International students

Find out what you need to consider when preparing to come to New Zealand for doctoral study.

Wellington University International provides essential information and a range of services for international students.

Once you receive an Offer of Place, it is important to plan and prepare well to ensure you have the best start possible at the University. This planning stage is especially important if you plan to bring your family with you to New Zealand, as you will need to consider the additional costs and accommodation options for your family.

Some aspects you may need to consider based on your personal circumstances during the pre-departure process are:

More information is available through the Wellington University International Pre-arrival page.

Wellington University International also offer a meeting service to international students. Doctoral students are unable to use the online form but please email your arrival details (including your name, student ID number, arrival time in Wellington, flight number and Wellington address) and your request will be confirmed via email.

English language requirements

Victoria University of Wellington's English language requirements are strict and are not negotiable. If you do not provide evidence of meeting these requirements any Offer of Place will be issued as conditional, which will affect your ability to obtain a student visa. These requirements are outlined below:

  • IELTS overall band of 6.5, no sub-score below 6, or
  • 90 on the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 in writing, or
  • a minimum of two ratings of 5 and two ratings of 4 in the Victoria University of Wellington Certificate of Proficiency in English test, or
  • Pearson Test of English, with a score of 58 (with a communicative score of not less than 50).

Due to the global issues surrounding the COVID-19. ETS/TOEFL is now offering a Special Home edition of the TOEFL iBT test. Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington will accept scores from applicants who have taken the Special Home Edition version of the TOEFL iBT test, as this At-Home version is the same as the regular TOEFL iBT taken at a testing centre. Visit the TOEFL website for further information.

If you are submitting a TOEFL test result, use institution code 6765 as the score recipient.

IELTS is also offering an an online test called the IELTS Indicator that you can take from the comfort of your home, to help you continue your education journey during the Covid-19 situation. Please visit the IELTS Indicator website for further information.

For students living in Mainland China and Iran only: Duolingo English Test (DET) will be accepted until 15 July 2021 only with a minimum DET score of 110 for postgraduate entry.

Even if you meet the minimum English language requirements, you may still be required to do a Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Certificate of Proficiency in English before you begin your doctoral studies or as part of your provisional registration. On average it takes three months full-time English language study to improve an overall IELTS bandwidth score by 0.5 or a TOEFL score by 25 points.

Official documents

Applicants must send certified copies of transcripts and degree certificates. Applicants from EU countries must also provide the Diploma Supplement. Originals may be requested if the application is successful.

Translations of official documents

If your documents are in a language other than English, you must attach English translations certified by an accredited translator and bearing the translator's official stamp. Please send both certified copies of your academic transcript and certified copies of the translation.

Student visa

International students do not need to have a student visa at the time of application. You can apply for a student visa after you receive an Offer of Place.

You will need a student visa before you come to New Zealand. Your nearest New Zealand Diplomatic Office can provide you with the necessary information and the forms to complete. Full details of visa and permit requirements, advice on rights to employment in New Zealand while studying, and reporting requirements are available from Immigration New Zealand.

Medical and travel insurance

Most international students are not entitled to freely access publicly-funded health services while in New Zealand. If you receive medical treatment during your visit, you may have to pay the full cost of your treatment. Full details of entitlements to publicly-funded health services are available through the Ministry of Health.

All international students at Victoria University of Wellington must have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance while studying in New Zealand. To find out more, see Wellington University International’s information on insurance or email

Accident insurance

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) provides accident insurance for all New Zealand citizens, residents and temporary visitors to New Zealand, but you may still be liable for all other medical and related costs.

Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students

The Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students ('the Code'), published by the Ministry of Education, is a policy specially designed for international students. It sets the standards of advice and care that must be given by an institution to an international student. Victoria University of Wellington has agreed to observe and be bound by the Code.

Copies of the Code are available from NZQA or on request from Wellington University International.

Providing documents

You should upload your documents in the online application form. If for some reason you cannot upload your documents, please contact