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Study in New Zealand Without IELTS

Updated on 15 June, 2023

Shivangi Mishra

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

English language proficiency is crucial for international students seeking educational opportunities abroad. New Zealand is a popular destination, offering diverse study options across various disciplines. With its world-class universities and renowned institutions, New Zealand provides an excellent academic environment. 

However, it is worth noting that many students face challenges meeting the English language requirement imposed by some universities, commonly assessed through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Hence, exploring alternative pathways that allow students to study in New Zealand without IELTS is essential.

English Language Requirements for Studying in New Zealand

To study in New Zealand as an international student, English language proficiency is a standard requirement most universities and institutions set. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is widely accepted as the primary English proficiency test. It evaluates students' reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. 

However, for students who may not have taken or achieved the desired IELTS score, there are alternative options available. Some universities in New Zealand accept other recognized English language tests like the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Pearson Test of English (PTE). 

English New Zealand Accredited Pathway Assessment (ENZPA) is an alternative English language proficiency assessment recognized by English New Zealand, a consortium of leading English language schools in New Zealand. This comprehensive assessment evaluates students' communication skills effectively in an academic English environment.

Universities and Institutions in New Zealand Accepting Non-IELTS English Proficiency Tests 

New Zealand is home to several reputable universities that welcome international students. Here is an overview of universities and institutions in New Zealand that embrace study in New Zealand without IELTS:

  • University of Auckland

This prestigious institution accepts non-IELTS tests such as TOEFL and PTE. The University is renowned for its comprehensive range of academic programs and research opportunities.

Known for its academic excellence and vibrant campus life, the University of Otago recognizes TOEFL and PTE scores as alternatives to IELTS for assessing English language proficiency.

This esteemed institution accepts a variety of non-IELTS English proficiency tests, including TOEFL and PTE. Victoria University offers various programs across disciplines, attracting students from around the globe.

Massey University has campuses in multiple locations and accepts TOEFL and PTE scores as proof of English language proficiency. It is renowned for its innovative research and strong industry connections.

  • University of Canterbury

The University is committed to inclusivity and accepts TOEFL and PTE scores as alternatives to IELTS. The university is known for its engineering, science, and arts programs.

Other Criteria for Admission to Universities in New Zealand

While specific requirements may vary between institutions and programs, here are some common factors considered:

  1. Academic Requirements: Universities typically require students to have completed a certain level of education, such as a secondary school or an equivalent international qualification. 
  2. Academic Transcripts: Prospective students must usually submit academic transcripts or records demonstrating their previous academic performance. 
  3. Prerequisites: Certain programs or courses may have specific prerequisites, such as completing specific subjects or achieving certain grades in related subjects. 
  4. Additional Language Assessments: While IELTS or other English language tests are commonly used, universities may also conduct additional language assessments to evaluate the applicant's proficiency in English. These assessments may include interviews, written submissions, or tests administered by the university's language center.
  5. Letters of Recommendation: Some universities may require letters of recommendation from teachers, professors, or employers who can speak about the applicant's academic abilities, personal qualities, or professional experience. 
  6. Statement of Purpose: Universities often ask applicants to submit a personal statement or statement of purpose, in which they can outline their academic interests, career goals, and reasons for choosing the specific program and institution. 
  7. Relevant Work Experience: Certain programs, such as professional degrees or postgraduate research programs, may consider relevant work experience a criterion for admission. 


Studying in New Zealand without IELTS is a viable option for international students who aspire to pursue their education in this beautiful country. While English language proficiency is essential, alternatives to the commonly accepted IELTS test exist. Universities and institutions in New Zealand recognize the importance of providing diverse language assessment options and accepting tests such as TOEFL and PTE.

By exploring options to study in New Zealand without IELTS, international students can pursue their educational dreams and immerse themselves in New Zealand's institutions' vibrant academic and cultural experiences. With its world-class education system and breathtaking landscapes, New Zealand remains an attractive destination for international students seeking quality education and personal growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any specific academic requirements or prerequisites for studying in New Zealand without IELTS?

Yes, while studying in New Zealand without IELTS is possible, universities and institutions still have specific academic requirements for admission. These requirements typically include completion of secondary education or an equivalent qualification. Students are generally required to provide their academic transcripts and demonstrate their ability to meet the academic standards of the chosen program. Prospective students must research and understand the specific academic prerequisites of the program they wish to apply to.

What are the advantages of studying in New Zealand without taking the IELTS exam?

Studying in New Zealand without taking the IELTS exam offers several advantages, such as: 

  • With alternative English proficiency tests like TOEFL or PTE, students can demonstrate their language skills more easily. 
  • It reduces the time and financial resources required to prepare for and take the IELTS exam. 

Are there any limitations or conditions for international students who want to study in New Zealand without IELTS?

While studying in New Zealand without IELTS is possible, there may be limitations or conditions depending on the university or program. Each institution may have specific requirements regarding which alternative English proficiency tests they accept. Students who choose not to submit IELTS scores may be required to fulfill additional language assessment methods or meet certain academic criteria. 

Are scholarships or financial aid options available for international students studying in New Zealand without IELTS?

Yes, scholarships and financial aid options are available for international students studying in New Zealand. Various institutions, government bodies, and private organizations offer these scholarships and financial aid programs. Students must research and explore scholarship opportunities specific to their field of study, nationality, or academic performance. Universities in New Zealand often have their scholarship programs to support international students. 

Do universities or colleges in New Zealand provide any additional language support or English language courses for students who haven't taken the IELTS exam?

Yes, universities and colleges in New Zealand often provide additional language support and English language courses for international students who haven't taken the IELTS exam or need to improve their English language skills. These language support programs aim to assist students in adapting to the academic environment and enhancing their language proficiency. Students can access language centers, English language workshops, conversation groups, and writing clinics. These support services are designed to help students succeed in their studies and overcome language barriers.

What are the employment prospects and opportunities available for international students who study in New Zealand without IELTS?

New Zealand has a strong economy and a favorable job market, offering opportunities in various sectors. International students can explore part-time work options during their studies and full-time employment opportunities after graduation. The New Zealand government also provides a post-study work visa that allows students to work in the country for a certain period after completing their studies. New Zealand offers pathways for skilled migrants, providing opportunities for international students to build long-term careers. 

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

She is an experienced writer and journalist who has extensively covered the education sector in India and Abroad. Now helping Indian aspirants realise their foreign education dream by providing them with relevant content and information through upGrad Abroad. Amateur traveller, loves to read Architectural Digest!

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