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Universal College of Learning

Palmerston North, New Zealand

  • Cost of LivingNZ$ 20,610
  • Tuition Fee FromNZ$ 6,500
  • Country Rank#16
  • Batch Strength7,047
  • Global Diversity-
  • Gender Ratio-



The Universal College of Learning, also known as UCOL, is a polytechnic institution located in Palmerston North, New Zealand. Founded in 1902 as the Palmerston North Technical School, it has since grown to become one of the leading providers of vocational education and training in the country. Universal College of Learning offers a wide range of courses in areas such as business, creative industries, education, engineering, health and wellbeing, hospitality, information and communications technology, and trades. The institution has a strong focus on practical, hands-on learning, with a range of industry-standard facilities and equipment to help students gain real-world experience in their chosen field.


One of Universal College of Learning’s unique features is its Whanganui campus, located in the historic city of Whanganui, which offers courses in art and design, nursing, social work, and trades. The campus is housed in heritage buildings and boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including a glassblowing studio, a digital design suite, and nursing simulation labs. UCOL also has three other main campuses in Wairarapa, Manawatu and Horowhenua.


In addition to its focus on vocational education and training, Universal College of Learning also has a strong commitment to research and innovation, with many research centres and initiatives focused on areas such as sustainability, social justice, and cultural diversity. 


Overall, UCOL is a dynamic and forward-thinking institution that provides its students with the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to succeed in their chosen careers. With a strong focus on practical learning, industry connections, and student support, UCOL is a great choice for anyone looking to take their education and career to the next level.


Acceptance Rate

There is no public data on the Universal College of Learning acceptance rate. However, like other New Zealand polytechnics and universities, UCOL is an open-access institution, meaning anyone can apply to study there, regardless of their academic background or previous qualifications.



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Universal College of Learning has all sorts of facilities available to support students and staff, and there's always something going on to enrich the student experience. From cultural events to workshops and seminars, there's always something new to check out at UCOL. Here are some notable Universal College of Learning facilities that are available to students:


  • Modern classrooms and lecture theatres
  • Specialised labs and workshops
  •  Library and learning resources
  • Student support services
  • Accommodation
  • Sports and recreational facilities
  • Cafes and Eateries
  • Pick-up service for international students 
  • Free sim card upon arrival


UCOL provides a rich and diverse range of activities and opportunities for its students, helping them to develop new skills, interests, and networks, and to make the most of their time at UCOL. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Clubs and societies covering a wide range of interests 
  • Cultural events and festivals all through the year
  • Guest lectures and seminars
  • Study abroad and exchange programmes
  • Volunteering and community service

Notable Alumni

Rob Foreman
Rob Foreman
Former New Zealand rugby union player
Christodoulos Moisa
Christodoulos Moisa
New Zealand poet, artist, photographer, writer, essayist and art teacher
Garry Moore
Garry Moore
Former mayor of Christchurch



Universal College of Learning Entry Requirements


The Universal College of Learning (UCOL) has varying entry requirements depending on the programme of study. Here are some general guidelines for Universal College of Learning’s entry requirements:


  • To be admitted to UCOL, international students must meet specific English language proficiency requirements. Depending on the programme and level of study, these requirements may differ. In addition, international students must meet any programme-specific requirements, such as specific academic qualifications or work experience.
  • Indian students must also have a Higher Secondary Certificate with a 65% average across four academic subjects CBSE and ICSE Boards.
  • Some UCOL programmes, such as those in health sciences, may require additional health and safety requirements, such as immunisation or physical fitness.
  • As part of the application process, UCOL programmes such as design or performing arts may require applicants to submit a portfolio of their work or attend an audition.


English Language Requirements for International Students 


Here is a detailed breakdown of UCOL's English requirements for IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE based on different courses:










UG Diploma








PG Diploma









Other English language tests like Cambridge English or Advanced (CAE) tests are also acceptable. The minimum required score varies from programme to programme. Some international students may be exempted from English language requirements if they have completed a minimum of three years of full-time study in an English-speaking country or have completed a qualification equivalent to a New Zealand bachelor's degree or higher in an English-speaking country. UCOL may also offer English language support services for students who need additional help improving their English proficiency.


