IELTS Test Scores for Top Universities in New Zealand

Pursuing higher education, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, increases a person’s exposure to valuable opportunities. Students often travel out of their home countries to have a unique experience that may not be available in their home countries. 

The decision to pursue higher education outside their home country allows exposure to different approaches to education, various cultures, and people from diverse ethnic backgrounds. 

New Zealand is one of the popular destinations for international students. This guide provides some insight into studying in New Zealand and some of their top universities’ IELTS Test score requirements.

What Should You Know About Studying in New Zealand?

In recent years, New Zealand has seen an increase in international students looking to study. This increasing interest is brought about by several factors, which we will highlight below.

Universities in New Zealand are highly rated worldwide for their quality of education and excellence of teaching staff. Because New Zealand has an education system similar to the UK, international students are guaranteed exposure to in-depth research and innovation, making New Zealand universities attractive.

 Several grants and scholarships are available to international students making studying in New Zealand desirable. Students pursuing their doctoral degrees are eligible to pay the same amount of tuition as New Zealand citizens.

International students in New Zealand are eligible to work for up to 20 hours weekly during the academic year. They are also permitted to work  40 hours a week when universities are not in session. Students pursuing research masters or doctoral degrees are permitted to work 40 hours a week all year round.

Studying in New Zealand guarantees a good quality of life and a low cost of living. The 2021 Global Peace Index ranks New Zealand as the third most peaceful country in the world. The country also has low crime rates, so the security of lives and property is guaranteed.

In addition, studying in New Zealand provides every student with the opportunity to be exposed to the beautiful and diverse culture of the country. The opportunity to interact with locals and the growing expatriate community allows students to be well-rounded and open-minded.  

What are the Requirements for Studying in New Zealand?

 All universities in New Zealand accept the IELTS exam as proof of English Language competency for international students.

 However, the IELTS score requirements vary according to the student’s course of study, degree level, and university application. The selection process is favorable to most eligible students.

A list of general requirements for international students include: 

  • A copy of your academic certificate/transcript.
  • A copy of your curriculum vitae ( where applicable).
  • Proof of English Language competency.
  • A statement of purpose.
  • Academic reference letter.
  • Employers letters of recommendation (where applicable).

What is the Minimum IELTS Score for New Zealand Universities?

For international students looking to get enrolled in undergraduate programs in New Zealand, the student must not be less than 18 years old and must have a minimum IELTS score of 6.0.  

For the Postgraduate programs, the student must have an undergraduate degree and should also have an excellent academic record. Generally, universities in New Zealand accept a minimum score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0 in the IELTS test for postgraduate studies.

To better understand how the scoring works for the IELTS exam, check out our details guide: IELTS Band Scoring System Overview.

IELTS Score Requirements for Top New Zealand Universities

New Zealand has eight universities, all of which are highly ranked worldwide. The two most prestigious institutions, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Quacquarelli Symonds University rankings, rate universities in New Zealand highly.

For the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, universities in New Zealand ranked between 137th – 800th out of thousands of institutions assessed.

1. University of Auckland

Unarguably New Zealand’s largest University by enrollment with over 40,000 students and eight faculties, the University of Auckland is a public research university. According to the Times Higher Education universities ranking, the University is ranked 137th in the world. 

The institution is one of the highest-ranking universities in New Zealand. It is committed to partnering with students, communities, and international partners to facilitate solutions that shape and advance the future. 

The University of Auckland accepts an IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four parts for its undergraduate degree. Some programs like engineering, however, do not accept bands less than 6.0. You can find a complete list here on their website

 2. University of Otago

Ranked between the 201st – 250th best universities globally by the Times Higher Education universities ranking, the University of Otago is one of the top public universities in New Zealand.

The University is located in Dunedin, popularly described as a student city. The institution is New Zealand’s oldest University. It offers over 200 undergraduate and postgraduate studies. The University of Otago is renowned for its established research programs.

The University of Otago accepts a minimum band score of 5.5 in all four aspects of the IELTS test at the undergraduate level.

3. Victoria University of Wellington

The Victoria University of Wellington is ranked between the 501st – 600th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education universities ranking. The University is located in New Zealand’s capital city university. It was established in 1897 is well known for its Law and Humanities programs.

 The University has received recognition in New Zealand for its intensity of high-quality research. It has ten faculties, eight of which conduct teaching and research depending on the course of study.

