New Zealand universities are some of the most internationalised in the world, with all ranked in the top 3% worldwide.1
Pre-pandemic, around 34,000 international students were enrolled in New Zealand university programmes – 95% at bachelor’s degree level or higher (43% in postgraduate qualifications).2 New Zealand universities are committed to offering a high-quality education to high-calibre international students. This approach is paying off – 92% of New Zealand's international university students choose to study here because of the strong reputation of our universities.3
Pre-pandemic, international education generated at least $1.25 billion a year for New Zealand and universities’ earnings from export education represented 1.2% of all New Zealand’s exports of goods and services.4
New Zealand universities are committed to advancing international education in various ways, including internationalisation of the curriculum, the student experience, and collaboration and cooperation in research and teaching. The universities have many connections with overseas universities, international research organisations and other institutions to drive international research collaboration and academic staff exchange, as well as student mobility programmes for both incoming and outgoing students.
- All New Zealand universities were placed in the QS World University Rankings 2023's top 600. Three universities were in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022's top 350 (with all eight in the top 600).1,5
- Our universities rank in the world’s top 100 in 27 out of a possible 51 subjects. Individual universities appear in the top 50 for courses in Archaeology, English Language & Literature, Linguistics, Accounting and Finance, Anthropology, Development Studies, Education, Library & Information Management, Sports-related subjects, Civil & Structural Engineering, Anatomy & Physiology, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Psychology, Veterinary Science, and Geography subject areas.1
- 92% of New Zealand's international university students choose to study here because of the strong reputation of our universities.3
- Pre-pandemic, 34,000 international students (19% of all New Zealand's university students), similar to the proportion in universities in countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom.6
- Pre-pandemic, international education generated at least $1.25 billion a year for New Zealand. Universities’ earnings from export education represented 1.2% of all New Zealand’s exports of goods and services.4
- Pre-pandemic citizenship of international students enrolled in New Zealand universities (top 10 countries): China – 46%; India – 9%, United States – 8%; Malaysia – 4%; Vietnam – 3%; Saudi Arabia – 1%; Korea (Republic of) – 2%; Japan – 1%; Germany – 1%.7
- New Zealand universities attract high-calibre international students: 15% are studying at PhD level. Overall, around 43% are enrolled in postgraduate qualifications.2
- Around 39% of all international PhD students stay in employment in New Zealand in their first year after graduation – most in Health and Engineering and related technologies.8
- Research suggests more than half early career academics (within seven years of their first permanent academic appointment) in New Zealand universities were born overseas.9
Want to know more?
 Education Counts, Tertiary Statistics, provider-based enrolments, Ministry of Education, 2021 data (updated June 2022).
 International Barometer Survey 2017: University sector summary report. Available from Education New Zealand's IntelliLab.
 "Economic impact of universities: Updated contribution to growth” draft report (New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, 2020). (Note: report based on 2018 data.)
 Education at a Glance 2019, indicator: share of international or foreign students, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
 Education Counts, Tertiary Statistics, provider-based enrolments, international students by sub-sector and region of citizenship, Ministry of Education, 2021 data (updated May 2022).
 Education Counts, Tertiary Statistics, Beyond Study, international tertiary graduate destinations, Ministry of Education, updated December 2017.
 “Success in Academia? The experiences of early career academics in New Zealand universities”, Sutherland, K et al, 2013. Ako Aotearoa National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence/Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington.