Canterbury's Lincoln University is looking to cut up to 100 courses - almost a third of all undergraduate papers - and jobs are set to go.
The university is looking to 'reform' its set of qualifications to focus on four primary 'portfolios'.
Under the proposal, students would choose a portfolio of agriculture, business and commerce, science or environmental management.
Assistant Vice-Chancellor Sheelagh Matear says the project will reorganise Lincoln's curriculum to streamline learning and increase revenue.
"I think we will offer fewer courses and I'm anticipating it could be between 50 and 100 fewer courses overall," she says.
The proposal is still in its early stages, however, while the university gets feedback from students, professors and the industry experts.
Ms Matear says job losses are possible under the proposal.
“There's a possibility that [job losses] could be an outcome and we've always been quite open and honest about that, there's no point hedging around that," she says.
"Net we would be looking to grow, but on the short term and on an individual level, there is a possibility that individual staff will lose their jobs and I don't think that we can actually avoid that."
The exact number of jobs on the chopping block is yet to be announced, but Ms Matear says they would "not be proportional" to course cuts.
The proposal comes after a drop in revenue from international students after the earthquakes, she says.
Tertiary Education Union (TEU) deputy secretary Nanette Cormack has slammed the proposal saying it's one of the most significant tertiary changes in New Zealand for years.
"Staff and students have a remarkably short time to share their thoughts and ideas on the proposal, only four weeks from its release until the end of consultation," she says.
Ms Cormack says the loss of experienced staff is a major concern.
"We do not want to see good, experienced, respected academic or general staff lose their jobs when there is a demand from students and employers for their skills and knowledge," she says.
"We will be working closely with the university throughout this process to limit job losses and the loss of learning opportunities for students.”
Consultation on the proposal ends February 25 with a second proposal expected in mid-March.