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Undergraduate certificate or diploma

Certificate in University Preparation

29 October 2023

The Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) is for NZ citizens and those with a Residents visa for NZ or Australia. Find out about studying a CUP through Tauwhiro Ākonga | Student Transitions and Engagement at UC.


Certificate in University Preparation

Degree Structure - Duration
12 weeks full-time


Certificate in University Preparation

Degree Structure - Start In
February, July, or November




2024 tuition fees estimate per 15 points:

  • Domestic — $844
  • International — not applicable


Certificate in University Preparation


Applications for July (24B3) close 3 July 2024.

The Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) is designed to prepare Aotearoa New Zealand citizens, or holders of a Residents Class Visa of New Zealand or Australia, for university study. The CUP programme provides an inclusive and supportive learning environment with small classes and individual attention to help you develop your confidence to succeed at university.

CUP is recommended for people of all ages, those who have been out of study for a while and want to refresh their study skills, or school leavers who want to gain University Entrance. Course places are limited to allow for small classes, which could include a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, exercises, and group tasks.

CUP is a 12-week programme of study for full-time students, with two six-week options throughout the year plus summer school. Flexible part-time and distance options are also available. Full-time study could mean up to 20 hours of study per week, including up to 12 hours of classes and time spent on self-directed learning.

The CUP programme will help you to develop the skills necessary for successful university study, including:

  • subject knowledge for pathways to degree programmes
  • study and time-management skills
  • verbal and written communication skills for a variety of contexts
  • analytical, critical, and problem solving skills
  • information literacy skills
  • interpersonal, group, and teamwork skills.

The CUP programme provides an environment for students to:

  • build relationships with peers
  • connect with Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury
  • plan for future study.

Certificate in University Preparation

Entry requirements

We accept students into the CUP programme based on:

  • a Personal Statement.

(In your application you will be asked to include a small statement about yourself (max. 250 words). This is to help provide some information for the Transitions Team prior to the interview. Some things you could include are your background, work experience, achievements, current interests, and/or future plans).

  • an interview with a Student Advisor.
  • a previous academic record.

All students have an interview before they start to help design an appropriate pathway around their future ambitions and current needs.

Our intention is for students to succeed in tertiary study, and some background knowledge is required for certain degree pathways.


  • A diagnostic maths test may be required for our engineering and science pathways.
  • An English Language test may be required if your previous education is in another language.

We have a partnership with Hagley College to deliver an extended pathway into degree study, if required.

See how to apply for preparatory programmes.

How to apply

To apply for entry into the Certificate in University Preparation programme, you need to apply to enrol online with myUC.

Certificate in University Preparation

Subjects and courses

Course options

Compulsory course

There is one compulsory core course that is delivered on campus and by distance:

You can choose from three other courses depending on which areas of study interests you:


All elective courses are subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

Te Waka Talanoa

Self-identified Māori and Pasifika students can study the core skills course on the University campus as part of the connective grouping — Te Waka Talanoa. An academic pathway will be designed around a student's individual needs via another three courses that make up the CUP certificate.

Certificate in University Preparation

Further study

This Certificate is accepted as an entry qualification for Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury and, by application, to other Aotearoa New Zealand universities.

See the undergraduate certificates and diplomas and bachelor's degrees offered at UC.

2024 tuition fees estimate (per 15 points):

  • Domestic — $844
  • International — not applicable

SSL estimate (per 15 points):

  • 2024 — $137.55

Planning my study

Certificate in University Preparation

How do I plan my certificate?



Course Dates

CUP intakes are offered in six-week blocks with full-time CUP students enrolling in two courses for the first six-week block followed by the final two courses in the following six-week block.

Read more on CUP courses and their course occurrence codes to assist you in selecting the right courses for each intake.


  • Term 1 intake (24B1) — 19 February to 7 April 2024
  • Term 2 intake (24B2) — 22 April to 9 June 2024
  • Term 3 intake (24B3) — 15 July to 1 September 2024
  • Term 4 intake (24B4) — 9 September to 27 October 2024
  • 2024 Summer School (24SU2) — 4 November to 15 December 2024

Each intake leads into degree study starting the following semester. An orientation day for each intake is held before the start of classes. Orientation information will be sent out along with enrolment confirmations. All students are expected to attend the orientation programme to receive important class information.

Completing CUP

To gain the Certificate in University Preparation you must:

  • complete required verbal, practical, and written work
  • gain 60 credits (by passing the equivalent of four CUP courses), one of which must be TRNS001
  • complete CUP within 12 months of commencing CUP.

For the full degree requirements, see the Regulations for the Certificate in University Preparation.


Undergraduate Prospectus

Whakatairanga Ākonga

Download (application/pdf, 4 MB)

2024 CUP courses

Download (application/pdf, 92 KB)

CUP course selection for degree pathways

Download (application/pdf, 159 KB)
Student stories
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