If you’re a secondary school student, Waikato’s Unistart programme gives you a head-start in education by letting you take university papers while you’re still at school. There are options to take papers online or at our Hamilton and Tauranga campuses. Check out our new range of papers and apply below for 2024.


Choice and flexibility

There are more than 50 papers to choose from, many of which are taught online, and completed Unistart papers can be credited towards an undergraduate degree at the University of Waikato.

Teaching excellence

Our students learn from award-winning lecturers and researchers who are committed to delivering you a world-class, innovative education in a supportive learning environment. Join our warm and welcoming community of students from all over New Zealand as you study as part of the Unistart programme.


Unistart papers usually run over one trimester and worth 15 points. The workload is around 8-10 hours a week, which can include time spent online in classes or on campus, participating in tutorials, reading course materials, lab work or preparing for assignments and tests.

Group 1


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.


The University of Waikato Unistart Scholarship covers the cost of up to two Unistart papers. Students will automatically be considered for this when accepted into Unistart - no additional application is required. As well as meeting the above entry requirements for Unistart, you will also need:

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

How to Apply

Step 1: Complete the School Approval Form

Talk to your school about whether the Unistart programme is right for you. Then complete the School Approval Form with them and email it back to us.

  1. Fill in the Unistart Secondary School Support form
  2. Have your school complete and sign their approval section
  3. Email the completed form to [email protected]
  4. Apply for the Unistart programme online (instructions below)

Step 2: Applying online for the Unistart Programme

Visit MyWaikato to complete your online application to enrol into the Unistart programme and use the instructions below to help you.

  1. New Unistart students need to Create an Account for MyWaikato
  2. Fill out your personal details and list the email address you use most under your account details. Click the Create account button once finished
  3. From the Type of Qualification drop down box, select Individual Paper Credit and click the Search button
  4. Two results will be listed after the search. Select Unistart Paper Credit
  5. Select your start date
  6. Continue to answer all the questions to complete your application
  7. Upload your verified ID. This can be a birth certificate or passport. You will need to ask your school to stamp and sign a copy to verify it. If you have difficulties uploading your verified ID, then please scan and email it to [email protected]
  8. We will be in touch with you once your application has been reviewed

If you need help to complete your application then please contact us on 0800 924 528.

2024 Papers

Find out more about the 2024 Unistart programme and papers on offer at Waikato below

2024 Unistart brochure

Contact us

Email: [email protected]

Paulo Baldo

Thanks to Unistart I felt truly prepared for the next phase of my academic journey.