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Programme list > Certificate in Foundation Studies

Certificate in Foundation Studies


Successful completion of this qualification will give you admission to New Zealand universities and prepare you for undergraduate study.

  • Level

  • Sub degree, NZQF Level 4
  • Campus

  • Auckland, Manawatū, Wellington
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • Credits

  • 120
  • Duration

  • 1 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
  • International

  • Available for international students studying in NZ
  • Other

  • Distance learning available for Domestic students only.
    Creative Arts pathway available at Wellington only.
    You can take a maximum of two courses (30 credits) in Summer School.

Note: The Science pathway and Creative Arts pathway of this programme may have an on-campus or in-person requirement and therefore requires that students submit a current My Vaccine Pass on enrolment.

Why do the Certificate in Foundation Studies?

If you have not met the academic requirements for admission to University, you can apply to enrol in the Certificate in Foundation Studies. This programme will not only enable you to gain university entrance, but will also prepare you for undergraduate study.

On successful completion of the Certificate, you will be eligible for admission to unrestricted undergraduate programmes at Massey University and other New Zealand universities. If you are intending to take an undergraduate degree with additional subject or portfolio requirements, you should contact us for advice, through the Enquire button on this page.

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission


To enter the Certificate in Foundation Studies you will:

  • have completed NCEA Level 2, or equivalent, and
  • have a minimum IELTS score of 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.0 in each band or equivalent, if English is not your first language.

As well as meeting the academic requirements, you will have English language proficiency of IELTS 5.5 with a minimum of 5.0 in each band, or equivalent.

International students

Eligible students with an intended pathway to College of Creative Arts programmes are permitted to enrol in the Creative Arts pathway within the Certificate in Foundation Studies qualification.

Students with intended pathways to other undergraduate programmes will need to gain admission via this programme:

  • Foundation Certificate (International) ( full year)

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you do not have the entry requirements

Your offer of place will provide you with a pre-degree pathway suitable to your next programme of study.

You may need help with English Language skills.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

120 credits

  • Compulsory courses – 60 credits
  • Pathway courses – 60 credits

Courses for this programme

Schedule A: Core courses

192040 Academic Language and Writing 1 15
192041 Academic Language and Writing 2 15
192042 Study Skills and Strategies 15
192043 Critical Academic Skills 15

Schedule B: Specific courses Pathways

Business Pathway

60 credits
115013 Foundation Management 15
115014 Foundation Economics 15
115015 Foundation Financial Literacy 15
192011 Foundation Communications 15
247005 Foundation Mathematics A 15

Humanities/Social Sciences Pathway

60 credits
115014 Foundation Economics 15
150001 Foundation Māori Culture 15
192011 Foundation Communications 15
230001 Foundation Humanities 15
230002 Foundation Social Sciences 15

Science Pathway

60 credits
247004 Foundation Biological Sciences 15
247005 Foundation Mathematics A 15
247006 Foundation Mathematics B 15
247007 Foundation Chemistry 15
247008 Foundation Physics 15

Health Pathway

60 credits
150001 Foundation Māori Culture 15
192011 Foundation Communications 15
214003 Foundation Human Bioscience 15
230002 Foundation Social Sciences 15
247005 Foundation Mathematics A 15

Creative Arts Pathway

60 credits
150001 Foundation Māori Culture 15
192011 Foundation Communications 15
293001 Foundation Drawing 15
293002 Foundation Sound and Image 15
293003 Foundation Fabricate 15

Planning your programme

Planning overview

The Certificate is made up of eight 15-credit courses, including four compulsory courses that focus on academic language, study and research skills. You choose four elective courses from your area of academic interest.

You can complete the Certificate in one year (2 semesters) of full-time study or do it part-time.

You can choose from one of these pathways:

  • Business
  • Creative Arts (available in Wellington)
  • Health
  • Humanities/Social Sciences
  • Science

Pathways and courses are subject to availability at each campus. Massey staff will assist you with course advice. 

If you are starting this programme in July, you will complete the programme in June of the following year because enrolments are limited to a maximum of two courses (30 credits) in Summer School.

The Science pathway is not possible via distance mode because the Foundation Chemistry and Foundation Physics courses are offered on campus (internal) only.

Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

A good fit if you:

  • would like to study at university, but do not have university entrance
  • are an international students with a 5.5 IELTS, or equivalent. 

Accreditations and rankings

QS 5 star plus rating 2019

Massey has a 5+ star rating in the QS World University Rankings 2019.

QS 5 stars rating for Online 2019

Massey has a 5 stars rating for Online in the QS World University Rankings.

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.


Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Undergraduate programmes

General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Choose your programme and click on Apply now

You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.

Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study.
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Scholarships and awards

Scholarships related to this programme

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships