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The basics
New Zealand: Subject Guides

Studying law in New Zealand

Considering studying a law degree, but don’t know where to go? We explore studying a law degree in New Zealand, with everything from potential universities to tuition fees.

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New Zealand has a great deal to offer international students from its amazing scenery, rich culture, cosmopolitan cities, and top-ranking universities. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from, but for this article, let’s focus on the law courses available and some of the reasons to choose New Zealand for your studies.  



There are many areas of law that you can choose to study. Your choice may depend on your interests and career goals. Lawyers are found in every industry and not just the legal profession. You find lawyers in media, commerce, politics and more, which means that becoming a lawyer opens many doors of opportunity. It also helps develop your communication skills, critical thinking skills and several other soft skills that employers today are looking for in graduates. 


The law courses on offer are too many to list here but can be found by using the destinations tab on our website. Select New Zealand and then filter to select Law. You’ll find a list of six universities offering a range of law courses.  


Here are just some examples of courses on offer and the career opportunities available. 

Law study options

The length of the course is different depending on the course and the university, the above are just examples to give you a general idea.  


What are the top universities for Law in New Zealand? 

New Zealand is home to top universities that enjoy global recognition and high rankings. Three universities rank in the top 250 worldwide for law as per the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 (THE). The top five law universities in New Zealand according to THE are: 


  1. University of Auckland 

  2. Auckland University of Technology 

  3. University of Otago 

  4. University of Waikato  

  5. University of Canterbury  


You probably would have noticed that two of the top universities are in New Zealand’s capital, Auckland. However, there are also some other top student cities in the country.  


Entry requirements for international students 

Again, the entry requirements are different for each course and each university. It’s always important to research each university’s requirements. You can also use our course matcher tool to do this. Below is an overview of the requirements for the courses mentioned above.  




Entry Requirements 


International Baccalaureate min score 24 


General Certificate of Education Advanced Level, minimum of 3 A-level subjects. 


CIE, minimum of 3 A-level subjects. 


Overall band score 6.0.  

No bands below 5.5 

Equivalent to New Zealand year 13 or University Entrance. 


Overall band score 6.0.  

All bands 5.5 or higher. 


These are different depending on which country you’re applying from.  

Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. 


Overall band score 6.5. 

No band below 6.0 

Bachelor’s degree with minimum B grade average or higher in papers at level 7 or equivalent. 


Overall band score 6.5  

All bands 6.0 or higher. 


As you can see, each institution has very different requirements. Some universities require you to have the equivalent (the same as) 3 A-level subjects or the International Baccalaureate. The University of Waikato considers each application on a case-by-case basis (each application is considered on its own merits). If you’re unsure if you have the necessary entry requirements to apply, always contact the university directly to ask them about your application.  


All universities in New Zealand require you to have evidence that your level of English is at the necessary level to register for a course. There are a few exams you can take, IELTS is one of them. You will be awarded an IELTS test score from 0-9. The table above shows that a band score of 5.5 is the absolute minimum accepted by some universities. Other universities may require a higher score. Make sure you check with each institution what their English language requirements are.  


How much does it cost to study in New Zealand? 

As with the criteria above, each university has its own course fees for degrees. It’s always a good idea to check tuition fees with your prospective university. This will give you a better sense of the fees you may pay for a law degree. However, you can get a better idea of the average undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) tuition fees in New Zealand below: 




Average UG  

tuition fees 

Average PG 

tuition fees 


living costs 

University of Auckland 

USD 22,200 

USD 28,500 

USD 7,000 

Auckland University of Technology 

USD 21,500 

USD 24,000 

USD 8,000 

University of Otago 

USD 23,250 

USD 23,200 

USD 14,200 

University of Waikato 

USD 17,850 

USD 18,000 

USD 10,250 

University of Canterbury 

USD 22,250 

USD 28,500 

USD 7,000 

*Information correct as of 2021/2022 academic year. 


If you need some help financing your studies you can explore some of the top international student scholarships in New Zealand


Study visa for New Zealand 

If you’ve decided that New Zealand is the country of your choice and you now know what law course you want to apply for, your next step is to apply for a student visa for any course that is longer than three months.  


You’ll need to apply for a Fee Paying Student Visa. This visa will usually be for the length of your course. You can work for up to 20 hours a week while studying, or full-time in the holidays. However, your permission to work depends on your visa conditions. You can check the criteria on the government website above based on the country you are applying from.  


The opportunities for study and graduate careers in New Zealand are endless, making it an ideal study destination. A law degree from one of the top universities will open the doors to a wide range of industries and fields, making this country a must.  


Want to check which program suits you the best?
Find out with our new "Course Matcher" tool!