Christchurch, South Island

IFSA University of Canterbury Partnership

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Academic Program

Instruction consists of lectures, seminars, and tutorials with faculty who hail from all over the world and are known for being very approachable and invested in student success. IFSA facilitates a multi-day orientation outside of Auckland on New Zealand culture and history with tips and information for how to thrive in the host country. Students then attend an orientation at the host university which provides details about the specific student experience there. Throughout the semester, the IFSA staff provides guidance regarding academic differences between US and the host university and can arrange free tutoring for students who would like some extra help as they get settled into classes.

  • Reviewed by: Professor T Kim-Trang Tran, Professor Marion Preest
  • Fields of study: The University of Canterbury is a comprehensive university with a full curriculum and is highly ranked in computer science, economics, environmental sciences, linguistics, psychology and sociology. The College of Arts and the College of Science are recommended for Scripps students
  • Eligibility: An 8.4 cumulative GPA is required by the university. Completion of 2-3 courses in an related field of study is advised for upper division coursework.
  • Size of the student body: 14,500 total students including approximately 1400 international students. The University of Canterbury is one of the most popular universities for domestic students which allows IFSA participants ample opportunity to integrate with students from the local area.

Living Arrangements

All IFSA students will reside in single rooms in the Ilam Apartments - conveniently located, fully-furnished flats. Students share the common living spaces and kitchen with suitemates from New Zealand and abroad. Students shop for groceries and prepare their own meals with an allowance provided by Scripps based on the recommendation of IFSA. Bicycles are available for rental from Ilam Apartments and the bus line to the city center is conveniently located nearby.

Term Dates

  • Fall: early July to mid-November (Semester 2 for course options)
  • Spring: mid-February to late June (Semester 1 for course options)


  • Advising Tips: If you meet the minimum GPA requirement for the program, IFSA does not require a faculty letter of recommendation as a part of the University of Canterbury application. IFSA students have full access to the amenities at the University of Canterbury, including four libraries, 24-hour computer labs, student health center and recreation center as well as a wide range of clubs and societies for a truly integrated experience. Throughout the semester, IFSA coordinates excursions and many cultural activities around Christchurch and NZ which are included in the IFSA program and do not cost extra. Examples include a visit to Quake City (a museum that explains the Christchurch Earthquakes), a day of local volunteering such as planting trees in the city, a zip line adventure in the forest or a day of river rafting, a weekend trip to a working sheep ranch and a guided bush walk and wildlife tour to view penguins!
  • Visa Information: The New Zealand student visa is free for US passport holders. After acceptance on the program, IFSA will provide you with paperwork needed to complete your visa application. The embassy site will have information on visa requirements for planning purposes.
  • Budget Planning: For budget planning purposes, click here to view the current cost of living comparison between Christchurch and Los Angeles.
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