University of Canterbury – Discretionary Entrance

September 25, 2020

UC is aware the Covid-19 lockdown has impacted senior secondary school students this year, and that many will be anxious about their Year 13 results and achieving University Entrance. As a result, I would like to outline some pathways on offer, including a change to our Discretionary Entrance requirements, to support school leavers this year.

Discretionary Entrance

Students who completed Year 13 in 2020 and who don’t meet the revised University Entrance (UE) requirements due to the impact of Covid-19 can apply for Discretionary Entrance for 2021 study if they had an exceptional academic record in Year 12. These applications will not be processed until results are released in January 2021. We encourage all students to attempt to achieve UE in the first instance, however, if this is not possible the following criteria can be used:


  • 72 credits at NCEA Level 2, including a minimum of 14 credits in each of four subjects (three of which must be approved subjects) and a minimum of 60 Merit and Excellence credits.
  • Achieved the literacy and numeracy standards for University Entrance.
  • A supporting letter from the school Principal (or nominee) is required.

International Baccalaureate:

  • Minimum International Baccalaureate score of 24 points but must not have been awarded the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
  • A supporting letter from the school Principal (or nominee) is required.

For more information on this pathway, including how students apply for it, please view the Discretionary Entrance section on our Admission and University Entrance webpage.

Certificate in University Preparation

The Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) is a one-semester programme of study which helps students develop the skills necessary for successful university study, including:

  • Subject knowledge for pathways to degree programmes
  • Study and time-management skills
  • Oral and written communication skills for a variety of contexts
  • Analytical, critical, and problem solving skills
  • Information literacy skills

CUP is recommended for students who need to gain University Entrance.

For more information on CUP, including how students apply for it, please visit the Certificate in University Preparation page.