Entry criteria for undergraduate domestic students
There are five ways you can gain admission to the University of Waikato.
Please note, some degrees have additional entry requirements.
1. NCEA University Entrance
University Entrance (UE) is the minimum requirement to go to a New Zealand university, find out more
To recognise the disruption caused by Covid-19, students completing UE in 2020 will have the amended NCEA requirements applied. Please refer to the NZQA website for further information on these specific requirements.
The New Zealand University Entrance (UE) requirements are (excluding students completing UE in 2020):
- NCEA Level 3
- Three subjects - at Level 3, made up of:
- 14 credits each, in three approved subjects
- Literacy - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of:
- 5 credits in reading
- 5 credits in writing
- Numeracy - 10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of:
- achievement standards - specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects, or
- unit standards - package of three numeracy unit standards (26623, 26626, 26627 - all three required)
Changes to NCEA and University Entrance for 2021 due to disruption from COVID-19
The Ministry of Education/NZQA have made changes to the number of credits required to get NCEA University Entrance (UE) and Course/Certificate Endorsements.
Recognising the disruption from COVID-19 this year, the Ministry of Education/NZQA have made changes to the number of credits required to get NCEA University Entrance (UE) and Course/Certificate Endorsements. This is great news, as it means you'll likely need less credits to get NCEA University Entrance (UE). This also applies in a number of regions, where you'll also require less credits to get Course/Certificate Endorsements.
2. Admission at entrance level
Entrance through Cambridge International Exams (CIE), International Baccalaureate (IB), Home school students or overseas schools
Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) standard recognised by Universities New Zealand (students completing UE in 2020)
To recognise the disruption caused by Covid-19, students completing UE in 2020 will have the amended CIE requirements applied.
*New requirement (for 2020 school-leaver cohort only):
*Part A For 2021 entry only, applicants must obtain
A minimum of 110 points on the UCAS Tariff* at A or AS level from any syllabus groups in the following table, which are broadly equivalent to those in the list of approved subjects for NCEA, and a D grade or better in syllabuses from at least two different syllabus groups (excluding Thinking Skills) and one E grade or better in another syllabus group from the same table.
Plus the literacy and numeracy requirements (Part B) below.
Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) standard recognised by Universities New Zealand (excluding students completing UE in 2020):
A minimum of 120 points on the UCAS Tariff at A or AS level other than the General Paper, including at least three subjects (other than Thinking Skills) in which no grade is lower than D.
Literacy: An E grade or better in any one of AS English Language, Language and Literature in English, Literature in English; A D grade or better will satisfy one of the subject requirements of Part A; or as prescribed for university entrance with NCEA.
Numeracy: A D grade or better in IGCSE or GCSE mathematics, or any mathematics passed at AS level; A D grade or better will satisfy one of the subject requirements of Part A; or as prescribed for university entrance with NCEA.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Standard Recognised by Universities New Zealand
Award of the full IB Diploma (24 points or higher)
Home schooled students
New Zealand Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) Level 3 Certificate (Year 13) A completed ACE Year 13 Certificate which includes at least four subjects (i.e. 16 credits) designated Level 3 and passes in Algebra 1 (1097-1108) and English 1 (1097-1108).
Christian Education New Zealand (CENZ) Level 3 Certificate A completed CENZ Level 3 Certificate which includes at least four subjects designated Level 3 and passes in Algebra 1 (1097-1108) and English 1 (1097-1108).
Other secondary or tertiary study
If you have studied to UE level at an overseas secondary school or at tertiary level (in New Zealand or overseas) or passed examinations that reach the standard for admission to university as recognised by Universities New Zealand, you should apply for admission at entrance level.
We will assess your study to determine whether it is an acceptable equivalent to the New Zealand University Entrance qualification.
If you do not meet one of the criteria above or need further preparation for degree study, check out Waikato's pathways programmes.
3. Discretionary entrance
If you're aged 16-20 and didn't achieve UE through school results
Students under 20 without University Entrance
If you are over 16 years of age and a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible to apply for Discretionary Entrance (DE).
Discretionary Entrance is based on NCEA Level 2 results and you must also meet the literacy and numeracy requirements for University Entrance.
Year 13 students who leave school after 1 June are not eligible to be considered for Discretionary Entrance.
Students who have left school and did not achieve University Entrance from Level 3 NCEA are eligible to apply for DE following at least one semester's break after completion of Year 13.
All students are assessed on the basis of their academic background and an adviser's recommendation. If you are still at school, or have left school recently, your school principal must be your adviser. If you have left school, a Student Recruitment Adviser at the University can help you.
4. University Entrance prior to 2015
Bursary, NCEA, or other school results
For information regarding other forms of University Entrance including UE achieved from Bursary or NCEA please contact the Enrolment Office on 0800 WAIKATO (
5. Special admission
Students aged 20+
Students over the age of 20
If you left school without University Entrance and will be 20 years of age or over by the first day of the semester, you may apply for Special Admission. Factors considered when granting Special Admission are:
- Any other relevant study you might have undertaken.
- Your general life experience and preparedness for university study.
Some qualifications have their own specific entry requirements - check the webpage you'll see on the when you read and will outline this on the relevant webpage.
Our Future Student Advisers are here to assist you with your application. Please contact us to arrange a meeting.