STAR Programme

Students learning Chinese

What is the STAR programme?

The STAR programme offers capable senior secondary school students the opportunity to enrol in first-year degree-level courses at UC while still at school. It is a chance to experience what it's like studying at university, get a headstart on tertiary studies, and meet with other like-minded secondary school students. 

Both on-campus and distance courses are offered, and completed STAR courses can normally be credited towards a university degree once the student has achieved University Entrance.   

In 2022 UC had over 400 STAR students enrolled from over 100 secondary schools around NZ.

Who can enrol?

The STAR programme is intended for NZ secondary school students in Years 12 and 13 who have met the literacy and numeracy requirements of NCEA University Entrance (or equivalent).  Interested students require the approval of their school and should speak with their Careers Advisor or STAR Coordinator. 

While most of our STAR students are (partially) funded by Ministry of Education STAR funding, our courses are open to students at independent schools, home-schooled students, international and adult secondary school students, provided schools meet the course costs through other means.

If a student younger than 16 years of age is identified as a potential STAR student, the school STAR Coordinator (or equivalent) should contact the UC STAR Coordinator to discuss whether enrolment in a STAR course is appropriate for the student. 

UC reserves the right for the UC STAR Coordinator and/or the relevant Course Coordinator to interview any student under the age of 16 prior to enrolment being approved, in order to assess whether the student is ready for tertiary study (academically, socially, and emotionally). 

Eligibility to enter pre-Med studies

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. 

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 completed 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 (

Services for STAR students

On-campus and distance STAR students have access to numerous services and resources:

The Academic Skills Centre offers free workshops on writing and study strategies, individual consultations with a Learning Advisor to discuss a specific assignment and copious online resources.

The Student Accessibility Service offers support for students with a disability, medical condition, specific learning difficulty, mental health condition or a temporary impairment, including study and exam support.

STAR students have the same borrowing privileges as undergraduate UC students at UC Libraries, and can make use of computer and photocopying facilities, study space, access distance services, high demand collections, AskLive (Live Chat with a Librarian), Roving Librarian, Information Desk and one-to-one consultations with a subject specialist.  

STAR courses

While STAR students can enrol in almost any first year (100-level) course at UC with the right approval, we have identified courses that we believe are most suitable for STAR students to take. A full list of on-campus and distance courses is available on our Suitable Courses for STAR Students page.  If you are interested in a first year course that is not on the list, you will need to get approval from the Course Coordinator and from your school. 

Secondary school students interested in a Performance Music course (MUSA141MUSA142 or MUSA143) will need to submit a Performance Music Secondary School Student Application Form and will need to audition before being approved into these courses. Check the closing date for applications and all other course details with the School of Music.

For some courses, STAR students attend lectures alongside tertiary students, while other courses are offered exclusively to STAR students (such as in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Economics).  

Course fees

STAR students are normally charged at a reduced rate for courses and are exempt from paying the Student Services Levy (SSL). International STAR students are charged at the same rate as domestic STAR students. The STAR course fee is shown on the Suitable courses for STAR students page while the regular UC student fee is listed on the Course page. 

2023 Course costs ($NZ) for STAR students 
15-point courses $580.50 per course
30-point courses $1,161 per course


  • On campus (C) occurrences of ECON104 and ECON105 are covered by the UC Business School and schools will not be invoiced.
  • On campus (C) and distance (D) occurrences of MATH199 are covered by the Faculty of Engineering and Schools will not be invoiced.
  • Performance Music courses MUSA141, MUSA142, and MUSA143 will be charged at the full domestic or international rate, as shown on the course information page and will need to be paid up-front instead of invoiced to the School. 

Please note, text books are an additional cost.  

Credit for STAR courses

On successful completion of a STAR course you will be awarded a grade and credited the points value of the course on your UC academic record. You can view your academic record in myUC and your School will be advised of your grade by email. Students can be credited up to 60 points for completed STAR courses towards a degree at UC.

This credit may be transferred to another university, but this is at the discretion of the other University. As STAR courses are (equivalent to) first-year UC courses, it's highly likely they will be accepted for credit transfer at another university. You will need to supply an academic transcript from UC for consideration. When filling in a Credit Transfer Application form you should put "STAR Programme" in the 'Qualifications taken' field. 

