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How Much Does it Cost to Study in New Zealand?

How Much Does it Cost to Study in New Zealand? main image

For those with a taste for adventure, New Zealand is a perfect study destination, offering stunning natural landscapes, friendly and welcoming people, and excellent universities. Over 106,000 international students are currently studying in New Zealand – if you’re looking to join them, read on to find out what living costs and tuition fees you’ll need to cover during your stay.

Tuition fees in New Zealand

Universities in New Zealand set their own fees, which vary depending on your study level, subject and student status, with international students paying more than domestic students.

Undergraduate tuition fees

According to the official Study in Zealand website, international undergraduate students can expect to pay around NZ$22,000-32,000 (~US$14,900-21,700) per year, with higher fees for subjects such as medicine and veterinary science. Most bachelor’s degrees take three years to complete.

For domestic students from Australia and New Zealand, fees will be subsidized by the government, meaning that you’ll typically pay around NZ$10,000-25,000 per year. However, the government recently introduced a free fees initiative, allowing first-year domestic students to study for free for one year starting from 2019. The government will pay up to NZ$12,000 for one year (if you’re studying part-time, this can be spread out over several years) and refugees may also be eligible.  

Postgraduate tuition fees

If you’re an international master’s student, your annual fees will range between NZ$26,000-37,000 (~US$17,660-25,100), while domestic students pay NZ$5,000-10,000 per year.

However, international PhD students pay the same as domestic students, which is around NZ$6,500-$9,000 (~US4,400-6,100) per year for most fields.

Living costs to study in New Zealand

If you’re studying in New Zealand for more than a year, as part of your student visa application you’ll need to prove you have at least NZ$15,000 (~US$10,200) to support yourself for the first year.

However, depending on your lifestyle, location and spending habits, you may find you need more than this – for example, the University of Auckland recommends students budget NZ$20,000-$25,000, which is about US$13,500-16,900.

Capital city Wellington and the country’s largest city, Auckland, are likely to be the most expensive cities for living costs in New Zealand, with the University of Auckland estimating the following weekly costs:

  • NZ$23 (~US$15.50) for utilities
  • NZ$8 (~US$5) for internet
  • NZ$10 (~US$6.75) for a mobile phone plan
  • NZ$8 (~US$5) for insurance
  • NZ$120 (~US$80) for food
  • NZ$35 (~US$24) for transport
  • NZ$55 (~US$37) for entertainment

Numbeo is a useful tool for looking at the average living expenses in other cities and comparing them to your home city.

Other miscellaneous living costs in New Zealand include compulsory health insurance, which you must purchase before your studies begin – this will cost between NZ$200-700 (~US$135-470) per year. A visit to the doctor will cost around NZ$45 (~US$30). You’ll also need around NZ$500 (~US$340) for books and stationery for your course for each year while you study in New Zealand.

In terms of lifestyle and entertainment, you can watch a film in the cinema for NZ$15 (~US$10), have a monthly gym membership for NZ$60 (~US$40), and enjoy a refreshing beer in a bar for NZ$10 (~US$6.75).

Accommodation

Most universities in New Zealand offer Halls of Residence for their students to live in, and this can prove to be a very affordable option at around NZ$270 (~US$180) per week. You can choose between self-catered and catered accommodation, with costs varying from as low as NZ$169 (~US$114) a week at the University of Canterbury to up to NZ$473 (~US$320) at catered student halls.

Private accommodation will tend to be more expensive, with a three-bedroom apartment in the city center costing about NZ$3,276 (~US$2,200) per month in Auckland and NZ$1,520 (~US$1,020) in Dunedin.

Funding to study in New Zealand

In terms of funding, you could look for a part-time job to support yourself during your studies (it’s not recommended to rely on this to fund living costs, however). If you’re studying for at least two years you can work part-time for up to 20 hours per week (and full-time during university holidays).

The government offers a range of scholarships for international students – these can be found via this search tool on Education New Zealand’s website. You could also check the official websites of the universities in New Zealand you’re interested in, as they may offer their own scholarships. You can view our own list of scholarships to study in New Zealand here.

It’s also worth taking advantage of student discounts on everything from food to skydiving – the StudentCard is just NZ$20 (~US$13.50) and will pay for itself after a few uses. 

For further information, download our free guide on How to Study Abroad in New Zealand.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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