STAR Programme

What is the STAR Programme?

The STAR Programme allows secondary school students from anywhere in New Zealand to enrol in first-year degree-level courses while they are in Year 12 or 13. We offer both on-campus and distance courses. Once the students meet University Entrance they can credit STAR courses they have successfully completed towards a relevant degree at UC and usually at other universities too. In 2021 UC has over 500 STAR students enrolled from 123 secondary schools around New Zealand.

Why be a part of the STAR Programme?

The STAR Programme offers keen and capable students:

  • a stimulating challenge
  • an opportunity to make a head start on their tertiary degree study
  • the confidence that they have what it takes to succeed in tertiary study
  • an opportunity to connect with like-minded secondary school students

Who can enrol?

Schools are responsible for identifying and approving suitable students, primarily in Years 12 and 13. While most of our STAR students are (partially) funded by Ministry of Education STAR funding, our courses are open to all secondary students, including students at independent schools, home-schooled students, international and adult secondary school students, provided schools meet the course costs through other means.

What courses can students enrol in? 

A STAR student can enrol in many of our 100-level courses with the approval of our course coordinator and the student’s secondary school. For most of our courses STAR students complete the course just like the UC students enrolled in the course. For some of our courses STAR students are taught separately from UC students in their own specific classes or distance groups, for example Mathematics, Computer Science and Economics. Those courses cover the same material as the corresponding 100-level UC courses, but are taught in a way that focusses on the STAR students. 

Schools are responsible for identifying and approving suitable students, primarily in Years 12 and 13. It is expected that all STAR students will have met the literacy and numeracy requirements of NCEA University Entrance (or equivalent).  Some courses have further pre-requisites or guidelines; please see the course information on the next tab for further information. 

Once a STAR student has achieved NCEA University Entrance, they are credited with up to 60 points towards a relevant UC degree.

Students put forward by their school usually enrol in a maximum of 30 points in any one year. STAR enrolment is normally limited to 100-level courses, with the exception of language courses. If a student wishes to enrol in more than 30 points in any one year, or they wish to enrol in a 200-level or 300-level non-language course, they require the permission of the UC STAR Coordinator.

If a school identifies a student younger than 16 years of age, who they feel would benefit from enrolling in the STAR programme, the STAR Co-ordinator from the school should discuss and seek approval for the enrolment of the student with the UC STAR Co-ordinator. We will review the student’s NCEA (or equivalent) results to determine if they are ahead of their years.

Guidelines for Home-School students: Our STAR Programme is aimed at Year 12 or 13 students who would benefit from tertiary-level study in addition to their secondary school studies. It is expected that all students will have met an academic standard equivalent to the literacy and numeracy requirements of NCEA University Entrance. Some courses may have further pre-requisites or guidelines.

If a home-schooled student is under the age of 16 years on the first day of their course, approval must be obtained from the UC STAR Coordinator to enrol in a STAR course.

Students under the age of 16 must provide formally assessed evidence in several subjects attesting to their exceptional academic background (e.g. Cambridge International Exams, NCEA through Correspondence School, relevant study at a polytechnic). It is also expected that these students will have met and demonstrated attainment of an academic standard equivalent to the literacy and numeracy requirements of NCEA University Entrance.   In order for us to assess that a student under the age of 16 is ready for tertiary study, not only academically but also socially and emotionally, UC reserves the right to interview a student under the age of 16 prior to enrolment.  The meeting would be held with the UC Star Co-ordinator and/or the relevant Course Co-ordinator. 

You can find the list of courses most suitable for STAR students on the pages with course information for 2021.

STAR students are able to enrol in on campus or distance courses in the subjects listed below. Please note that not all these subjects are offered as distance study.