Universal College of Learning Fees


Here is a list of some of the most popular courses, as well as their average Universal College of Learning fees per year -

  • M.Des - $21,355 NZD
  • PG Diploma - $18,919 NZD
  • UG Diploma - $18,919 NZD
  • B.Tech - $19,017- 20,595 NZD
  • B.Sc - $20,595 NZD


Universal College of Learning Placements 


The real-time information about Universal College of Learning placements is not directly available. However, UCOL is a well-known vocational education and training provider in New Zealand, and they have a dedicated team that helps their students and graduates find work. UCOL's programmes of study often require you to get some work experience under your belt. This could involve working for a local organisation or in a UCOL training environment for a set number of hours per week. Even though the work is unpaid, it's still super valuable as it gives you contacts in the industry and real-life experiences. 


UCOL has developed relationships with a wide range of employers in various industries, and they provide a variety of job search resources such as job boards, career fairs, and workshops. UCOL also assists students with resume writing, job interview preparation, and networking. If you are a UCOL student or graduate looking for a job, you can directly contact the career service team for assistance from UCOL’s website. 


Universal College of Learning (UCOL) offers various types of international scholarships to eligible students who wish to study at the college. The scholarships are designed to assist international students with their tuition fees, and they are available for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The eligibility criteria and application process may vary depending on the scholarship, so it's best to check the UCOL website for detailed information.


Here are some popular scholarships available to UCOL students:

  • Narotam Sekhsaria’s Scholarships
  • Hani Zeini Scholarship
  • Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters scholarships
  • Prime Minister's Scholarships for Asia and Latin America


There are plenty of scholarships available to help you finance your studies at UCOL, and with UniScholars you can compare over 1500+ scholarships, grants, and bursaries all in one place and can easily apply for the scholarships that meet your goals without going through the strenuous process. 


Universal College of Learning doesn’t have any loan or allowance scheme for international students. However, there are a few different ways to get an international student loan to study in New Zealand. You could look into private lenders that specialise in this, or you could try to find a more general lender that offers loans to students for a variety of purposes. Some popular lenders for international student loans in New Zealand include Prodigy Finance, MPOWER Financing, and Stilt.


If you're an Indian student looking to study in New Zealand, UniCreds is the perfect loan lender for you! With low-interest rates, they make it easy for you to focus on your studies and achieve your academic goals.


The Universal College of Learning (UCOL) has several accommodation options available for its students. Here are some of the options: 


  • UCOL Halls of Residence: UCOL has two Halls of Residence, one in Palmerston North and one in Whanganui. The Halls of Residence offer fully furnished single rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities. There are also common areas and study rooms available for students. The Halls of Residence are a great option for students who are new to the area and want to meet other students. 


  • Homestay: UCOL can also arrange homestay accommodation with local families. This option provides students with the opportunity to experience New Zealand culture and improve their English language skills. Homestays generally include a fully furnished room, meals, and laundry facilities. 


  • Private Rentals: UCOL can provide advice and assistance to students who are looking for private rentals in the area. Private rentals can include apartments, houses, or flats. This option provides students with more independence and privacy but also requires more responsibility and planning. It's important to note that accommodation options and availability may vary depending on the campus location and the time of year. 


If you're looking for an easy and hassle-free way to find accommodation, UniAcco makes it easier to find student housing and provides a variety of options and helps them choose from a variety of available student housing options near the university and also within your budget.

Cost of Living

Palmerston North is a popular destination for students in New Zealand, as it is home to several educational institutions alongside the Universal College of Learning (UCOL). It is an excellent city for students, with a wide range of amenities and attractions that cater to their needs. The city's vibrant arts and culture scene also provides opportunities for students to engage in creative activities and attend events such as music festivals and exhibitions. The cost of living for students in Palmerston North will depend on various factors, including accommodation, food, transport, and other expenses. Here are some estimated costs of living for students aspiring to study at UCOL:



Cost (Monthly)

On-campus accommodation 

$980 NZD

Off-campus accommodation 

$480 NZD


$72 NZD


$320 NZD


$176 NZD


$35 NZD


$157 NZD


$70 NZD

Total Cost of Living with Off-Campus Accommodation 

$1,310 NZD

Total Cost of Living with On-Campus Accommodation 

$1,810 NZD

Annual Cost of Living

$15,715 NZD