Skip main navigation

Spotlight on: Education New Zealand

Meet Education New Zealand, one of our most exciting and forward-thinking partners, who are driving the future of New Zealand’s international education. Discover the work they do, what is truly a New Zealand education, and how you can take world-class courses from some of the country’s leading institutions.


By Jamie Kontis

Have you ever thought about an international education? 

Over 6 million people now populate the global pool of international students. Studying abroad is a pretty attractive thought: the ability to travel, discover fresh approaches to learning, embrace new cultures, and embed into different ways of life are just a few of the reasons to take the plunge.

A world-leader in offering this kind of enticing international study experience is New Zealand. With its natural beauty, rich Māori heritage, advanced cities and distinguished universities, New Zealand is swiftly becoming one of the planet’s most coveted destinations for prospective foreign students. So great is the country’s appeal that around 120,000 international students inhabited New Zealand before the pandemic struck. That counts for a staggering 2.5% of the country’s entire population!

To help you decide if a New Zealand education is right for you, let’s meet the people steering the direction of the international sector: Education New Zealand.

Who are Education New Zealand?

Education New Zealand is a government agency whose purpose is to deliver enduring social, cultural and economic benefits to the country by bringing its renowned education experiences to the rest of the world. They both promote New Zealand as an elite study destination and support the delivery of education services offshore – such as online courses with FutureLearn! You can read more about our partnership later in this article.

But before we explore some of these online courses, let’s talk about why learning with New Zealand and FutureLearn could help you achieve your ambitions. 

Why study in New Zealand?

New Zealand is the top English-speaking country for preparing students for the future, according to the latest Worldwide Educating for the Future Index.

New Zealand’s world-class educational institutions are powered by experts – top researchers in their field – who focus on identifying and developing key skills to help their students thrive in industries of the future. With over 60% of university research expenditure going to departments in STEM, health, infrastructure and economics, New Zealand has cultivated a magnificent reputation as a leader in innovative solutions to global issues. 

Indeed it’s no surprise that, despite being a small country of only 5 million people, New Zealand ranks 26th in the world for innovation, 26th in the UN’s Sustainable Development Report index 2022, and 4th in Deloitte’s 2020 Social Progress Index

Graduation from a New Zealand institution also opens up exceptional career opportunities within the country itself. New Zealand rates first for international student employability, offering open work visas of up to three years for international graduates to expand their skills and grow their experience in the nation they’ve called home during their study. Also, New Zealand is especially successful when it comes to graduate outcomes for women. New Zealand tops the Women in Work Index 2022 ranking, making it the global leader in women’s economic empowerment and a place for female international graduates to have unparalleled opportunities for employment. 

With all these benefits making New Zealand a very attractive place to study,  let’s take a look at the country’s prestigious universities.

Universities in New Zealand

93% of international students say they chose to study in New Zealand because of the strong reputation of the universities. And it’s not difficult to see why! All eight of New Zealand’s universities rank within the top 3% in the world, meaning you’re not short of premier options. Plus, New Zealand is the first country in the world to adopt a code of practice for the care of international students for every university, ensuring that all students from overseas receive the highest quality education and living experience. 

Lincoln University

Seven of New Zealand’s universities are comprehensive, covering a broad range of subjects including arts, sciences, and engineering. While Lincoln University is one of the globe’s leading specialist agricultural institutions. They offer degrees across every sector in the industry, as well as courses in horticulture, viticulture, environmental conservation and landscape architecture. 

The University of Auckland

The University of Auckland is the highest ranked university in the country for academic reputation and graduate employability, featuring in the world’s top 50 for 16 subjects. It alone provides degrees in both medicine and engineering. If your interests lie in postgraduate studies, the University of Auckland is unmatched, being New Zealand’s largest research organisation, with 12,000 staff and doctoral students engaged in leading, cross-discipline research. 

University of Otago

Founded in 1869, Otago is New Zealand’s first university, enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence, and is one of only two medical schools in the country (alongside Auckland). It’s also the destination for prospective dentists, being the only New Zealand university with a school of dentistry – one which is ranked 12th in the world. 

Massey University 

Massey University is one of New Zealand’s leading research universities, and is the only institution to offer courses in aviation, nanoscience, and veterinary medicine. In fact, the degrees of its veterinary school are recognised in the United States, Australia, Canada and the UK. So it’s the university you should target for an international veterinary education, as you’ll be accredited to work across the English-speaking world.

Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington specialises in its commitment to sustainability and in governing the future. Its Wellington School of Business and Government is one of only 1% faculties worldwide that hold the triple crown of international accreditations of EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA, which means the business qualifications you receive would be recognised by the US, the UK and the European Union.

University of Canterbury

Also committed to sustainability is the University of Canterbury, which boasts a sprawling network of research stations across the world, including New Zealand’s leading astronomical facility, as well as sites in Antarctica and Nigeria. It’s the perfect place for budding scientists and engineers, receiving the most acclaim for those programmes: its civil engineering degree is even ranked 11th in the world.

University of Waikato and Auckland University of Technology

The final two universities are those which focus on creating the highest quality learner experience for students. The University of Waikato uses smaller class sizes, greater support from lecturers, and hands-on experience with potential employers to ensure students get ahead at the start of their careers. The Auckland University of Technology is rated with a maximum five stars by QS for teaching, employability, internationalisation, facilities and inclusiveness.   

As you can see, each university provides something uniquely attractive depending on your educational ambitions and the future career path you wish to follow. 

Educational organisations in New Zealand

Alongside top universities, Education New Zealand also works closely with organisations that supply a more vocational or skill-specific learning experience. Education New Zealand collaborates with the nation’s best English language providers, private training establishments (PTEs), institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs), and more. So if you’re looking for academic or professional training beyond the traditional university system, New Zealand offers the international student a vast range of first-rate tertiary education providers. 

