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Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Engineering, International Studies, Language Studies

University of Canterbury offers a comprehensive range of courses, including several that you’re unlikely to come across in the US, such as Maori language and culture; Antarctic Studies; and courses in New Zealand and Pacific literature, history, and politics. The university has strong programs in STEM areas, such computer science and civil engineering. Whichever courses you choose, you’ll study alongside Kiwi students.

Unique study opportunities

  • Many classes in the sciences include field studies around the South Island in the semester 1/UC Fall mid-semester break.
  • There is some opportunity for independent undergraduate research with one-on-one supervision from professors in the areas of biology, physics, and chemistry.
  • Take a service learning course (CHCH 101) to engage in the community and design a project that focuses on the role of social innovation in strengthening communities.
  • Experience a project-based course (INOV 290: Enterprise in Practice) through the Centre for Entrepreneurship and gain hands on experience working for a local social enterprise or start up venture.


Language of Instruction: English

Foreign language study is available.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: 4 courses for a total of 24 quarter/16 semester UC units each semester.
  • You may take up to one-third (33%) of your total units for pass/no pass.

Current Program Courses

You will finalize your study plans and register for classes after arrival with assistance from UCEAP. In addition to regular university courses, research and internships for academic credit are also an option in this program. Before you enroll in courses, you’ll review the calendar, restrictions, and prerequisites for all courses to ensure success.

Course Restrictions

Courses restricted for UC students may include:

  • Fine Arts (studio art) courses
  • 200-level Law courses
  • Distance learning courses
  • Teacher Education courses
  • Clinical practice courses

Note: Some courses will require you to have the necessary prerequisites before enrolling.

Catalogs and resources

Academic culture

To help you acclimate to campus life and culture, here are key differences between UC and New Zealand academic culture:

  • The New Zealand semester is longer and has a slower pace than the UC semester or quarter.
  • Students address local lecturers and tutors informally by their first name.
  • Similar to UC, the main forms of teaching are lectures (50-500+ students), tutorials (10-25 students), seminars (30+ students; half lecture, half tutorial), and labs/practicals.
  • All lectures are recorded—beware of waiting until the last minute to watch them.
  • In New Zealand, students are expected to be independent and show initiative. Instructors won't chase you down if you miss classes or assignments.
  • Assignments tend to require heavy research and critical analysis.
  • You’ll need to use New Zealand English for assignments.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework.

Most courses will be assessed by a combination of coursework and a final written exam. Most assessment is due toward the end of the semester. In a semester, it is not uncommon to have your first assignment due in Week 6 and not receive any grades back until Week 8. Finals may be very heavily weighted (40-80% of your final grade). There is usually a study week (called swot vac) between the last week of the semester and the start of the exam period.

Grades for the fall semester are typically available mid-January to mid-February, and grades for the spring semester are typically available mid-August to mid-September.