Duolingo English Test Scores for Top Universities in New Zealand

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, center-based testing is temporarily unavailable anywhere. As a result, an increasing number of academic institutions are putting in place online alternatives to the TOEFL and IELTS, such as Duolingo. 

Around 1,000 schools and institutions accept the Duolingo English Test, with many of them using it as their primary way of measuring English competence.

The minimum Duolingo English Test scores that New Zealand institutions demand vary. This post determines New Zealand’s leading institutions and tells you what Duolingo test scores they require for admission.


What Should You Know About Studying in New Zealand?

Because of the country’s various benefits, New Zealand is becoming a more widespread study location for overseas students. 

Globally recognized as a supplier of high-quality education, courses that are less costly than those in the United States and the United Kingdom, high-quality living circumstances, and good job chances after graduation are just a few of the reasons to consider. 

International students seeking Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees may also apply for coveted scholarships. The study support services for international students in New Zealand are among the greatest globally, and the country welcomes immigrants more than virtually any other country.

  • Internationally recognized qualifications: The eight New Zealand universities consistently rank well in the world rankings, and their degrees are recognized globally, opening access to possibilities. The NZQA also ensures that institutions accept international students and qualify.
  • Great pedagogy: The UK-influenced education system in New Zealand stresses research-based instruction, so you will learn to deal with situations in a systematic and structured approach. You will learn both solo and group work skills at various levels. They encouraged students to think critically, ask questions, and communicate with their teachers. You will also use what you’ve learned in class and develop fresh solutions.
  • Research and Development: With so many research opportunities available to students, National universities and colleges have top-notch teachers, well-equipped laboratories, and access to the latest technology. As a result of its innovative spirit, it has become a global hub for new technologies, research, and development in fields such as agriculture and healthcare. Adding New Zealand’s Nobel laureates highlights the country’s academic significance and breadth.
  • Ph.D. students have several alternatives: Aside from the many research opportunities, a Ph.D. student has access to other privileges. Unlike other degree students, you may work full time while studying.
  • Calm and safe: New Zealand ranks second in terms of social tolerance and political stability. You’ll have the same rights as Kiwi students.
  • Diversity: New Zealand’s diverse culture combines harmoniously with its energetic outdoor lifestyle. New Zealand’s natural wonders include snowcapped mountains, volcanic volcanoes, rolling green meadows, golden sandy beaches, and lush rainforests. The city’s rich culture and natural beauty allow every child to grow.
  • Work and study: Overseas students in New Zealand may work up to 20 hours during semesters and vacations per week. You may work full-time while studying for a research master’s or doctorate.

What are the Requirements for Studying in New Zealand?

International students must exhibit academic qualifications and adequate English proficiency to deal with the demands of their chosen course of study to be admitted to university and polytechnic programs. 

Each college has its own English language admissions criteria, such as passing the Duolingo English Test exams

Individual colleges and universities may provide information on academic and language requirements.

Below is a list of study visa options: 

Student VisaStudy in New Zealand for more than three months

A student visa is typically valid for the same period as the tuition fee.

Work up to 20 hours a week during the semester and full-time during the vacations, depending on your visa.
Visitor VisaStudy in New Zealand for up to 3 months

A visiting visa permits you to take up to three months of courses.
NZeTAStudy in New Zealand for up to 3 months from a visa-waiver country

An NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) is required if you are from a visa-waiver nation.
Pathway VisaStudy up to 3 pre-approved programs

The route student visa permits you to study up to 3 courses in 5 years.

You may start with an English course, foundation courses, and finally, a degree program.

This visa requires pre-approval of your study plan (all programs/courses).

These differ depending on the academic program and level. International students must fulfill a minimum English language requirement for each subject. 

You may also need a minimum academic record of 75 percent or above in Class XII. Foundations and Diploma programs are accessible to students who have achieved at least a 75% grade point average. 

Before enrolling in a degree program, students must be at least 18 years old.

It is crucial to remember that these figures are just a guide; accurate statistics may vary from institution to university.

The following are the general prerequisites for studying in New Zealand:

  • If you have previous job experience, two letters of reference from coworkers/managers familiar with you and can remark on your professional talents are required.
  • Portfolio of photocopied proof of English Language Proficiency 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).