  • Accounting (on campus)
  • Antarctic Studies (on campus and distance)
  • Anthropology (cancelled for 2021)
  • Art History (on campus and distance)
  • Astronomy (on campus and distance)
  • Biological Sciences (on campus)
  • Chemistry (on campus)
  • Chinese (on campus)
  • Cinema Studies (on campus)
  • Classics (on campus and distance)
  • Communication Disorders / Speech Science (on campus and distance)
  • Computer Science (on campus)
  • Criminal Justice (on campus)
  • Digital Humanities (on campus)
  • Economics (on campus and distance)
  • Education (on campus and distance)
  • English (on campus)
  • English Language (on campus)
  • Environmental Science (on campus)
  • European and European Union Studies (on campus and distance)
  • Finance (on campus)
  • Forestry (on campus)
  • French (on campus)
  • Geography (on campus)
  • Geology (on campus)
  • German (on campus and distance)
  • Health Sciences (on campus and distance)
  • History (on campus)
  • Human Services (on campus and distance)
  • Information Systems (on campus)
  • Japanese (on campus)
  • Linguistics (on campus and distance)
  • Management (on campus)
  • Maori and Indigenous Studies (on campus and distance)
  • Marketing (on campus)
  • Mathematics (on campus and distance)
  • Media and Communication (on campus and distance)
  • Music (on campus)
  • Philosophy (on campus and distance)
  • Political Science (on campus and distance)
  • Professional and Community Engagement (on campus)
  • Psychology (on campus)
  • Russian (on campus and distance)
  • Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge (on campus)
  • Social Work (on campus and distance)
  • Sociology (on campus)
  • Spanish (on campus)
  • Sport Coaching (on campus and distance)
  • Statistics (on campus)
  • Te Reo Maori (on campus)
  • Writing (on campus)


Workload expectations
Most of the UC courses that are open to STAR students are 15-point courses run over one semester. Most students would have a workload of on average 8 hours a week, which can include time spent in class, reading the online course materials, working on assignments and preparing for and sitting an exam/test. ECON199 and the distance version of ECON105 are 15-point courses run over the whole year and have a workload of on average 4 hours a week.

STAR Enrolment Confirmation letter
Once STAR students are enrolled they will receive via email a STAR Enrolment Confirmation letter.  The letter contains information to help a student understand what they should do prior to starting their course.

Getting a username and password
To access Learn (UC’s online learning system with course sites) and obtain a uclive student email, students will need to get their username and password from ICTS services.

Once students are enrolled they will receive an email from our IT Service Desk with their username and a link to set their password. When setting a password, students should ensure that they use the same email address they provided on their online STAR application. If a student experiences problems with setting a password, then they should call the Contact Centre on Ph: 0800 VARSITY (0800 827 748) or (03) 369 3999. Phones are answered between 8am and 6pm Mon to Fri. In February, phones are also answered between 9am and 12noon Sat.

Accessing course sites on Learn, UC's online learning management system
All course materials (other than textbooks, see below) are available on your Learn course site. UC will not post any course materials to students; this includes distance courses. Students use Learn to read, write, view, listen, and upload resources and assignments, access videoed lectures, take part in a discussion forum, etc. They can access the sites of courses they are enrolled in by logging in to Learn by clicking on the "I'm from UC, log me in" button on the right of the page and entering their username and password. This link can also be found on the UC home page under the logins list on the top right of the page.

Course delivery

  • On campus courses require on campus attendance for lectures, labs and/or tutorials. Timetables can be found on the linked course information pages on the STAR courses list. Once students have obtained their password (see above) they can use the myTimetable system to select a tutorial stream, if applicable. For some courses this is done through the course site in Learn.
  • Students in distance courses can access the course materials online in our online learning management system, Learn. Christchurch-based students who are enrolled in a distance course should sit any final exams or formal tests on the UC campus. Distance students from outside the Christchurch area will be contacted to make alternative arrangements for any final exams or formal tests, usually invigilated at their secondary school.

All students will be advised electronically of the times and dates of examinations in March 2021. Students must engage with the course material and complete assessment work in order to be eligible for credit. On successfully completing a course the student will be awarded a grade in the same way as an enrolled UC student. Students can view their grade in myUC and their secondary school will be advised by email.

Getting Required textbooks
Students should check if they will need to use a Required textbook for their course.  This is done by searching for the specific course on the course information page on our Qualifications and courses website. There might also be information about any required textbooks on the course site on Learn. Textbooks are sold at the University Book Shop or online via the University Book Shop website.

Accessing uclive email
Students should check their uclive email at least once per week to read any messages from the lecturer and tutor. They can access their account by signing in to Outlook using their student email address ( and their IT password. This link can also be found on the UC home page under the logins list on the top right of the page (Student email).

Getting a Canterbury Card
Students who live in the Christchurch area will require a Canterbury Card as a form of ID when sitting tests or exams on campus. A Canterbury Card is also used as a Library card. Students should visit the Security Office at 114 Ilam Road to get their Canterbury Card. They should bring photo ID, such as a passport, drivers’ licence or high school ID with photo. If a student doesn’t have a photo ID, then they should bring their birth certificate and their STAR Enrolment Confirmation letter instead.

