New Zealand | International Credentials Equivalencies

Minimum GPA
Clear Second; B (65%)
A Minus GPA
Bare First, A- (75%)
B Plus GPA
High Second, B+ (70%)
Instruction Languages
Bachelors Equiv.
Bachelor`s degree (Honours, or 4-year degree)
Masters Equiv.
First Degree Sample
Bachelor's (Honours), Bachelor's (Pass, equivalent to 3 year Bachelor's)
Grading System

A+ High First 85-100
A Clear First 80-84
A- Bare First 75-79
B+ High Second 70-74
B Clear Second 65-69
B- Bare Second 60-64
C+ Sound Pass 55-59
C Pass 50-54
C- Marginal Pass 50-54
D Failure 40-49

Recognized Universities

Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
Lincoln University
Massey University
The University of Auckland
University of Canterbury
University of Otago
University of Waikato
Victoria University of Wellington

Notes for New Zealand

New Zealand does not have a national grading system. Grading scales vary between institutions.

Bachelor’s Degree
Bachelor degrees are typically three years in duration (360 credits), although degrees in professional subjects such as engineering, health sciences and law often require four years of study (480 credits) or more.

Bachelor degrees provide a systematic and coherent introduction to a recognised major subject (selected by the individual as the principal area of study for the degree), as well as to problem-solving and associated basic techniques of self-directed work and learning. These degrees involve at least one sequential study programme where the content is progressively developed in order to form a basis for postgraduate study and / or professional practice.

The holder of a Bachelor degree may be eligible for entry to a postgraduate programme such as a Bachelor Honours degree, a Master’s degree or a Postgraduate Certificate / Diploma.

Bachelor’s Degree (in medicine/dental surgery/veterinary science)
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degrees are six years in duration (720 credits), including a preliminary year consisting of the first year of a biomedical or health sciences degree. Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) degrees are five years in duration (600 credits), including a preliminary foundational year or pre-selection semester respectively. These degrees are generally not awarded with honours and sit on level 7 of the NZQF. However, a five-year BDS (Honours) programme at level 8, which includes an in-depth research project in the fifth year, is available to high-performing students.

Graduates from first medical degrees are given provisional registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand upon graduation and gain full registration after successful completion of a two-year internship. Holders of the BDS and the BVSc may register with the Dental Council of New Zealand or the Veterinary Council of New Zealand respectively upon graduation.

First degrees in medicine, dental surgery and veterinary science generally allow entry to professional Doctoral programmes.

Bachelor Honours degree
The Bachelor Honours degree is either a four-year undergraduate programme (480 credits) or a one-year postgraduate programme (120 credits). Entry to the postgraduate Bachelor Honours programme usually requires above average performance in a Bachelor degree in the same subject.

It is mandatory for Bachelor Honours degrees to contain a supervised research component worth at least 30 credits. In the context of a Bachelor Honours degree, research develops an individual’s ability to design and undertake a project under supervision, and to report on this in an appropriate way.

Master’s degree
Master’s degrees normally require one to two years of full-time (or equivalent part-time) study. The degrees usually build on the principal subjects of the qualifying degree and contain a significant element of supervised research.

Master’s degrees may be undertaken as taught courses, a thesis, or a combination of both.

Taught Master’s degrees are one to two years in duration (120 to 240 credits). They involve a combination of coursework, project work and research. Master’s degrees by coursework and thesis require 240 credits (two years of study), of which at least 90 credits must consist of a research project. Both types of Master’s degree normally require a Bachelor degree, Bachelor Honours degree, Graduate Diploma or Postgraduate Diploma for entry. The length of the programme usually depends on the level of the entry qualification.

Master’s degrees by thesis require 120 credits (equivalent to one year of study), of which at least 90 credits must consist of a research project. A Bachelor Honours degree or a Postgraduate Diploma in the same field of study is usually required for entry.

Doctoral degrees
Doctoral degrees usually require three to four years of full-time study (360 to 480 credits). Doctoral degrees include the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD / DPhil) and named doctorates, such as the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA). A high Bachelor Honours or a Master’s degree is usually required for entry.

Doctoral students must make a substantial and original contribution to human knowledge. Research is conducted under the guidance of recognised experts in the field of study. The work leading to the award is one or more of the following:

  • A thesis (the PhD / DPhil)
  • A thesis or equivalent creative work in combination with coursework (the named doctorate)
  • Creative work in the visual or performing arts (the PhD / DPhil)
  • Creative work in the visual or performing arts with a thesis (the named doctorate)
  • Published work.

Coursework completed as part of a named doctorate should not be more than one year in duration and the thesis should contribute at least two-thirds of the overall credit for the degree.

Higher Doctorates
Higher Doctorates, such as the Doctor of Laws (LLD), Doctor of Letters / Literature (DLitt / LittD) and Doctor of Science (DSc), are unsupervised degrees awarded for independent research of special excellence as judged by leading international experts. The independent research is completed before a person makes an application to enrol for the degree. Individuals will usually be expected to have completed at least ten years of independent work and to have published their work extensively. Publication will normally be in scholarly books and / or reputable international journals. Individuals in the visual or performing arts will have made equally outstanding contributions in their creative work.

Last Update: September 13, 2020

Last modified: September 13, 2020