University of Otago

University of Otago

Experience the best of New Zealand by studying at the University of Otago, the country’s first university. The University of Otago is ranked within the top 1 per cent of universities globally and has developed a widely renowned research and teaching profile.

The university offers a range of flexible study options with over 200 courses spanning four academic faculties: Health Sciences, Science, Commerce/Otago Business School, and Humanities. Flexible courses allow students to choose elective courses to broaden the scope of their education and customise their learning experience. The Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) allows 400 possible major combinations.

Otago is the top New Zealand institution for student performance and retention, boasting a five-star plus QS rating for employability, internationalisation, teaching, and research. Otago students are globally connected with a network of peers, researchers, and experts in their chosen fields, collaborating nationally and internationally to address questions of global concern

Otago has campuses in the North and South Islands, and their Dunedin campus is recognised as one of the most beautiful in the world, boasting forested hills, beaches, incredible wildlife, and a stunning natural harbour on the doorstep.

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  • International Year One

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Life at Otago

Student Life at Otago

Otago delivers a superb student experience, with internationally excellent teaching, state-of-the-art facilities, world-leading research groups and a lively programme of extra-curricular events and activities. Students at the University of Otago are part of a diverse and inclusive community that values academic achievement and personal growth. With most of Otago’s 21,000 students living within 1 km of the Dunedin campus, students can experience an iconic student quarter featuring academic, cultural, social, and sporting facilities, just a short walk from the Dunedin city centre.

Otago’s student lifestyle is unmatched, with a diverse community including 3,000 international students from over 100 countries.

Careers at Otago

95 percent of Otago graduates go into work or further study.


The University of Otago Career Development Centre offers a wide range of free services for its students, with supports like career fairs, one on one consultation, mentoring, seminars, workshops, and other career programmes and tools to help Otago students become work-ready. In addition, the Career Development Centre’s employability award programme, OtagoExtra equips students with skills required for life after graduation. For two consecutive years, the centre has been voted the best among New Zealand’s universities by the New Zealand Association for Graduate Employers (NZAGE).

Otago’s Social Impact Studio works alongside more than 200 community organisations, running volunteering and leadership programmes which achieve impactful contributions and promote student-driven change. The Student Leadership Award is an extended leadership programme designed to enhance students’ leadership potential

City Life at Otago

Dunedin is a student city, boasting a lively cultural scene, stunning natural landscapes, and top-notch safety. The University of Otago plays a central role in city life, offering a diverse range of recreational activities. Students can immerse themselves in a supportive community and thriving academic atmosphere for an enriching student journey in Dunedin.

Students are critically important to Dunedin’s cafés, bars, clubs, and shops – which focus on the student community. Student discounts are available throughout the city, and you can walk just about everywhere you need to go.

There are a great range of activities for students in Dunedin, encompassing immersion in the city’s dynamic arts and cultural scene, indulgence in outdoor pursuits amidst nearby landscapes, participation in sports and recreational offerings, exploration of diverse dining and shopping experiences, and engagement with the thriving start-up culture. With the University of Otago situated at the heart of it all, students have convenient access to these enriching activities that contribute to a well-rounded student experience.

Student Support at Otago

The University of Otago provides an outstanding student experience with a strong commitment to pastoral care and support networks. The University’s robust student support services include academic assistance and health and wellbeing resources, contributing to a holistic study abroad experience.

The university’s International Student Advisers (ISAs) also provides dedicated support to international students, helping with everything from visa applications to finding accommodation. This very special group of caring, compassionate Otago staff members provide a ‘home away from home’ for international students.

Student Accommodation at Otago

The University of Otago, set against the backdrop of New Zealand’s stunning natural beauty, welcomes international students with open arms. Otago’s Residential College community offers a supportive and collegial living experience, while living in a shared University-managed flat enables student to develop the valuable life skills of responsibility and independence, whilst still receiving support in a collegiate based community.

Cumberland College, for example, offers fully catered single rooms in a supportive community environment. Toroa College, on the other hand, provides a smaller, family-like environment with both catered and self-catered options. Studying at Otago means receiving a quality higher education and the opportunity to explore and experience New Zealand’s unique culture and landscapes.

Facilities at Otago

At Otago, old meets new, from iconic historic buildings to modern, award-winning laboratories and teaching spaces, on one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.

With a rich academic history and diverse community, the University of Otago offers a wealth of facilities, such as Otago’s Central Library, one of the best libraries in the world and Unipol Recreation Services offering a variety of sports facilities, promoting physical wellness among students.

Mellor Laboratories are located in a 6500 square metre building with two “super-labs” that can each cater for 112 students, have iPads at each lab station, a computer-aided learning laboratory, a student circulation area includes 232 student lockers, each with a USB port for charging phones, a power socket and LED lighting.

Otago Dental School has a world-class hospital-level dental teaching building and research facility. Being the New Zealand’s only national centre for dentistry, the school is equipped with modern research laboratories, teaching laboratories, academic offices, student support spaces, and flexible learning spaces. It also includes a dental training simulation suite – each of its 80 dental chairs has a mannequin torso with a removable jaw, dental equipment, and a video screen for watching teaching demonstrations.

Otago’s Music, Theatre and Performing Arts Centre is a brand-new multi-purpose facility with a spacious live studio, and a variety of additional spaces including control rooms, percussion rooms, social spaces and practise booths.

Otago Business School houses one of the largest academic trading labs in New Zealand, with 12 Bloomberg Professional terminals, giving students access to the same trading platform used by the world’s leading investment companies, banks, and government agencies.

Sports and Clubs

Otago Unipol Recreation offers an extensive array of fitness, sports, and recreational services tailored to students and staff. The facility encompasses a gym, swimming pool, sports courts, and more, allowing for diverse activities. Moreover, the provision of group fitness classes, personal training, and wellness programs underscores a comprehensive approach to well-being, fostering a thriving campus community. As an added benefit, there’s a discounted rate for equipment rental available.

The University of Otago, with its rich academic history, provides a dynamic sports culture with teams like the Otago University Rugby Football Club, the Otago University Rowing Club, etc.

There are 170+ student clubs and societies to choose from at Otago, so you will find it easy to make new friends and discover new interests.

Sustainability at Otago

The University of Otago prioritises sustainability in its operations. Its efforts align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on areas like energy efficiency and sustainable procurement. In addition, the university’s Social Impact Studio achieves student-driven change through volunteering and leadership. Student creativity, vision, and insight are channelled to achieve maximum social impact through the University of Otago’s incredible volunteer programmes. Student-driven change further flourishes in Otago’s Sustainability Neighbourhood, with university-owned flats set up to grow food, compost, recycle, be energy efficient and take part in ongoing research focused on creating a sustainable student community. Otago was ranked 47 in the world in the 2022 QS Sustainability Rankings.

Search 134 Courses at University of Otago


Ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world (QS Stars Rating System)

New Zealand’s top university for educational performance (NZ Tertiary Education Commission)


Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship for International Students

A value of NZD$10,000 for tuition fees for the first year of study is available to eligible students who are offered a place on an eligible course. No application is required. Further information can be found here.

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