Getting citizenship verified before grades are released
We will need to verifiy the student's citizenship before their grade will be released. The electronic copy of their citizenship document that was uploaded when they applied to enrol is not sufficient proof of citizenship. We need to either see the original document or a certified copy.


  • Present the original document(s) in person at the Student Services Centre on Level 1 of the Matariki building; or
  • Send by mail a hard copy certified by the Principal or a JP to: Student Services, Attention Kun Li, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140

STAR Orientation 2021

Welcome to STAR at UC
Come along to our information session where you can meet fellow and former STAR students. You will be able to have a look around UC on a campus tour and get your Canterbury Card and password arranged ahead of the start of your classes. It is not compulsory to attend, but we would love to meet you.
When: Sat 20 Feb 2021 from 1pm to 4pm.
Where: Lecture theatre A2

MATH199 Introductory Session
This session is run by the MATH199 lecturer, Liz Ackerley. Parents are welcome to attend.
Date: Thu 18 Feb 2021
Time: 4:15-5:30pm
Location: E5 Lecture Theatre in the Engineering Core Building.

An Orientation for new Semester 2 students can be arranged on request.

We offer scholarships for top MATH199 students towards their full time study at UC. for more information see the AIMS Scholarship information in UC's scholarship database.

We offer a College of Arts Award especially for home-school students towards fees in their first year of full time study in a BA, MusB, or BFA, which is tied to completion of a STAR course. For more information see the College of Arts' Home-School Students and UC page.

2021 result release dates
The results for Semester 1 courses will be released on the evening of Friday, 9 July 2021. The results for Semester 2 and Whole Year courses will be released on the evening of Friday, 3 December 2021.

Once results are released students can view their grade in myUC and we will advise schools by email of the results of their students.

Last dates to withdraw for 2021 
Schools must notify the UC STAR Coordinator by email of any student who wishes to withdraw from a STAR course.

Last date to withdraw with refund:

  • Semester 1 courses: Sunday, 21 March 2021
  • Whole-year courses: Sunday, 21 March 2021
  • Semester 2 courses: Sunday, 15 August 2021

Schools will not be invoiced if students withdraw before the above dates and students will not receive a fail grade. Refunds of course fees will not be given after these dates.

Last date to withdraw with no refund

  • Semester 1 courses: Friday, 14 May 2021
  • Whole-year courses: Friday, 27 August 2021
  • Semester 2 courses: Friday, 1 October 2021

Students will not receive a fail grade if they withdraw before these dates.

University holidays
School holidays and university holidays can be at different times. All our courses follow the UC year. The UC breaks in 2021 are as follows:

  • Mid-Semester 1 break: 2-25 April 2021
  • Mid-year break: 28 June – 16 July 2021
  • Mid-Semester 2 break: 30 August – 10 September 2021

Services for STAR students
STAR students can make use of the services offered by the Academic Skills Centre, such as free workshops on writing and study strategies, individual consultations with a learning advisor to discuss a specific assignment and a large amount of online resources.

STAR students with a physical disability or mental health issues can make use of the services offered by the Equity & Disability Service.

Library services for STAR students
STAR students have the same borrowing privileges as undergraduate students. This means you can make use of the services offered by the library, including studying in any of our libraries, using computer and photocopying facilities, access to distance services, high demand collections, AskLive (Live Chat with a Librarian), Roving Librarian, Information Desk, and one to one consultations with a subject specialist.

We support STAR students with a physical disability or mental health issues and encourage them to use our libraries.

Eligibility to enter pre-Med studies at the University of Otago
Students who are intending to become a Health Sciences student at the University of Otago once they leave school are advised to contact to query if the STAR course they wish to enrol in would affect their eligibility to enter pre-Med studies. The University of Otago wants all their students to be at the same level when they enter pre-Med studies and doesn’t allow them to have done certain Science-related tertiary level courses, or one year of tertiary level study in any field, before they apply to Otago.

