NCEA and Entrance to University Courses

For students planning to study at University Level

NZQA has defined Entrance to a New Zealand University as follows:

A person shall be qualified for entrance to University in New Zealand if she/he has obtained:

  • NCEA Level 3
  • 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three subjects from the list of approved subjects. The list of approved subjects will consist of subjects derived from the New Zealand Curriculum with Achievement Standards at Level 3
  • UE Numeracy – 10 credits at Level 1 or above from specific Achievement Standards, or three specific Numeracy Unit Standards
  • UE Literacy – 10 credits (five in reading and five in writing) at Level 2 or above from specific Standards.

When a student achieves Entrance, this simply means she is eligible to apply for University study.

The vast majority of degree courses at New Zealand Universities are open entry to first year students, i.e., students who achieve Entrance are accepted into Stage I courses.

Achieving Entrance, however, does not necessarily mean a student has achieved the prerequisite level to be considered for limited entry courses. Limited entry means a student has to achieve above Entrance level. A number of undergraduate degrees are limited entry. Likewise, some Universities have stipulated requirements beyond Entrance for some of their degrees.

Students should visit University websites to check limited entry criteria to ensure they have covered prerequisite subject requirements and are aware of the level of achievement they will need to achieve to be eligible for given degrees. The Careers Adviser is available to assist any students and parents with this research. He also can provide hard copies of current criteria as made available by tertiary providers.

Discretionary Entrance refers to the entry standard required of Year 12 (NCEA Level 2) applicants to University. The Careers Adviser can provide information on this.

It is vital that a student takes the time to check the relevant tertiary institution websites to ensure she chooses a course of study at school that meets all prerequisite subject requirements at the specified Levels.

NZQA's website also contains relevant links for students and parents