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New Zealand: Student Finances - Must read

Tuition fees in New Zealand

Our tuition fee guide for international students in New Zealand


Despite being one of the world’s strongest OECD countries in literacy, maths and science, studying abroad in New Zealand is incredibly pricey.

Whether undergraduate or postgraduate, students will be required to prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves whilst they study, defined as NZ$ 1,250 (US$ 1042) per month for any study period less than nine months, and NZ$ 15,000 (US$ 12,500) per year if it is longer. To work up to 20 hours a week whilst studying, full time students must seek a variation in the conditions of their visa. The adult minimum wage in New Zealand is NZ$13 (US$10.80) per hour.

The fees below are a guide; we always recommend checking with the institution or department for the exact fee for the course you’re interested in.

Note: NZ$ 1 = £ 0.50 =US$ 0.83



Tuition fees for international students are quite steep in New Zealand, and can vary substantially between the nation’s eight universities. On average, you might expect to pay the following in annual fees by subject area:

  • Arts and social sciences...NZ$ 20,000 (US$ 16,666)
  • Science and engineering...NZ$25,000 (US$ 20,833)
  • Dentistry and medicine...NZ$75,000 (US$ 62,498)


To give you a firmer idea of likely course fees, in 2013 the University of Otago charged international students the following per year, by subject area:

  • Arts and Humanities...NZ$21,000 (US$ 17,499)
  • Commerce and Administration...NZ$22,300 (US$ 18,583)
  • Communication and Media Studies...NZ$21,000 (US$ 17,499)
  • Health Sciences: Medicine, Vet, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy...NZ$27,225 (US$ 22,687)
  • Law...NZ$24,000 (US$ 20,000)


Students can access the full price list by subject area and compare indicative university fees on the Te Pōkai Tara website, the representative body for all universities in New Zealand. On top of tuition costs, some universities will also charge student services and administration fees that change from year to year. The student services fee for the University of Otago for on-campus students in 2014 is NZ$685 (US$ 571). Some universities offer a limited amount of scholarships and grants to international students which should be pursued via their websites.  

Learn more about Te Pōkai Tara



Unfortunately, fees do not lessen for prospective postgraduates. As with undergraduate courses, tuition costs differ with every university. The least expensive study areas are generally arts and humanities, with the most costly being those that require specialist equipment such as medicine. There are a few scholarship options for international students, both directly through a university and via external organizations. On average, postgraduate study fees start at around NZ$20,000 (US$ 16,666) per year. For example, the University of Auckland charges the following per year, by study area:

  • Arts, humanities, social sciences...NZ$ 22,080- NZ$33,720 (US$ 18,399- US$28,099)
  • Commerce and administration...NZ$28,680 (US$ 23,899)
  • Education...NZ$22,080- NZ$33,720 (US$ 18,399- US$28,099)
  • Engineering...NZ$33,720 (US$28,099)
  • Law...NZ$28,680 (US$ 23,899)
  • Medicine...NZ$37,080 (US$ 30,899)


MBA students at any New Zealand university are charged for the full cost of tuition rather than per year. Any students accepted into a New Zealand PhD program will pay the same, institution-specific fees as local students.


Once more, we always recommend you confirm the fees for a specific course with the institution or department themselves. This information is available on our site or you can contact the institution themselves through us.


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About Author

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.