At The University of Auckland students are selected for the Bachelor of Health Science or the Bachelor of Science (Biomedical) (i.e. 'pre-Med') on the basis of their academic merit only; it is our understanding that there are no courses that will make students ineligible for selection, like at Otago. If a student has done tertiary level study, they will look at the grades they received for that study as well as NCEA. We advise students to contact the University of Auckland directly to double-check if their STAR at UC plans will fit with their plans to enrol in pre-Med studies at Auckland (

Transferring credits from a STAR course to another university
The credits students receive when they successfully complete a STAR course at UC are transferable to other universities, but this is always at the discretion of the other university. However, as the STAR courses are (the equivalent of) first-year UC courses, it is highly unlikely the other universities would not approve the credit transfer. Students should request an academic transcript to submit to the other university with their application for credit transfer. In the "Qualifications taken" section of the form, please enter "STAR Programme".

Disputes and concerns
If a concern is of a pastoral nature it will be referred to the student's school for resolution. If a concern is academic it will be considered first by the relevant Head of Department and if a resolution cannot be found it will be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). UC's relationship through the STAR Programme is with students and their schools, parents with concerns should therefore contact their school's contact person or the UC STAR Coordinator.

Students interested in enrolling as a STAR student at UC need to first discuss their enrolment with a staff member at their secondary school (usually a STAR Coordinator or Careers Advisor).

Enrolments for 2021 are now open.

Last date to submit applications

  • Semester 1 or Whole Year courses (starting in February 2021) 
    Friday 12 February 2021
  • Semester 2 courses (starting in July 2021)
    Friday 2 July 2021

How to apply

Step 1. The student should complete an online STAR application to enrol via myUC. 

If students are having issues with their application, then they can call our Contact Centre on 0800 827 748 for assistance.

Step 2. Once enrolled UC needs to receive a verification of the student’s citizenship document(s). This can be done either by:

  • Presenting the original document(s) in person at the Student Services Centre on Level 1 of the Matariki building, or
  • Sending by mail a hard copy certified by the student's Principal or a JP to: Student Services, Attention Kun Li, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140.

Please note: Grades will not be released until we have verified the student’s citizenship status.

Citizenship Documents (Once enrolled, please mail certified copies to us, or present original documents in person before grades are released)

  • New Zealand citizen: NZ birth certificate OR the photo page of your NZ passport OR Citizenship Certificate.
  • NZ Residence Class Visa Holder or Australian Permanent Resident: photo page of your passport AND proof of residency (e.g. resident permit page in passport)
  • Australian citizen: Australian birth certificate OR photo page of your Australian passport OR Citizenship Certificate
  • Other: photo page of your passport AND your current student visa document. UC will liaise with Immigration New Zealand about your STAR enrolment.

An MoU will be signed between the secondary school and UC the first time a school wishes to enrol STAR students at UC.

Secondary school students who wish to enrol in a Performance Music course at UC (MUSA141MUSA142 or MUSA143) can do so by submitting the Performance Music Secondary School Student Application Form 2021. Students have to pay the UC Domestic or International tuition fee upfront, instead of us sending an invoice to the school. Students will be asked to do an audition before they are approved into these courses by the School of Music.

How to add more STAR courses in the same year

The student should complete an online STAR Change of Enrolment via myUC. 

There is no need to upload citizenship documents again for returning STAR students.

If students are having issues with their application, then they can call our Contact Centre on 0800 827 748 for assistance.

The fees for STAR students are less than the fees paid by UC students. International STAR students pay the same fee as domestic STAR students. Textbooks, if required, are not included in this cost. STAR students are exempt from paying the UC Student Services Levy. On the Course list page the STAR fees are listed for each course.

2021 Course costs ($NZ) for STAR students 
15-point courses $556 per course
30-point courses $1,112 per course
45-point courses $1,213 per course
  • The tuition fees for ECON104 and ECON105 on campus are covered by the College of Business and Law. Schools will not be invoiced for those courses.
  • The tuition fees for MATH199 (both on campus and distance) are covered by the College of Engineering. Schools will not be invoiced for that course.
  • The tuition fees for PACE195 are covered by the College of Arts. Schools will not be invoiced for that course.

We will send out invoices for the tuition fees to schools after the last date STAR students can withdraw without invoice, which is Friday 19 March 2021 for Semester 1 and Whole Year courses, and Friday 13 August 2021 for Semester 2 courses.


The UC STAR Coordinator is Franka Menzies, Academic Quality Team:

Former STAR student profiles

These students started their academic life at UC as a STAR student: