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Postgraduation in New Zealand

A postgraduate qualification from New Zealand opens doors to opportunities

New Zealand can be the perfect destination to pursue your postgraduation as it not only offers an advanced education system for higher studies but also a globally-recognised degree with ample opportunities to grow.

Why pursue postgraduation in New Zealand

International students look at New Zealand as a country with numerable benefits to study at a higher education level. Some of the most common reasons why students opt for it are:

  • Highly ranked universities: Five out of eight New Zealand universities rank in the top 350 as per QS rankings 2021*
  • Globally recognised degrees: All New Zealand university degrees are NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) approved which makes them recognised worldwide across industries
  • Quality of life: New Zealand consistently ranks in the top-quality parameters of life metrics and enjoys the reputation for being one of the world’s least corrupt and second most peaceful nation*
  • Culturally diversified: Approximately 25% of New Zealand’s population is born overseas, and hence the culture is diverse and natives are warm and welcoming

Postgraduate qualifications in New Zealand

There are 10 levels in the New Zealand education system, while post-graduate qualifications begin from level 8:

Level as per New Zealand education system

Types of postgraduate qualifications

About the program

Level 8

Postgraduate certificates and postgraduate diplomas

  • Postgraduate certificate: It’s a semester-long program if you wish to add specialisation or seek a pathway for your master’s
  • Postgraduate diploma: It’s a year-long program where you can be enrolled before your second year of the master’s program

Level 9


  • It spans one to two years and consists of equal parts of coursework and research. Students must write a thesis on the desired area of interest
  • The master’s degree in New Zealand spans one to two years with equal coursework and research. You are expected to write a thesis on your desired field

Level 10


This is a three to four- years study program with various research opportunities

Cost of studying

The tuition fees for a postgraduate course depends entirely on the type of institution and course you’ve opted. However, an indicative average annual fee for a postgraduate diploma and degree is around NZD 21,000 to NZD 29,000.

Eligibility criteria

I. Masters

The admission criteria for pursuing a master’s in New Zealand depends mainly on the type of programme opted:

  • Academic Master’s Program: You’ll need an undergraduate degree in the relevant field; however, the subject may vary. For instance, for a master’s in history you can have a bachelor’s in literature but not a bachelor’s in physics
  • Professional Master’s program: In this, work experience is given importance. Although, this is less required for graduate entry qualification but will be a pre-requisite for most professional development courses

Note: The master’s program with a mandatory criterion of an undergraduate degree usually requires a US GPA of 3.0 or higher i.e., 2:1 or better (specific to institution).

II. Postgraduate Diploma

These courses usually span one year and some of them form a part of the first year of a master’s degree. For these professional qualifications, you need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to apply for these courses.

III. Postgraduate Certificate

These certificate courses are generally completed in six months as they are primarily designed to provide professional development in the relevant field. Although, you can opt to study at a higher level and go for a postgraduate diploma. As a pre-requisite, you need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to apply for these courses.

IV. Doctoral program

Every university in New Zealand has its own entry criteria for different PhD programs primarily focusing on your research work published in the past. Therefore, we suggest you get in touch with our IDP international education specialists to understand the best fit for you.

If you are set to begin your postgraduate studies in New Zealand, then we have a list of the courses that match your interests. Our international education specialists can help enhance your profile and guide you to make the best decision.




Note: Given the current COVID-19 situation, there might be some changes in the 2021 intakes. Don’t worry, our international education experts are here to guide you with the latest updates to help you apply to your desired course and institution. Feel free to connect with our experts for a free counselling session and keep posted about the latest COVID- 19 updates. 

Updated on April 13, 2021

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