What is the Minimum Duolingo Score for the Universities in New Zealand?

` Universities have different criteria for overseas students who want to study in New Zealand. Each university has its own set of standards, primarily based on the student’s course of study, academic records, and capacity to satisfy them. As for the minimum score, universities require a score of 110 or better. 

Unlike with the other countries, there are only a few universities or institutions in New Zealand that accepts the Duolingo English Test:

  • University of Otago
  • Massey University
  • Victoria University of Wellington

Source: Duolingo English Test Official Website


Duolingo Score Requirements for Major New Zealand Universities

COVID-19 has forced certain traditional exam facilities to close. You may use the Duolingo English Test to meet English language requirements at several institutions and universities in New Zealand as an overseas student. 

These are the few highly-recognized universities in New Zealand that accept the DET and their minimum requirements:

1. University of Otago

Employers value well-rounded, practical, adaptive, and resilient graduates, and the institution has a reputation for creating them. Students at the University of Otago study more than simply academics; they also gain life skills, creative thinking, problem-solving, and team dynamics.

All overseas students impacted by Covid-19 may submit Duolingo results. These scores will be used for all three intakes. Postgraduate programs need a minimum score of 110.

2. Massey University of New Zealand

For the third year in a row, Massey University has been recognized as one of the top universities in the world. According to QS World University Ranking, it is currently ranked at 284 in the overall world ranking.

Duolingo is only approved at this institution if other exams are unavailable; you must check with the university to see whether you qualify. The equivalence of the scores to IELTS is the criterion for acceptance (for instance, IELTS 6.5 is equivalent to Duolingo 110).

3. Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria Institution of Wellington is a research-intensive university with a worldwide ranking and the highest research quality in New Zealand. Its research is strong, relevant, and multidisciplinary, bringing together talent from throughout the University to solve local, national, and global issues.

Many English proficiency testing services worldwide have ceased due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

The University currently accepts the Duolingo English Test (DET) solely for the balance of the year (Trimester 2 and 3), with the following minimum scores:

  • 100 DET for undergraduate admission
  • 110 DET for postgraduate admission

Summary Table of the Top Universities and their Minimum DET Score

Country RankingEducational InstitutionMinimum
Duolingo English Test
Score Requirement
2University of Otago110
4Massey University110
8Victoria University of Wellington110
Source: QS Top Universities

Where Do Universities in New Zealand Stand According to QS World University Rankings in 2022?

QS World University Rankings, established by TopUniversities.com, is one of the top worldwide rankings comparing the popularity and performance of institutions worldwide. 

The QS Rankings are produced every year and include rankings of institutions based on surveys, diversity, and much more. 

Below are the top universities in New Zealand that accept the DET Scores:

World RankingEducational InstitutionMinimum
Duolingo English Test
Score Requirement
194University of Otago110
284Massey University110
691Victoria University of Wellington110
Source: QS Top Universities

Which University Does Not Require Any English Proficiency Test in New Zealand?

Many international students come from non-English speaking backgrounds and have little or no English education. Hence they are not eligible for these tests. 

Many of these students struggle to get admission to a New Zealand university since evidence of competence is necessary. So, for international students, whether an English Language Proficiency score is necessary for admission to any New Zealand college.

Unfortunately, an English Language Proficiency test is a barrier for many students since it is difficult to pass for non-native English speakers. Many individuals are afraid to take any of these proficiency examinations many times since it may be costly. 

Depending on the university, the application process and materials necessary may change. It is recommended that you read their websites for specific instructions and rules and follow them. 

However, the following are the general deciding grounds for any ELP exemption:

  • Students who attended an English-medium school from Grade 8 to 12 may be excluded from taking any English Language Proficiency exams. English should have been the medium of teaching in school regardless of the education board.
  • This is true for students applying to Undergraduate and Postgraduate programs. Students without verification of any English Language Proficiency exams, on the other hand, are likely to be interviewed by New Zealand Immigration. As a result, one must be well prepared.
  • Five years of compulsory primary school education (Grades I to V) or at least three years of upper secondary education.
  • Institutions in Category I must assess overseas students’ English competency using their tests and in accordance with NZQA rules.

