New Zealand’s universities are state-owned and research-based. They offer courses from certificate level to doctorates.
The university year begins in late February or early March and ends in October. The year is generally split into two semesters of around 12 weeks each, with a two-week break midway through the semester and a six-week break in the middle of the year.
English Language Schools
Most English language study schools have flexible start dates throughout the year. English language courses are offered for all levels and abilities and range from four weeks to 12 months.
Many international students complete an English language course before enrolling for formal academic studies. Students who are competent in English often do short-term foundation studies or pre-university orientation studies.
Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics
New Zealand’s Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) are state-owned organisations that provide vocational and applied education and training.
ITPs offer courses that are equivalent in merit to university courses, ranging from certificate level courses to full degree and postgraduate level studies. Historically, universities focused on academic studies while polytechnics focused on vocational training.
However in recent years both types of institution have expanded their programmes, creating an overlap.
ITPs have two semesters – February to June and July to November – with holidays similar to secondary schools. Some half-year courses start in July.
Private Training Establishments
New Zealand has many Private Training Establishments (PTEs), some of which specialise in a particular discipline such as business or travel and tourism.
By law, all PTEs must be registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and their curriculum and academic standards must meet national standards. Most PTEs run on a timetable similar to state tertiary institutions.
Primary and Intermediate Schools
Most New Zealand Primary and Intermediate schools are state-owned and are typically for students aged five to 12 – Years 1 to 8.
The school year starts in early February and ends in mid-December. It is usually split into four 10-week terms, with two-week breaks between them.
Most New Zealand secondary schools are state-owned, although some are private or integrated (half state-funded). The private and integrated schools may be single-sex or affiliated to a particular religion.
New Zealand secondary schools are typically for students aged 13 to 19 (Years 9 to 13). Students in Years 11 to 13 study towards the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), New Zealand’s main secondary qualification.
Secondary schools have four 10-week terms with two-week breaks between them. The school year starts in early February and ends in mid-December.