Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia

The Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia (PMSA) is a programme funded by the New Zealand government and administered by Education New Zealand.

The March 2018 round is now closed. The Sept 2018 round will open approximately 8 weeks before the 30th September deadline.

Visiting my Taiwanese friends in Taipei

The scholarship aims to:

  • strengthen New Zealand’s ability to engage with key Asian trading partners
  • improve the international skills of the New Zealand workforce
  • improve the internationalisation of New Zealand tertiary institutions
  • increase international understanding of the strength and quality of New Zealand's education system
  • establish connections between New Zealand and other countries through participants building lifelong friendships and networks
  • strengthen New Zealanders' understanding of other cultures

To view the current scholarship guidelines, please click here.

The latest scholarship recipients

The scholarship is awarded to individuals and currently covers the following costs relating to study, internship or research in Asia: 

1. Individuals on exchange, internship or other independent programmes

  • Tuition fees for institutions in Asia only (if applicable) – not NZ institution fees
  • Brokerage fees of Internship providers
  • Return economy class flights NZ-Asia - NZ$2,500 
  • Contribution towards living and accommodation costs of NZ$250 for each week actively on programme in Asia (if not covered by the internship brokerage fee)
  • Medical and travel insurance (mandatory - click here for a list of insurance requirements)
  • Visa and/or vaccine fees of NZ$200

2. Individuals on Group programmes

  • Tertiary Education Organisations may apply to the PMSA to fund a group (3+) to travel together to Asia on a specified programme that meets PMSA goals
  • Group programmes are applied for separately under the PMSA, and have their own application and reporting requirements. Individuals on a group programme must meet specified criteria 
  • An individual’s costs are covered as above, plus additional funding of up to $20,000 per group application may be applied for to cover group-related costs. 
 “Our 6 weeks in India has truly been positively life changing." - Ciahn.

“Our 6 weeks in India has truly been positively life changing. It is not often you get the opportunity to experience the true essence of a country like India compared to the touristic version.” - Ciahn, Shalini, Tyla, Brooke and Aimee.


Preference is for applicants undertaking study at:

  • Top educational institutions in ASEAN countries and other territories, plus China, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, OR
  • Educational institutions in the above countries and territories with whom a New Zealand educational institution has a formal agreement/partnership


Recipients must spend 6 weeks actively on programme in Asia, up to a maximum of two years. 


Applicants must propose programmes that can demonstrate links to New Zealand’s education, economic or trade agenda in Asia. Programmes can be either:

  1. An undergraduate or postgraduate part or whole programme in a relevant subject area at an approved institution. Includes exchange programmes.  
  2. Study programmes that are a minimum of 30 hours per week. This could be a combination of class time and self-directed study.  
  3. A full-time internship (minimum 30 hours per week) of between 6 to 12 weeks, see here for a list of ENZ recommended brokers. If the internship is part-time, it must be combined with a concurrent programme of study [eg language study] that brings total hours to 30 hours per week. Internships for longer than 12 weeks may be considered. 
  4. Education, trade or economic-related research. Research applicants must be currently enrolled at a New Zealand tertiary institution.


At the date of application candidates must be at least 18 years old and be New Zealand citizens or Permanent Resident holders


Individual applications

Applications are now closed for the March 2018 round. Applications for the September 2018 round will open approximately 8 weeks before the next deadline.

To complete an application, you will need to upload the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Proof of Citizenship for every country for which you hold citizenship and/or proof of Permanent Residency status
  • Officially verified Academic Transcripts for up to three tertiary level qualifications (equivalent to level 5 and above). If you have not completed a tertiary qualification, you will need to upload documentation of your highest secondary qualification if it has been completed within the past three years.
  • A 90 second video

You will also need to provide the names and emails of two referees to request references, one of which should be an academic reference.

Group applications

New Zealand institutions may submit group application/s for scholarship support on behalf of students wishing to travel to target countries on exchange or study abroad programmes, or on specifically-tailored study programmes in Asia. 

Application deadlines

There are two PMSA rounds a year. You will not be able to submit applications after the deadlines.

March Round: Applications must be submitted by 30 March

September Round: Applications must be submitted by 30 September 

Selection criteria

Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and whose study programme clearly meets the goals and requirements of the scholarship will additionally be expected to display academic strengths and personal attributes such as independence, initiative, maturity, and confidence . . . plus:

  • The potential to succeed in academic study abroad
  • The ability to represent New Zealand positively; particularly the quality of a New Zealand education experience
  • The willingness and preparedness to put into practice the objectives of the scholarship.

Useful resources

  • Selection Panel Criteria for Assessing Group applications
  • Selection Panel Criteria for Assessing Individual applications
  • To find an institution – click here for the QS Asia University Rankings  2018.
  • To ensure your programme demonstrates New Zealand’s links to Asia – read the 'Building Export Markets' chapter of the Business Growth Agenda update for 2017. 
  • To find an internship – click here for a list of ENZ recommended brokers.

Previous scholarship recipients 

What's in it for me?