8 Best Universities in New Zealand for International Students

With a bouquet of options available, one would ask which of the universities in New Zealand for international students are considered the best?

That is answered by this post as we have skimmed through the myriad of universities in New Zealand for international students to bring you those which are considered by many on the international scene as the best universities. So, with an unbiased mind, I present you with the 8 best universities in New Zealand for international students.

New Zealand is an ideal study location for individuals seeking adventure, with breathtaking natural scenery, pleasant and hospitable people, and good universities.

Over 106,000 foreign students are already studying in New Zealand; if you’re interested in joining them, keep reading to learn about living expenses and tuition fees.

This post answers some of the pressing questions about the studying in any of the best universities in New Zealand for international students, pressing questions such as, what is the cost of studying in any of the universities in New Zealand for international students, what requirements are to be met by international students nursing hopes of studying in New Zealand, and are there free universities in New Zealand for international students?

Studying in New Zealand is in most parts easy on the purse, most international students in any of the universities in New Zealand for international students are elated as they have made the right decision due to the government’s intervention with its developmental scholarships.

Not to seem like deviating from the subject matter, I fully understand that amongst us are those still undecided about which country to pursue a degree in, and for those of our friends, I nudge them in the direction of China’s best universities for international students.

There are still several universities in the world that accept international students take for instance the University of Malaysia which has a high acceptance rate for international students seeking admission to study in Malaysia.

Those seeking to further their education in the field of medicine will find the best Chinese medical schools a worthwhile adventure as they present international students with a varying degree of new cultures and traditions that improves the mindsets of such who engage in venturing into these universities.

There are tons of universities in Italy and one significant inhibition to the influx of international students is the barrier of language. English is a very popular language that is spoken as either a first or an adopted language and this has made it possible to limit the problems caused by the language barrier, this is most true as the top Italian universities now cater to international students by lecturing in the English Language.

So, to cut to the chase, we would answer these questions starting with;

Cost of Study in New Zealand for International Students

International undergraduate students may expect to pay roughly NZ$22,000-32,000 (US$14,900-21,700) each year, according to the official Study in Zealand website, with additional costs for areas like medicine and veterinary science. The majority of bachelor’s degrees are three years long.

Fees will be subsidized by the government for domestic students from Australia and New Zealand, ranging from NZ$10,000 to NZ$25,000 per year.

However, starting in 2019, the government announced a free-fees scheme that would allow first-year domestic students to study for free for a year. The government will pay up to NZ$12,000 for a year (this can be stretched out over several years if you’re studying part-time), and refugees may also be eligible.

International master’s students pay between NZ$26,000-37,000 (US$17,660-25,100) per year, whereas domestic students pay between NZ$5,000 and $10,000 per year.

International Ph.D. students, on the other hand, pay the same as domestic Ph.D. students, ranging from NZ$6,500 to $9,000 (US$4,400 to $6,100) a year in most subjects.

If you plan to study in New Zealand for more than a year, you’ll need to show that you have at least NZ$15,000 (US$10,200) to sustain yourself for the first year as part of your student visa application.

However, depending on your lifestyle, location, and spending habits, you may require more — for example, the University of Auckland suggests that a student’s budget is between NZ$20,000 and NZ$25,000 (about US$13,500-16,900).

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, and Auckland, the country’s largest city, are considered to be the costliest cities in terms of living costs, with the University of Auckland projecting the following weekly prices:

  • Utility costs NZ$23 (US$15.50).
  • Internet costs NZ$8 (US$5), while a mobile phone package is NZ$10 (US$6.75).
  • Insurance costs NZ$8 (US$5).
  • Food costs NZ$120 (US$80), transportation costs NZ$35 (US$24), and entertainment costs NZ$55 (US$37).

Numbeo is a handy tool for comparing typical living expenditures in different locations to those of your own.

Other living expenses in New Zealand include mandatory health insurance, which you must obtain before beginning your studies and will cost between NZ$200 and 700 (US$135 and 470) each year. A doctor’s appointment will cost roughly NZ$45 (US$30). For each year you study in New Zealand, you’ll need roughly NZ$500 (US$340) for books and stationery for your Programme.

