University Entrance

All of the following need to be obtained to qualify for entrance to university in New Zealand:

  • NCEA Level 3 (at least 60 credits at Level 3)
  • at least 14 credits in EACH of 3 UE (University Entrance) Approved subjects (see table below)
  • UE Literacy – made up of: 5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing (from Level 2 English or limited Level 3 subjects)
  • UE Numeracy – 10 numeracy credits, made up of: Achievement standards (NCEA Level 1) OR all of these 3 unit standards: 26623, 26626 and 26627.

Many of you will gain the literacy credits in Year 12 English. If you do not, you need to ensure that you achieve them in Year 13 where they are available in a limited range of subjects. If you have any doubts about this, discuss your literacy credits with someone in the Careers Department.

Once you have met the requirements for University Entrance it will appear on your Record of Achievement.

University Approved subjects at Level 3 offered at WGHS:

AccountingDesign and Visual CommunicationFood and NutritionPhysics
Art PaintingDigital TechnologiesGeographyPrimary Industries
Art PhotographyDramaHealth EducationProduct and Design Technology
BiologyEarth and Space ScienceHistoryPsychology
CalculusEconomicsHistory of ArtSpanish
Classical StudiesEnglishMathematics 
(Statistics and/or Stats & Probability)
Social Studies with Media Studies
ChemistryEnterprise (Business Studies)MusicTe Reo Maori
Dance  Environmental ScienceOutdoor Education (mix of Unit & Achievement Standards)Textiles and Fashion Technology
Design (Practical Art)FrenchPhysical Education

If you typically pass all your assessments, you should be on track to achieve UE in Year 13 if you take 4 UE approved subjects, and 1 non-UE approved subject. If now and then you get a "not achieved", OR if you plan to study at the University of Auckland (who require higher rank scores - see below) or a limited entry programme such as health sciences, engineering or architecture, then taking 5 UE approved subjects is strongly recommended.

Check the NZQA website to see that the standards you achieve do belong to these approved subjects.  Courses that are university approved are shown in the relevant Level 3 subjects. If in doubt about your course - CHECK.  From the course selection tool, you will be able to see how you will gain 14 credits from these subjects along with NCEA Level 3 for University Entrance.

The requirements for University Entrance may not be sufficient for acceptance into a particular programme. Check out the criteria online, talk to the university liaison staff or our school Careers Advisors to make sure that you know specific entry requirements for the programme(s) you are planning to apply for. These can vary between universities. For restricted entry courses your best chance of being accepted is to ensure you have as many Excellence and Merit grades as possible in your best 80 credits.

Rank Scores

Some universities require a certain rank score for their programmes. Calculate your rank score by looking at your best 80 credits from Level 3 across no more than 6 subjects:

  1. Count up your total Excellence credits. Multiply by 4 points
  2. Count up your total Merit credits. Multiply by 3 points.
  3. Count up the number of Achieved credits (ensure you don't count more than 80 total credits). Multiply by 2 points.
  4. Add up your total points.

Rank Scores from NCEA Level 2 for Scholarships

It is important to aim for Merit, or even better, Excellence endorsement overall in Year 12. A high Level 2 rank score is important for increasing your chances of being awarded a school leaver tertiary scholarship before you finish Year 13. School leaver scholarships are awarded before the end of your final year of school, so scholarship committees look at the previous full academic year to gauge your likely level of achievement.

Entry Criteria at NZ universities (for limited entry programmes)

as at July 2021

University of Auckland

NZ Secondary School applicants entry criteria & rank scores
The University of Auckland requires 17 English credits from Level 2 and/or Level 3

Rank Scores

  • Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) – 280
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) | Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) – 260
  • Bachelor of Health Science – 250
  • Bachelor of Architectural Studies | Bachelor of Nursing – 230
  • Bachelor of Global Studies – 210
  • Bachelor of Science (Food Science & Nutrition) – 200
  • Bachelor of Commerce | Bach of Design | Bach of Planning | Bach of Urban Planning (Honours) – 180
  • Bachelor of Science – 165


  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) | Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) – 275
  • Bachelor of Health Science – 250
  • Bachelor of Nursing – 230
  • all other conjoints – 210


  • Bachelor of Health Science | Bachelor of Nursing – 18 credits English-rich, 18 credits Biology or Chemistry or Physics
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) – 17 external Calculus + 16 external Physics

Architecture – portfolio 

Bachelor of Music (Creative Practice) | Bachelor of Dance Studies – audition


Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) – UE + at least 14 L3 credits in each of calculus & physics

Bachelor of Health Science – strongly recommend at least 2 sciences, but not required. Competitive entry into specialist clinical areas - based on grades in common first semester.

Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Science conjoint | Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Computer & Information Science conjoint – UE + NCEA L3 with Merit endorsement

Bachelor of Design | Bachelor of Visual Arts | Bachelor of Architecture & Future Environments – portfolio



Bachelor of Animal Science – recommended to have at least 14 L3 credits in each of Biology & Chemistry + at least 16 L2 Maths credits from these standards: 91256, 91257, 91258, 91259, 91260, 91261, 91262, 91269.

