Minimum IELTS Score for New Zealand: Requirement & Universities

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With jaw-dropping scenery and a world-class education system, New Zealand has become an excellent destination for international students in recent years. 

If you plan to study in this beautiful country, remember that New Zealand universities require proof of your English language proficiency. You can choose a recognised English language test, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which evaluates your proficiency across 4 skills: speaking, reading,  listening, and writing. It is graded on a band scale of 0 to 9. 

Did you know that over 12,000 organisations trust IELTS to measure the ability to communicate in English reliably?

The IELTS test can be taken on a computer or paper. It is the only high-stakes language test accepted for migration to New Zealand.

Now that you know IELTS is widely recognised, it’s time to learn the specifics about the minimum IELTS score for New Zealand universities. Dive in for details.

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Key Highlights

The table below summarises all the information you need about the IELTS score for New Zealand. 

ParticularsDetails
Minimum IELTS score for New Zealand UniversitiesUndergraduate: 6.0
Postgraduate: 6.5
New Zealand Universities Accepting 5.5 BandMassey University
Auckland University of Technology
Band Requirements for New Zealand Study Visa5.5
English Proficiency Exams to Study in New Zealand without IELTSTOEFL and PTE

New Zealand Band Requirements for Education

Wondering how many bands are required for New Zealand? Students applying for different study programs in New Zealand must meet the specific English language requirements set by the university as per their chosen course. 

Generally, an IELTS band score of 5.5 to 6.5 is required. However, this may vary depending on the course and the university the student plans to enrol in. It is also important to note that IELTS scores for New Zealand universities are generally higher. 

Here is a list of the different education programs and band requirements to study in New Zealand

Study ProgramMinimum IELTS Score for New Zealand UniversitiesIndividual IELTS Score for New Zealand Universities
Diploma65.5
Bachelor’s65.5
Master’s6.56
Graduate Diploma65.5
Post-graduate Diploma6.56

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Minimum IELTS Score for New Zealand: Requirement & Universities

New Zealand Band Requirement for Diploma Courses

Did you know: The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) categorises diploma courses under levels 5, 6 and 7

The country offers exceptional arts, science, engineering, healthcare, and business diploma courses. The duration of these courses varies between 12 and 24 months. Some of the popular diploma courses offered to international students are diplomas in journalism, fashion, dance, tourism, leadership, and management. 

Students applying to diploma courses must fulfil specific IELTS score requirements for studying in New Zealand. 

Here is a list of the top 5 New Zealand universities according to the QS World University Rankings 2024 and their IELTS score requirements for diploma courses. 

UniversityIELTS Score for Diploma Courses
The University of Auckland 5.5 to 6.0
University of Otago5.5
Massey University6.0
Victoria University of Wellington6.5
University of Waikato6.0

Please note: In some cases, the required IELTS score for New Zealand may vary by course, so checking the specific admission requirements in advance is essential.

IELTS Requirements for New Zealand Universities for Undergraduate Courses

Did you know that New Zealand is home to approximately 29,300 international students? The numbers prove that the nation is a popular destination for individuals worldwide seeking educational opportunities.

What’s more? New Zealand has been ranked the fourth safest country in the world by Global Peace Index!

Convinced now to apply for undergraduate courses in New Zealand? The top universities in New Zealand provide study programs in different areas, such as physics, biology, computer science, arts and humanities. Before you begin your journey, knowing the IELTS score requirements for studying in New Zealand’s top universities is essential. 

Know about the specific IELTS score for New Zealand universities focusing on undergraduate courses.

UniversityIELTS Score for Undergraduate Courses
The University of Auckland 6.0
University of Otago6.0
Massey University6.0
Victoria University of Wellington6.0
University of Waikato6.0

Please note: In some cases, the required IELTS score for New Zealand may vary by course, so checking the specific admission requirements in advance is essential.

For instance, a minimum IELTS overall band of 7 is required for admission if you’re considering a teaching program at Victoria University of Wellington.