In terms of lifestyle and leisure, a movie ticket costs NZ$15 (US$10), a monthly gym membership costs NZ$60 (US$40), and a refreshing drink costs NZ$10 (US$6.75) in a bar.


Most New Zealand institutions have Halls of Residence for their students, which may be a relatively reasonable choice at roughly NZ$270 (US$180) per week. Self-catered and catered student halls are available, with prices ranging from NZ$169 (US$114) per week at the University of Canterbury to NZ$473 (US$320) in catered student halls.

Private housing is more expensive, with a three-bedroom apartment in Auckland’s city center costing around NZ$3,276 (US$2,200) per month and NZ$1,520 (US$1,020) in Dunedin.

New Zealanders have been known to have a very strong culture of assisting students seeking or are already in any of the universities in New Zealand for international students.

Requirements for International Students to Study in New Zealand

These differ depending on the academic program and level. Indian students must fulfill a minimum English language requirement for each subject. A minimum academic record of 75 percent or above in Class XII will also be required. Foundations and Diploma programs are accessible to students who have achieved at least a 75% grade point average. Before beginning a degree program, students must be at least 18 years old.

It’s crucial to remember that these figures are only estimates; real figures may vary from university to university.

In addition, the following documents must be submitted:

  • If you have previous job experience, two letters of recommendation from coworkers/managers who are familiar with you and can remark on your professional talents are required.
  • Resume with a Statement of Purpose
  • Portfolio of photocopied GMAT/IELTS/TOEFL score reports (in case of students applying for art and design courses and architecture programs)
  • Others (state and national certificates/achievements, as well as extracurricular activities)

Are there Free Universities in New Zealand for International Students?

In 2018, the New Zealand government implemented a provision that permits qualifying students new to tertiary education to study for one year without paying tuition. If you begin tertiary studies for the first time on January 1, 2021, you may be eligible for fee-free education. Below are the criteria for eligibility for the fee-free education;

  • A New Zealand citizen,
  • Or a holder of the Christchurch response (2019) permanent resident visa;
  • OR a holder of a residence class visa who would have been eligible for the Christchurch Response (2019) Permanent Resident Visa;
  • Or a holder of the Afghan Emergency Resettlement Resident Visa; or a holder of a residence class visa who would have been eligible for the Christchurch Response (2019) Permanent Resident Visa,
  • A person granted refugee or protected person status,
  • Or a family member granted a residence visa with the person granted refugee or protected person status;
  • Or sponsored into New Zealand by someone in their family who, at the time of sponsorship, was a refugee or protected person;
  • Or a person granted refugee or protected person status,
  • Or a family member granted a residence visa with the person granted refugee or protected person status; or
  • A person granted refugee or protected person status before obtaining a residence visa;
  • Or an immediate family member, without a residence visa and residing in New Zealand, of a person granted refugee or protected person status, as defined as:
  1. The partner and any children in New Zealand, of a person granted refugee or protected person status before gaining a residence visa;
  2. Or the parent and any sibling in New Zealand, of a person granted refugee or protected person status before gaining a residence visa.

What expenses are covered, and how much money is available?

The government will pay up to $12,000 for the equivalent of one year of full-time education (usually 120 points) for:

  • Fees for instruction
  • Fees that are required
  • Student-service fees are required.

These are a few of the requirements for those seeking in studying at any of the universities in New Zealand for free; therefore, without dragging our feet any longer, we dive straight into what we all what to know, which is;

Universities in New Zealand for International Students

8 Best Universities in New Zealand for International Students

1.      University of Otago—Dunedin, South Island

The beautiful Dunedin, on an inlet leading to the enormous Pacific Ocean, is home to New Zealand’s first university. With approximately 20% of its citizens attending the Institution of Otago, Dunedin is Australasia’s only real student city (ranked as the top university in New Zealand for foreign student experience!).

If you want to be close to nature or recreate your favorite Lord of the Rings moments with pals regularly, this is the place to be. Ski resorts, adventure centers (we hope bungy jumping is on your bucket list!), and nature sanctuaries are all within walking distance of campus.

On-campus, there’s even more to enjoy. Fieldwork-oriented coursework is provided for a range of courses at the institution, including Pre-Med (Health Sciences), Humanities, Science, Business, and more.

Those nursing the desire to study in any of the universities in New Zealand for international students, the University of Otago offers one of the best scenic views for the easy study of academics.


