Undergraduate Targeted Admission Schemes Guidelines


All staff members and eligible students at the University.


To assist in the application of the UTAS Policy and Procedures across the University.


The Undergraduate Targeted Admission Schemes (UTAS) are one of the initiatives the University of Auckland uses to meet its responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi and for achieving equity outcomes in line with its Equity Policy and Procedures and strategic objectives.

These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the UTAS Policy and Procedures.


Who is eligible for UTAS?

  • UTAS is available to eligible Māori students, Pacific students, Students with Disabilities, Students from Low Socio-economic Backgrounds and Students from Refugee Backgrounds who have a University Entrance (UE) qualification but have not met the general entry requirements for admission into the undergraduate programme of their choice
  • International students are not eligible for UTAS
  • Māori students - for the purposes of UTAS, Māori refers to students of New Zealand Māori descent
  • Pacific students - for the purposes of UTAS, Pacific refers to students of indigenous Pacific descent who are citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand
  • Students with disabilities: The following definition applies for all 2023 admissions underway as at 1 September 2023.

For the purposes of UTAS refers to students who are blind or deaf; students with hearing or vision impairments; students with impairment due to head injury, medical conditions or mental health conditions; students with physical or mobility impairments; students with speech impairments and students with specific learning disabilities.

For all admission processes initiated from 1 September 2023 onwards, the following new definition of Disability will apply.

'Waipapa Taumata Rau defines Disability as any physical, psychological, cognitive, or sensory impairment which, in interaction with social and systemic barriers, restricts a person's full and effective participation in university life on an equal basis with others.'

  • Students from Low Socio-economic Backgrounds - for the purposes of UTAS, students from low socio-economic backgrounds refers to students from decile 1-3 schools
  • Students from Refugee Backgrounds - for the purposes of UTAS, refugee background students refers to students who have themselves or whose parents/primary guardian(s) have been granted refuge in New Zealand

Reserved places

  • The University’s Course Limitations, set annually and approved by the Education Committee specify the reserved number of places allocated in named undergraduate programmes
  • It is recommended that at least 10% of a programme’s places be assigned to UTAS
  • The selection criteria and the number of reserved places for each UTAS group should be specified separately, as required in the UTAS Policy and Procedures
  • For programmes such as MBChB (Year 2) and LLB (Part 2), where admission occurs after a year of undergraduate study, UTAS places should be specified
  • For LLB (Part 1) UTAS places do not need to be specified as students will already be in schemes operated by other faculties
  • UTAS places should be available to students applying for entry into programmes which have a second semester intake
  • It is not compulsory for faculties to fill all UTAS places
  • Unallocated UTAS places are automatically available first to Māori and UTAS groups and then to general places

UTAS application process

  • Applicants may apply for consideration under UTAS via online application for admission, or faculties may contact prospective applicants with an invitation to apply
  • Faculties should place priority on the timely processing of UTAS students applications

Eligibility of applicants

  • All UTAS applicants for degree programmes will have a UE qualification as set out in the Admissions Regulations
  • Applicants will be required to demonstrate eligibility as members of UTAS groups to the satisfaction of each faculty to which they have applied. Verification may be necessary
  • It is recommended that eligibility is determined before interviews are conducted. The Equity Office can be contacted for assistance in this area
  • It is recommended that UTAS applicants under the Disabilities category be required to provide evidence from a medical professional or learning assessment to indicate that their impairment or condition has impacted their ability to meet the guaranteed entry score for the undergraduate programme of their choice

Procedures for selection

  • The dean of each faculty will ensure there is a committee responsible for the overseeing of the faculty’s UTAS processes, selection and reporting
  • The Faculty UTAS committee should include any associate dean(s) or faculty committee chairs with equity responsibilities or their nominees
  • It is recommended that the Faculty UTAS committee includes a student support advisor or equivalent staff member whose substantive role involves provision of academic and pastoral support for UTAS students and a representative from the Equity Office
  • UTAS selection criteria and processes should always be fair and transparent
  • UTAS selection processes may include multiple methods of assessing achievement and potential including academic records, interviews, essays, portfolios, oral presentations, and other methods
  • Advice on alternative pathways such as foundation, bridging or preparation programmes will be provided alongside advice on UTAS to allow students to make informed decisions

