Certificate of University Preparation

About the Certificate of University preparation Programme

Are you a student with a New Zealand secondary school qualification eager to pursue a degree at the University of Waikato? Or a mature student keen to return to study? Our one-trimester Certificate of University Preparation programme is here to provide you with the necessary academic foundation to meet your degree's entry requirements.

This university bridging course is tailored to empower you, whether you require additional academic preparation or are looking to make a career change. Your successful completion of this programme will equip you with the confidence needed to embark on your university degree.

We're pleased to offer 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 during the next available intake. To learn more about this opportunity, please visit University of Waikato Preparation Bursary


Programme benefits

Seamless Path to Undergraduate Degrees: Transition smoothly to most undergraduate degrees at the University of Waikato.

Nationally Recognised: Your pathway is recognized by all New Zealand universities, providing choice.

Skill Development: Develop essential university skills, including research, essay writing, time management, and critical thinking.

Access to Campus Resources: Enjoy full access to student services and facilities on the University of Waikato campus.

Inclusive Community: Become part of a welcoming and supportive community that champions your educational journey.

Discipline-Specific Electives: Explore your chosen discipline through engaging elective courses, enriching your academic experience

Entry requirementsVisit entry requirements page
Duration1 trimester
Start datesTrimester A – February
Trimester B – July
Trimester C – November

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).

All papers are available in Trimester A, B and C

  • FOUND001 Academic Essentials
  • FOUND002 Foundations of Critical Thought

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

Note - Not all electives are offered each trimester


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

How to Apply

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

CUP Programme Survey Result

From the most recent Certificate of University Preparation programme survey, which was conducted in 2020, 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)