University of Otago



The University of Otago is New Zealand’s oldest University, established by Scottish settlers in Dunedin in 1869. Dunedin is a vibrant and dynamic city, with over 15% of the city’s population being Otago University students. The University has a first class global reputation, and is currently ranked in the top 200 universities in the world (based on the latest QS world rankings). The University has campuses across New Zealand in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Invercargill, but most of the courses are taught on the main campus in Dunedin. Dunedin is fantastic location to study in, offering as does the diversity of sea activities such as surfing and mountain activities such as skiing. For more information on Dunedin click here.

The University of Otago has topped all but one of the key indicators released on 18th Oct 2016 measuring educational performance of students at New Zealand’s universities. Otago placed 1st in the ‘Students retained in study’ (90%) and a very close second in the ‘First year retention rate’ (82%) indicators and first in ‘Completion of qualifications’ (85%) and ‘Cohort-based qualification completion’ (70%). Otago also topped ‘EFTS-weighted course completion’ (89%).

Otago University has produced more All Blacks players and Rhodes scholars than any other university. With a world class University and the beauty of South Island, there is no-where better to study. As Mark Twain said when he visited Dunedin the Scottish people travelled to Dunedin searching for heaven, but thought they had arrived when they reached Dunedin. For more details about the university click here.

Pathway to University of Otago

University of Otago Language Centre (UOLC) offers English language preparation for Foundation Year, undergraduate or postgraduate tuition for students, and for general communication. The programmes offered include:

  • General English
  • English for Academic Purposes
  • English for International Communication with TOEIC
  • Non-IELTS pathways to Foundation Year
  • Non-IELTS pathways to Undergraduate and postgraduate study through English for Otago
  • English for Groups

Special Features

  • Study in a state of the art new building
  • The Language Centre is a registered test centre for IELTS, TOEFL, and TOEIC
  • Students can enjoy full access to all the university facilities
  • UOLC offers five streams for Foundation including: Arts, Applied Science, Business, Heath Sciences and Life Science
  • These courses offer guaranteed entry to Otago University, but also enable students to enter other universities in New Zealand.
  • Students from more than 25 countries, including local Kiwi and Australian students
  • Students can enjoy full access to all the university facilities

Academic Programmes

By 2016, there are two subject areas in the University of Otago were ranked in the top 50 and 12 different subject areas in the top 100 in the world.

Top 50 subjects
– Dentistry, Psychology
Top 100 subjects – Business & Management, Law, History, Geography, Anthropology & Archaeology, Earth & Marine Studies, Education, English Language & Literature, Performing Arts, Politics, International Studies, Development Studies


Some popular Bachelor degree programmes are offered in

  • Applied Science (3 years)
  • Arts (3 years)
  • Biomedical Sciences (3 years)
  • Business (3 years)
  • Dental Surgery (5 years)
  • Dental Technology (3 years)
  • Law (4 years)
  • Medical Laboratory Science (4 years)
  • Medicine (6 years)
  • Music (3 years)
  • Oral Health (3 years)
  • Pharmacy (4 years)
  • Physical Education (4 years)
  • Physiotherapy (4 years)
  • Science (3 years)
  • Surveying (4 years)
  • Teaching (3 years)
  • Theology (3 years)


Otago was the only university to be ranked in the top four in all average quality score (AQS) measures in the Government’s 2012 PBRF Evaluation and topped the ranking for postgraduate access to research active staff. Postgraduate Diploma, Coursework and Research Masters, and PhD programmes are offered in the disciplines indicated on here.

Academic Year

The University has two semesters and a Summer School.

The 1st semester runs from late February to mid-June.
The 2nd semester runs from early July to mid- November.

The Summer School runs from early January to late February. If you are interested in Summer School and Exchange Programme, please click here.

All programmes can be commenced in the first semester; a second semester start is possible in some programme areas. Please click here for details about start dates and tuition fees.

Famous Alumni

University of Otago alumni belong to a rich and diverse community. Otago graduates are sought after and appreciated, and many occupy influential positions in industry, government and within their communities across the world. The rich diversity of the Otago University alumuni shows the richness of the education they received at Otago University. Whatever your dream Otago University can make your dream come true!

  • Sir Robert Stout, was the 13th Prime Minister of New Zealand twice in the late 19th century and later Chief Justice of New Zealand.
  • Mr Graeme Hart, is a New Zealand businessman and the richest person in New Zealand. Mr Hart owns Rank Group Ltd which has 100% ownership of Reynolds Consumer Products, Burns Philp and Carter Holt Harvey. Forbes states that he was the 178th richest person in the world (as at March 2016).
  • Lord Porritt, Colonel Arthur Porritt, was a New Zealand physician, military surgeon, statesman and athlete. He also served as the 11th Governor-General of New Zealand between 1967-1972. He was a Surgeon to King George VI and was Sergeant Surgeon to Queen Elizabeth II until 1967.
  • Mr Marc Ellis, was the All Black Rugby player and now is a New Zealand businessman and TV presenter. He scored six tries in the game against Japan, which is the record for the most tries by an individual in a Rugby World Cup match.
  • Rui Maria de Araújo is the Prime Minister of Timor Leste. He was Minister of Health and Deputy Prime Minister previously. He has a Master degree in Public Health from the University of Otago.

If you would like to know what the more recent students/graduates think about University of Otago, please click here.

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