Keep the following in mind if you wish to study in New Zealand without completing an English Language Proficiency exam:

1. University of Canterbury

Students who do not have any proof of language proficiency but desire to study in New Zealand may do so at the University of Canterbury

International students may demonstrate their English language competency by completing an academic degree primarily taught in English in a country where English is the primary language. 

In addition, the University of Canterbury recognizes results from DET, TOEFL, PTE, CPE, CAE, and other English proficiency examinations.

University of Auckland

Universities may admit international students with the relevant credentials to the University of Auckland. Although the standard ELP exam is favored for evaluating English competence, the institution also accepts alternative tests such as DET, TOEFL, PTE, University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP), University of Auckland English Pathway for Undergraduate Studies (EPUS), and others.

2. Lincoln University

Students who want to enroll in any course at Lincoln University must demonstrate their command of the English language, and the university offers an English Language Program. 

All English language competence requirements are waived for students who successfully complete this course.

3. University of Otago

Other than the standard ELP, the University of Otago provides a variety of choices for overseas students to achieve the English language competency criterion. 

It also establishes specific language competency standards for international students registering for undergraduate degrees, requiring them to achieve a minimum score of 70% in English on the CBSE or CISCE exams

If an applicant fails to meet any of the following requirements, they may enroll in English for Otago program to be considered for admission to the University of Otago.

4. Unitec Institute of Technology

Unitec Institute of Technology offers an English language program for students who want to study in New Zealand without taking any ELPs for those who do not have proof of English Language Proficiency. 


What are the Top Courses in New Zealand Among International Students?

Internation students regard New Zealand as one of the most desired study abroad locations for international students. It is undoubtedly one of the most secure and economically stable nations to pursue higher education. It’s also one of the nations with many employment openings for those with specific abilities in various fields. 

According to a poll, New Zealand is ranked among the best nations in economic, social, and political stability. Here is a selection to consider following your Duolingo English Test:

1. Marketing

Business and marketing specialists are needed in all businesses, big or small, to sell goods, boost income and connect with target audiences. Marketing is, therefore, one of the most sought-after disciplines in higher education. 

Many colleges in New Zealand offer Marketing Management programs.

Where to Study Marketing in New Zealand:

  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Otago
  • University of Waikato
  • University of Auckland

2. Finance

Finance is another popular degree chosen by New Zealand university students, particularly those with a business background. The course prepares students for careers in corporate, financial, banking, and tax sectors.

Where to Study Finance in New Zealand:

  • University of Otago
  • University of Canterbury
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Lincoln University 
  • Massey University

3. Computer Science and IT

Computer science and IT are in high demand in today’s technological era. This program is quite popular among overseas students in New Zealand.

Where to Study Computer Science and IT in New Zealand:

  • University of Auckland 
  • University of Otago
  • University of Waikato
  • University of Canterbury
  • Unitec Institute of Technology

4. Media Studies

International students interested in the arts, journalism, and communication choose media studies as a major. This category includes a wide range of courses.

Where to Study Media Studies in New Zealand:

  • Massey University
  • University of Auckland 
  • University of Waikato
  • University of Otago
  • Victoria University of Wellington

5. Nursing

Students interested in studying nursing in a foreign country might consider New Zealand, which has some of the most outstanding nursing programs in the world. Different institutions in New Zealand offer courses at various levels of study.

Where to Study Nursing in New Zealand:

  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • University of Auckland 
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Otago
  • Massey University

8 Scholarships and Financial Assistance to Study in New Zealand

We’ve also compiled a list of scholarships and financial assistance to help you out. 

The New Zealand government, other governments, educational institutions, and philanthropists offer scholarships for international students, including Ph.D. scholarships and scholarships for Masters’ degrees. 

These Scholarships will cover most of your expenditures. Here are our top picks below:

1. Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships are available to students who otherwise could not afford to study abroad. Aside from that, the goal is to promote global leadership diversity. 

Applicants must be academically bright and from low-income families. Pell Grant recipients must apply. Nearly 2,300 fully-funded scholarships amounting to  NSD 5,000 are granted annually. 

However, aspirants must be enrolled in certain programs of study. An NZD 3,000 Critical Need Language Award may also be available.

