Christchurch Direct Enrollment - University Of Canterbury


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Earn U.S. Credits Virtually This Summer

Get ahead! Earn extra credit through a globally recognized U.S. education program this summer on our Virtual World DiscoverIES program.

Just picture it: one day you're exploring business ethics with a professor in London and the next it's Japanese pop culture from Tokyo, studying alongside classmates from the U.S.’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. This is what it's like to take a course or two (of your choosing!) from IES Abroad’s most popular centers around the world this summer.

Learn more about how you can discover the world through IES Abroad.

new zealand

Why Christchurch?

When you look outside your window in Christchurch, you know exploration awaits you—hiking, fishing, kayaking, or swimming—that’s just a typical day here. Enjoy the adventurous, yet relaxed, the lifestyle that Christchurch has to offer. Ski slopes, mountains, native bush, rivers, lakes, hot springs, and beaches are all within 1.5 hours of Christchurch, making this an ideal place to study and experience New Zealand’s outdoor lifestyle. We want you to feel at home in Christchurch, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible. We also offer many opportunities to meet with Kiwis and learn about their culture.

What You'll Study

During your time in Christchurch, you directly enroll in the University of Canterbury (UC), one of the top three universities in New Zealand. You also have access to more than 50 academic departments and more than 100 on-campus clubs and organizations—ideal opportunities to connect with Kiwi (local) students. Spread over 215 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens, the University’s campus is located only 15 minutes from the city.

Daily Life

Christchurch will be your classroom. Learn about the history of this great city, which is one of the oldest in New Zealand. Eager for hands-on field study excursions? Explore the University’s four field stations throughout the South Island. You can also enroll in an internship, which includes time spent working at your placement in addition to an academic seminar that helps you contextualize what you’re learning.

Learn more about daily life in Christchurch from the 2018 Study abroad Film Festival Semi-Finalist Tessa Vande Creek in her film, A Day (Semester) in Christchurch.


IES Abroad’s mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. That is why we partnered with the University of Canterbury.

About the University of Canterbury

Established in 1873, the University of Canterbury is one of the top three universities in New Zealand. The University has a population of about 12,000 students and more than 500 academic staff members. The university excels at teaching with its smaller, more personalized approach, but also is large enough to offer a broad and diverse curriculum.


The University of Canterbury assigns a point value to each course. IES Abroad divides the number of points by four in order to determine the number of IES Abroad credits. The normal semester load is 60 University of Canterbury course points, or 15.5-16 IES Abroad credits (typically four courses).

The University of Canterbury has hundreds of course offerings. The course disciplines listed are available to IES Abroad students. In addition to course offerings across the disciplines, the University offers you unique opportunities for course-related trips through its four research stations. Courses in the School of Business & Economics are AACSB-, AMBS-, and EQUIS-accredited.

Further information about course content and availability is provided on the University’s Courses, Subjects, and Qualifications site.

  • Accounting
  • American Studies
  • Animal Behavior
  • Animal Psychology
  • Antarctic Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Art Theory
  • Astronomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biosecurity
  • Business Administration
  • Business & Sustainability
  • Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese
  • Cinema Studies
  • Classics
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Cultural Studies
  • Digital Arts
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering*
  • English
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Europe & European Languages and Cultures
  • Finance
  • Forestry
  • French
  • Freshwater Management**
  • Genetics
  • Gender Studies
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • German
  • Health Sciences
  • History
  • Human Resources Management
  • Human Services
  • Information Systems
  • Japanese
  • Law
  • Linguistics
  • Management
  • Management Science
  • Maori Language
  • Māori & Indigenous Studies
  • Marine Biology
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Media & Communication
  • Microbiology
  • Music
  • Operations & Supply Chain Management
  • Pacific Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Plant Biology
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Product Design
  • Professional & Community Engagement (Internship)
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian
  • Science & Entrepreneurship
  • Science, Māori & Indigenous Knowledge
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Software Design
  • Soil Science
  • South Asia Studies
  • Spanish
  • Speech & Language Pathology (Communication Disorder)
  • Sport Coaching
  • Statistics
  • Taxation
  • Theatre & Film Studies
  • Water Resource Managemen

*(Chemical & Process, Civil, Computer, Electrical & Electronic, Forest, Mechanical, Mechatronics, Natural Resources)

**(Semester 2/fall only)

Please note that not all subjects are offered every semester or every year. Certain disciplines have enrollment caps and others require prerequisites. Single-semester students cannot enroll in full-year courses. If you have specific questions regarding courses, please contact your IES Abroad Representative.