Victoria University of Wellington admits candidates with a minimum band score of 5.5 across all aspects of the IELTS test at the institution’s undergraduate level.

4. University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury is also a public research university. The institution ranks between the 501st – 600th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education universities ranking. It is located in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is the country’s second-oldest University. 

The University is regarded highly for its engineering, science, and research programs. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the University’s civil engineering program ranked 9th in the world in 2021.

The University of Canterbury accepts candidates with a minimum band of 5.5 in all four aspects of the IELTS test at the undergraduate level.

5. University of Waikato

The University of Waikato was founded in 1984 and is one of New Zealand’s youngest universities. It ranks between the 401st – 500th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education universities ranking.

The University provides strong, research-led global contributions in education, social sciences, and management. The University is also a trailblazer in environmental science and will start offering a degree in climate change in 2022.

The University of Waikato accepts no band less than 5.5 in the IELTS tests for its undergraduate programs.

6. Massey University

Established in 1927, Massey University is renowned for its unique and practical degree programs. It is ranked between the 601st – 800th best universities globally on the Times Higher Education universities ranking.

As well as being the only University in New Zealand offering degrees in aviation, dispute resolution, veterinary medicine, and nanoscience, the University is also the country’s leading online University.

Massey University accepts a minimum band score of 5.5 across all aspects of the IELTS test in its undergraduate programs.

7. Lincoln University

New Zealand’s third oldest University, Lincoln University, is highly regarded for its specialization in agriculture, viticulture, horticulture, business, and environmental studies. The institution ranks between the 501st – 600th best universities globally on the Times Higher Education universities ranking.

Lincoln University accepts a minimum band score of 5.5 across all aspects of the IELTS test in its undergraduate programs.

8. Auckland University of Technology

Auckland University of Technology was established in 2000 after the technical college was converted into a university. It is ranked between the 201st – 250th best universities globally on the Times Higher Education universities ranking. The institution has five faculties, and it offers a wide range of programs from Culture and Society to Creative Design and Creative Technologies. 

 Auckland University of Technology accepts a minimum band score of 5.5 across all aspects of the IELTS test in its undergraduate programs.

Where Do New Zealand Universities Stand According to Quacquarelli Symonds University Rankings?

World RankingName of UniversityIELTS Requirements (Undergraduate)IELTS Requirements (Postgraduate)
85University of Auckland6.06.5
194University of Otago6.06.5
236Victoria University of Wellington6.06.5
255University of Canterbury6.06.5
284Massey University6.06.5
372Lincoln University6.06.5
373University of Waikato6.06.5
451Auckland University of Technology6.06.5

Which University Does Not Require IELTS in New Zealand?

The list of New Zealand universities that do not require IELTS from international students include:

  • Unitec Institute of Technology.
  • University of Auckland.
  • University of Otago.
  • University of Canterbury.
  • Lincoln University. 

This list might look confusing since we’ve discussed most of these universities in this article. To clarify, most of these universities are willing to admit students with or without the IELTS. The minimum IELTS scores for New Zealand Universities have been listed and explained in detail throughout the article.

However, if you haven’t written or plan to write the IELTS exam — you can still apply for them. These universities, however, require international students to show that:

  • The teaching medium in the student’s school is English, and the student will get a certificate stating this. Thus, the certificate will serve as a waiver for taking a test of English competency. However, some universities may require the student to have an interview with an admissions officer to test their English skills.
  • They have taken one of the other standardised tests or English proficiency tests accepted by universities in New Zealand.
  • They have been taught in an English medium school for at least 5 years in primary school or 3 years in secondary school. The student is also required to have a certificate as proof.

Frequently Asked Questions About IELTS Scores for New Zealand Universities

What if I Cannot Meet the IELTS Requirements for New Zealand Universities?

Students who cannot meet the IELTS requirements for universities in New Zealand can go ahead to submit their applications and get a conditional offer of admission. However, this offer of admission is subject to meeting the requirements before they resume.

Which IELTS is Required to Study in New Zealand?

Both types of IELTS Test — IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are accepted by New Zealand Universities.
The IELTS Academic assesses a student’s English language proficiency level and determines if it is adequate for educational purposes. 
The IELTS General test gauges the English language proficiency of those applying for opportunities below degree level or who wish to migrate.

How Long are My IELTS Test Results Valid?

IELTS test scores are valid for up to two years. Universities in New Zealand do not accept test results gotten more than two years before the date of admission. Generally, IELTS partners cannot validate test results that are more than two years old.



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