Get in: Admission to university

Te whakauru mai

How do I get into university? Check out the range of different pathways ... 

University Entrance through NCEA  |  Don't have UE?  |  Other school-leaver qualifications  |  Additional entry requirements  |

Other pathways


University Entrance through NCEA


NEW requirements for 2020 school-leavers


The University Entrance standard requirements changed for students who studied at high school in 2020.

The new requirements* are:


  • NCEA Level 3**

  • Literacy: 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of:

    • 5 credits in reading

    • 5 credits in writing

  • Numeracy: 10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of: 

    • achievement standards – specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects; or

    • unit standards – package of three numeracy unit standards (26623, 26626, 26627 – all three required).


*This change is just for NCEA Level 3 students studying at high school in 2020, and is due to the impact of COVID-19 on their studies. For more information, go to the NZQA website

**Further changes were made for students in Auckland, to recognise the 13 days lost during the last Level 3 lockdown. Please check the NZQA website for more details of these changes.


Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

The University Entrance standard includes approved subjects and achievement standards from the Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. Visit NZQA for more information



What if I don't get UE?


University preparation courses


Universities and other providers offer University Preparation courses for students without University Entrance or an equivalent qualification.

Check with the university to see which courses they accept as a suitable entry qualification.

If you didn’t get University Entrance this may be an option for you! Contact the university to find out more.

Discretionary Entrance


If you don’t meet the University Entrance requirements, you can apply for Discretionary Entrance. This is only for admission into a specific course of study, not general admission into a university.


For 2021, the Discretionary Entrance requirements have been changed so Year 13 students studying in 2020 can apply.*

Discretionary Entrance is based on achievement in your NCEA Level 2 results.


To meet the minimum requirements for Discretionary Entrance you need to:

  • be a New Zealand or Australian citizen (or permanent resident)

  • achieve at least 14 credits in an approved subject at Level 2 towards NCEA (or its equivalent)

  • meet the literacy and numeracy standards required for University Entrance, or their equivalents

  • provide a reference from your school principal (or another suitable person)

  • meet any additional requirements for entry into your preferred study option.


Check the university websites for Discretionary Entrance application deadlines and what you’ll need to provide with your application. 


Check out also the Discretionary Entrance regulations, guidelines and procedures [PDF] that apply to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents who are under 20 years of age and who are not otherwise qualified to enrol for an undergraduate degree qualification.


*This change is just for Year 13 students studying at secondary school in 2020. This is due to the impact of COVID-19 on their studies. You can check out the usual requirements here



© 2020 by Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara

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