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Study Foundation and Bridging today

New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3)

Are you keen to start your tertiary education but didn’t complete high school, or haven’t gained enough credits for University Entrance? If you need extra academic assistance, confidence or skills to begin your tertiary studies, our Foundation and Bridging Education programmes can help you get there.

60 (0.5 EFTS)
Mt Albert, Waitākere
Start dates
February or July
Full-time for 16 weeks or part-time options available

Programme overview

Please note: While this certificate programme is not equivalent to NCEA Level 3, successful completion will allow you to progress to higher-level programmes.

The New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) will give you the confidence, knowledge, and skills you need to progress into higher education or a job. Each programme has been put together with employment pathways in mind, so you can be sure the skills you learn are relevant.

Upon successful completion, you can continue your study journey in the following subjects:

  • Architecture and architectural technology
  • Art and Design
  • Business
  • Computing
  • Construction management and quantity surveying
  • Early childhood education
  • Engineering (electrical and civil)
  • Environmental and animal sciences
  • Land surveying
  • Nursing and medical imaging
  • Screen arts, acting, and technical production
  • Social work and community development
  • Sport, exercise and recreation
  • Trades (automotive, mechanical, carpentry, plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying)

Once you've applied, we'll get in touch to find out what you want to specialise in. This will determine what courses you can choose from. 

You may be asked to complete a skills review session, which includes doing some online quizzes to check your reading, writing and maths skills and then talking with our friendly staff. The results of the skills review helps us to enrol you in the best programme and courses for your career pathway, and gives you confidence to start your study at a level you can be successful.


  • Learn in a supportive adult-learning environment: our lecturers are friendly, supportive 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, whānau hui, oral and written exercises, and self-­directed learning.
  • When you successfully complete this programme, you will be able to apply to enter other higher-level programmes.

To complete this programme you need to pass four courses, totalling 60 credits. Each course is worth 15 credits.

Please note: International students who graduate will NOT be eligible for a post-study work visa upon completion of this programme.

Youth Guarantee Scheme

If you are between 16 and 19 years old and did not achieve NCEA Level 2 at high school, you may be eligible to study for free for one year under the Youth Guarantee Scheme. We have up to 60 places available. To see if you qualify, take a look at the scholarship page here: Youth Guarantee Scheme.


In order to best prepare you for further study, the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) offers pathways designed to equip you with the skills you need to progress into your choice of higher-level programmes.

Health Science and Nursing (Waitakere campus)

This pathway is appropriate for students preparing for Nursing, Medical Imaging, Animal Sciences, Health Sciences or similar. It contains 4 compulsory courses:

  • Foundation Maths or Nursing Maths (dependent on Skills Review numeracy results).
  • Bioscience.
  • Psychology.
  • Identity & Communication.

Engineering and Surveying

The courses in this pathway are appropriate for Engineering, Construction Management, Land Surveying, Quantity Surveying or similar.  Course selection will be discussed after the Skills Review, but will likely include:

  • Physics
  • Identity & Communication
  • A maths course
  • A second maths course (highly recommended) or one elective from: Cultures in Aotearoa, Psychology, Digital Technology or Introduction to Business


Includes Art & Design, Architecture, Business, Computing, Early Childhood Education, Social Work, Trades 

Students interested in these or similar pathways, or who are not sure of their career pathway, will be offered the following:

  • Identity & Communication
  • Foundation Maths or Maths with Numeracy 
  • Plus TWO electives from Cultures in Aotearoa, Psychology, Art & Design 2D, Digital Technology or Introduction to Business.

Admission requirements

Academic requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

  1. 8 credits at NCEA Level 1 in English (4 in reading, 4 in writing);
    • If you don't have NCEA, we will also accept a relevant qualification at Level 2 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework or above or an equivalent qualification;
  2. A minimum of 3 years' secondary education;
  3. Be at least 16 years old by the time the programme begins.

English requirements

If English is your second language, you will need one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years

If you don’t meet the English criteria above, we have a range of English Language programmes available, depending on your current level of ability.

If you don’t meet these requirements, you may still apply under special or discretionary entrance.

Skills review

You may be asked to come to a Skills Review session either online or at our Mt Albert campus. During this session, we will check your current reading, writing and maths skills and will give you the opportunity to talk to our friendly academic staff about your job plans and you can find out more about what Unitec can offer you. You can book your Skills review session here.

For advice about your career and study options, contact one of our friendly advisors at our Careers Centre.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Courses Credits Aim
Foundation Maths (FSTU2910) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course is designed to meet the student at their current math level and develop confidence and understanding in the use and communication of mathematics in a variety of contexts. This includes everyday tasks and workplace contexts. It will establish and extend their foundational concepts of number and measurement needed for further learning.
Courses Credits Aim
Pathway Project (Art & Design) (FSTU3902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will enable students to apply and communicate knowledge and skills obtained in their other courses to critically respond to pathway focussed projects formulated from case studies.
Maths with Numeracy (FSTU3910) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course is designed to develop students’ confidence in thinking mathematically and to communicate mathematical principles in order to solve problems in a variety of contexts, including those of everyday life and the workplace, using a calculator where appropriate.
Introduction to Algebra (FSTU3912) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To develop students’ understanding of applying algebraic skills and algebraic thinking in a variety of representations and for them to become confident applying algebraic skills in several contexts relevant to pathway.
Nursing Maths (FSTU3913) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course is designed to extend students’ confidence and understanding of mathematics used in nursing contexts and to use mathematical thinking without a calculator in the solving and communication of contextualised problems.
Maths Algebra (FSTU3914) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course aims to develop students’ understanding of algebraic and trigonometric representations and thinking as a preparation for the levels of mathematics required by the destination pathway.
Bioscience (FSTU3921) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To develop students’ knowledge of biological processes and concepts, and their interaction with each other and the environment.
Physics (FSTU3922) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course introduces students to key concepts from Physics and teaches them how to solve real-world problems and how to communicate using discipline-specific language
Cultures in Aotearoa (FSTU3924) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will assist students in developing understandings of biculturalism and cross-culturalism in Aotearoa and enable them to develop effective ways of communicating this knowledge.
Introduction to Business (FSTU3925) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will introduce students to basic business processes and practices, develop effective communication skills relevant to a business setting and prepare students for future study
Psychology (FSTU3928) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will enable students to identify, apply and communicate psychological concepts and skills and critically respond in pathway-focussed projects.
Art & Design 2D (FSTU3931) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will develop 2 Dimensional Art & Design skills and techniques necessary for further study within a creative pathway.
Digital Technology (FSTU3933) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course is designed to introduce the student to a number of computing concepts, principles, techniques and skills needed to a produce a digital media outcome.
Identity and Communication (Art and Design) (FSTU3940) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will develop a confident learner identity and the skills necessary for further academic study in their chosen pathway.
Identity and Communication (Engineering) (FSTU3943) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will develop a confident learner identity and the skills necessary for further academic study in their chosen pathway.
Identity and Communication (Health/Science) (FSTU3944) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) Students will develop a confident learner identity and the skills necessary for further academic study in their chosen pathway.