Bachelor of Aviation – at least 14 L3 credits in an English-rich subject (broad range); at least 14 L3 credits in each of Calculus & Physics; pass the online ADAPT test; complete a trial flight; obtain class 1 medical certificate, pass FPP assessment.

Bachelor of Commercial Music (Music Practice) – audition

Bachelor of Design (Honours) – submit portfolio; gain automatic entry if overall Merit or Excellence endorsement in L2.

Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) – recommended to have 16 L3 Maths credits including at least 2 of 91577 (Algebra), 91578 (Differentiation), 91579 (Integration) + at least 16 L3 credits in Physics (+ at least 14 L3 credits in Chemistry for Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering major)

Bachelor of Food Technology (Hons) – recommended to have 16 L3 Maths credits including at least 2 of 91577 (Algebra), 91578 (Differentiation), 91579 (Integration) + at least 16 L3 credits in Physics + at least 14 L3 credits in Chemistry

Bachelor of Nursing – at least 14 L3 credits in one of Biology / Chemistry / Physics.

Bachelor of Veterinary Science – at least 14 L3 credits in each Biology & Chemistry; at least 14 L2 credits in Maths or Physics; complete observation / work experience in a veterinary clinic prior to application.



Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences (Honours) 

  • Maths papers – 16 L3 credits in Calculus including 91577, 91578, 91579
  • Statistics papers – 18 L2 Maths credits OR 14 L3 credits in Maths or Statistics or Calculus

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

  • Civil / Electrical & Electronics / Mechanical / Mechatronics – 16 L3 credits in Calculus + 14 L3 credits in Physics
  • Chemical & Biological / Environmental / Material & Process – 16 L3 credits in Calculus + 16 L3 credits in Chemistry + 14 L3 credits in Physics
  • Software – 16 L3 credits in Calculus

Bachelor of Health (Biomedical Science) – 16 L3 credits in Chemistry

Bachelor of Health (all majors) – strongly recommended to take L3 Biology & L3 Statistics

Bachelor of Music – 14 L3 credits in Music OR 20 L2 credits in Music

Bachelor of Science | Bachelor of Science (Technology)

  • Chemistry papers – 6 L3 credits in Chemistry
  • Mathematics papers – 16 L3 credits in Calculus (incl. at least 11 credits from 91577, 91578, 91579)
  • Statistics papers – 14 L3 credits from Maths or Calculus or Statistics, OR 18 L2 credits in Mathematics

Waikato summary of entry criteria
Waikato NCEA prerequisites 2020 


Victoria University of Wellington guaranteed entry scores 

  • Bachelor of Architectural Studies | Bach of Building Science – Guaranteed Entry Score of 180 points + 14 L3 credits in each of 2 of Calculus / Statistics / Physics; no portfolio required
  • All other degrees – Guaranteed Entry Score of 150 points

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) | Bachelor of Science (Computer Science | Computer Graphics | Electronic & Computer Systems) – 16 L3 credits in Mathematics

Bachelor of Midwifery – 18 L3 credits in Biology or Chemistry or Physics + 16 L3 credits in English / Classics / Economics / Geography / History / Media Studies + 16 L3 credits in each of 2 UE approved subjects + 16 L2 credits in Biology + 16 credits in L2 Chemistry or Physics

Victoria University of Wellington Course Planning


Canterbury Admission & University Entrance
Canterbury - programmes with limited entry / requiring special applications / deadlines

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) – 14 L3 credits in Calculus (including differentiation & integration) + 14 L3 credits in Physics + 14 L3 credits in Chemistry (for some majors); 18 L3 credits strongly recommended in each subject.

Bachelor of Fine Arts – L3 Visual Arts in 1 or more subjects + a portfolio

Bachelor of Forestry Science – recommended to have L3 Biology + L3 Maths with Statistics & Probability

Bachelor of Music – strongly recommended to have L2 or L3 Music; performance courses require Audition

Bachelor of Product Design – strongly recommended at least 14 L2 credits in each of Science & Maths; 14 L3 Chemistry credits for Chemical Formulation Design major.


On the Lincoln qualifications list, click each bachelors degree to the left, then you will see entry requirements on the right hand side. All require University Entrance only.


Otago Required & Recommended Background Subjects

Bachelor of Dental Technology – 14 L3 credits in two subjects from Science, Maths or Technology

Bachelor of Oral Health – 14 L3 credits in Biology

Bachelor of Radiation Therapy – 16 L3 credits in Physics or Biology + 16 L3 credits in Maths or Calculus or Statistics + 16 L3 credits in English or Te Reo Maori or History or Art History or Classics or Geography.

Health Sciences First Year – strongly recommended to have L3 Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Statistics, English-rich.