Service Learning

Participating in a service-learning experience in Christchurch is one of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding of the city’s culture and society. Working alongside local people toward a common goal, you experience firsthand some of the social issues that affect Christchurch while contributing your skills toward a community-driven solution.

If you are interested in service-learning, you can enroll in the 4-credit course, where you will work for up to 20 hours in community engagement projects in Christchurch alongside class time that allows for reflection and provides context about Christchurch post-earthquake, social innovation, and more. You will experience first-hand how individuals and organizations work to strengthen local communities.

Past service learning projects have included:

  • Community gardening
  • Conducting surveys of underrepresented residents for City Council
  • Painting public murals
  • Planning and launching a book exchange

Additional Experiential Learning Opportunities at the Center for Entrepreneurship

With a combination of research, teaching, and community engagement, the Centre for Entrepreneurship facilitates the development of entrepreneurs, opening minds to a world of new ideas and possibilities.

If you are looking for a more sustained experience during your study abroad, you may enroll in a 4-credit course and be placed in an internship-like experience with a start-up. In your placement, you will complete a 105-hour project. Weekly lectures and tutorials via UCE augment your project work.

If you are interested in a shorter experience, you may apply to take part in one of the UCE’s sponsored Student Challenges. If accepted, you will become a part of a small team that works on a project intensively for a few days. This may be part of a competition, with other student teams working on the same project.

About the UC Center for Entrepreneurship

The UC Center for Entrepreneurship (UCE) has innovation at its core. UCE aims to stimulate the development of entrepreneurs through a combination of research, teaching and community engagement.

UCE offers world-class facilities, academic courses and extra-curricular initiatives that focus on the business of entrepreneurship. With its world-class learning environment, strong business connections and commitment to developing resilient and talented entrepreneurs, UCE aims to:

  • Become a student-focused center of excellence for innovation and entrepreneurial research.
  • Nurture the development of more employable UC graduates with exceptional entrepreneurial capability.
  • Become a driving force in the entrepreneurial ecosystem regionally and nationally.
  • Expand UC’s national and international entrepreneurial networks.

Advising & Support

Even though you’re directly enrolling in one of our partner universities, there’s something IES Abroad wants you to know: we’re here for you if you need us.


Choosing and directly enrolling in courses abroad can be confusing and overwhelming. This is why we offer you predeparture advising that’s specific to your needs. Our goal is to provide support and guidance throughout your application and enrollment process.

But our advising services don’t stop there. While you’re in Christchurch, our staff is available to help you transition into your new home.


The support services we offer IES Abroad direct enrollment students are specifically designed to help you achieve your study abroad goals as effectively and smoothly as possible. We know studying abroad is an adventure, and, at times, you may need help or just someone to talk to—that’s why our staff will be there for you.

On-Site Staff

Whether you have questions about academic requirements, housing, or well-being and safety, our Christchurch-based IES Abroad staff is available to fully support you. Our staff in Christchurch accompanies you throughout orientation, as well as on IES Abroad field trips and cultural events.

Field Trips & Events

Even though your adventure starts in Christchurch, our mid-semester field trip to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands takes you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of this small island nation in the Pacific. (This trip is partially subsidized by IES Abroad. You are responsible for a portion of the cost.)

Raratonga, Cook Islands

5–7 Days

Explore the mountainous island and white sand beaches, visit local institutions such as a primary school or perhaps an animal shelter, learn outrigger canoe paddling, and witness first-hand the island nation’s political and education systems and the place of song and dance in everyday life.

Course-Related Trips

The University of Canterbury has established four field research stations throughout the South Island. These field stations are in the Southern Alps, on both the east and west coasts, and in different climatic regions. If you choose to study certain Biology, Forestry, Geography, or Geology courses, you may have the opportunity to do research at one of the field stations as part of your course.

You may be able to visit these research stations through course-related excursions, ranging from half-day excursions to 8-day trips, in conjunction with certain courses at the University. Although the courses that offer these field trips change each semester, some courses that have gone to one or more of these stations in the past include Marine Biology; Ecology; Global Change and Biosecurity; and Science, Maori, and Indigenous Knowledge.

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Christchurch is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared and teaches you about services on campus, finding housing that is well-located and comfortable or guiding you on the field trip that takes you places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.


