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Top Universities in New Zealand 2020

Top Universities in New Zealand 2020 main image

If you’re looking to study abroad in New Zealand, the country offers eight internationally-ranked universities to choose from, with all ranked in the global top 450 of the QS World University Rankings® 2020. The ranking has been compiled based on a methodology which assesses each institution on factors ranging from its reputations with academics and employers, research impact and more.

8. Auckland University of Technology

Auckland University of Technology

Up an impressive 22 places this year to now rank joint 442nd in the world, Auckland University of Technology (AUT) dates back to 1895 when it was originally founded as the Auckland Technical School, and boasts the highest score among universities in New Zealand for the percentage of international students indicator (21st in the world).

7. Lincoln University

Lincoln University

Ranked joint 356th in the world in 2020, Lincoln University was originally part of the University of Canterbury before formally separating to become an independent institution in 1990. Like AUT, it receives a very high score for its percentage of international students, and also places in the top 100 for agriculture according to the most recent QS World University Rankings by Subject.

6. Massey University

Massey University

This year’s QS World University Rankings sees Massey University climb a whopping 45 places to rank joint 287th in the world, overtaking Lincoln in sixth place among the top universities in New Zealand. Massey, located in the city of Palmerton North on the North Island, is the only university in the country offering programs in aviation, dispute resolution, veterinary medicine, and nanoscience.

5. University of Waikato

University of Waikato

The University of Waikato is another of the top universities in New Zealand to climb in this year’s ranking, going up eight places to joint 266th. Primarily located on a 64-hectare campus full of green spaces in the city of Hamilton on the North Island, it also has a campus in Tauranga.

4. University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury

Up four places to rank joint 227th this year, the University of Canterbury is located in Christchurch on the South Island. It’s one of the oldest universities in New Zealand, having been established in 1873 as a constituent college of the University of New Zealand. Its student population now stands at roughly 14,000.

3. Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington continues to place third in the country and climbed six places to rank joint 215th in the world, earning its best score for the percentage of international faculty members indicator (74th in the world). It also places within the worldwide top 50 for library studies and mining engineering, according to the most recent QS World University Rankings by Subject.

2. University of Otago

University of Otago

Ranked 176th in the world in 2020, the University of Otago continues to rank second in the country, and earns the highest score in New Zealand for its percentage of international faculty members (33rd in the world). It’s primarily located in Dunedin on the South Island and is the oldest university in the country, dating back to 1869. Today it has around 21,100 students, including 2,915 from outside New Zealand.

1. University of Auckland

University of Auckland

The University of Auckland is ranked number one in the country once again in 2020, coming 88th in the world this year and earning its best score for the academic reputation indicator. The largest institution in the country (with 42,759 students in 2018), the university appears in the worldwide top 50 of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019 for several subjects including archaeology, education, nursing, geography and linguistics.

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Now you know about New Zealand's best universities, get prepared to study there with our complete guide, which includes advice on student visa applications, admission requirements, costs, funding and more.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina edits and publishes articles which 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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