Certificate of University Preparation

How to apply

To apply for the Certificate of University Preparation, visit the University of Waikato website and follow the University's application process.

This one-trimester programme is for students who have a New Zealand secondary school qualification but need additional academic preparation to meet the entry requirements for their chosen degree at the University of Waikato.

The Certificate of University Preparation programme is a university bridging course designed to help you meet the entry requirements for your chosen degree at the University of Waikato.

If you need additional academic preparation, or you are seeking a career change, then this programme will give you the confidence you need for your university degree.

In 2022, we will be offering a $2,500 CUP bursary for new applicants. This bursary is available to domestic students who successfully complete CUP and go on to enrol full-time in an undergraduate degree programme at the University of Waikato, in the next available intake. Find out more here.

Why choose the Certificate of University Preparation programme?

  • A pathway to most undergraduate degrees at the University of Waikato.
  • Recognised by all New Zealand universities.
  • Develop the skills you need for university, including research, essay writing, time management and critical thinking.
  • Access to full student services and facilities on the University of Waikato campus.
  • Join a welcoming community.
  • Experience electives in your chosen discipline.
Entry requirements Visit entry requirements page
Duration 1 trimester
Start dates Trimester A – February
Trimester B – July
Trimester C – November
Location Hamilton

Course planner

As a full-time student, you will study around 17 hours of class and 20 hours of self-directed study a week. There is also an option to study part time, with approval.

During the programme, you will take a total of four papers: two compulsory and two electives (listed below).

  • Compulsory papers

    All papers are available in Trimester A, B or C.

    • FOUND001 Academic Essentials
    • FOUND002 Foundations of Critical Thought
  • Elective papers

    Any two elective papers are required.

    • FOUND003 Foundations of Arts
    • FOUND004 Foundations of Social Sciences
    • FOUND005 Foundations of Business
    • FOUND007 Foundations of Calculus
    • FOUND008 Foundations of Mathematics and Statistics
    • FOUND009 Foundations of Biology
    • FOUND010 Foundations of Chemistry
    • FOUND011 Foundations of Physics
    • FOUND012 Foundations of Science
    • FOUND014 Foundations of Business Financials
    • FOUND015 Foundations of Health


Successful completion of the Certificate of University Preparation programme will enable you to progress to any New Zealand university and most undergraduate degrees at the University of Waikato.

How to apply

For more information and to apply, visit the University of Waikato website.

Ranked at 375 out of the world's best 1,000 universities

QS World University Rankings 2021

CUP programme survey result

97.5% of the survey group indicated they received good, very good or excellent preparation for degree study.

80% and 73% respectively considered the core papers, Introduction to Study Skills and Introduction to Critical Thought and Expression, are either very good or excellent in terms of usefulness.

95% of the surveyed group felt their tutors did everything they could to help them succeed in the CUP programme.

(Certificate of University Preparation programme survey 2020)