University of Otago: Admission, Tuition Fees, Courses

International students at the University of Otago have access to more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs makes the school exciting to enroll for.

The university is widely sought after for its top-notch agriculture and medical programs. One of the university’s most sought-after programs is dentistry.

Here is a complete guide on University of Otago: Admission, tuition fees, courses and ranking. You only need to keep reading even as we go straight to business.

About University of Otago

The University of Otago is a public research collegiate university headquarters in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand (Mori: Te Whare Wnanga o tkou). Otago University, one of the oldest in Oceania and the oldest in New Zealand, was established in 1869.

The institution was founded by a Thomas Burns-led committee and given official status by an Otago Provincial Council ordinance in 1869.

The University of Otago was a division of the federal University of New Zealand from 1874 to 1961, and it conferred degrees under that name.

Otago is renowned for its active student community. There is a long-standing custom among Otago students to give their apartments names.

The moniker “Scarfie” for Otago students refers to their custom of donning scarves throughout the chilly southern winters.

Gaudeamus igitur, iuvenes dum sumus (Let us rejoice, while we are young), the university graduation anthem, recognizes that students will continue to rise to the challenge, if not always in the way intended.

The longest-running student publication in New Zealand is Critic, published by the university.

University of Otago Ranking:

To distinguish the top 200 schools in the world and the University of Otago first featured in the year 2007 when it came on the list as the 114th top school in the world.

Before 2015, No New Zealand School had a course in the top 10 QS course ranking list until University of Otago came in ranked 8th in Dentistry.

The University of Otago was recently ranked 151st in the 2017/2018 QS rankings, placing it in the top 3% of the world’s universities.

It is also currently among the top 50 in the areas of Dentistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Archaeology, Physical Education and Development Studies.

Check out the University of Otago Scholarship.

Studying at the University of Otago, be it as an undergraduate or a postgraduate student, is usually an exciting experience.

The location of the school in a city like Dunedin which is full of educational activities makes it a welcoming place for students of various backgrounds.

The University is home to more than 20,000 students, with over 195 undergraduate and postgraduate programs that cut across the Sciences, Humanities, Social sciences, and the Otago School of business.

It is also home to the country’s first medical school and boasts of offering Summer School, International School, and Distant Learning programs.

The University of Otago Courses:

Students looking to study at the University of Otago are usually either of two categories; students seeking to gain from the rich teaching culture at the University by undergoing an undergraduate program, and those looking to leverage on the world-class research set up to further their studies on a postgraduate program.

Undergraduate Courses

The university currently has over 14,000 students enrolled in courses split across the four (4) divisions of Sciences, Humanities, Social sciences and the Otago Business School.

The following Bachelor degree courses are offered based on the divisions.

Health Sciences

Pharmacy, Medicine and Surgery, Biomedical Sciences, Medical Laboratory Science, Dental Surgery, Dental Technology, Physiotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Oral Health and a Diploma for Graduates for Health Sciences.

Otago Business School

Bachelor of Commerce and a Diploma for Graduate (Commerce).

Postgraduate Courses


Diploma for Graduates – Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – Sciences, Doctor of Science, Master of Applied Science, Master of Dance Studies, Master of Dietetics, Master of Physical Education, Master of Science, Master of Science Communication, Master of Surveying, Master of Wildlife Management

Health Sciences

Diploma for Graduates – Health Sciences, Doctor of Clinical Dentistry, Doctor of Dental Science, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – Health Sciences, Master of Aeromedical Retrieval and Transport, Master of Aviation Medicine, Master of Bioethics and Health Law, Master of Clinical Pharmacy, Master of Community Dentistry, Master of Dental Surgery, Master of Dental Technology.

Also, Master of Dentistry, Master of General Practice, Master of Health Sciences, Master of Medical Laboratory Science, Master of Medical Science, Master of Nursing Science, Master of Occupational Medicine, Master of Ophthalmology, Master of Oral Health, Master of Pharmacy, Master of Physiotherapy, Master of Primary Health Care, Master of Public Health, Master of Travel Medicine.


Diploma for Graduates – Humanities, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Literature, Doctor of Music, Doctor of Musical Arts, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – Humanities, Master of Arts, Master of Chaplaincy, Master of Education, Master of Emerging Technologies Law, Master of Fine Arts.

Master of Higher Education, Master of Indigenous Studies, Master of International Studies, Master of Laws, Master of Ministry, Master of Music, Master of Peace and Conflict Studies, Master of Planning, Master of Politics, Master of Social Work, Master of Teaching, Master of Teaching and Learning, Master of Theology.

University of Otago Business School:

Diploma for Graduates – Commerce, Doctor of Commerce, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – Commerce, Master of Accounting, Master of Business Administration, Master of Business Data Science, Master of Commerce, Master of Economics.

Master of Entrepreneurship, Master of Finance, Master of International Business, Master of Marketing, Master of Professional Accounting, Master of Sustainable Business, Master of Tourism.

University of Otago Admission Requirements:

Undergraduate Study Requirements

The minimum admission requirement for entrance into the University of Otago for undergraduate study is the completion of a high school certificate.

The general requirements, varies with the country of prior study based on its equivalence to the New Zealand qualification for entrance.

Postgraduate Study Requirement

Admission requirements for postgraduate study at the University of Otago vary by Programme.

General requirements usually include a bachelor-degree certificate in the field the student is looking to apply for, and in some cases, relevant work experience in that area. Professional registration in New Zealand could also be a requirement.

