New Zealand University Entrance

If you’ve achieved NCEA University Entrance, or if you have a Bursary or pre-1986 University Entrance, you’ll be admitted through this category.

To be automatically accepted into programmes offered, you will need to:

  1. achieve University Entrance
  2. achieve the Guaranteed Entry Score (GES)
  3. fulfil any other degree-specific requirements (e.g. performance audition)
  4. apply by the deadline.

When applying, select the admission type ‘New Zealand University Entrance Qualification’.

The GES also applies to applicants who sat NCEA prior to 2016.

If you are applying for Trimester 3 prior to gaining University Entrance, you must apply for discretionary entrance.

The Guaranteed Entry Score

The Guaranteed Entry Score from NCEA is 150 points for all undergraduate degrees, except the Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Bachelor of Building Science which requires a Guaranteed Entry Score of 180 points.

University Entrance through NCEA

NCEA University Entrance requirements are:

  • NCEA Level 3
  • Three subjects at Level 3, made up of 14 credits in each of three approved subjects.
  • Literacy, 10 credits at Level 2 or above, from a specified list of standards*. Five credits in reading and five 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).

* The full specified list of standards is available on the NZQA website.

University Entrance qualifications from 2013 or earlier

If you have already obtained a NCEA University Entrance qualification from 2013 or earlier, the University Entrance requirements that were in effect when you achieved it will still apply to you. Email the Admission Office if you have any questions.

NCEA approved subjects for entrance to university

AccountingHome Economics
Agriculture & HorticultureIndonesian
Business StudiesKorean

Media Studies

Classical StudiesMusic Studies
Construction and Mechanical TechnologiesPainting (Practical Art)
Cook Islands MāoriPhotography (Practical Art)
DancePhysical Education
Design (Practical Art)Physics
Design and Visual CommunicationPrintmaking (Practical Art)
Digital Technologies

Processing Technologies

DramaReligious Studies
Earth and Space ScienceSamoan
Education for SustainabilitySculpture (Practical Art)
EnglishSocial Studies
GermanTe Reo Māori
Health EducationTe Reo Rangatira
History of ArtTongan

How to calculate your score for NCEA

  • Your rank score is based on your 80 best credits in University Entrance approved subjects at Level 3 and weighted by the level of achievement.
  • The Guaranteed Entry Score (GES) for NCEA is 150 points for all undergraduate degrees, except the Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Bachelor of Building Science which require a GES of 180 points.
  • All Level 3 approved subjects can be counted.
  • A maximum of 24 credits in each subject can be counted.
  • If you have achieved fewer than 80 credits at Level 3, the score will be based on those you have achieved.
  • You should take approved subjects wherever possible in your school programme both for entrance purposes and as the best preparation for university study.

Your score will be calculated by awarding points as follows:

  • Excellence = 4 points
  • Merit = 3 points
  • Achieved = 2 points

An example of a score for a student studying for NCEA

Approved subject Excellence credits Merit credits Achieved credits

























Best 80 credits




Calculate points

48 pts

(12 x 4)

72 pts

(24 x 3)

88 pts

(44 x 2)



208 points

Count up all your Excellence and Merit credits first, then count as many Achieved credits as you need up to a maximum of 80 credits. In this example, the student can only count 44 of their Achieved credits, because they already have 36 Excellence and Merit credits.

If you achieve University Entrance but do not achieve the GES, you may be waitlisted according to your score and application date. We will offer you a place in your programme as soon as possible.

Victoria University of Wellington is committed to providing pathways to university for under-represented groups. Māori and Pasifika applicants who achieve University Entrance but do not achieve the GES will be admitted to their degree with the following conditions:

  • You must attend study and course planning interviews.
  • You must attend the Māori or Pasifika New Students’ Orientation.
  • You must participate in a faculty mentoring programme for Māori and Pasifika students.

Applications from students with disabilities who achieve University Entrance but do not achieve the GES will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Applying with a pre-NCEA University Entrance Qualification

You will be admitted to Victoria University of Wellington if you have a New Zealand University Entrance qualification gained prior to 2004, consisting of:

  1. from 1993 to 2004: Higher School Certificate and a C grade or higher in each of three New Zealand University Entrance, Bursaries and Scholarships (NZUEBS) subjects; or an A or B Bursary
  2. from 1986 to 1992: a D grade or higher in each of four NZUEBS subjects
  3. before 1986: the University Entrance qualification (by accreditation or examination).