Study in New Zealand without IELTS

Study in New Zealand without IELTS

From sweeping mountains to glittery beaches and high skyscrapers, New Zealand is filled with multifarious adventures and has successfully established itself as a hotspot for international students around the world. With several universities in New Zealand ranking at the top World University Rankings, the country is a sought-after study destination as it also successfully evacuated the raging Covid-19 pandemic with its unique and meticulous approach to strengthening its healthcare apparatus. If you are planning to pursue higher studies in New Zealand but haven’t appeared for an English proficiency test like IELTS which is commonly a necessary requirement, there are various alternatives you can choose from. This blog collates the best alternatives to study in New Zealand without IELTS from the universities you can apply to other exams you must know.

Is it Possible Study in New Zealand without IELTS?

Yes, it is possible for an international student to study in New Zealand without IELTS if they are successful in fulfilling certain other required criteria for admission. There are various parameters used by the universities in New Zealand to assess the English language proficiency of prospective students and IELTS is only one of them. Although it is the most preferred mode of assessment, students are still granted admission as long as they have the required qualifications and can provide proof of fulfilling any of the alternative language proficiency criteria [mentioned in detail in the next sections].  

How to Study in New Zealand without IELTS

New Zealand offers many options for students who do not provide IELTS scores. You can still apply to universities in New Zealand if you fulfill their specified language requirements and criteria. Some of these include:

  • Applicants should provide proof of studying in an English medium school from at least classes 8 to 12 and it should clearly state the medium of instruction was English, irrespective of the board or country of study
  • You can also submit proof of having attained 5 years of English medium education at the primary level or 3 years at the higher secondary level in school
  • For applying for study visa in New Zealand, the New Zealand Immigration authority conducts a specific interview for students without IELTS
  • Few universities also hold interviews to access the English proficiency of prospective students.
  • Alternatively, you can get admitted at any university if you provide scores of any other accepted English proficiency test like TOEFL or PTE.

Alternatives to IELTS to Study in New Zealand

There are various other documents, programs, and English proficiency tests that students can opt for to study in New Zealand without IELTS. These alternative English proficiency tests to study in New Zealand:

  • Medium of Instruction Certificate: Most universities only allow select students to submit this certificate and therefore, it is important to ask the university administration and department whether you are eligible to submit it or not.
  • Duolingo English Test: The Duolingo English Test is the new addition to the number of English proficiency tests available to international students. It is a home-administrated test and is accepted by thousands of universities in UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and more. 
  • TOEFL: TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is one of the most famous English tests in the world. It is used for admissions to multiple countries and universities. TOEFL also has TOEFL iBT Home Edition for international students to take from home.
  • PTE: PTE stands for Pearson Test of English. PTE exam is an AI-based online test that assesses the candidate’s abilities in reading, listening, speaking and writing. There are types of PTE, PTE Academics and PTE Business Test.
  • Pathway Programmes: Another excellent alternative to IELTS in New Zealand is pathway programmes. New Zealand universities offer pathway programmes to international students who wish to improve their language skills and work on the foundation of their desired programmes. Enrolling in these programmes allows students to directly seek admission in undergraduate courses at the university.

Here are some other alternatives:

FluentIQ CCEL English for Academic Purposes Level 2 (EAP Level 2)
Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL)
LanguageCert – International ESOL Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)

Also Read: Pathway Initiatives in New Zealand

Documents Required

Take a look at the document checklist you must have at the time of applying to a university in New Zealand without IELTS scores:

  • Academic transcripts and marksheets showing that you have completed your primary, secondary and senior secondary education with English as the medium of instruction.
  • Academic transcripts and marksheets elucidating that you complete Class VIII to XII with English as the medium of instruction.
  • A bonafide certificate issued by your school stating that you have appeared for all the exams for the duration of your study (as per your transcripts and marksheets) in English medium.
  • Certificates of other language proficiency tests like TOEFL, PTE, CPE, ESOL, CAE, etc. if necessary.

Best Universities to Study in New Zealand without IELTS

Many top universities in New Zealand provide alternatives for IELTS and language proficiency tests for international students. Here are some of the major universities which grant admission to international students who want to study in New Zealand without IELTS:

University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury provides alternative options for students who want to study in New Zealand without IELTS. International students can provide evidence of their proficiency in the English language by showing proof of completing an academic qualification which is majorly taught in English in a country where English is a predominant language. Alternatively, the University of Canterbury accepts the scores of English proficiency tests other than IELTS such as TOEFL, PTE, CPE, CAE etc.

