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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 (Universities NZ) exercises the powers with respect to programme approval and accreditation that are held by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority for the rest of the tertiary education sector. Universities NZ 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 following consultation with the university sector. Representatives of CUAP meet representatives of NZQA four times annually to discuss matters of mutual interest, and CUAP nominates university representatives to working groups convened by NZQA to consider a range of academic matters when invited to do so.  


CUAP comprises a representative from each of the universities, a Chair and Deputy Chair appointed by Universities NZ, and a student representative. CUAP is chaired by Bruce McKenzie, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Lincoln University.    


CUAP publishes the Handbook which describes the work of the committee, offers definitions of qualifications and outlines procedures to be followed in the submission of 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 approveddeleted and renamed since 1990 are available. 

New qualifications that are 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.

Sub-Committee on University Entrance

CUAP established a sub-committee on university entrance to coordinate advice from universities to NZQA to define a common standard of entrance to universities. The sub-committee 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.

The sub-committee is chaired by Professor Dugald Scott, Deputy Chair of CUAP.

Further information

For further information about CUAP and the Sub-committee on university entrance, contact

Find out more about the Committee on University Academic Programmes