HS Students



Applications for Headstart (24SU1) close Wednesday, 20 December 2023

Headstart is offered over the summer with the official course dates being 1 January to 11 February 2024.
Classes commence on Wednesday, 3 January when UC opens for 2024.

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.

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 (Not available until October 2023)

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.

2023 Course Fees (2024 Fees TBA)

  • $821.00 (Domestic)
  • $3,750.00 (International)

How to enrol (from 1 October onwards)

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: 1 January 2024  End date: 11 February 2024

Qualification: 2023 Certificate of Proficiency Preparatory (COP PREP)


Headstart accommodation is located at Tupuānuku. For bookings, please email tupuanuku@unilodge.co.nz.

For more information contact the Student Transitions and Engagement team:

Tauwhiro Ākonga| 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