Entry requirements for tertiary engineering qualifications

What do you need to achieve at school to get into the four main engineering qualifications in New Zealand? This page provides an overview of the entry criteria for certificates, diplomas and degrees in engineering. Each polytech, institute of technology and university sets its own entry criteria, so you will need to check with your chosen tertiary provider.

The requirements for Maths, Physics and literacy achievements generally reflect the minimum level that you need in order to have a reasonable chance of success in the course.

National Certificates in Engineering

Entry requirements for certificates in engineering vary widely, so you will need to check with the polytech or institute of technology where you intend to study.

Some Level 2 pre-trade certificates have open entry. Others require NCEA Level 1 with 8-12 credits in each of literacy (such as English or Te Reo) and numeracy (Maths). Science and Technology subjects are also highly recommended.

Certificates in Engineering >>

Learn more about Industry Training Organisations >>

New Zealand Diploma in Engineering

Generally you will need 48 Level 2 NCEA credits in four subjects, including 12 credits in each of Maths (particularly Algebra and Calculus) and Physics. You may also need 8 literacy credits at NCEA Level 1 or higher. Check with your chosen polytech or institute of technology as they may have different entry requirements.

Studying Technology subjects will help develop you to develop practical skills, learn about design and prototyping processes and learn to work in a team. Subjects such as English and Te Reo that develop communication skills are also recommended.

Some polytechnics and institutes of technology offer pre-engineering diploma bridging programmes, which can help you to improve your maths, science and writing skills.

New Zealand Diploma in Engineering >>

Bachelor of Engineering Technology

In general you will need 42 to 60 credits at NCEA Level 3, including at least 14 credits in each of Physics and Calculus or Algebra.

Mostly polytechs and institutions of technology offer the Bachelor of Engineering Technology (and AUT). Some require you to have achieved University Entrance and others just specify NCEA Level 3, so you will need to check with your chosen teriary provider.

Technology subjects such as Materials Technology, Design and Visual Communication and Digital Technologies are strongly recommended as preparation for studying engineering, as are subjects such as English and Te Reo that develop communication skills.

There are a range of different bridging courses for students who don't have the necessary credits in Maths and Physics. These may be taught during the summer or offered as a Certificate in Foundation Studies.

Another option is to enrol in a New Zealand Diploma in Engineering, which you can cross-credit to a degree. You could complete both qualifications in less than four years.

Bachelor of Engineering Technology >>

Find out more about bridging courses >>

Bachelor of Engineering

The minimum requirement for entry into Bachelor of Engineering degrees is University Entrance, including 14-18 credits at NCEA Level 3 in each of Calculus and Physics. For specialisations such as Chemical, Materials and Process Engineering you will need 14-16 NCEA Level 3 credits in Chemistry.

Technology subjects such as Materials Technology, Design and Visual Communication and Digital Technologies are strongly recommended as preparation for studying engineering, as are subjects such as English and Te Reo that develop communication skills.

Entry into the Bachelor of Engineering can be competitive. At some universities, the first or 'intermediate' year is open to all students with the minimum requirements and the selection for the three 'professional' years is based on achievement in first-year courses.

Other universities have a higher admission requirement for the first year of the degree. For example, to get into the Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Auckland you'll need a Rank Score of 260 (roughly an average of Merit or more in your 80 best NCEA Level 3 credits), 17 external NCEA Level 3 credits in Calculus, 16 external NCEA Level 3 credits in Physics and at least 17 credits in English at either Level 2 or 3.

We recommend that you check with the institution where you would like to study or talk to your careers advisor.

If you don't have the necessary credits in Maths and Physics, you may be able to catch up via a bridging course.

Alternatively, you could start with a New Zealand Diploma in Engineering or Bachelor of Engineering Technology, and cross-credit your courses towards a Bachelor of Engineering.

Bachelor of Engineering >>

Find out more about bridging courses >>

<< Back to engineering qualifications pathway diagram

Not sure how a diploma differs from a degree?

And what is University Entrance anyway and is it the same as NCEA Level 3? What does undergraduate mean, and is graduate the same as postgraduate? How do Honours degrees work? It's natural to be confused, so we've written a short guide to the different tertiary qualifications offered by New Zealand's universities, polytechnics and institutes of technology.

Futureintech's guide to tertiary qualifications >>

Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation

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