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AIS ST Helens

Why Choose AIS St Helens?

International Education

Students and staff come from all over the world to study and teach at AIS St Helens. Our programmes are focused on the global marketplace and many of our students find work offshore after graduation. Due to the mix of cultures at AIS St Helens, students gain unique opportunities to learn, not only from books and lecturers, but also from their classmates. Many cross-cultural friendships and business ventures have developed within the AIS St Helens family.

Tailored Options

Students may choose to take International Business courses, Tourism Management courses or Arts courses, as part of their main degree or diploma programme, to meet their individual career aspirations. For example, a Bachelor of International Business student may undertake studies in Tourism to gain a better understanding of the services sector.

Smaller Classes

Our dedicated teaching staff enjoy personal contact with students and class numbers are kept low to maintain quality standards. Typically there are between 10 and 60 students in first-year degree classes. Compare this to classes of over 300 elsewhere. As a result, our students receive more personal attention and are more able to maximise their potential at AIS St Helens.

Nurturing and Support

Due to the smaller class sizes, our lecturers have the time to get to know students' personal study needs. English language tutorials and support programmes are available for students who do not have English as their first language.

Fast-track Programmes

Our flexible three-semester system allows students to fast-track programmes. Dedicated students can complete a diploma or degree in a shorter time than at most traditional institutions, allowing them to enter the workforce more quickly.

Flexibility of Entry Dates

Students may start a programme in January, May or September for semester-based qualifications. In the English Language Centre there are intakes every Monday except for the six-weekly test weeks.

Foundation Programmes

Our foundation programmes allow students to gain valuable study skills and confidence for entering our diploma or degree programmes. Foundation programmes are particularly useful for students with English as a second language, or who have been out of the education system for some time, or who have not gained the necessary qualifications to study at tertiary level.

Credit Recognition

Students applying to AIS St Helens from other institutions may apply for credit recognition once they have arrived to begin their studies. Programmes receiving credit recognition include the New Zealand Diploma in Business, local and national business, tourism and IT diplomas at Levels 5 and 6, and programmes from partner institutions internationally.


Today AIS St Helens is New Zealand's largest and most international independent degree provider, with a roll of over 1000 students, of whom around 80% are international students from over 30 different countries.

The institute was established in 1990, starting as a School of Languages offering courses in English language to international students. Established with financial backing from Taiwanese, Japanese and New Zealand interests, the institute was located for the first three years in Auckland's Downtown Centre.

In 1991 development of this initial venture helped the institute to bring to fruition its original objective of becoming a private tertiary institution specialising in international business and cross-cultural communication. In this year, with the opening of the School of Business, the original “Diploma of Business Studies” was launched.

In 1992 the School of Travel and Tourism was added to expand the scope of international studies offered to the domestic market. The Advanced Diploma in Business was also developed as part of the progression towards degree-granting status. In that year, expanding student numbers led to the search for more suitable premises and refurbishment commenced at the St Helens site in Mt Albert which opened in mid-1993.

In 1994 the institute's first degree, the Bachelor of International Business, was approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. The fourth school, the School of Graduate Studies , opened in 1995 offering an MBA in International Management. 1995 also saw the establishment of a foreign language and culture department offering a Bachelor of Language and Culture degree. A period of consolidation followed as campus improvements were made to the library, computer laboratories, dormitory and classroom facilities.

In 1997 the institute received the New Zealand Services Exporter of the Year Award from Trade New Zealand in recognition of the importance of the international market to its overall operations.

In 1999 a joint venture was established with the University of Otago to offer the Foundation Year for international students moving into Commerce and Arts degrees.

The new MBA in International Business was also launched in 1999, followed shortly after by the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (CertTEFL).

In 2000 AIS St Helens celebrated its 10th anniversary, and commenced planning to open further campuses in Auckland. A nearby property was purchased in 2001 and after extensive refurbishment, opened as the Asquith Campus in 2002. The modern facility includes advanced computer laboratories, a conference centre, lecture theatres, a gymnasium and sports arena. The first of the Information Technology programmes was launched in 2003, complemented by the Graduate Diploma in Information Technology in 2004. In 2005 the Bachelor of Tourism Management was launched to meet local and international economic development needs.

In 2006 the Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of International Business were expanded with the addition of a number of majors and the Bachelor of Language and Culture was renamed as the Bachelor of Arts with majors. This year also saw the institute added to the “China list” and officially recognised by the authorities of China.

In 2007/08 the Hospitality programmes were launched, and development of the new Bachelor of Information Technology with four majors was undertaken. Today AIS St Helens is continuing to expand both internationally and at home, with new graduate and postgraduate programmes and academic cooperation projects in Asia and the Pacific.

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