Band Requirement for New Zealand After Graduation

A master’s degree from New Zealand is ideal for you if you want to boost your career or focus on specialised research. The duration of the course depends on the subject chosen. Ideally, it takes 1 year, 18 months, or 2 years to complete. 

The general eligibility criteria for a postgraduate program is to showcase a bachelor’s degree or equivalent or higher from a recognised institution. Also, many top universities in New Zealand require an English language proficiency test result.

Students applying for master courses must take note of the following IELTS score requirements for studying in New Zealand:

UniversityIELTS Score for Master’s Courses
The University of Auckland 6.5
University of Otago7.5
Massey University6.5
Victoria University of Wellington6.5
University of Waikato7.5

Please note: In some cases, the required IELTS score for New Zealand may vary by course, so checking the specific admission requirements in advance is essential.

IELTS Requirement for New Zealand Universities

Do you know all significant New Zealand colleges and universities accept IELTS as proof of English skills? 

According to QS World University Rankings 2024, 8 esteemed universities in the nation rank within the top 500 globally, making New Zealand an excellent study destination. As an international student aspiring to study in New Zealand, the IELTS requirement for New Zealand universities is at least 6, which is necessary for successful admission to a top university.

Read on to discover the minimum New Zealand band requirement for top-ranked universities.

UniversityIELTS Overall Score (Undergraduate Programs)IELTS Overall Score (Postgraduate Programs)
The University of Auckland 6.06.5
University of Otago6.07.5
Massey University6.06.5
Victoria University of Wellington6.06.5
University of Waikato6.07.5
University of Canterbury66.5
Lincoln University5.56
Auckland University of Technology66.5

Please note: The minimum accepted IELTS score may vary depending on the course, so verifying when applying is essential.

Some of the various factors that can influence the IELTS score requirements for courses in New Zealand are: 

  • Each university sets its English proficiency standards based on academic criteria.
  • Higher-level courses or specific literature programs may require advanced English speaking and writing abilities and higher IELTS scores.

For instance, admission to MNursPrac (Master of Nursing Practice) at the University of Waikato requires an academic IELTS overall score of 7, with at least 7 in each band. 

Admission to New Zealand Universities with 5.5 Band

The IELTS score requirements for studying in New Zealand are a minimum of 6 for undergraduate programs and no less than 6.5 for postgraduate. However, it’s worth noting that some universities in New Zealand consider applications from students with a band score of 5.5.

If you’ve scored 5.5 in any section of the IELTS test — speaking, listening, reading, or writing, you may still be eligible to apply! Read on to find some New Zealand universities that accept band IELTS of 5.5.

Minimum IELTS Score for New Zealand: Requirement & Universities
  1. Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

AUT courses are taught in English, therefore, as an international student, you must demonstrate that you have the required level of English proficiency. 

Check out the table below to see which programs at AUT accept bands 5.5.

ProgramIELTS Score 
Diploma5.5, with all bands at 5.0 or higher
Certificate Programs5.5, with all bands at 5.0 or higher

Please note: The score requirements may vary for certain diploma programs.

  1. Massey University

Students applying to courses at Massey University must provide proof of their English language proficiency. The university accepts an IELTS band score of 5.5 for specific programs. 

Check out the table below to see which programs accept bands 5.5.

ProgramIELTS Score
Foundation Certificate5.5 with at least 5.0 in each band

Reasons Why IELTS is a Top Choice for International Students in New Zealand

Moving abroad can feel overwhelming, especially if you relocate somewhere where the primary language differs from yours. Furthermore, spending money on a language test that the government of your chosen country might not recognise can add to the stress. 

Fortunately, IELTS is accepted by immigration authorities in New Zealand, making it a wonderful choice for students who want to study there. 

There are other reasons IELTS is a popular choice for students seeking to pursue studies in New Zealand. 