Some of these institutions are outstanding technical, vocational and professional organisations, suchs as the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec), Otago Polytechnic, and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) .These stellar ITPs are all subsidiaries of the umbrella organisation of Te Pukenga, the world’s 35th largest tertiary education provider. While there’s also The Mind Lab, which is an innovative private graduate school providing postgraduate programmes for the constantly changing world, and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which works to present, explore, and preserve the heritage of New Zealand’s cultures with its cutting-edge learning programmes. 

Beyond being excellent destinations for international students, many of these institutions offer among the best online courses found in FutureLearn’s collection for those worldwide who want a New Zealand education. They’re just as stimulating and enriching as any other university course!

Our partnership with Education New Zealand

We’re working with Education New Zealand to deliver to you a collection of world-class online courses designed by their partner universities and educational institutions. Supported by New Zealand’s Covid Recovery and Response Fund, this collaboration aims to embrace alternative forms of education, prioritising flexible and lifelong learning. These goals also happen to be at the core of FutureLearn’s purpose to transform access to education.

With our collection of over 50 courses from 28 New Zealand institutions, you’ll have the opportunity to study online with a wide selection of expert educators and get a taste of what New Zealand’s progressive and forward-thinking education sector has to offer. 

Top online courses from New Zealand

Whether you’re looking for certification from a world-leading university or seeking to advance your career with a top technical institution, an online course from our Education New Zealand collection can help you build in-demand skills and knowledge. Here are just a few of the top courses available on FutureLearn:

Enriching curriculum through culture and heritage in Aotearoa, New Zealand by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 

Where better to begin our tour of courses than with an expert education provider that embodies the history of New Zealand? The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has created a new course that sees you explore how cultural and heritage organisations can enhance teaching and learning practices. 

The course is especially suitable for teachers who are looking to incorporate multicultural learning into their practice. It’s a masterclass in best practice in culturally responsive education from a world leader in the field. By the end of the course, you’ll understand both how New Zealand enriches learners by infusing the country’s heritage into the curriculum and how to use this model to develop engaging, culturally sensitive programmes for the classroom.

Smart Cities: Social Change Through Technology by the University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury offers an innovative course on New Zealand’s inspirational smart city projects, examining how they can serve as templates for future sustainable urban development around the world. You’ll explore the infrastructure of New Zealand’s smart cities, discover how they use data insights to manage resources more efficiently, and understand how they can drive social change. 

New Zealand is one of the world’s leading nations in implementing smart city design principles. The University of Canterbury is also based in Christchurch, which underwent a digital reinvention following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, imbuing the institution with a unique expertise in smart city development. So this course provides you with the opportunity to learn with leaders in the field about sustainable smart city practices and how to apply them both to your own life and to your community. 

Leading Beyond Sustainability by The Mind Lab

Our collection features a number of accredited courses, all recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, including The Mind Lab’s Leading Beyond Sustainability microcredential. This is an eight-week course from one of New Zealand’s most progressive education providers, during which you’ll learn how to apply sustainability strategies from a position of leadership. 

You’ll dive deep into diverse approaches to the key social, economic and environmental issues of our time underpinned by indigenous values, and learn about sustainability directly from indigenous leaders: a unique insight into sustainability available only with a New Zealand education. Whether you’re already in a leadership position or you aspire to one, this microcredential will help you develop in-demand skills to drive sustainable change in your organisation or community. 

Introduction to Emergency Management by Massey University

A four-week course delivered by Massey University and the Joint Centre for Disaster Research, this programme teaches you the basics of emergency management. This forward-thinking course equips learners with the knowledge of how to prepare for, manage and recover from emergencies such as natural disasters.

This course is designed for anyone interested in reducing the risks associated with such disasters, and it’s especially important for those who live on a fault line or near a natural hazard, as well as for those involved in local governments and emergency services. You’ll engage with internationally recognised emergency management experts, including many of those who have responded to emergencies such as the Canterbury earthquake of 2011. So by the end of this course, you’ll have the expertise to prepare your workplace or community to provide the most effective response to emergencies. 

Learn English Through TV Drama Series: Skipper’s Pass, by Chasing Time English

This one’s really popular with our learners. Want to improve your English language skills? All you need to do is watch a thrilling TV drama… 

Chasing Time English is a unique organisation consisting of English language educators, expert linguists and professional filmmakers. They are global leaders in producing original, live-action video resources for English language education. And this course has been meticulously designed to guide you through grammar and vocabulary activities in between each short episode of the drama, allowing you to grow in confidence when using English. 

Data Mining with Weka by the University of Waikato

Being able to turn data into useful information is swiftly becoming one of the most coveted career skills in the world, and this course introduces you to practical data mining using the popular Weka workbench. Weka actually originated in the University Of Waikato, so no course is better poised to teach you the ins and outs of data mining on the platform. 

The course is perfect for anyone looking to grow their tech skills and start a career in data. You’ll receive plenty of expert guidance and practical experience in mining data during the course; and by the end, you’ll feel confident in identifying patterns and relationships found in data sets to help solve business problems. Once you’ve completed this introductory course, the University of Waikato offers intermediate-level and advanced programmes to guide you towards becoming an expert in the data mining software.

Begin your New Zealand education today

Thanks to our partners at Education New Zealand, whether you plan to study abroad or earn credits online, a New Zealand education offers you a clear path to achieving your learning and career goals. As an international student, you’re truly valued in New Zealand, with an abundance of job opportunities available to you in the country post graduation. 

To start your educational journey with New Zealand, check out our general course collection, our English language learning course collection, and our professional development course collection. 

Related stories on FutureLearn

FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now