit the documents requested will result in lengthy delays. 

Please note, this information is presented as a guide and does not guarantee that admission will be granted if met.

If you are an international student living outside of New Zealand you might want to get some assistance with your application from an overseas representative in your country. 

Providing transcripts and documents

If you are required to provide a scan of your academic transcript or any other documentation for your application for admission, you will need to upload it in myUCYour application for admission can be processed on the basis of electronically submitted documents. Please check your files are:

  • Less than 10MB
  • At least 300 dpi and a clear scanned image
  • Documents with multiple pages combined into a single file
  • Full colour (preferred)
  • PDF (preferred, but we also access .doc, .docx, .jpg and .png files

If the documents are not issued in English, please supply an official English translation as well as the original language documents. 

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