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New Zealand Study Abroad Program at University of Canterbury

About University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Minimum GPA: 2.8 (4.0 scale)
  • Application deadlines: November 1 for Semester 1 (Feb-June) and Calendar year (Feb-Nov)
    April 1 for Semester 2 (July-Nov) and Academic Year (July-June)
  • Program advisor: Hannah Sutton

Program Snapshot


Kia ora! We're so excited that you're preparing to study abroad on an IFSA-Butler program and have chosen the University of Canterbury as your destination. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island, and is where you'll find plenty of things to keep you busy! Whether it's going hiking, rock climbing or skiing, or taking in a movie, concert or art exhibition, we're sure you're going to love studying there!

What Canterbury has to offer:

  • Ranked among the world's top 250 universities
  • Established in 1873 by scholars of Oxford and Cambridge
  • Four libraries, 24-hour computer labs, many cafes and restaurants, student health center and recreation center on campus
  • AACSB accredited School of Business and Economics
  • Concerts and performances at Court Theatre
  • More than 110 social, cultural and athletic clubs and societies
  • Easy access to Christchurch's city center just 15 minutes away


  • Furnished student flats in a housing complex across the road from the campus
  • Each flat has single bedrooms and shared kitchen, living area and bathroom facilities
  • Students prepare their own meals
  • NEW! Low-cost bike rentals available at the housing complex


Academic Structure

University of Canterbury is a semester or full year study abroad program. Students take three or four classes each semester, depending on the credits awarded.

Program Courses

Where can I find a list of courses that the university offers?

  1. Open the University of Canterbury online course catalog.
  2. Enter the appropriate keywords and/or filters to search for your subject of interest.
  3. Under 'Course level,' uncheck the boxes for Pre-100 and 400+ and choose 'Christchurch' from the dropdown menu for 'Site.'

What departments can I study in?

As an IFSA-Butler student, you are entitled to enroll in undergraduate courses for which you are qualified and in which space is available. Course descriptions in the online course catalog (see above) include prerequisites you must fulfill in order to enroll in each course.

For each course that you list on your preference form, be sure to check the following:

  • When determining which courses to take, please bear in mind that the New Zealand academic system is an intensive, three-year program.
    • First-year (100 level) courses are appropriate for departments in which you have little or no prior experience.
    • Second-year (200 level) courses will be equivalent to advanced sophomore or junior-level U.S. courses.
    • Third-year (300 level) courses will be equivalent to senior-level U.S. courses.
    • Fourth-year (400 level) courses and higher are part of a postgraduate degree (Masters or Ph.D.). You are not eligible to take these courses as an undergraduate study abroad student.
  • You can only take yearlong courses if you plan to study abroad for the calendar year (semesters 1 and 2, in that order).
  • Remember in New Zealand, U.S. fall semester = semester 2 and U.S. spring semester = semester 1. Be sure to select courses for the correct semester you are studying abroad.


You must take a full course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. All courses are graded on an A–F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses. You are not allowed to register for online, distance education or hybrid courses.

You should also be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home institution or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.

Course Registration

You must take a full course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. All courses are graded on an A–F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses. You are not allowed to register for online, distance education or hybrid courses.

You should also be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home institution or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.


IFSA-Butler requires students to enroll in a full course load at the host institution. The number of courses you take depends on the credit value of the courses you select. For information on the credit weight, please consult see below.

15 Points at Canterbury = 4 U.S. semester credit hours
30 Points at Canterbury = 8 U.S. semester credit hours
60 Points at Canterbury = 16 U.S. semester credit hours


Because of the differences in the academic systems, you will not know your exam schedule until after you arrive at your host university. Your host university's policies do not permit you to reschedule any exams, request alternate assessments or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler cannot assist you in conducting an academic record appeal for the course in which you made this arrangement. You will need to complete and submit all academic work prior to departing the program.


After you have returned to the U.S., your home university will receive a Butler University transcript with the credit and grades you earned at University of Canterbury. The Butler University transcript will report the equivalent U.S. semester credit hours and letter grades. We also will send an official transcript to your permanent address.


Housing Options

What are my housing options?
All IFSA-Butler students will reside in Ilam Apartments.

Ilam Apartments has over 800 rooms. They are modern, spacious and conveniently located, across the road from the university and close to local shops and supermarkets. A large number of international students reside there, but accommodation staff work to ensure that kiwi students are integrated into the apartments too, so residents have the opportunity to mix with both locals and international students of various backgrounds.

All flats are fully furnished with a washer, equipped kitchen, living room with TV and a shared, coed bathroom. Students are responsible for buying food and preparing their own meals, but meal plans are also available for short or longer durations. Cleaners touch-up communal spaces periodically, but residents are required to clean flats regularly.

Events are organized for residents throughout the semester under three different themes; 1) "Live"—social events, such as mystery weekends and themed parties, 2) "Learn"—events to help with the academic side of life, and 3) "Grow"—events to help students become more independent, such as cooking lessons and budgeting advice.

Two common rooms are available 24 hours a day, one with a pool table, television, DVD, etc., where you can hold your own gatherings or join in organized functions.

NEW! Ilam Apartments are offering low-cost bike rentals to residents. Click here to read more information.


Meals are not included in the program fee, and all accommodations are self-catered. However, optional meal plans are available for purchase upon arrival.

Housing FAQs

When will I receive my housing assignment?
You will most likely receive your housing assignment one to two weeks before your departure. However, in some cases you may not receive your housing assignment until you arrive in New Zealand for orientation. Your program advisor will notify you of your housing assignment via e-mail when it is released by the university.

Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.

Can I arrange my own housing?
Yes. IFSA-Butler recognizes that some students require independent housing for their time abroad. If you choose not to take advantage of our guaranteed housing, you may sign up for independent housing on the housing preference form. Once you've made this choice, we will not provide housing for you or bill you for the accommodation fee.

Please be advised that housing costs can be high abroad, and many times students living independently end up spending more money than students living in IFSA-Butler arranged housing. If you are hoping to save money by arranging housing on your own, please research your options early so you can compare costs. You must notify us of your intention to live in independent housing by the program application deadline for your term abroad, listed at the top of this page. We are not able to accommodate independent housing requests after the deadline.

Location Info


Population: 400,000

Location: South Island

City features

  • Known as the Garden City for its beautiful scenery
  • The largest city on the South Island
  • A thriving artistic and cultural scene with a symphony, galleries, museums, cinemas, live music, theatre and the World Buskers Festival (circus, street and stage acts) every January
  • A nightlife that is regaining its vibrancy in fun, creative ways

Do more!

  • Bask on the beautiful beaches close by
  • Ski and snowboard at five ski fields within 90 minutes of the city
  • Go mountain biking and hiking in spectacular natural areas
  • Try other South Island activities—whitewater rafting, whale watching, sailing, surfing, kayaking and bungee jumping
  • Visit the area's world-class wineries

Christchurch and Canterbury: Fresh Each Day
Christchurch and Canterbury, Official Visitor Guide

Regional Tourism Map
Christchurch City Council
Chart—Christchurch Music Industry Trust
Christchurch Accommodation and Travel Guide
Christchurch News
Pure New Zealand, NZ Official Tourism

Kaikoura Official Visitor Information

Hanmer Springs

Dates & Fees

Program Dates

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* All students must arrive in Auckland by this date.

Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.

Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed. In New Zealand exams are taken under formal examination conditions, and changes cannot be made for individuals.

All program support services end on the “Program ends” date.

Program Fees

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What's included in our New Zealand program fees
Expense calculator

Calendar Year and Semester 1 Payments Due: December 15
Academic Year and Semester 2 Payments Due:
May 15

Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for tuition, services and housing. Any bills for tuition differentials and/or supplemental housing fees will be sent separately. Students who opt for independent housing will not be charged the housing component of the program fee.

The housing component of our program fee is based on the average cost of local student self-catering accommodation, usually a shared room in a regular dormitory, apartment or house without any extra features.

Personal Cost Estimates

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Expense calculator

The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.

These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs. Meals are estimated based on the cost of a weekly standard grocery shop with one meal out.  If you plan to eat out once a day or more, we recommend using a higher estimate. If you have dietary restrictions or follow a specific diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic, etc), you may also wish to budget more due to the higher cost of specialty food items.

The meals amount is based on the purchase of groceries and preparing most meals at home. Students who eat the majority of their meals in restaurants or on campus can expect to spend more on meals.

Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.

All costs are in U.S. dollars.

Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team

IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in New Zealand:

hannahProgram Advisor Hannah Sutton assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Hannah graduated from Butler University with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. During her junior year, Hannah spent a semester in Dublin on the IFSA-Butler Ireland program. Her experience led her to develop a passion for study abroad and education and she joined the IFSA-Butler team to help guide other students to their own study abroad adventures. Hannah currently advises students planning to study in England, Australia and New Zealand, and can be reached through the email link above or by phone at 800-858-0229 ext. 4266.

beckiStudent Accounts Coordinator Becki Niccum assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Becki can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-3077.

Student & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler for 11 years, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.

Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our New Zealand staff, including Resident Director Sian Munro. Click here to read more about Sian.

abbyAcademic Records Coordinator Abby Miller graduated from Butler University where she worked as a guide for international students from all over the world. From that experience and combined with her own world travels, she knows the amazing experiences that studying abroad can provide. Abby is excited to work with IFSA-Butler students and to help answer any questions about their academic records. Abby can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4217.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program, check out the following:

Student Network
Student Blogs
Experiences Abroad Videos
For Students


Canterbury offers a for-credit internship which combines academic study with a professional workplace project with a New Zealand business or organization. Students can work on an individual project or be part of a group-based community project. Students complete around 75 hours on a custom specified project with measurable milestones and specific learning outcomes. There is also a strong academic component and all students are assigned an academic advisor who will set critical and evaluative academic work related to the project. Interns also attend lectures and sessions by the internship coordinator, who oversees and manages all aspects of the internships.

Previous internships have included presenting and co-producing on local radio, documenting local oral histories, social media analysts, analyzing Navy-Civilian relations, teaching Youth Global Responsibility, digital humanities, heritage preservation, community research and analysis, media and communications for major national companies, organizing national charity events and researching for local government.

Additional information can be found here and by contacting your IFSA-Butler program advisor.

Community Based Learning

IFSA-Butler students can participate in Canterbury's community based learning opportunity, the Rebuilding Christchurch course. Class participants integrate up to 30 hours of community service (completed as a whole class and individually) related to the Christchurch earthquakes, relevant academic content about post-disaster response and volunteerism and guided reflection. This will provide students with an overview of how many different fields are contributing to our understanding of, response to, and mitigation of, earthquake hazards in the Christchurch area.

This opportunity is worth 15 Canterbury points, or 4 U.S. semester credit hours. Interested students should indicate CHCH101 on their IFSA-Butler course preference form. Please contact Program Advisor Hannah Sutton for more information.

Institute for Study Abroad, Alliance For Global Education and MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. are registered marks of the Institute for Study Abroad, Inc.