Unistart Programme

If you're a secondary school student, the Unistart programme gives you a head-start in tertiary education by letting you complete university papers while you're still at school.

There are more than 30 papers to choose from, most of them taught online, and completed Unistart papers can be credited towards a University of Waikato undergraduate degree.

Check out our Unistart brochure for more information.

Fees-free: Read how the Government's 'Fees Free' Policy affects secondary school students taking tertiary courses.

Entry requirements

Unistart is open to all year 12 and 13 secondary school students who:

  • have met the criteria for discretionary entrance to university,
  • are between 16 and 20 years old at the start of the Unistart paper, and
  • have approval from their school.

If you don’t meet the above entry requirements, email us to discuss your options.

Unistart Scholarship

The University of Waikato Unistart Scholarship is a full-fees scholarship that covers the costs of the Unistart papers you enrol in. You’ll automatically be considered for this scholarship when you’re accepted into Unistart – no extra application required.

Scholarship eligibility criteria:

As well as meeting the above entry requirements for Unistart, you also need:

  • NCEA Level 2 or above endorsed with merit or excellence, and
  • New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency.

How to apply

  1. Ensure you have gained your school's approval
  2. Read the appropriate Unistart Application Guide:
    1. Read this guide if you have taken a Unistart paper before
    2. Read this guide if you are new to the Unistart Programme


Unistart students

Lily McDonald

Taking a Unistart paper impulsively has paid off and as a result I now feel much more confident as a first year Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance student at Waikato.

Contact us

Unistart Programme Coordinator:
Phone: 07 837 9309