The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving, and the University of Otago recommends that all students considering Otago visit the dedicated website for the latest information. If students have any questions that are not answered on the COVID-19 page or questions about their individual circumstances, they can visit the university’s Future Students webpage.
As New Zealand's first university, founded in 1869, the University of Otago has earned an international reputation for excellence in research and teaching. Otago is ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world (QS World Rankings) and offers over 200 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across Business, Health Science, Humanities, and Science subjects.
Otago at a glance
Online education offer for 2021
The University of Otago has expanded its coursework delivery options for the 2021 academic year in recognition of the impact of COVID-19 on students. A selection of papers and programmes that would normally only be delivered on-campus will be temporarily delivered online:
Otago’s online offering includes the BA, BCom, and BA/BCom with most majors available for the BCom and a number of majors for the BA. Health sciences and sciences at the undergraduate level will not be available as an online option. For the full list of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and papers, visit the Learning at Otago in 2021 webpage.
All new international students who are offshore and who are offered admission to a bachelor’s degree programme being offered online will receive a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for International Students valued at NZD10,000 in recognition that they are prepared to start their studies online until they can join on campus once borders and visa processing enables them to do so.
The University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year offers online delivery of the Foundation Year Certificate as well as several English language options, including: English for Otago, General English, IELTS preparation and English for Academic Purposes. For the full list of Foundation Year and English language programmes, visit the Language Centre and Foundation year webpage.
NZD4,000 scholarships are also available for students who are admitted to the Foundation Year programme: Otago International Pathway Scholarship.
Otago is renowned as one of the top research universities in the Asia-Pacific region and produces the most winners of national teaching awards of any university in New Zealand. The academic staff profile is diverse and truly world-class, with one of the highest proportion of internationally-trained academic staff in the world – helping to provide a global perspective and foster international collaborations.
With over 200 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on offer, many of the programmes at Otago are the only ones of their kind in New Zealand.
Otago also has the best performance indicators of any New Zealand university for successful completion of courses and qualifications, student progression to higher level study, and students retained in study.
University of Otago in Autumn
Clock tower - University of Otago
Students in Dunedin campus
Students in a lecture
Student in Anatomy musuem
Outstanding student experience
Otago offers students an unrivalled campus experience and a vibrant, social student culture. The majority of Otago’s 21,000 students live, work and play in Dunedin - New Zealand’s only true university city.
Otago students are supported by dozens of dedicated on-campus support services, ensuring that students get the very best out of their time there.
Numerous accommodation options are available, including 15 residential colleges, which provide a supportive environment that enables students to develop their independence, build a social network and succeed in their academic endeavours.
There are over 150 student clubs and societies to get involved in; forested hills, beaches, incredible wildlife and a beautiful natural harbour on the doorstep; and lakes, mountains and world-class ski resorts within a few hours’ drive of the city.
Globally employable graduates, socially responsible citizens
95% of Otago students go into work or to further study in New Zealand and around the world. 112,000 Otago alumni are living in 145 countries, with many occupying influential positions in industry, government and within their communities.
The university has a reputation for producing well-rounded, practical, adaptable, resilient graduates, who are highly sought after by employers. Otago students don’t just focus on academic pursuits, they learn life skills, creative thinking, problem-solving and team dynamics. Outside of study, they are encouraged to get involved in a wide range of sporting, cultural and community-based activities during their time there.
Otago’s Social Impact Studio achieves student-driven change through volunteering and leadership. Otago believes in channelling student creativity, vision, and insight for maximum social impact through its incredible volunteer programmes. Around 4,000 Otago students are registered volunteers, working with over 200 community organisations.
Amazing facilities across New Zealand
The University of Otago stretches from Auckland in the north of the country to Invercargill in the south. While most study takes place at its stunning Dunedin campus, the Health Science-focused campuses in Christchurch and Wellington are home to many of its postgraduate students.
Otago is an intriguing mix of old and new – from its iconic Clocktower Building to world-class teaching and research labs, performance spaces, lecture theatres, sporting facilities, and study areas, including its award-winning Central Library.
The Otago factor
Otago offers a world-class academic experience, but one of the key things that set Otago apart is that it attracts and fosters independence. It provides academic programmes, accommodation options, support, and a teaching style that caters to the individual and enables each student to identify and develop their strengths – both inside and outside of the classroom.
Otago degrees are flexible, allowing students to combine subjects that might not normally be studied together, and most students can complement their degree with elective courses of personal and professional interest to them. Study is self-directed and interactive, with many opportunities for hands-on learning outside of the classroom.
A warm welcome – “manaakitanga”
The concept of “manaakitanga” is key in Māori and New Zealand society, loosely referring to the importance of openly and warmly welcoming visitors, of having a mutual respect for one another. Otago offers a rich cultural life, reflecting a diverse international university community and New Zealand's own multicultural population.
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