  1. IELTS is offered in two formats: pen and paper and computer-delivered, allowing you to choose the format that suits you best.
  2. Slots are open 3 times every day for the computer-based IELTS test. On the other hand, the paper-based IELTS test offers 4 set dates per month, providing an easier and faster test experience. 
  3. Results for the computer-based exams are out within 3 to 5 days. 
  4. The test score is recognised by 12,000 organisations worldwide. As a result, your IELTS score for New Zealand universities is highly likely to be acknowledged as evidence of your English proficiency, regardless of whether you’re applying for a visa or to the top New Zealand universities. 
  5. When you book your IELTS test, you can access a free online preparation course and numerous official practice materials. 

Hear the inspiring journey of a previous IELTS test taker:

“I dream of working in New Zealand as a registered nurse and I need to take the IELTS as my first step. With the IELTS test online, I was able to learn the do’s and dont’s and prepared myself for my exam. 

I am thankful that I have enrolled in your program and I enjoyed every lesson/session and they are very helpful in making me feel confident that I will pass my IELTS exam.” – Jill Simsuangco-Tanquintic

Band Requirement for a New Zealand Study Visa

There is no specific IELTS band requirement for a New Zealand study visa. Instead, students must fulfil the English language requirements specified by the university as per their chosen course.

That being said, to secure a student visa in New Zealand in 2024, you must achieve a minimum overall IELTS band score of 5.5. Most universities and colleges would also request documents including but not limited to higher secondary mark sheets, Statement of Purpose (SOP), Letter of Recommendation (LOR), and graduation certificates. 

IELTS Score for New Zealand Work Visa

Is IELTS required for a New Zealand work visa? If you’re curious about this question, read on!

Those planning to take the IELTS exam for professional work must meet the specific score requirements. The IELTS band scores vary for different categories of workers in New Zealand. The New Zealand Government requires an IELTS score as proof of English language proficiency for various visas, including Skilled Migrant, Business, and Residence from Work categories. 

Here is a table explaining the minimum IELTS score requirements across these categories.

Categories of WorkersOverall IELTS Band Score
Skilled Migrant6.5
Business CategoriesEmployee of a Relocating Business Category: 5
Entrepreneur Residence or Entrepreneur Work Visa: 4
Investor (Investor 2 Category): 3
Residence from Work5

Study in New Zealand Without IELTS

Did you know that IELTS is not compulsory for all universities in New Zealand? Yes, you read that right! 

New Zealand is an English-speaking country, so a wide range of English-taught courses are available for international students. Students often take tests like IELTS and TOEFL to demonstrate their language proficiency. However, the country has relaxed specific requirements, so interested students can apply for the desired course without submitting IELTS scores.  

Here is a breakdown of how to study in New Zealand universities without IELTS. 

  • Submit scores from alternative English language proficiency exams such as the TOEFL and PTE.
  • The English New Zealand Accredited Pathway Assessment (APA) is another English language proficiency test accepted by the top universities in New Zealand.
  • Citizens of Canada, Ireland, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States, whose English is considered the first language, only need proof of English proficiency if specifically requested by the top universities. 
  • Should attend and qualify for the interview as set by the top universities/ colleges. 

List of Universities in New Zealand Where Students Can Apply Without IELTS

New Zealand is home to numerous esteemed universities that welcome international students without requiring IELTS. 

Here is a list of the top New Zealand universities without IELTS. 

UniversityQS World University Rankings 2024English Proficiency Tests Equivalent to IELTS 
The University of Auckland 68PTE: 50 to 58 
University of Otago206TOEFL iBT: 80 to 90
PTE: 50 to 58
Massey University239TOEFL iBT: 40 to 90
PTE: 38 to 58
Victoria University of Wellington241TOEFL iBT: 80 to 90
PTE: 50 to 58
University of Waikato250TOEFL: 80
PTE: 46

Please note: The specific requirements for a few courses and proof of English proficiency may vary between institutions and programs. Moreover, some programs at these universities exclusively accept IELTS tests. 

Some other criteria for admission to universities in New Zealand without IELTS are: 

  • Some universities may conduct additional language assessments to evaluate the applicant’s proficiency in English. 
  • May ask for a letter of recommendation from teachers, professors, or employers.
  • Specific programs, such as postgraduate research programs, may require relevant work experience as a criterion for admission. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re aiming to study or work, IELTS brings you closer to your dream. Immigration New Zealand also recognises IELTS results as proof of your English proficiency for visa applications. 

