TOEFL Scores for the Top Universities in New Zealand

Owing to the numerous advantages the country offers, New Zealand has been thriving as a popular study destination among international students. The country is widely recognized as a provider of quality education, high-quality living conditions, and excellent opportunities for employment on completion of studies.

The number of international students who apply to study in New Zealand keeps growing yearly.

International students must meet the minimum TOEFL test scores required by New Zealand Universities proving their skills and proficiency in the English language to be considered for admission.

Minimum TOEFL test scores vary from one University to another. This article identifies the top universities in New Zealand and their TOEFL entry requirements for international students.


What Should You Know About Studying in New Zealand?

Many students from foreign countries apply to institutions in New Zealand because of the benefits of studying. Some of these benefits include:

  • Permanent Residence Option: Another advantage that New Zealand provides to its international student community is the opportunity to continue living and working in New Zealand. Graduates can apply for a Permanent Residency Visa after completing their educational programs. As long as they meet the requirements of the New Zealand immigration program under which they apply, they can be granted a visa.
  • Work while studying: With the necessary paperwork, international students undergoing programs in New Zealand can find employment even while they engage in schooling activities. International students can work for up to 20 hours a week during the academic year and about 40 hours per week during the summer break.

What are the Requirements for Studying in New Zealand?

TOEFL is one of the accepted English tests for universities in New Zealand. Top-rated Universities in New Zealand accept TOEFL test scores from international students.

The requirements for international students intending to study in New Zealand vary based on the University a student applies to. Each University factors in different elements during their selection processes, such as the student’s course of study, academic records, and ability to meet stipulated requirements taken into consideration before admission.

General requirements for studying in New Zealand include:

● A valid passport.

● A complete visa application form.

● Receipt of payment of application fees.

● Letter of offer of admission.

● Health insurance receipt.

● Passport-sized photographs.

● Academic transcripts/records.

● Proof of English language proficiency.


TOEFL Score Requirements for Top New Zealand Universities

International students intending to pursue academic programs in New Zealand at the undergraduate level are required to be 18 or more and have a TOEFL score of at least 79.

At the Postgraduate level, students are expected to have a bachelor’s degree and a corresponding overall TOEFL score of 95.

Two of the most prestigious global ranking metrics for Universities, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Quacquarelli Symonds University Rankings, both rate New Zealand universities highly.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 ranks New Zealand universities between 137th and 601th out of thousands of evaluated institutions.

1. The University of Auckland

The University of Auckland, the leading public research university in New Zealand, is located in Auckland. The University is currently 137th on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The University of Auckland is a student favorite because of its wide range of courses as it has over 120 undergraduate and 130 postgraduate programs.

The University requires an overall TOEFL score of 80 and a minimum of 21 in writing tests for undergraduate programs and 90 with 21 in speaking and writing for postgraduate studies.

2. Auckland University of Technology

Auckland University of Technology, popularly called AUT, is New Zealand’s third-largest University in terms of total student enrolment, with approximately 29,100 students enrolled across three campuses in Auckland.

The institution is recognized as the best University in New Zealand for global research impact, boasting over 60 research centers and institutes that deliver leading research across a wide range of subjects, including space, artificial intelligence, robotics, ecology, physical activity, and nutrition.

Placed 201st on the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Auckland University of Technology is home to 6,000 international students from 141 countries. The University’s Minimum TOEFL requirement is an overall score of 80, with a minimum of 20 in writing for undergraduate programs and an overall score of 90 with a minimum of 24 in speaking and writing for postgraduate studies.

3. University of Otago

New Zealand’s oldest higher education institution, the University of Otago, was established in 1869 in Dunedin, Otago. It is one of New Zealand’s entries in the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, tying the 201-205th band with AUT. The University tops the Performance-Based Research Fund evaluation in New Zealand and enjoys a global reputation for excellence, successfully balancing the traditions of its history with modern scholarship and research.

The campus population is quite diverse. The University houses international students from a hundred different countries. It requires a total TOEFL score of 80 and a corresponding minimum of 20 in writing for undergraduate programs and 95 with 22 in speaking and writing for postgraduate studies.

4. University of Waikato

Found in 1964, the University of Waikato is located in Hamilton, New Zealand. The university is popularly known for its strong, research-led global contribution to education and innovations in environmental science, marine and freshwater ecology, engineering, and computer science. With over 2000 international students from numerous countries, the University is currently ranked 401st on the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The University of Waikato requires an overall TOEFL score of 80 with a minimum of 21 in writing for undergraduate programs (except for Law, Nursing, Social Work, and ITE degrees) and 90 with 21 in speaking and writing for postgraduate studies.

5. University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury is a public research university based in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is New Zealand’s second-oldest university (after the University of Otago) and was established in 1873 as the Canterbury College, the first-ever constituent college under the University of New Zealand. It is renowned for its much-appreciated Engineering and Science Program.

