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
University Entrance (UE) is the minimum standard for entrance to a New Zealand university.
To qualify, 2022 school leavers* 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 modified from the normal 14-14-14
because of Covid-19 impacts. For 2020 school
leavers, it was modified to 12-12-12, as it was also
for 2021 school leavers from Northland, Auckland
and parts of Waikato in alert level three at the
beginning of term four.
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
• achievement standards – specified achievement
standards available through a range of
• 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.
If you're a New Zealand or Australian citizen (or permanent resident) aged 16–20*
and didn't achieve UE, you can apply for Discretionary Entrance.
This is only for admission into a specific course of study, not general admission into
It is based on achievement in your NCEA Level 2 results.
To meet the minimum requirements for Discretionary Entrance, you need to:
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 university websites for Discretionary Entrance application deadlines and what you’ll need to provide with your application.
See also Discretionary Entrance regulations, guidelines and procedures [PDF].
* Discretionary Entrance was modified for 2020–2022 school leavers because of Covid-19 impacts. In normal years, it is only for students who have not completed Year 13.