How to apply

If you are a secondary school student wanting to apply for a STAR course/courses:

Step 1. Prepare

  • Fill in the STAR Consent Form below and get the necessary signatures from a parent/caregiver and the STAR Coordinator at your school.
  • Get a copy of your passport or birth certificate certified (signed and dated) by your School Principal or a Justice of the Peace (JP) or solicitor.
  • Ask your School for your NSN
  • Prepare a high quality scan/photo of your completed and signed Consent Form and signed identity document.

Step 2. Complete an Application to Enrol in myUC

  • (New STAR students must first create an account in myUC).
  • Log in to myUC.
  • Select New Application.
  • Select STAR Programme.
  • Answer the questions and upload:
  • Select the course(s) you wish to enrol in. See the list of courses most suitable for STAR students.
  • Click Submit.

If you are having issues with your Application to Enrol, call 0800 827 748 for assistance.

Once you're enrolled

You will receive a STAR Enrolment Confirmation letter (via email) once you're enrolled. Your next steps will involve:

Getting a UC student IT account

You will receive an email with a link to activate your IT account and set your password. If you have any problems setting your password, please contact our IT Service Desk (0508 UC IT HELP - 0508 824 843). You can reset your password here.

Accessing course material on LEARN

Log in to LEARN using your username and the password you created when activating your IT account. Course material (including assignments, recorded lectures and communication from lecturers and tutors) will be posted regularly on the relevant LEARN course page. You will have access to the LEARN course page for each course you are enrolled in before lectures start. Course content will not be mailed/emailed to you (including for distance courses).

Accessing your student email account

When you activate your student IT account you will be given a student email address ( Lecturers and tutors may communicate with you via this email address so you will need to check it at least once a week. Sign in to Outlook using your student email address and the password you set when you activated your IT account. 

Getting required textbooks

Required and recommended textbooks will be listed on the Course page (searching by the course code) and possibly also on the LEARN course page. 

Text books can be purchased from the University Book Shop on campus or online. They should also be available to borrow from the UC Library. Secondhand textbooks may be available on the "UC Textbooks: buy, sell and trade" Facebook group


Extra steps for on-campus students

Getting a Canterbury Card

A student Canterbury Card will be needed if you want to get books out from the UC Library, do printing or photocopying on campus, or as a form of ID when sitting tests or exams on campus.  To get your Canterbury Card, visit the Security Office (114 Ilam Road) with a photo ID (such as a passport, drivers' licence or high school ID with photo. If you don't have a photo ID, take your birth certificate and STAR Enrolment Confirmation letter instead.

Getting your timetable

Times of lectures, tutorials and labs for on campus (C) courses is normally found on the relevant course page (searching on the course code). You can choose your tutorial stream in the myTimetable system once you have your IT account set up. For some courses this is done through the course site in LEARN instead. You will not have a timetable if you are studying by distance (D). 

Application closing dates

Applications for Semester One (S1) and Whole Year (W) STAR courses are open until 10 February 2023.

Applications for Semester Two (S2) STAR courses are open until 7 July 2023. 

Withdrawing from courses

Schools must notify the UC STAR Coordinator of any student who wishes to withdraw from a STAR course. 

Last date to withdraw with a full fee refund

Schools will not be invoiced if students withdraw by these dates and the student will not receive a grade for the course on their record. 

  • Semester One courses: Sunday 5 March 2023
  • Whole-year courses: Sunday 19 March 2023
  • Semester Two courses: Sunday 30 July 2023

Last date to withdraw with no refund

Schools will be invoiced for the course and will not be refunded. Students will not receive a grade for the course on their record.

  • Semester 1 courses: Sunday 14 May 2023
  • Whole-year courses: Sunday 27 August 2023
  • Semester 2 courses: Sunday 1 October 2023

University holidays

School holidays and university holidays can be at different times. 

  • Mid-Semester 1 break: 3 – 21 April 2023
  • Mid-year break: 25 June – 16 July 2023
  • Mid-Semester 2 break: 28 August – 10 September 2023


You will be advised of all course assessment dates (including exams) in the first weeks of your course. 


UC STAR Coordinator

Sarah Saywell

Phone:  +64 3 369 1884


In person:   Te Pātaka, Puaka-James Hight building