Home-school students and UC

© Restricted/University of Canterbury

There are several pathways for home-school students to gain admission to UC for degree-level study.

When a home-school student applies to enrol for a degree at UC, they should provide evidence they have met one of these requirements:

  • Christian Education New Zealand (CENZ) Level 3 Certificate
  • Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) Certificate of Academic Excellence Year 13 certificate with at least 4 credits at Year 13 level
  • Young Enterprise Certificate (YES), including literacy and numeracy and 14 level 3 credits in each of two approved subjects
  • University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) or Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE). There are specific requirements, which in short are: 120 points at A or AS level with at least a D grade in 3 subjects / at least E grade in AS English / at least D grade in IGSCSE Maths
  • At least 20 years old on the start date of the degree (NZ citizens or permanent residents only)
  • UC Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) (NZ citizens or permanent residents only)
  • NCEA University Entrance, for instance through Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (the Correspondence School)
  • Home-school students who don’t meet the exact requirements above can still apply for admission, if they have achieved an academic standard that is equivalent to NCEA University Entrance. Further details below.


Please note: admission to the University does not always mean automatic approval into your selected programme of study, which is managed by the respective College in some cases.

Equivalency to NCEA University Entrance explained

Students should provide evidence that their academic standard is equivalent to:

  • Study in 3 approved subjects* at a level equivalent to at least NCEA level 3 (Year 13)
    (equivalent to 14 NCEA credits in each subject)
  • Literacy study at a level equivalent to at least NCEA level 2 (Year 12)
    (equivalent to 10 NCEA credits)
  • Numeracy study at a level equivalent to at least NCEA level 1 (Year 11)
    (equivalent to 10 NCEA credits)
  • Achieved an equivalent to NCEA Level 3 Certificate: 60 credits at level 3 or above + 20 credits from level 2 or above (this doesn’t necessarily have to all be in approved subjects)

* See NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) for the list of NCEA UE approved subjects

If a student has studied the required amount of mathematics/statistics at a level equivalent to at least NCEA level 3, then that would fulfil one of the level 3 subjects plus the numeracy requirement. If a student has studied the required amount of English literature/Reading/Writing at a level equivalent to at least NCEA level 3, then that would fulfil one of the level 3 subjects plus the literacy requirement.

Evidence of study

Most home-schoolers mix-and-match by providing evidence of some study in several of the examples listed below or similar study that if put together is equivalent to NCEA UE:

  • UC STAR courses – Each STAR course in a separate subject area can fulfil one of the 14 credits in an approved subject at level 3 (even if the subject is not on the NCEA UE list). The literacy requirement of NCEA UE can be met by completing a STAR course with a significant element of essay-writing or similar assessment types. The numeracy requirement can be met by completing a STAR course with a significant element of mathematics or statistics.
  • Music performance ABRSM/Trinity Grade exams
  • Home-school curriculum (online or text book-based) approved by our relevant Department
  • Relevant certificates at a polytechnic
  • NCEA through Correspondence School
  • Cambridge International Exams  (as a private candidate at a secondary school providing Cambridge study)
  • American SAT exams (these are invigilated at UC and other test centres in New Zealand)

Home-school students are eligible to enrol in UC’s STAR programme, which is an extension and transition programme for senior secondary school students. The programme allows secondary school students to complete some of our first-year courses (up to 60 points) alongside their school study. Successfully completed courses are credited towards a relevant UC degree once the STAR student has achieved NCEA University Entrance or equivalent.

Home-school students can also include these STAR courses as part of their evidence that they have achieved an equivalence to NCEA University Entrance in their UC Special Admission application to enrol in a UC degree.

If a home-school student is solely using STAR courses to provide evidence that they meet the equivalent of NCEA University Entrance, they should have successfully completed:

  • At least one STAR course that involves essay-writing or similar to demonstrate their literacy skills, and
  • At least one STAR course that involves mathematics or statistics to demonstrate their numeracy skills, and
  • At least one STAR course in a separate subject area.

See the STAR Programme website for a list of suitable STAR courses at UC and entry requirements.

  • Enrol online through myUC.
  • Upload a document which outlines your home-school study. Provide evidence that you have met a standard equivalent to NCEA University Entrance. If the study was formally assessed then copies of certificates/result sheets should be provided with the application. If the study included a UC STAR course then you can simply state in your document which course you have completed, there is no need to provide anything else. If it was home-schooling that was not formally assessed, then all details should be provided in the document.

Get advice or more information

For enquiries about admission to UC for home-schooled students email discretionary-entrance@canterbury.ac.nz or contact the Admissions team