Programme overview

This programme is no longer offered. If you have applied for this programme we will contact you about moving to the new and improved New Zealand Certificate in Career and Study Preparation (Level 3).

The Certificate in Foundation Studies (Level 3): Whitinga is a one-semester programme designed to get you ready to succeed at higher level study, and to provide a pathway into other certificate or diploma programmes. 

This means you'll study topics that prepare you for your chosen career - we specialise in various areas including: 

  • Nursing, Medical Imaging and Osteopathy
  • Engineering, Construction management and Quantity Surveying
  • Community and Social Development (including Counselling, Social Work and Youth Work)
  • Architecture and Architectural Technology
  • Visual Arts and Design
  • Early Childhood Teaching and Primary School Teaching
  • Business and Communications
  • IT and Computing
  • Vet Nursing and Animal Care
  • Police and Armed Forces
  • Sport


  • Learn in a supportive adult-learning environment: our lecturers are friendly and knowledgeable.

  • Develop the study skills, background knowledge and confidence to succeed in your future studies and in the workplace. 

  • A mix of group and individual work, seminars, debates, whanau hui, oral and written exercises, and self­directed learning.

  • When you successfully complete the Certificate in Foundation studies you will be able to apply to enter other Certificate and Diploma programmes.

  • Completing this certificate with a B- grade average guarantees you entry onto the Certificate of University Preparation (this qualification is the equivalent of University Entrance and prepares you to apply for a degree at any university, institute of technology or polytechnic in New Zealand).

    To complete the Certificate you need to pass four courses, totalling 60 credits. 45 of these credits must be at level 3. Each course is worth 15 credits.

    Youth Guarantee Scheme

    If you are between 16­ and 19 years old we have up to 60 FREE places available. To see if you qualify take a look at the Youth Guarentee scheme.

    Admission requirements

    To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the general, or the discretionary, or the special admission requirements and they must also meet any programme-specific admission requirements. Applicants must also meet the English language requirements and may be interviewed.

    Generic Admission Requirements

    General Admission

    All applicants must be at least 16 years of age on the date of the programme’s commencement for the semester in which they wish to enrol (or provide a completed Early Release Exemption form).

    For Level 3 Certificate programmes applicants must have a minimum of 3 years secondary education, OR a Unitec Certificate in Foundation Studies: Whitinga (Level 2), OR equivalent.

    Special Admission

    Applicants must have:

    1. attained the age of 20 years on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the Certificate is to commence; and
    2. provided sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a successful outcome in the qualification.

    Discretionary Admission

    In exceptional cases an applicant who does not meet the general admission requirements and who has not reached the age of 20 on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the Certificate is to commence may apply for discretionary admission.

    In assessing whether to grant discretionary admission in exceptional cases, the primary focus will be on the applicant’s level of preparedness for study at the required level.

    English Language Admission Requirements

    General English Language requirements

    Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard of English as demonstrated by a minimum of 8 credits at NCEA Level 1 in English.

    English language entry requirements for international students for whom English is not their first language:

    Applicants must have at least ONE of the following:

    a) Gained NCEA level 3 and met New Zealand university entrance requirements;

    b) Clear evidence that they satisfy one of the following criteria for existing English proficiency:

    1. Previous primary and secondary study in English as evidenced by completion of one of the following at schools with English as the language of instruction in countries with a student visa approval rate of at least 80 per cent:
      • Completion of all primary education and at least three years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13), or
      • Completion of at least five years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13)
    2. Previous tertiary study in English: clear evidence of completion of a tertiary qualification of at least three years’ duration with English as the language of instruction in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States.
    3. Achievement of the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)

    c) Achieved, within the preceding two years, at least one of the English proficiency outcomes listed below:

    1. NZ Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) (General / Workplace / Academic) (Level 3)
    2. An overall IELTS band score (Academic Format) of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5. The IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form.
    3. An overall TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT) score of 500 (essay 4 TWE) OR an overall TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) Score of 35 (writing 20)
    4. University of Cambridge English Examinations: FCE or FCE for Schools with a score of 154. No less than 154 in each skill
    5. Pearson Test of English PToE (Academic) with a score of 36.

    Programme Specific Admission Requirements

    To be admitted to this programme, applicants must also meet the requirements set out in this schedule.

    Specific Admission

    To be admitted to this programme, all applicants must meet the General, Special and Discretional requirements set out in the Certificate Generic Regulations.

    The English Language Entry Admission requirements set out in the Certificate Generic Regulations do not apply to this programme. Applicants for whom English is not their first language must have achieved an IELTS (Academic Format) of 5.5 in each band.

    In addition, the applicant will be required to complete a Bridgepoint Skills Review (refer to the Selection Process section in the Programme-Specific Regulations - Certificate in Foundation Studies (Level 3): Whitinga).

    Courses and timetables

    Full-time students can expect to be in class for about 20 hours per week, between the hours of 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.  You will also be required to study independently outside of the class.

    Your timetable will be available after your enrolment is finalised.