> Login
forgot your password?

University of Canterbury


When established in 1873, Canterbury College, as the University was originally known, was only the second university in New Zealand. Housed in graceful stone buildings on a central city block, it was dependent for survival on rents from high country farms with which it had been endowed by the Canterbury Provincial Council.

It was set up on the Oxbridge model with one major difference: women students were admitted from the start. An early graduate, Helen Connon, became the first woman in the then British Empire to win honours.

Ernest Rutherford, Canterbury’s most distinguished graduate, studied at the University in the 1890s. He discovered his own scientific ability during a year of postgraduate research before taking up a scholarship to Cambridge. A contemporary of Rutherford, Apirana Ngata of Ngati Porou, was the first Maori graduate from any New Zealand university. The portraits of these two men, respectively, grace the nation’s NZ0 and NZ bank notes.

For most of its first 100 years the University was situated in the centre of Christchurch (now the Arts Centre). By 1975 it had completed its move to a spacious purpose-built 76 hectare site in the suburb of Ilam, 7km from the old city site. It comprises a central complex of libraries, lecture theatres, laboratories and staff accommodation surrounded by playing fields, woodlands and the renowned Ilam Gardens. On 1 January 2007 the neighbouring Christchurch College of Education, the second oldest teachers' training college in New Zealand, merged with the University and became UC's sixth College/School.

Canterbury offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in some 50 disciplines, from accountancy to zoology. It has a number of specialist research centres and operates five major field stations at Kaikoura, Mt John (University Observatory), Cass, Westport and Harihari. Locally, six halls of residence provide board for up to 2,000 students.

Some 12,000 students are enrolled and each year about 3,000 students graduate, 650 of them with higher degrees. The University has retained links with the old town site, now home to the Christchurch Arts Centre, using it as the starting point for graduation processions each year.

Christchurch is the largest city in New Zealand's South Island. It lies on the coastal edge of the Canterbury Plains close to both the sea and the mountains. The University's modern and well-equipped facilities are spread across a spacious suburban campus, with easy access to the centre of the city and its cultural and recreational facilities. The University is situated in a spacious landscaped campus in the suburb of Ilam, only 15 minutes from the central city and 10 minutes from the International Airport.

Academic programmes
The University offers first degrees in Arts( Humanities and Social Sciences) Commerce (Business and Economics), Education (Physical Education),Engineering, Fine Arts, Forestry, Law ,Music, Science, Speech and Language Therapy, Sport Coaching and Teaching (Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary).

Postgraduate courses range from graduate and post-graduate diplomas, to Masters degrees based on a combination of course work and research, and purely research-based doctorates.

International students
The University of Canterbury has been host to thousands of international students over a period of more than 40 years. Currently there are over 2,000 international students from 70 countries enrolled in a wide variety of programmes. In addition, many of New Zealand's permanent residents of international origin attend university. This makes for a lively, interesting and cosmopolitan university community.

Possible Scholarships at the University of Canterbury

Antarctic Studies with University of Canterbury Christchurch

Study at the University of Canterbury

Teaching at the University is research-based. All academic staff are expected to be involved in research and publishing. As a result even undergraduate students can expect to be taught by lecturers who are at the forefront of knowledge in their subject. Teaching and supervision up to PhD level is available in most disciplines.

At the University of Canterbury we will provide you with the opportunities and support to help you reach your academic goals. The University offers more than one hundred different subjects and courses offered in six academic fields of study: Commerce, Engineering, Law, Education, Liberal Arts and Science.

You will be able to graduate with a qualification that is not only of the highest academic quality but also excites you. ‘

English Language Courses
Our English language courses will prepare you for academic study at Foundation, Undergraduate and Postgraduate degree level. We encourage you to take an internationally recognised English language test, such as IELTS, before applying, however it is not required as we are able to test your level upon arrival.

Foundation Studies
Depending on your previous studies, we may ask you to take some courses to help you succeed in your degree programme. The Certificate in Foundation Studies programme enables you to meet academic and English language requirements for most of our degree programmes. You will develop your English language and study skills as well as gain an introduction to subjects in your chosen academic field.

Undergraduate Qualifications
Our general undergraduate degrees are flexible three-year degrees that allow you to study a wide range of subjects, while specialising in your major subject. Specialist undergraduate degrees take three or four years to complete and prepare you for a specific field through a structured course selection.

Graduate Qualifications
Our graduate diplomas provide an opportunity for you to acquire substantial knowledge in a particular subject in a relatively short time, typically not in your previous field of study. They can be taken as a way of meeting the prerequisites for further postgraduate study, for developing your interests and for enhancing your employment prospects.

Postgraduate Qualifications
Our research-based honours and masters degrees and postgraduate diplomas are offered in wide range of subjects and take between one to two years to complete. The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is also offered and this normally requires three years of full-time academic research.