Over 3 million IELTS tests are taken every year, and it is trusted by millions worldwide. Every university, college, and professional association in New Zealand accepts IELTS, making it the ideal choice to begin your New Zealand study adventure. 

We hope this blog helped you understand the IELTS score for New Zealand universities. For further information, you can always reach out to us!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Is IELTS 4.5 accepted in New Zealand universities?

    A.  No, a score of 4.5 on the IELTS is generally not accepted by universities in New Zealand. The IELTS score requirements for studying in New Zealand are a minimum of 6.0 for undergraduate and 6.5 for postgraduate courses, with no individual band score lower than 5.5 or 6.0, depending on the program.

  • Q. Which college accepts 5.5 bands in IELTS in New Zealand?

    A.  Some universities, like the Auckland University of Technology, accept admission to a few programs if you score 5.5 in any section of the IELTS test. For instance, AUT requires a minimum overall IELTS score of 5.5 with no band less than 5.0 for its foundation certificate while an overall score of 5.5 for some diploma and certificate programs.

  • Q. What is the minimum IELTS score for New Zealand?

    A. The minimum IELTS score requirements for studying in New Zealand vary depending on the level of study and the specific university. Generally, a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.0 is required for undergraduate programs, with no band less than 5.5. For postgraduate programs, the requirement is a minimum overall score of 6.5.  

  • Q. Is IELTS required for a New Zealand study visa?

    A. While IELTS is not compulsory for a New Zealand study visa, you must meet the English language requirements set by the chosen university you are applying to. Most universities in New Zealand require an IELTS score as proof of English proficiency. 

  • Q. Which university in New Zealand is best for international students?

    A. According to the QS World University Rankings 2024, 8 universities in New Zealand are ranked within the top 500 globally. These include the University of Auckland, the University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, and the University of Canterbury. They are known for providing outstanding academic programs and a pool of opportunities for international students. 

  • Q. Which intake is best for New Zealand?

    A. Courses in New Zealand have two intakes: February and July. Most Indian students prefer the July intake. However, to decide the best intake period, various factors such as program availability, entrance test scores, acceptance rates, and job opportunities must be considered.  

  • Q. Does New Zealand accept PTE?

    A. New Zealand accepts PTE as proof of English language proficiency for academic and immigration purposes. Here are some of the top universities, along with the PTE scores accepted by them:

    -The University of Auckland 
    PTE: 50 to 58 
    -University of Otago
    PTE: 50 to 58
    -Massey University
    PTE: 38 to 58

  • Q. How many bands are required for New Zealand?

    A. IELTS score requirements for studying in New Zealand depends on the type of program and university you are applying for. A score of 6.0 or higher is considered suitable for undergraduate programs, while for postgraduate programs, a score of 6.5 or higher is often required, with no band lower than 6.0. 

  • Q. Is it possible to study in New Zealand without IELTS? 

    A. It is possible to study in New Zealand without IELTS. Some institutions may accept other English language proficiency tests such as TOEFL or PTE. Additionally, if you are from a country where English is the primary language, you may be exempt from providing an IELTS score. 

  • Q. Which job is in demand in New Zealand?

    A. Knowing which jobs are in demand in New Zealand will allow you to pick courses accordingly. Here is a list of the most in-demand jobs in New Zealand in 2024:

    -Nurses
    -Civil Engineers
    -Teachers and Educators
    -Specialist Doctors

  • Q. Which course is famous in New Zealand? 

    A. Some popular courses among international students are as follows:  

    -Engineering
    -Information Technology
    -Tourism and Hospitality
    -Health and Medicine

  • Q. Why choose to study at the best university in New Zealand?

    A. The top universities in New Zealand provide top-notch education catering to various courses available, making it perfect for international students seeking a fulfilling academic journey. Also, New Zealand has been ranked the fourth safest country in the world by the Global Peace Index, thus ensuring a secure environment for learning. 

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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