Tertiary and vocational qualifications in NZ


There are 10 levels of study in New Zealand schools and universities. The lowest level is a certificate and the highest is a doctoral degree. Each level is more complex than the one below it. These are the names of our qualifications and their levels:

•Certificates are levels 1 to 4
•Diplomas are levels 5 and 6
•Bachelor’s degrees and graduate diplomas are level 7
•Postgraduate certificates and diplomas, and bachelor’s degrees with honours are level 8
•Master’s degrees are level 9
•Doctoral degrees are level 10.

All of our major education providers have qualifications with these names. This means that you can easily understand the level of the qualification and compare qualifications between education providers.

All major education providers are registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), so you can be sure that you are studying for an approved qualification that has been assessed to ensure that it is high quality. Some private training establishments don’t use NZQA qualifications – you should check and make sure their courses are suitable for you.

At polytechnics and institutes of technology you can study for a certificate, diploma or degree. These institutions offer more practical and vocational courses. At colleges of education you can study for a degree in education and teaching.

A university bachelor’s degree usually takes three to four years. Most degree structures give you the opportunity of combining your ‘major’ subject with supporting subjects known as ‘minor’ subjects.

After you have a bachelor’s degree, you can study for a post-graduate qualification such as a graduate diploma, master’s degree or doctorate. If you already have an undergraduate degree from your home country and your English is good, you may be able to enrol in a post-graduate programme in New Zealand.

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