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What is the required IELTS score to study in New Zealand?

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

ielts score for new zealand

New Zealand is a sought after destination for students for job-oriented education. Being an English speaking country, educational institutions in New Zealand ask for International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. A minimum score of 6.5 (overall) is required to get admission into courses in New Zealand. Whenever you submit an application for undergraduate courses, you have to score at least 6.0 band (overall) to suffice the IELTS score for New Zealand requirement. Some New Zealand universities also take applications from those students who have obtained a 5.5 band in any IELTS section, i.e. listening, writing, reading or speaking. Hence, if you have obtained a score of 5.5 in any section in your previous IELTS test, you can still submit your applications without any hassles.

Here’s taking a look at the minimum IELTS score required for New Zealand in various courses: 

1. Diploma Courses- This will require a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no band score being lower than 5.5. The minimum academic eligibility is successfully clearing High School. 

2. Bachelors Degree- Aspirants who have successfully passed High School can apply for these degrees in New Zealand. The minimum IELTS score required is 6.0 with no band being lower than 5.5. 

3. Post-Graduate Diploma- The minimum requirement for applying is a Bachelors degree. The IELTS score required is 6.5 at least with no band score being lower than 6.0. 

4. Graduate Diploma- The minimum IELTS score required is 6.0 with no band score going below 5.5. The eligibility for applying is a Bachelors degree. 

5. Masters Degree- A Bachelors degree is required for applying with a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 and no band score going below 6.0. 

Getting a student visa for the 2021 or 2022 academic sessions in New Zealand will require a minimum IELTS score of 5.5 as per latest reports. 

Institution-Wise IELTS Score Required in New Zealand 

Here’s taking a closer look at the minimum IELTS Score required in New Zealand’s leading universities and academic institutions. 

1. Massey University

Students are required to have 5.5 as their overall IELTS score for applying for the Diploma in Business Studies course at the university. It is one of the youngest universities in the country and the only one to provide programs in aviation. The minimum IELTS score needed for postgraduate programs is 6.5 (overall). Every band should have a score of at least 6.0 in this case. The minimum IELTS score should be 6.0 (overall) for undergraduate courses while every band should have a minimum score of 5.5.  

2. AUT (Auckland University of Technology)

The minimum overall IELTS score is 5.5-6.0 for students seeking foundation programs at this institution including diploma and undergraduate courses. The university started operations in the year 1906 and offers various courses including Health & Environmental Sciences and Culture & Society. IELTS Academic is the recommended examination to study at the university. Undergraduate courses require 6.0 as the minimum overall IELTS score and at least 5.5 for every segment. For postgraduate courses, the minimum score should be 6.5 (overall) and the score should not be lower than 6.0 for every band. 

3. University of Auckland

The IELTS score required in New Zealand’s famous University of Auckland is 6.0 (overall). No band should also have a score that is lower than 5.5. It is one of the leading institutions in the country, encompassing 30,000+ students and 8 faculties. Programs like engineering require 7.0 as the minimum IELTS score. The minimum score is 6.5 (overall) for postgraduate programs and 6.0 for every band. 

4. University of Otago

The University of Otago is the oldest university in the country and comes with four faculties along with a solid research program. The minimum IELTS score requirement is 6.0 (overall) for undergraduate courses and this is also the minimum score requirement for each band. However, pursuing a degree in Teaching/Education Studies, the minimum IELTS score will be 7.0 (overall) and also 7.0 for each band. Prospective applicants should have a minimum overall score of 6.5 along with 6.0 as the per-band/section score in case of postgraduate courses. The requirements may be slightly more stringent in case of Law, Dentistry and Public Health among other courses. 

5. Victoria University of Wellington

The Victoria University of Wellington was founded in the year 1897 and is famous for its Humanities and Law programs. The minimum IELTS score requirement is 6.0 (overall) for undergraduate courses and no band should have a score that is lower than 5.5. In case of postgraduate courses, the overall score requirement is 6.5 along with a minimum score of 6.0 in every IELTS band. 

6. University of Christchurch

The University of Christchurch offers numerous course options for eligible applicants. Global students desirous of enrollment in undergraduate courses should have an overall IELTS score of 6.0. You should also not obtain lower than 6.0 for writing and 5.5 in each of the other IELTS sections. If you are applying for postgraduate courses, then 6.5 is the overall score required along with a minimum score of 6.0 in the writing band and 5.5 as the minimum score for all the other segments. Exceptions are however given to meritorious students and on the case-to-case mechanism. 

7. University of Waikato

The University of Waikato was established in the year 1984 and is one of the youngest such institutions in the country. The minimum score requirement for IELTS is 6.0 and scores should not be lower than 5.5 in every band for undergraduate courses. For postgraduate courses, the overall IELTS score should be 6.5 while the score in every band should be at least 6.0. 

8. Lincoln University

Lincoln University is popular for offering one of the country’s very first programs in agriculture along with being the third oldest university in the entire country. Undergraduate applicants will require 6.0 as their overall score and at least 5.5 for every band as part of their IELTS requirement for New Zealand. For postgraduate courses, an overall score of 6.5 will be required. The minimum score should be at least 6.0 for every band. 