There are two orientation events during the week before classes begin: the IES Abroad orientation and the University of Canterbury International Student Welcome.

The three- to four-day IES Abroad orientation gives you the opportunity to get to know your fellow students and IES Abroad staff, explores academic differences between the United States and New Zealand, and includes a field trip to Springfield at the foothills of the Southern Alps. Past highlights of the orientation have included a scavenger hunt around Christchurch, boulder climbing in an area of unique limestone outcrops, a hands-on New Zealand farming experience, and jet boating on a typical Canterbury braided river.

The one-day University of Canterbury international student welcome provides insights into New Zealand student culture and helps with the integration process. The program includes an official university academic orientation where you are further introduced to the facilities and offerings at the University, with a special break-out session just for study abroad students.

Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.


We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Christchurch, it will feel like home.

As part of IES Abroad’s direct enrollment services, we offer well-located, comfortable housing for all students because securing housing independently can be challenging. IES Abroad’s housing options reflect the local student culture and meet our safety and security standards.

Ilam Apartments – Located across from the University of Canterbury campus, the Ilam Apartments are home to more international students than Kiwis. You have your own bedroom in a four- to six-person suite. The apartments are fully furnished with kitchens, communal living areas, and free Internet connections. Limited meal plans can be purchased on site after arrival, but are not included in the program fee.

The Ilam Apartments complex also offers a large recreational room where community events and social activities are held. There are table tennis and pool tables, Sky (cable) television, DVD players, board games. There are also outdoor barbecue facilities and sports equipment you can borrow. For study space outside of your room, Ilam offers large, quiet study areas.

There are a number of Kiwis who live at Ilam, but we also encourage you to join student clubs and organizations as a way to make friends with local students.

Location & Commute Time

The University of Canterbury is located on a beautiful, park-like campus in the heart of Christchurch.

The University is a 15-minute bus ride from downtown Christchurch. Students living in apartments will likely have a five to 10-minute commute to the campus by foot, and students living in homestays may have up to a 30-minute bus ride, which is common for many local students.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

University Clubs & Events

While you’re in Christchurch, joining a social or sports club is a great way to meet Kiwis. You have access to all of the University of Canterbury’s amenities, including a library, cafés, a health center, recreation center, and the University of Canterbury Students Association with more than 100 cultural, interest, and sports clubs and societies to join. The University routinely hosts cultural events and guest lecturers for the general student body and for individual courses.


Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Spring 2020

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2020 $15,140 $4,270 $490 $19,900

Academic year

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Academic Year $27,235 $8,540 $980 $36,755

Scholarships & Aid

Program-Specific Scholarships

Robert McNeill Need-Based International Business Scholarship

Up to $3,000; awarded to 2 students each year.

This scholarship is named in honor of Robert McNeill, a member of the IES Abroad Board of Directors for 25 years (6 years as Chairman). Open to students who have an interest in international business. Majors might include management, marketing, economics, finance, international relations, and social and behavioral sciences.

Dr. William Louis Gaines Need-Based History or International Relations Scholarship

Up to $1,875; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

This scholarship is named in honor of Dr. William Louis Gaines, President of IES Abroad from 1974-1992. Dr. Gaines was dedicated to strengthening IES Abroad's academic framework, broadening the scope of IES Abroad locations, and securing the financial foundation of the organization.

Open to students majoring in History or International Relations.

IES Abroad - University of Canterbury Scholarships

Up to NZ$2,000; awarded to 4 students per semester.

The University of Canterbury International Mobility Inbound Study Abroad Scholarships have been established to provide support for students from overseas universities to experience one semester or one year at the University of Canterbury as a non-degree Study Abroad student. Four awards of NZ$2,000 have been allocated for IES Abroad students for Semester 1 2020 (Spring 2020) and four awards of NZ$2,000 for Semester 2 2020 (Fall 2020).

Study Abroad Scholarship for Future Engineers

Up to $10,000; awarded to 6 students each year.

The Study Abroad Scholarship for Future Engineers was established by an anonymous donor to encourage more engineering students to have the enriching, life-changing experience of study abroad.

Our Center

We can’t wait to welcome you to Christchurch! Whether you need advice about your coursework or have questions about everyday life in Christchurch, our local IES Abroad staff will be there to support you when you need it.

Last updated May 2020

About the School

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectation ... Read More

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 6,000 study abroad students every year. Read less
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