University of Auckland

The University of Auckland allows international students to gain admission if they have the necessary qualifications. Although IELTS is the preferred option for assessing English proficiency, the university also accepts other TOEFL, PTE, University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP), University of Auckland English Pathway for Undergraduate Studies (EPUS) etc. Although students are admitted into most courses on the basis of the above, some particular courses such as Master of Social Work (Professional) compulsorily require IELTS scores.

Lincoln University

Students willing to enrol for any course at Lincoln University are required to provide proof of their grasp of the English language and for this, the university accepts the scores of English proficiency tests other than IELTS. Some of the accepted tests include TOEFL, PTE, NZCEL etc. Additionally, Lincoln university also has its own English Language Program. Students successfully completing this course are granted exemption from all English language proficiency requirements.

University of Otago

The University of Otago offers various options for international students to meet the English language proficiency criteria other than IELTS. It accepts most of the other English proficiency scores like TOEFL, PTE, University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP), CPE, CAE etc. It also provides separate criteria for Indian students applying for undergraduate courses to meet the language proficiency requirements – they have to show a minimum score of 70% in English in the CBSE or the CISCE boards. Additionally, if the candidate is unable to fulfil any of the above criteria, they can also opt for the English for Otago programme to qualify for admission at the University of Otago.

Unitec Institute of Technology

The Unitec Institute of Technology accepts most of the internationally recognised English proficiency tests including TOEFL, PTE, CPE, CAE etc for students willing to study in New Zealand without IELTS. It also has a separate English language program for students who are not able to satisfy the above criteria.

Tips for Study Visa Interview without IELTS Scores

Along with submitting the alternative proof of English proficiency, you will also have to appear for a separate visa interview conducted by New Zealand immigration authorities to assess the language proficiency of those who are not submitting IELTS or similar scores. Here the prominent tips to help you ace your visa interview and successfully fulfil your dream to study in New Zealand without IELTS:

  • The New Zealand immigration authorities will generally check if the university you have got admission into is in the Category-I university list for studying in New Zealand without IELTS.
  • Your knowledge of the English language and communication skills are imperatively assessed through this visa interview.
  • The alternative documents including academic transcripts, etc. will be verified during the interview so make sure you have a copy of the same.
  • If you fail to clear the interview, then you can reappear for it again and if you passed, you can look forward to getting your New Zealand student visa!

List of Universities in Canada without IELTS

Here are some universities in Canada without IELTS

List of Universities in USA without IELTS

Here are some popular universities to study in USA without IELTS:

List of Universities in UK without IELTS

Here are some popular universities to study in UK without IELTS:

Must Read: Job Opportunities in New Zealand


Is IELTS required for New Zealand?

If you are planning to study in New Zealand, IELTS is not a necessary requirement as you can opt for alternatives like providing proof that you completed class 8 to class 12 with English as the medium of instruction in your home country or submit other language proficiency scores like TOEFL, PTE, CAE, ESOL, etc. If you are applying for work opportunities in New Zealand, IELTS might be required and can vary as per the visa you are applying for.

Are 5.5 bands eligible for NZ?

You will need a minimum of 6.0 with no band less than 5.5 for bachelor’s degrees and other undergraduate courses in New Zealand while 6.5 overall with no section less than 6.0 for postgraduate programs at NZ universities.

Is IELTS necessary for New Zealand immigration?

While IELTS is a major requirement to apply for a student visa in New Zealand, the immigration department of the country also conducts a separate visa for international students who are unable to submit IELTS.

Must Read: Ireland vs New Zealand: Better Study Destination

Hope this blog on how to study in New Zealand without IELTS provided with the best options to consider while planning your study abroad journey to the land of Kiwis! Need help with applying to your dream university in New Zealand? Our Leverage Edu experts are here to provide you with the best guidance at every step of the admission process to ensure that you send a winning application! Sign up for a free consultation session with us today!

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  1. how much is your one year management course for international students,
    and if IELS is required or not.
    Thank you very much

    1. Hi Cecilio,
      To know about all the details pertaining to 1-year Management Courses in New Zealand, get in touch with our experts through 1800572000.

  2. Hi
    I want to apply for studying English in New Zealand through scholarship but I am not financially stable to give IELTS. What can I do in such a case?

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