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


University Entrance (UE) is the minimum standard for entrance to a New Zealand university.

To qualify you'll need:

Three subjects at NCEA Level 3, made up of:
•    14 credits in each of two approved subjects

      and 12 credits in a third. (This was adjusted

      from 14-14-14 in August 2022 because of

      Covid-19 impacts.)

Literacy – 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up

•    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, 2662 – all three required).

Check out Other Admission pathways if you’ve missed out on UE.

For more information on UE, go to NZQA’s website.

Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

The UE 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 UE

or an equivalent qualification.

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

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

Discretionary Entrance


If you haven't continued secondary education beyond Year 12, you can apply for Discretionary Entrance.


This is only for admission into a specific course of study, not general admission into a university.

It 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 UE 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 not otherwise qualified to enrol for an undergraduate degree qualification.

New NCEA requirements_edited.jpg