Conditions of admission/enrolment and student support

  • Conditions are placed on students who are admitted under UTAS. These conditions need to be clearly communicated to students when entering the scheme
  • All UTAS students must meet the academic requirements specified by faculties and in line with University regulations
  • Students with disabilities admitted via UTAS will register with SDS so that they can be provided with appropriate support as required
  • Conditions may also include:
    • use of or participation in support systems as specified including Orientation, Tuākana or its faculty equivalent, DELNA, minimum tutorial attendance etc
    • restrictions on their enrolment e.g. on the number and types of courses, restrictions on enrolling in conjoint degrees in first year. Minimum GPAs may be set in place to assist this as well as restrictions via SSO
    • membership of relevant student support networks
    • participation in community outreach
    • maintaining regular contact with relevant staff including via mandatory; meetings on academic progress
    • completion of specific courses during the first semester of enrolment e.g. Academic English Language Requirement (AELR); and
    • information disclosed by UTAS applicants may be made available to the Equity Office and Faculty support staff to ensure that the appropriate support and service is provided for UTAS students

Information on dedicated support for UTAS students should be made available by faculties. This support should be enhanced over time using relevant data, research, student feedback and exchange of best practice.

Examples of dedicated support for UTAS students include:

  • tracking and follow up of students
  • one to one mentoring and support
  • assistance with course selection and enrolment
  • dedicated workshops/tutorials
  • support and advice from Academic Advisers
  • support for academic English language; and
  • other support or obligations as specified by the UTAS Committee/other relevant staff

To support transparency and students understanding of UTAS enrolment conditions, including academic requirements faculties may outline these in a written agreement.

A student who has been admitted to a programme with specified conditions which must be met in order to be able to continue enrolment in that programme, and who has not met those conditions, may have their enrolment for that programme discontinued by Senate or its representative – the Associate Dean Academic or equivalent.

Quality assurance

  • Faculties will be required annually to review the numbers of students invited to apply, applying for and being admitted under UTAS
  • Faculties will be required to regularly review their UTAS selection processes to ensure that they are fair, reliable and valid
  • Annual monitoring of UTAS selection processes and outcomes will be undertaken by the Equity Office and reported to the Equity Leadership Committee
  • Faculties should use the Equity Annual Reporting process and UTAS data to guide the allocation of resourcing and enhancements to support for UTAS students
  • The UTAS Community of Interest, Tuākana Learning Community, Equity Community of Interest and Students from Refugee Backgrounds Advisory Committee amongst other networks also help guide best practice for recruitment, selection and support for UTAS students

Annual Reporting to Equity Leadership Committee

Faculties will be required to include the following information in their annual UTAS report to Equity Leadership Committee:

  • numbers of reserved places for each UTAS group in each undergraduate programme
  • numbers of UTAS applications, admissions and enrolments;
  • selection criteria used to select UTAS students
  • total numbers of applications, admissions and enrolments of Māori, and equity groups into its undergraduate programmes
  • progress towards meeting targets in Recommendation four of the Equity Taskforce Report 2008
  • enrolment conditions imposed on UTAS students
  • support systems offered to UTAS students
  • academic progress of UTAS students
  • student feedback on UTAS e.g. key themes of feedback and faculty’s response to this feedback and
  • efforts made to increase the number of UTAS applicants from schools and communities

For further assistance

For further advice please contact the Equity Office Te Ara Tautika on equity@auckland.ac.nz 

Feedback on the application of the UTAS Policy and Procedures is welcome at any time and will be considered in regular reviews of the policy and procedures and guidelines.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic English Language Requirement (AELR) means a specified level of attainment in English studies in NCEA, Cambridge IE and IB; if admitted without meeting this requirement students may satisfy it in their first year of study by passing a specified undergraduate course in academic English.

Equity at the University of Auckland means fairness and justice within a safe and inclusive study and work environment that enables talented people to achieve their potential and the University to achieve its strategic objectives.

Equity outcomes are the measurable qualitative and/or quantitative results of equity strategies, plans, policies and practices.

Pacific includes Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Fiji, Rotuma, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Palau, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Wallis and Futuna, Hawaii, French Polynesia, Rapanui (Easter Island).

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis.

Tuākana Learning Community is a University-wide learning community that enhances the academic success of our Māori and Pacific students.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

UTAS Committee means the group responsible for a faculty’s UTAS processes, selection and reporting.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Prepared by: Equity Office - Te Ara Tautika
Owned by: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Equity)
Date approved: June 2016
Review date: June 2019