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.

For most students*, to qualify you will need:

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

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, 2662 – all three required).


* If your school was closed for a total of 20 or more school days in 2021 because of Covid-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4 or a combination of Alert Levels 3 and 4 and another adverse event, your three subjects at Level 3 can be made up of 12 credits each in three approved subjects.

NZQA's website has more information for if your school was closed for 20 or more school days because of Covid-19 or a combination of Covid-19 and another adverse event.

Check out ‘Other Admission Pathways’ if you’ve missed out on University Entrance.

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

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 2022, the Discretionary Entrance requirements have been changed so Year 13 students
studying in 2021 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.

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