Otamatea High School
Otamatea High School


Universities, Polytechnics and other Tertiary Education Providers


Universities are "places of higher learning". A student has to finish secondary education (high school) and gain university entrance grades. to study at a university. People go to universities to gain a Bachelors degree and then perhaps go on to gain higher degrees, the highest being a doctoral degree. People who have gained a degree are called graduates.


Polytechnics focus more on career preparation. It is also for people who have finished secondary education (high school), although you can go into courses often without gaining university entrance degrees and even with NCEA level 2. Polytechnics award diplomas on NCEA levels 5 to 7 and certificates on level 3 and 4. Examples are NorthTec, Unitec, Manukau Institute of Technology and others further away.

Other tertiary education providers

These places usually focus on a specific career area, such as MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand); Whitecliffe, who focuses on all fine arts and also fashion; Serville, a hairdressing and beauty school; NZ Welding School, Auckland Seafood School, QRC in Paihia on Hospitality and Tourism, and many more.

Information about all these universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions are available in The Hub and displayed in the Library foyer.

University Entrance

You need NCEA Level 3 with 14 credits in each of 3 Approved Subjects and University Entrance Literacy 10 credits - 5 reading 5 writing

Rank score

This is a calculation transferring your Merits and Excellences from NCEA level 3 to points which are then counted up. Some university courses expects you to have at least a certain rank score and others use the rank score to select the students who are allowed into a course. If you have a certain rank score you may have a guaranteed place into some courses at certain universities. Use google and search for the Rank score calculator of the University you are interested in going to.

Degree language

Scholarship - An amount of money some organisation is willing to pay you to help pay for your studies, living expenses

Prerequisites - Something that is required before you can be allowed before you do something else. For instance you need Mathematics for BCom

Major - The subject in your degree that you specialise in and take for all three years. This subject makes up about a third of your degree. An example is a BA majoring in English, a BSc majoring in Ecology, or a BComm majoring in Marketing. In most degrees you can take two majors. In some degrees the majors are preset and you have to take them and in other degrees you have a very wide choice.

Minor - Another subject in your degree which gives you lesser specialisation and which you take for than more than one year.

Conjoint degree - A specialised double degree programme that allows students to complete two three-year degrees within four years of full-time study. The time taken is shorter than a double degree and requires a good level of academic progress to stay in this programme.

Paper - A part of a university subject that you do for one semester or one year and get university credits for towards your degree. Another definition: A named set of lectures, tutorials, labs or field trips which gives credit towards a degree.

Semester - Half a year of academic study. Papers are these days often only 1 semester long.

Subject / Course - Both words used for an area of study such as History or Accounting or Genetics

Lecture - Time spent in a classroom or hall where a lecturer teaches for a period of time such as an hour.

GPA - Grade Point Average - The Grade Point Average (GPA) calculations are done for each semester at university and cumulatively for your entire programme and is used to determine entry into honours and masters degrees.

Undergraduate: First degree usually taking 3, sometimes 4 years to comlete. NCEA level 7
Honours: An extra year’s study after you graduated with your degree. NCEA level 8
Masters: A higher level degree taking 2-3 years to complete. NCEA level 9
Doctoral: The highest level degree taking 3-5 years to complete. NCEA level 10

Open Days at Tertiary Institutions

All tertiary institutions hold open days for students to visit the campus and the halls of residence, if they have any. Students need to make plans for attending these open days themselves. Dates for these days are advertised on the particular websites, on posters around school, in the Careers calendar and in the Daily Notices.

The University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology hold their days on the same date and there is a free bus running from Dargaville for students and parents to use. You have to register for the open day to take advantage of the bus.