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Our university sector is unique

  • New Zealand is home to eight universities of the highest quality. All are ranked in the top 3% (600) universities in the world.

  • New Zealand’s universities are also highly ranked by subject. 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

  • New Zealand graduates enjoy some of the best graduate outcomes in the world – with high completion and employment rates and low rates of under-employment. Read more on graduate outcomes.

  • New Zealand universities have a robust and multi-layered quality assurance system, which ensures programmes, teaching and learning are of a very high standard.2

  • The strong reputation of New Zealand universities is the key reason 93% of our international university students choose to study in the country.3

  • Seven of our universities are comprehensive universities, offering a broad range of subjects, including arts, sciences, commerce, engineering and health sciences. Lincoln University is a specialist land-based university.

  • Visit the profile page for each university (see links to each on this page).

  • Read how New Zealand universities are growing the economydriving research and innovationefficient and effectivedelivering quality teaching and learningenriching knowledge and understanding and building Māori and Pacific success.

University demographics

  • There are 184,455 university students in New Zealand (i.e., 142,720 full-time equivalent students).4

  • 158,295 are New Zealand students – of whom 13% are Māori (19,630) and 9% are Pacific (14,520).4

  • 19% (33,900) are international students (2019 pre-pandemic numbers).4

  • 35.5% are studying at postgraduate level.4

  • 45,300+ graduates a year, 95% at bachelor's level and above.5

[1] QS World University Rankings 2023

[2] Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities.

[3] International Barometer Survey 2017: University sector summary report. Available from Education New Zealand's IntelliLab.

[4] Education Counts, Tertiary Statistics, Tertiary Participation, provider-based enrolments, Ministry of Education, 2021 data (updated June 2022).

[5] Education Counts, Tertiary Statistics, Tertiary Achievement and Attainment, students gaining qualifications from tertiary education providers, Ministry of Education, 2021 data (updated June 2022).

Student numbers by university (2021)

Full-time equivalents

University           Students  
Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland                   45,850
AUT                   27,140
The University of  Waikato                   13,900
Massey University                   30,030
Te Herenga Waka –
Victoria University of Wellington
                  23,055
University of Canterbury                   19,385
Lincoln University                   3,345
University of Otago                   21,750
Total                   131,770