University of Otago
The University of Otago offers students both a world-class education and a student lifestyle and culture that is not matched in many universities anywhere.
Otago was the country’s first university, established in Dunedin in 1869. It has a long and proud history of graduates who made a real difference to New Zealand in the last 150 years. Today Otago has more than 20,000 students studying 180 courses. It is one of two universities in New Zealand with a medical school and the only university offering Dentistry, Dental Technology, Surveying, and Radiation Therapy.
Otago offers a student experience like few others
Otago students come to Dunedin from every part of the country, and from all over the world. The environment is hugely student and student life focused, and Dunedin is New Zealand's only true university city. The result is a tight, fun and vibrant student community surrounding the university’s academic hub.
The main Otago campus blends architecture from 150 years ago with tomorrow, offering lecture theatres, new and old, equipped with the latest technology along with an award-winning library and modern study spaces.
The Otago medical programme also has campuses in Christchurch and in Wellington, and these campuses extend the range and scope of Otago’s world rated health research initiatives.
Otago’s 80 academic departments are organised into four divisions – Business, Health Sciences, Humanities and Sciences. All up students can complete undergraduate degrees in over 100 subjects or majors, and most first year courses are structured to accommodate changes of mind or stepping up to double majors.
Student outcomes are among New Zealand's best
In the latest year available (2015), Otago came out on top in all but one of the key indicators the TEC uses to asses tertiary institutions. Otago came out on top of its rival universities in Completion of Qualifications (89% of courses were completed) and in the proportion of students who complete a qualification in a given year (85%). Otago also led the way in terms of having the highest proportion of both students who stay in study and who progress onto further study. Work does mix with play at Otago, and successfully.
Residential Colleges the choice for most first year students
Most first year students at Otago live in the 15 Residential Colleges the university has developed around the campus area. Colleges are mostly made up of single rooms, are fully catered and have a mix of male and female students. They range in size from 136 beds to more than 500 beds at the largest on campus college, University College. Single-sex floors are available in some cases. Some colleges are located right on campus, and the farthest away is a 15-minute walk
The Residential Colleges are the core of the Otago student experience, especially for first year students. All have well organised activities of all types for residents, plus they offer plenty of support when exam time comes around. The friendships made in Otago’s colleges are often taken on to flats in subsequent years and can be among the highlights of a student’s time in Dunedin.
Dunedin welcomes students for the life and vitality they bring to the city and the university plays a huge role in the local economy. Dunedin provides the best of both worlds to students. It has the facilities, entertainment and variety of larger cities, right down to a fully covered international stadium beside the university. As well it offers a wide range of social, cultural and sporting activities while at the same time is small enough to be friendly, easy to navigate and safe.
The Otago Peninsula has spectacular beaches and unique wildlife just a short drive from the city, and the wider Otago province offers students in Dunedin almost limitless activities, winter and summer.
Worried about your grades and getting into Otago?
Check out the university’s Foundation and Bridging pathways
Check out the degree entry pathways into the University of Otago