Students aspiring to study in New Zealand and follow the details above while planning to apply to some of the country’s top educational institutions.

Important Resources to Read:

IELTS Band Score ChartHow to get 8 band in IELTSTypes of IELTS Exam
Average IELTS ScoresIELTS Score for USAStudy in USA Without IELTS
Study in UK Without IELTSIELTS Reading Band ScoreIELTS Bar Graph
Writing Task 1 Line GraphCollocation for IELTSIELTS Reading Tips

Download E-Books for IELTS Preparation

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Reason to Study in New Zealand

Apart from being one of the safe and most beautiful countries in the world, New Zealand also has some of the top and renowned educational institutions, known for their academic excellence. In this section, we will enlist some of the reasons that you should consider to when deciding on your study abroad destination:

World-renowned universities: The University of Auckland, University of Otago, and Victoria University of Wellington are some of the world-famous universities in New Zealand. These universities are among the top 300 universities as per the QS World Rankings 2022. The curriculum is well-balanced with equal weightage on practical and theoretical knowledge.

Course diversity: Apart from providing you with the best academic standards in terms of quality education and teaching methods, New Zealand also offers a wide range of courses to pursue at its universities. The courses match the industrial needs and standards, and a hands-on approach is followed irrespective of any course that you opt for.

Affordable educational costs: If you compare the cost of education in New Zealand with other nations like the UK, the USA, etc., you will find that the education cost is remarkably lower, making the student life stress-free. The miscellaneous costs that come from food, accommodation, and transportation are also manageable. 

Stay back period after completion of the course: New Zealand offers a stay back period of up to three years after you complete your studies. You can look for job options in New Zealand during this period. The determining factors for the length of your stay would be the nature of the course and its duration.

A pool of job opportunities: The success ratio for employment in New Zealand is quite high, with as many as 97% of the graduates getting employed soon after course completion. 

How to Study in New Zealand with a 5.5 Band Score?

In order to study in New Zealand, you should have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above for post-graduate courses and an IELTS score of at least 6 for undergraduate courses. But if you have scored 5.5 in your IELTS, you can still apply to study in New Zealand. Some universities accept applications from candidates with 5.5 as their IELTS band score. Some of those universities are Massey University and Auckland University of Technology, which have the requirement of 5.5 as their IELTS requirements. 

Migration to New Zealand

If you wish to migrate to New Zealand, you must meet the desired IELTS score. The government asks for an IELTS score as evidence of English language proficiency for various visas, under the categories of Skilled Migrant, Business, Parent, and Residence from Work.


IELTS Score Requirements (General or Academic)

Skilled Migrant6.5 (the dependents on the skilled migrant (parents or children) need to have a score of 5 in IELTS)

Employee of a Relocating Business: An overall band score of At least 5 in the General or Academic module

Entrepreneur Work Visa: An overall band score of at least 4 in the General or Academic

Investor: An overall band score of at least 3 in the General or Academic

ParentIELTS certificate with at least two competencies bearing the band score 4
Residence from WorkOverall band score of at least 5 in the IELTS General or Academic

More Resources to Read About IELTS:

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Study For IELTS With upGrad Abroad

To cater to the end-to-end requirements of learners planning to pursue higher education abroad, upGrad Abroad has launched a Booster Program. The IELTS Booster Program is designed to offer support to students preparing for IELTS, Academic Writing, Profile Building, International Faculty Masterclass, and University Application, Education Loan, and Visa Support.

Download IELTS Preparation Guide For Free

Get to know about the latest updates on the IELTS Exam, Eligibility, Preparation Tips, Test procedure,  Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Registration Process, Important Exam Dates, and much more!! This guide is a one-stop solution for every IELTS Aspirant who aims to crack the exam with an impressive band score.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much IELTS band score is required for New Zealand?

The IELTS score requirements in New Zealand for various purposes are as follows:

For the Skilled Migrant Category, an overall band score of 6.5 in the IELTS General or IELTS Academic module is required.

Business Categories: For the principal applicant, the required IELTS band score depends on which category the person applies under. 

  1. Employee of a Relocating Business Category: at least 5 in the General or Academic module.
  2. Entrepreneur Residence or Entrepreneur Work Visa categories: at least 4 in the General or Academic module.
  3. Investor: Overall band score of at least 3 in the IELTS General or Academic module.
  4. Residence from Work Category: At least 5 in the IELTS General or Academic module. The same follows for their partner and children.

How much IELTS score is required for a New Zealand student visa?

In order to obtain a New Zealand study visa, a minimum overall IELTS band score requirement is 5.5.

Is IELTS required for New Zealand?

Yes, if you are going to work or study in New Zealand, matching the IELTS score criteria becomes mandatory. The IELTS requirements for New Zealand are different for various categories. You can check those in the information mentioned above.

How much IELTS score is required for nurses in New Zealand?

If you are a nurse working in New Zealand,  you must achieve a minimum score of 7 in each section of IELTS Academic.

How much IELTS band score is required for PR in New Zealand?

To become a permanent resident of New Zealand, you require an IELTS score of 6.5 or more.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.