Undergraduate Targeted Admission Schemes Policy and Procedures


Staff members and eligible students at the University.


To ensure the consistency of purpose and application of Undergraduate Targeted Admission Schemes (UTAS) at the University.


The University is committed to meeting its responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi and achieving equity outcomes in line with its Equity Policy and strategic objectives.

The UTAS Policy and Procedures are designed to increase access to undergraduate study for Māori students and students from UTAS groups who have the potential to participate and succeed in a university of high international standing.

UTAS students are expected to meet the same high academic standards during their study as all other undergraduate students at the University.

International students are not eligible for UTAS.


1. UTAS is for eligible Māori students and UTAS groups including Pacific students, Students with disabilities, Students from low socio-economic backgrounds (low SEB), Students from Refugee Backgrounds (SRB) who have met the University Entrance (UE) standard but have not met the guaranteed entry score for the programme of their choice.

2. The University reserves a number of UTAS places in undergraduate programmes for eligible students who have applied via the processes specified in the UTAS Policy and Procedures.

3. Applicants must be given the opportunity to “opt in” to UTAS.

4. The principles of UTAS are:

  • UTAS must recognise the University’s responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi
  • UTAS must recognise the University’s Equity Policy and Procedures
  • UTAS will support the admission of talented Māori students and students from UTAS groups who have been assessed on the basis of their demonstrated achievements AND their potential to succeed at a University of high international standing
  • UTAS must be fair, equitable and transparent
  • UTAS is to strive to use assessment methods that are reliable and valid (evidence based)
  • UTAS is to seek to minimise barriers for Māori students and UTAS groups
  • UTAS is to be professional in every respect and be underpinned by appropriate institutional structures and processes
  • the principles of UTAS are to be applied consistently across the University
  • UTAS must ensure that students admitted are well supported to succeed when they enter University

5. UTAS must:

  • assist the University to meet its responsibilities under The Treaty of Waitangi
  • assist the University to adhere to and enact its Equity Policy and Procedures
  • assist the University to achieve the equity objectives in its Strategic Plan
  • be supported by advice and expertise from the Equity Office
  • be monitored and reported on annually by the Equity Leadership Committee
  • assist faculties to meet their objectives for representation of Māori and Pacific students
  • apply to each limited entry, undergraduate programme in the University
  • specify the groups eligible for the scheme
  • specify the evidence applicants should provide of their eligibility
  • specify the number of reserved places for students in each UTAS group
  • specify the selection processes which will be used to select students into a programme via UTAS
  • be transparent and well communicated to students, school leaders, teachers, advisers, families/whānau and communities
  • be consistent across the University regarding eligibility and application processes for UTAS
  • select students using assessment methods that are reliable and valid and assess both achievement and potential; and
  • support UTAS students’ successful transition to the University and their engagement, achievement, retention and progression

Related procedures

Reserved places in UTAS

6. A reserved number of places must be allocated in named undergraduate programmes and specified for each UTAS group as determined by the University’s Course Limitations as approved by the Education Committee.

7. In determining the number of reserved places for UTAS, which must be allocated in named University undergraduate programmes, faculties are to take account issues of proportionality for Māori, Pacific and students with disabilities as per Recommendation four of the Undergraduate Admissions and Equity Taskforce of 2008.

Note - Recommendation four of the Undergraduate Admissions and Equity Taskforce of 2008 states that the University is to set targets for Māori and Pacific student numbers in two stages:

The first stage should be to match the proportion of Māori and Pacific school leavers admitted to the University with the proportions of such students in the Auckland and Northland region gaining University Entrance, while retaining current numbers of Special Admission students.

The second stage should be to match the proportion of enrolled Māori and Pacific students with the proportion of Māori and Pacific people over 15 years of age in the University’s regional population within five years.

9. This must be reflected in the rationale that is presented to the Education Committee and monitored and reported on by the Equity Leadership Committee.