A bachelor’s degree may qualify one for a coursework-and-thesis-based Master’s study.

The completion of a master’s degree or an undergraduate degree with a first-class or second-class upper honors in the area of intended study qualifies a student to apply for a PhD degree.

University of Otago Fees: 

The University of Otago, tuition fees are calculated based on the student’s subject categories per EFTS (Equivalent Full-time student) for a given year.
This is because students may decide to take more or fewer courses than others per session.

(N.B. – All fees are in New Zealand Dollars NZ$)

Domestic Tuition Fees

The tuition fees for undergraduate students based on these subject categories ranges from $5,793.00 (per EFTS) for Arts, Languages, Theology, Mathematics and Education to $15.389.00 (per EFTS) for Medicine and Dentistry.

For Postgraduate students, the tuition fees (in EFTS) based on subject category ranges from $7,551.00 for Law Honours to $35,985.00 for Medicine-MDS in the Postgraduate.

Study category and Postgraduate Thesis and Honours category, it ranges from $6,351.00 for Commerce (per EFTS) to $9,955 (per EFTS) for Dentistry thesis (Non-clinical).

The Student Services and administration fees are general for domestic and international students.

International Tuition Fees

Different range of tuition fees available for International students admitted into the University of Otago.

The Business Division offers $27,154 annually for all its courses except Information Science slightly higher fee of $30,851.

The Division of Health Sciences averages tuition fees of $36,000 for first-year students. This value varies per course, and it increases for the remaining years of study to $38,808 for Medical Laboratory Science to $95,319 for Dental Surgery.

The only exception to this are the Biomedical Sciences and Health Sciences program which offers $32,760 to students flat for the whole duration of the program.

For the Humanity Division, majority of the courses offered at a yearly tuition fee of $25,109. The fee is only for a few programs, Geography and Archaeology amongst the highest tuition fees at $30,851.

The Division of Sciences has tuition fees ranging from $25,109 for the departments of Mathematics and Statistics to only as high as $32,760 for programs like Genetics, Anatomy, Biochemistry and a few others.

University of Otago Scholarship Opportunities

Undergraduate Scholarships

The University of Otago provides over 25 different scholarship initiatives for her undergraduate students to provide financial support in view of the completion of their program.

Alexander Leith Bagpipe and Drum Scholarship
This a funding firm that supports the first year of a Bachelor of degree in music.

Campbell-White Scholarship
$3,000 for a student studying full-time towards a degree of Bachelor of Surveying, Bachelor of Applied Science, or Bachelor of Science majoring in Geology, Surveying, or Applied Geology.

Chris Burks Memorial Bursary
$3,000 for a second-year resident of Carrington College, who have contributed towards the welfare of others.

Dunedin Symphony Scholarship for Orchestral Performance
$5,000 to foster the performance careers of exceptionally talented musicians who have demonstrated a strong and clear commitment to an orchestral career.

Dr. E C Grant and Mrs. H M Grant Memorial Medical Scholarship
Funding to support students admitted to the medical program.

Dr. Emily Hancock Siedeberg Scholarship
$1,250 for a female student in the fourth year of an MB ChB.

Energy Education Trust NZ Undergraduate Scholarship
$5,000 for students with a specific interest in energy issues.

E Rewa Begg Scholarship
$2,000 towards the second year of study in the field of commerce.


For students who are looking to get admission into the University, there are entrance scholarships that are usually open between the months of July and August and the months of November and December.

These scholarships have a tenure range of one year to three years as the case may be and they can all be found on the school’s website

Postgraduate Scholarships

The University of Otago also offers more than 240 research scholarships worth more than $18 million to her postgraduate students, with an allocation of 181 new PhD scholarships worth $25,000, tuition fee rebate and 60 research master’s scholarships worth $10,000 to $13,000 yearly.

There is usually no deadline for applications. Below is an extract from the list of postgraduate scholarships offered for international students:

 University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship

$25,000 plus tuition fee waiver for thesis doctoral students.

University of Otago Special Health Research Scholarship

$25,000 plus tuition fee waiver for thesis doctoral students.

Brooker Travel and HelloWorld Doctoral Travel Scholarships

$25,000 plus tuition waiver for indigenous Pacific Island thesis doctoral students.
Travel funding to support PhD students at the University of Otago.

Built Environment and Active Transport PhD Scholarship

PhD funding for working on the Built Environment and Active Transport to School: BEATS Study

University of Otago International Master’s Research Scholarship

$13,000 tuition fee waiver for international thesis, for Master’s students.

Coursework Master’s Scholarship in University of Otago

$10,000 is for coursework Master student’s tuition fees.


Is University of Otago Hard to Get Into?

58% of applicants are accepted in the University of Otago.

What GPA do you need to Get into Otago University?

GPA Requirements for the University of Otago

To have a decent chance of being admitted to the University of Otago, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.8.

How much is Otago Application Fee?

The application fee for the University of Otago is NZD 100 (INR 4,890).

What is Otago University Known For?

Unparalleled educational experience
Otago is not a hub for academic excellence but the only real residential university in New Zealand. You will enjoy an exceptional student lifestyle in New Zealand.


You will have great opportunities here at Otago. You will learn from professionals who are world-renowned in their professions, earn a degree of the highest caliber, and be able to participate in cutting-edge research.

The opportunities in the University of Otago is world class that is one reason students are trooping into the school, you have job and business opportunity as an undergraduate and even as a gradutae.

Hope you like the sound of that! Enjoy every bit of your stay in the University of Otago.


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