Profile & Trends 2009: New Zealand's Tertiary Education Sector

Publication Details

This is edition 12 in an annual series on the tertiary education sector. Key findings from the 2009 report are:

  • 469,000 students were enrolled in formal study programmes in 2009, including 43,500 international students. There were 202,000 industry trainees in 2009.
  • Young tertiary students are studying at a more advanced level. More than three out of four young tertiary students are now studying level 4 qualifications and above.
  • International tertiary student numbers increased by more than 9 percent in 2009. In 2010, international enrolments are expected to increase by about 8 percent, while domestic enrolments are expected to increase slightly.
Short articles on the following topics are included in Profile & Trends 2009: Participation in post-compulsory education following decreases in New Zealand’s economic activity, What do students earn after their tertiary education, Raising the literacy, language and numeracy of the adult population, Progression to, and success in, bachelors-level study, Adults in non-formal and formal learning, and Students who had a disability

Author(s): Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis and Reporting, Ministry of Education

Date Published: August 2010

Research in the tertiary education sector

The research performance of the tertiary sector improved in several areas in 2009. In particular, the volume of enrolments in doctoral degrees increased significantly, continuing a trend which began in 2006. This trend has been mainly driven by a large increase in international enrolments, which occurred in response to a change in government policy in 2006 to fund international doctoral students on the same basis as domestic students. International student enrolments are now around a third of all doctoral enrolments in 2009, compared to around 13 percent in 2004. An encouraging trend has seen continued increases in enrolments of Māori and Pasifika in doctorates, although off a low base.

As a result of the increased doctoral enrolments, the supervisory load placed on academics has continued to rise, with the number of doctoral enrolments per academic staff at several universities doubling since 2004.

The surge in enrolments at the doctoral level has begun to be reflected in doctoral degree completions. In particular, there was significant growth in the number of doctoral degrees completed by international students in 2008.

In the areas of research output, the universities showed improvement in a number of areas. Overall, the amount of research contract income earned by the universities per academic staff member rose in real terms between 2008 and 2009. In addition, total research output increased in 2009 at four out of the seven universities that reported research outputs.

Figure 1.9:  Participation in doctoral study by gender

Image of Figure 1.9:  Participation in doctoral study by gender.