10. The criteria and number of reserved places for Māori, Pacific, students with disabilities, students from low socio-economic backgrounds and students from refugee backgrounds are to be specified separately.

11. It is not compulsory for faculties to fill all UTAS places.

12. Unallocated UTAS places are to be automatically available first to Māori and UTAS groups and then to general places.

13. For programmes with guaranteed entry scores, reserved places are to be set below this entry score.

UTAS application process

14. Applicants may apply for consideration under UTAS via:

  • online application for admission or
  • faculties may contact prospective applicants with an invitation to apply

Eligibility of applicants

15. UTAS places must only be offered to students who have a UE qualification as set out in the Admissions Regulations.

16. Applicants must be required to demonstrate eligibility as members of UTAS groups to the satisfaction of each faculty to which they have applied. Note -The Equity Office is available to support faculties on UTAS.

Procedures for UTAS selection, admission, enrolment and support

17. The dean of each faculty is to ensure there is a committee responsible for the overseeing of the faculty’s UTAS processes, selection and reporting.

18. This committee is to include any associate dean(s) or faculty committee chairs with equity responsibilities or their nominees.

19. UTAS selection criteria and processes must be fair, transparent and clear.

20. UTAS selection processes may include multiple methods of assessing achievement and potential including academic records, interviews, essays, portfolios, oral presentations and other methods.

21. Dedicated support for UTAS students must be made available by faculties.

22. Advice on alternative pathways must be provided alongside advice on UTAS to allow students to make informed decisions.

23. 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.

Conditions placed on students who are admitted under UTAS

24. All UTAS students must meet the academic requirements specified by faculties and in line with University regulations.

25. Students with disabilities admitted via UTAS must register with SDS.

26. Conditions may also include:

  • use of support of systems as specified such as Orientation
  • participation in the Tuākana Learning Community or its faculty equivalent
  • restrictions on their enrolment e.g. restrictions on the number or types of courses enrolled in
  • 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

27. UTAS conditions must be made transparent to UTAS students


28. UTAS selection criteria, reserved places in each programme for each UTAS group and closing dates for applications must be disclosed in all relevant publications for future students including websites, handbooks and other collateral.

Quality Assurance

29. Faculties are required annually to:

a. review the numbers of students invited to apply, applying for and being admitted under UTAS and

b. report on the following to the Equity Leadership Committee each year:

  • 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 and
  • efforts made to increase the number of UTAS applicants from schools and communities

30. Faculties are required to regularly review their UTAS selection processes to ensure that they are fair, reliable and valid.

31. Annual monitoring of UTAS selection processes and outcomes is to be undertaken by the Equity Office and reported to the Equity Leadership Committee.


The following definitions apply to this document:

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

Māori students for the purposes of UTAS refers to students of New Zealand Māori descent.

Pacific students for the purposes of UTAS refers to students of indigenous Pacific descent who are citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand.

Pacific descent refers to indigenous students from the following islands; 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).

School leaver for the purposes of UTAS refers to an applicant that has completed their schooling and attained University Entrance within the last two years.

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

Students from Low Socio-economic backgrounds (Low SEB) for the purposes of UTAS refers to students from decile 1-3 schools.

Students from Refugee Backgrounds for the purposes of UTAS refers to students who have themselves or whose parents/primary guardian(s) have been granted refuge in New Zealand.

Students with Disabilities:

The following definition of disabilities 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.”

Undergraduate Targeted Admission Schemes (UTAS) involve a reserved number of places in named University undergraduate programmes for Māori students and students from identified equity groups

Undergraduate Targeted Admission Schemes (UTAS) groups include student groups that are under-represented and disadvantaged in terms of gaining access to a university education and for whom participation in UTAS will assist in achieving equity outcomes. These groups currently include Pacific students, students with disabilities, students from low socio-economic backgrounds and students from refugee backgrounds who have a University Entrance qualification but have not met the general entry requirements for admission into the undergraduate programme of their choice.

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

Content manager: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Equity)
Owner: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Equity)
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: June 2016
Review date: June 2021