New Zealand University  Qualification

History / Background

The first New Zealand university was founded in 1869 and, by the end of the 19th century, had been joined by two other universities. Today there are eight universities in New Zealand, and due to government legislation, this is the maximum number of universities allowed within the country. All are national or public universities and are duly accredited by the New Zealand government having been established through acts of parliament. Each New Zealand university has its own merits and each is monitored by the government to maintain the levels of expertise and commitment to high quality education. The challenge is finding which university is right for you .
  With an education system similar in structure to Australia's, based on the British system, New Zealand education also encourages independent learning, new ideas and a strong do-it-yourself attitude. This Pacific Island nation is unique in its blend of Polynesian cultures and modern society. Studying in New Zealand provides students with access to world class educators and centres of excellence that are combined with a magnificent indigenous history that is an integral part of New Zealand culture and language today. The New Zealand government enforces a strict Code of Practice for the care of all international students and New Zealand universities offer one of the most prestigious education systems in the world.
The education system of New Zealand is structured similarly to Canada's. With education foundations built on innovation and progressive thinking, New Zealand universities offer exceptional traditional university programs as well as many varied and unique programs that reflect their cultures and their region of the world.
The satisfactory completion of any New Zealand university course involves more than handing in certain pieces of work for assessment and the passing of tests and examinations. Lectures, tutorials, practical work, reading, writing, discussion and reflection are all an integral part of the learning experience at a New Zealand university. Sometimes attendance, or written work which is not assessed as part of the final mark for a course, may be required because the lecturers believe it will assist the understanding and learning of a particular aspect of the course. This is referred to as "Mandatory Course Requirements".

Bachelor’s degree

Generally a three-year program, a bachelor’s degree is highly specialized. Students take only courses that lead to their degree (no extraneous liberal arts classes that are taken by undergrads in Canada). Most students intending to pursue a further degree will be invited to pursue an “honours year” which, when successfully completed, aids the students in gaining direct entry to a master’s or even a doctorate degree. There is a fourth year required in some specialized and professional fields and for an honours degree. Combined or double-degrees are also available and are usually four to six years in length. Entry requirements are Grade 12 results from a Canadian secondary school and direct entry from secondary school is available for most programs including law, medicine and veterinary science. Bachelor’s degrees include: Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (four years to complete), Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (five to six years to complete) and the Bachelor of Veterinary Science (five to six years for completion). Entry to medicine and veterinary science programs is extremely competitive due to the limited number of places for international students. Credit transfer for degree completion is also available. Students who have completed a diploma at a Canadian community college can apply to a bachelor's degree and receive credit for their diploma program.

Graduate/Postgraduate diploma

This diploma is generally a one-year intensive coursework program for those who already have a bachelor’s degree. It can be used as a bridging program to a master’s degree and can represent the first year or first half of the master’s degree. A graduate diploma can also lead to certification, for example a Graduate Diploma of Education is a teaching qualification.

Master’s degree

A master’s degree is generally two years in length and consists of a first year of coursework and a second year involving a major research project or thesis. For students with a significant research background, it is possible to complete a master’s degree in one year by thesis.
Master’s by coursework: This is by far the most popular and applied-to type of master’s degree, and involves a program of classes in your major and typically a smaller research project in the second half of the degree.
Master’s by research: For those whose goal is either a PhD or to conduct intensive research, this option may be for you. Most research master’s degrees do not involve a coursework component; rather, they are made up of intensive, self-directed research leading to production of a thesis or major research project. The standard requirements for entry are submission of a research proposal in advance of being accepted (which means you must have a well-thought out research plan) and the university having a faculty member available to supervise you.


Professional Doctorate: You can earn a professional doctorate in fields such as law, psychology and education. This is typically two to three years of intensive coursework and a research component. A master’s degree is usually required.
PhD: A PhD generally consists of three to five years of self-directed research leading to a major dissertation. A master’s degree is usually required.
Degree accreditation
If you are interested in earning a degree in which you need a license to practice in Canada, such as law, medicine, psychology, education or nursing, it is highly recommended that you contact either the accrediting body in your field or trade organization for your chosen field. The degree you earn will be recognized, but you need to be sure you have enough components, such as practicum hours, professional practice or coursework, to be sure that when you return to North America that you will be prepared to sit for your licensing examination.

Episode 4

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