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Programme approval and accreditation / CUAP

The Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) considers academic matters across the university system, including the exercise of programme approval and moderation procedures, advice and comment on academic developments and encouraging universities to develop courses of study that will facilitate the transfer of students between programmes and institutions.

Relationship with New Zealand Qualifications Authority

Under New Zealand legislation, the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (operating as Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara) exercises the powers of programme approval and accreditation held by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) for the rest of the tertiary education sector. Universities New Zealand has delegated its powers to CUAP. CUAP undertakes its programme approval and accreditation functions within policies such as the gazetted criteria for programme approval developed by NZQA after consulting the university sector. Representatives of CUAP meet representatives of NZQA four times a year to discuss matters of mutual interest and when asked to do so CUAP nominates university representatives to working groups convened by NZQA to consider a range of academic matters.  


CUAP comprises a representative from each of the universities, a Chair and Deputy Chair appointed by Universities New Zealand, and a student representative. 


CUAP publishes a handbook (updated July 2023) that describes the work of the committee, offers definitions of qualifications and outlines procedures to be followed in submitting material.  


CUAP decisions on academic programmes

CUAP meets twice a year (usually July and October) to consider proposals made by the universities for new qualifications or major changes to existing ones.  

Lists of the qualifications approved, deleted and renamed since 1990 are available. 

New qualifications approved by CUAP may be found on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework – a comprehensive list of all quality-assured qualifications in New Zealand.

CUAP also holds one further meeting annually to deal with a range of academic matters.

Subcommittee on University Entrance

CUAP established a Subcommittee on University Entrance to coordinate advice from universities to NZQA to define a common standard of entrance to universities. The Subcommittee also provides information on the administration of discretionary entrance, coordinates the evaluation of overseas qualifications presented for the purposes of admission, evaluates university foundation programmes offered by non-university providers in New Zealand, offers policy advice on matters related to the secondary–tertiary interface, and ensures university staff are appropriately involved in curriculum development and examination in the senior secondary school sector.

More information

For more information about CUAP and the Subcommittee on University Entrance, contact

Find out more about CUAP.