Impressively, its Civil Engineering program ranks number 9 globally. (Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2021). The University of Canterbury placed 501st on the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The University offers 147 undergraduate and 61 graduate programs. Canterbury requires an overall TOEFL score of 80 with a minimum of 19 in writing for undergraduate programs and 90 with 19 in speaking and writing for postgraduate studies.

6. Lincoln University

Currently tying the 501st position on the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings with the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University is the oldest agricultural teaching institution in the Southern Hemisphere. Located in Lincoln, Canterbury, it remains the smallest university in New Zealand (by enrolment) and one of its eight public universities.

The University has over 1350 international students from 75 countries. For TOEFL, Lincoln University accepts an overall score of 60 and at least 18 in writing for undergraduate studies and an overall score of 80 with a minimum of 21 in writing for postgraduate studies.

7. Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington, established in 1879 and a constituent college of the dissolved University of New Zealand, is located in Wellington, New Zealand. The University has had the highest average research grade in the New Zealand Government’s Performance-Based Research Fund. It is currently ranked 510th globally on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The University is popular for its programs in law, the humanities, some scientific disciplines, and various other academic disciplines. Victoria University of Wellington requires an overall TOEFL score of 80 with a minimum of 21 in writing for undergraduate programs and 90 with 20 in speaking and writing for postgraduate studies.

8. Massey University

Massey University, located in Palmerston North, is one of the largest universities in New Zealand. It has three campuses, with two in Albany and Wellington. The University, currently ranked 601st on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, is the only institution in New Zealand that offers academic programs such as aviation, veterinary medicine, and nanoscience.

The University’s Vet school is duly authorized by the American Veterinary Medical Association accredited by the American Veterinary Medical. It is officially recognized in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain. Massey boasts over 3,000 international students from over a hundred countries and offers more than 40 undergraduate degrees.

For admission, the University requires an overall TOEFL score of 80 with a minimum of 19 in writing for undergraduate programs and 90 with 20 in speaking and writing for postgraduate studies.


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

 World RankingEducational InstitutionTOEFL Requirements
(Undergraduate)
TOEFL Requirements
(Postgraduate)
81 University of Auckland8090
184University of Otago8095
223Victoria University of Wellington8090
270University of Canterbury8090
272Massey University8090
375  University of Waikato8090
387Lincoln University6080
 437Auckland University of Technology 

Which University Does Not Require TOEFL in New Zealand?

While TOEFL is a standard requirement for admission for some universities in New Zealand, students may opt to explore other alternatives if they can not provide a valid and subsisting TOEFL result.

Universities that do not require TOEFL in New Zealand often have other conditions that international students can fulfill instead like:

  • Provide proof of education in an English-oriented school from at least classes 8 to 12. This proof must also show that the language of instruction was in the English Language, irrespective of the student’s country.
  • The candidate is a citizen of Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or the United States and must have spent a minimum of 5 years working or studying in the countries mentioned earlier, Australia or New Zealand.
  • Applicants can also opt for the English language programs offered by the particular university.

The list of New Zealand Universities where the TOEFL test is optional include:

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

Additional FAQs — TOEFL Score for Top Universities in New Zealand

Does New Zealand Require IELTS or TOEFL?

To assess an aspiring student’s English proficiency level, New Zealand requires an examination of the student. Such tests as the IELTS and TOEFL are the popular choice for English language tests accepted by institutions in New Zealand.

Schools require these tests to ascertain the level that the student can receive instruction and, of course, communicate effectively in the English language. 

However, while some schools have minimum requirements for these exams, there are some exceptional cases where the universities may choose to forego these requirements.

What is the Minimum TOEFL Score Required for a New Zealand Student Visa?

Minimum TOEFL scores for student visa applications are most often dictated by the institution where the prospective candidate aims to gain admission. International students who intend to study in New Zealand are expected to obtain a study visa.

To apply for this visa, one must also take an English Proficiency Test and be accepted for admission by a New Zealand College or University.

Although TOEFL test scores are accepted for a New Zealand student visa, the minimum score required for each student visa is dictated by the minimum TOEFL score as determined by the University being applied to.

What is the TOEFL Score Required for Universities?

While it is important to note that some universities require higher scores for some undergraduate programs, the general score for TOEFL is the minimum score of 79 to 80.

For graduate degrees, while it is also important to note some universities require higher scores for some programs, the general overall score for TOEFL is the minimum score of 90 to 100. Applicants are advised to check the requirements on the universities’ websites.

Can I Study in New Zealand with TOEFL?

Definitely, for international students intending to study in New Zealand, a test is required to adequately gauge their proficiency in the use of the English Language.

Suppose students can appropriately satisfy University minimum requirements. In that case, they may get admitted to the programs of choice depending on the total fulfillment of other requirements as dictated by the institution in question.

TOEFL test holds an excellent reputation that no other test has and can get an international student worldwide. New Zealand institutions accept both the TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Paper Tests as a test of English proficiency.



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