• Students on the UC Campus. Photo credit: The University of CanterburyStudents on the UC Campus. Photo credit: The University of Canterbury
  • Study art at the University of Canterbury. Photo credit: University of CanterburyStudy art at the University of Canterbury. Photo credit: University of Canterbury
  • Outside the Shilling Club on campus. Photo credit: The University of CanterburyOutside the Shilling Club on campus. Photo credit: The University of Canterbury
  • Using the electron microscope. Photo credit: University of CanterburyUsing the electron microscope. Photo credit: University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury (UC) was founded in 1873 by scholars from Oxford and Cambridge. It is in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand.

Christchurch lies between the South Pacific Ocean and the Southern Alps, giving students at UC access to all the amenities of a cosmopolitan, international city while allowing them to still be just a few minutes from beaches and the ocean and within an hour’s drive of alpine mountains, national parks, ski fields, rivers, and wineries.

The University has five Colleges: Engineering; Education, Health and Human Development; Arts; Science; and Business and Law.

In 2016 the Times Higher Education recognised Canterbury as the 39th most international university in the world, praising its international teaching, research and graduates’ job prospects.

What can I study?

UC’s programmes, teaching and research are all recognised internationally as being of the highest quality. In 2018, QS ranked UC in the top 1% of all universities globally, while the University’s programmes in education and civil and structural engineering both ranked in the world’s top 100. UC’s programmes in English language and literature; law; accounting and finance; earth and marine sciences; geography; and linguistics all rank in the top 150 worldwide.

Studying at the University gives students from all over the world the opportunity to gain a world class education and a potential pathway to a global career. Several UC programmes have UK professional accreditation, including all those taught by the Faculty of Engineering. All UC’s engineering degrees are accredited by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), a signatory member of the Washington Accord. UC degrees are therefore recognised in all signatory countries, which include the UK, the USA and Australia.

Education graduates (early childhood, primary and secondary) can receive registration in the UK, provided they attain full Qualified Teacher Status in New Zealand. The Bachelor of Speech and Language Therapy is also fully accredited in the UK.

Studying at UC also opens up opportunities to stay in New Zealand and work afterward. Graduating with a degree from the University of Canterbury makes students eligible to apply for a year of work rights in New Zealand and many international students spend time after graduating developing and building on their education by working in New Zealand.

Students come to the University of Canterbury from all over the world and quickly find campus life engaging, with world quality research, teaching facilities and a welcoming, inclusive community that involves over 120 clubs and societies. The University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) provides entertainment, events and student support.

Living in Christchurch

Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city and the economic and cultural centre of the South Island. It has the highest economic growth rate in New Zealand and one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates. The city has an entrepreneurial spirit and many international students nd work to establish their talents within the city’s vibrant community.

Christchurch is a great place for urban life, with cafés and shopping districts throughout the city, but it is also renowned for its outdoor lifestyle. Hagley Park, near the city centre, is home to the Botanic Gardens, public sports fields, tennis courts and a public golf course. The park is used throughout summer for public concerts and festivals, and the redeveloped Hagley Oval played host to matches in the Cricket World Cup. Christchurch has surf beaches on its eastern side and is close to the ski fields of the Southern Alps; Akaroa, New Zealand’s only French settlement; the thermal pools at Hanmer Springs and many wineries.

Christchurch is the one of the most navigable of New Zealand’s cities with a large, bus-based local transport system and designated cycle paths throughout the city. Christchurch International Airport is the gateway to the South Island.

As Christchurch moves forward it needs talented, entrepreneurial and creative international students and graduates. Joining the UC family provides opportunities to become a member of a vibrant student body and an exciting community full of prospects. 

Flagship undergraduate degrees

Sport coaching

UC offers a Bachelor in Sport Coaching which seeks to train students for life in a sporting environment but also to inspire them to learn from their sporting background and become team players and leaders in the world of business and innovation. Several members of the New Zealand All Blacks have already enrolled in this programme, with a desire to extend their sporting leadership and business acumen into the wider community.  You can find out more about the Bachelor of Sport Coaching here.


Undergraduate engineers can choose from nine professional disciplines at UC:

  • Chemical and process engineering
  • Mechanical engineering 
  • Electrical and electronic engineering
  • Mechatronics
  • Software engineering
  • Computer engineering
  • Forest engineering
  • Natural resources engineering
  • Civil engineering

As an integral part of the degree students must spend 100 days on a practical work placement, often within large international engineering companies, giving them invaluable real-world experience.

Speech and language therapy

The Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology, a degree accredited in the UK, equips students for a professional education in what is a highly mobile and developing field. Students gain first hand practical knowledge in laboratories and during field work, including working with speech and language therapists all over New Zealand and around the world.

Taught postgraduate options

In 2017 UC launched an exciting new range of postgraduate programmes, to which the response has been fantastic. Taught masters, postgraduate and graduate diplomas are offered in academic areas from across the University’s five colleges.

The new courses, which include the Master of Financial Engineering, the Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Applied Data Science, and the Master of International Relations and Diplomacy, are all accompanied by generous Dean’s Awards of around NZ$3,000.

Many of the new programmes have an internship or project embedded as an integral part of the course and in some cases enable a change of career direction as they may not require applicants to have a background in the same field of study. These courses are a select sample of the many study options on offer at UC and have been specifically designed to address some of New Zealand’s and Christchurch’s short and long term skills shortages.

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