Summer SU1 programme

Headstart runs over the summer from mid-January to mid-February.

If you qualify for University Entrance, but plan on studying a subject you are not confident in, or if you have been away from study for a while, then the Headstart pre-university catch up programme may be for you.

Mathematics is an important subject if you intend to major in Engineering, Commerce, or any of the sciences including Health Sciences, Psychology or Forestry.

Physics and/or chemistry are key subjects if you intend to major in the Physical Sciences, Biochemistry or Engineering.

The Headstart Academic Communication and Study Skills course develops skills and confidence in reading and writing. It focuses on research and essay writing. Although especially beneficial  if you are aiming at the Arts, Humanities or Law, it is also useful for students going into Engineering, Science and Commerce.

Headstart courses are designed to prepare students for 100-level study at UC. While the science courses are very likely to be helpful for Health Sciences or Veterinary Science at other universities, it is not guaranteed that they will be entirely suitable preparation.

Heardstart courses do not contribute credit points towards a degree.

Headstart FAQs

2020 Headstart brochure

Entry Requirements

There are no entry requirements for Headstart courses. However, if you have no background in your chosen subject, you may find Headstart challenging. You may need to do some preliminary study before attending. Contact Transition Programmes for further information.

Qualification structure and duration

Headstart courses are 4-weeks long and cover pre-university material generally equivalent to NCEA level 2 or level 2/3.

All courses are very intensive and you can only enrol in one course. You are also expected to do extra work in your own time.

Headstart: Academic Communication and Study Skills

This course is designed to equip you with transferable academic communication and study skills for successful university study, such as

  • Effective academic reading and writing
  • Information gathering, academic conventions and assignment preparation
  • Confidence and independent study habits

Headstart: Subject-related Courses

  • BRDG016 Mathematics Part One (Level 2)
  • BRDG023 Chemistry (Level 2/3)
  • BRDG024 Physics (Level 2/3)

If you have NCEA level 1 and/or some credits at level 2 in the relevant subject, Headstart is right for you.

If you have good, recent results at level 2, contact Transition Programmes to discuss whether or not you need Headstart.

If you have a strong recent background in a subject at NCEA level 3 or equivalent, you will not need Headstart.

Course Fee

2020 Indicative Fees:

  • $777.00 (Domestic)
  • $3,375.00 (International)

Headstart Summer 2020

How to enrol

Enrolments open 2 October 2019. You can enrol by calling the Contact Centre on +64 3 3693999 or Freephone: 0800 VARSITY (0800 827 748 – within New Zealand only)

Start date: 13 January 2020  End date: 9 February 2020

Qualification: Certificate of Proficiency Preparatory (COP PREP)

Headstart Courses – choose one (2020 courses not available until October 2019):


Accommodation during the Headstart programme is offered at University Hall.  Rooms are fully-furnished with meals provided at the rate of $300 per week, however due to 2020 contract start dates, rooms must be vacated by 6 February for students not residing at University Hall for the 2020 academic year.

For further information or to book contact 0508 864 425 or email stay@ucastudentvillage.co.nz


For more information contact the Student Transitions and Engagement team:

Student Transitions and Engagement
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand
Phone +64 3 369 3337
Email transitions@canterbury.ac.nz

For assistance with planning your Headstart course of study contact the Programme Coordinator:

Gareth Morgan
Email: gareth.morgan@canterbury.ac.nz