2.      University of Auckland—Auckland, North Island

Look out the window of your dorm room and see Rangitoto, New Zealand’s youngest and most active volcano. Amazing! Living in New Zealand’s largest city isn’t associated with adjusting to living in a concrete jungle, thanks to its east and west coasts.

The University of Auckland is located in the city’s center, offering you unrivaled access to kebab shops, hip coffee shops, multinational retail chains, and a contemporary bar scene. It’s no surprise that the University of Auckland ranks first among New Zealand universities for overseas students.

If your academic goals include civil engineering, psychology, accounting, finance, and teaching, this is a school to explore. As a research-oriented university, you’ll have lots of opportunities to delve into the subjects that most interest you. Try living in the “City of Sails”!


3.      University of Canterbury—Christchurch, South Island

Christchurch: You may recall the city’s name from the devastating earthquake that struck it a few years ago, but it’s now creating a name for itself thanks to its recovery.

To be inspired by graduates of this college, go no further than your wallet: The $100 bill has Ernest Rutherford, Canterbury’s most illustrious graduate, while the $50 bill features Apirana Ngata of Ngati Porou, New Zealand’s first Maori university graduate.

See what all the excitement is about in the Garden City by biking along the Avon River, sipping coffee while admiring the South Island’s main metropolitan hub, and joining over 12,000 students in more than 70 different academic programs, and get a feel for why the University of Canterbury is held in high esteem amongst those in the universities in New Zealand for international students!


4.      Victoria University of Wellington—Wellington, North Island

We’d venture to say that our time in Wellington was “love at first sight.” There’s never a boring moment in New Zealand’s capital city, from its creative cafés and art stores to its eccentric fish markets and varied coffee culture. Off-campus and on-campus life will satisfy students.

The Victoria University of Wellington takes pride in its international orientation, helping international students (like you!) feel immediately at ease. You may rest assured that your education in Wellington will prepare you for rewarding professions in a wide range of fields.

The highlight? If you become bored, visit the world-renowned Te Papa Museum of New Zealand’s indigenous culture. For free.

Why don’t you head down to the Victoria University of Wellington one of the fan-favorite universities in New Zealand for international students and get to enjoy the wonderful beauty and culture of the nation’s capital?


5.      Auckland University of Technology—Auckland, North Island

Auckland is the only city to have topped our ranking of New Zealand colleges for international students twice, and it is a strong contender for students interested in technology.

AUT was established in 1895 (wow!) and aims to be the “university for the changing world.” But this isn’t just a school for our STEM friends: there are liberal arts courses ranging from hospitality and tourist management to public policy, Maori studies, and more. Only YOU are missing from this world-class education.

The Auckland University of Technology has built a niche for itself among the greats and it is well-advised for those seeking to study at any of the universities in New Zealand for international students to at least consider this university if you fall under the technological field.


6. Massey University

Massey University is unique amongst the universities in New Zealand for international students in that it has three campuses in Auckland, Palmerston North, and Wellington that provide research-driven teaching and research training.

Massey University offers a variety of scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate students that are currently available for application. As a Massey University student, you have access to a variety of study support programs and resources aimed at helping you improve your scholarly abilities at all levels of study.


7. Lincoln University

Lincoln University is a well-regarded public research and higher education institution and held to high standards among the public universities in New Zealand for international students. Lincoln University is divided into three faculties, each of which offers a variety of career-focused certificates and undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctorate degree programs.

It also features the University Studies and English Language Division, which offers two English language teaching programs.

Agriculture, engineering, sciences, computing, business, commerce, landscape architecture, environment, horticulture, forestry, property valuation, sports and recreation, transportation, food, winemaking, viticulture, tourism, and hospitality are among the specializations available at the university.


8. University of Waikato

The University of Waikato falls almost 100 places in the world university rankings, to equal 375th. The university boasts globally recognized research capabilities and facilities in a variety of disciplines, as well as degrees in a wide range of subject areas, though the drop in global ranking, it is still respected amongst the universities in New Zealand for international students.

It is mostly based on 65 acres of parkland in Hamilton, New Zealand’s North Island, but it also has a campus in Tauranga.



New Zealand is a wonderful country and an appealing place to study and grow. Give it a try.