2. Fulbright Scholar Program

The Fulbright Scholar Program accepts graduates and lecturers. Scholarships are available for New Zealand graduate students. 

Most qualified are those studying New Zealand culture, education, science, or social sciences. Fulbright may extend this program with extra government or college subsidies.

3. University of Waikato Scholarship

International students studying at the University of Waikato may be eligible for the High Achievement Scholarship. The scholarship covers 15% of the whole foreign student expenses for the second year. 

Students who earn a B+ grade average in their first 120 credit points are immediately eligible for the new grant.

4. The University of Canterbury Scholarship – International Mobility Inbound Study Abroad Award

Students approved for an intake or an academic year of study at UC are eligible for the International Mobility Inbound Study Abroad Award. Awards range up to NZD 5,000.

5. Institute for Study Abroad-Butler University

The Institute for Study Abroad-Butler University connects New Zealand undergraduates with relevant overseas study programs. 

Massey University also offers internships for journalism, marketing, and communications students. Obtain NZ school credit and relevant experience.

6. AustraLearn

AustraLearn, a leading study abroad firm, offers programs in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. There are semester and year-long alternatives and graduate programs, research, and internships. 

Nearly a dozen Australian and New Zealand colleges offer prospective students university-sponsored scholarships. 

The awards vary between NZD 1,000 and NZD 2,000. The University of Wellington, the University of Waikato, Massey University, and AUT University are all New Zealand.

7. Education and Study Abroad Network

Scholarships are available via the Education and Study Abroad Network, a well-known organization that aids US students studying in Australia, New Zealand, or Asia. 

They offer a variety of programs in New Zealand. Applicants must show academic and financial necessity. There is funding available which can vary from NZD 500 and NZD 1,000. 

8. Institute for International Education of Students (IES)

The Institute for International Student Education (IES) is a significant study abroad competition. Students interested in studying in New Zealand may do it in Auckland or Christchurch, respectively, in the northern and southern islands.

IES provides a variety of scholarships and awards. The awards vary between NZD 500 and NZD 5,000. Numerous scholarships and public school subsidies are available to kids with impairments.


Additional FAQs on Duolingo English Test Scores for Universities in New Zealand

Can I Apply for a Study Visa in New Zealand using the Duolingo English Test?

Unfortunately, as of this time, the New Zealand Immigration only accepts IELTS. Those wishing to immigrate to New Zealand must fulfill the New Zealand government’s English language requirements. 

Many visas, including those in the Skilled Migrant, Business, Parent, and Residence from Work categories, need IELTS to prove English language competency.

While IELTS is a requirement for applying for a student visa in New Zealand, the country’s immigration agency also offers a special visa for overseas students who cannot complete IELTS.

What is the Minimum Duolingo English Test Score for Universities in New Zealand?

The closing of testing centers and the suspension of IELTS and other essential English examinations are two of the most serious worries you’re experiencing, especially as your deadlines approach.

The Duolingo English Test is now widely accepted, which is good. In the meantime, only the listed universities above accept the DET and require a minimum score of 110, with higher levels as are necessary for specific schools or programs. 

Foundation courses, certificate programs, and diploma programs may demand a lower minimum of about 90.

Is it Possible to Study in New Zealand Without Taking Any English Language Proficiency Exam?

Yes, an overseas student may study in New Zealand without taking a language proficiency test provided they meet the other entrance requirements. 

Universities in New Zealand utilize a variety of characteristics to evaluate prospective students’ English language competency, and the Duolingo English Test is only one of them. 

Even though this is the preferred method of evaluation, institutions may admit you if you have the relevant credentials and can demonstrate that you meet any of the alternative language proficiency requirements:

Applicants must provide documentation of attending an English medium school from classes 8 to 12, with the medium of instruction explicitly stated as English, regardless of the board or country of study.
You may also provide documentation of 5 years of English medium education at the primary level or three years of English medium education at the secondary level in school.
For students without proof of language proficiency who want to apply for a study visa in New Zealand, the New Zealand Immigration authorities conduct a special interview.
Few colleges also conduct interviews to assess prospective students’ English skills.
Alternatively, institutions may admit you if you submit results from a recognized English proficiency exam, such as the TOEFL or PTE.


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