HS Students



Headstart runs over the summer from 3 January to 13 February 2022. Classes commence on 5 January when UC opens for 2022.

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.

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.

Headstart courses do not contribute credit points towards a degree.

Applications close Friday, 17 December 2021.

Headstart FAQs


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 6-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 or two courses. You are also expected to do extra work in your own time.

Headstart Courses

Choose one or two courses ONLY:

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.

2022 Course Fees

  • $799.00 (Domestic)
  • $3,600.00 (International)

How to enrol

Enrol online through myUC. If you need help call the Contact Centre on +64 3 3693999 or Freephone: 0800 VARSITY (0800 827 748 – within New Zealand only).

Official Start date: 3 January 2022  End date: 13 February 2022

Qualification: 2021 Certificate of Proficiency Preparatory (COP PREP)


Accommodation during the Headstart programme is offered at University Hall.  Rooms are fully-furnished with meals provided at the rate of $331 per week however due to 2022 contract start dates, rooms must be vacated by early February for students not residing at University Hall for the 2022 academic year.

For further information or to book contact 0508 864 425 or email canterbury@unilodge.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