University profile

University of Otago

2022/23 edition

About University of Otago

Worldwide reputation

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 120+ postgraduate programmes across Business, Health Science, Humanities and Science subjects.

Otago at a glance

  • 5-stars plus QS Stars ranking, reflecting quality and excellence across teaching, employability, internationalisation, and research.
  • A national presence, with our main campus in Dunedin, and specialised campuses in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Invercargill.
  • New Zealand’s top university for student performance and retention (TEC Educational Performance Indicators).
  • 85% of our students come from outside of Dunedin to study here.
  • 21,000 students, including 3,000 students from 100+ countries.
  • 95% of our students go into work or to further study.
  • 4,700 postgraduate students and 1,600 doctoral candidates – 50% are international

Postgraduate Programmes

The University of Otago offers international students a wide range of postgraduate study options, with over 120 postgraduate programmes in a range of disciplines including Humanities, Sciences, Business and Health Sciences. With world-renowned academic staff, and excellent facilities and support services for students, the University of Otago is the first choice for many international postgraduate students.

The University of Otago has the highest proportion of PhD students at any university in New Zealand, and the highest ratio of world-class academic supervisors to postgraduate students in New Zealand. We also have one of the best PhD completion rates internationally.

Research supervision for Master’s and PhD students is provided by academic staff who are not only at the forefront in their respective disciplines but are accessible and friendly.

Academic Divisions

Division of Commerce/School of Business

Postgraduate study at the Otago Business School offers you the opportunity to gain advanced qualifications in your chosen business field whether you have a bachelor's degree or have a wealth of knowledge or experience.

The Otago Business School postgraduate programmes include diplomas, master’s degrees (both research and taught), and PhD degrees.

Division of Health Sciences

The Health Sciences Division promotes health, health care and equitable health outcomes through outstanding basic and applied research and world-class academic and professional leadership.

The Division of Health Sciences has campuses in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Wellington, with over 100 postgraduate programmes in health.

Division of Humanities

Including departments such as the School of Arts, Faculty of Law, and School of Performing Arts, the Division of Humanities offers a wide range of masters and doctoral degrees.

Division of Sciences

The Division of Sciences is responsible for a full range of sciences and is a leader in many areas of genetic research and computer and information technology.

Our unique location provides an opportunity for students and staff to carry out world-class research that will ultimately influence our future

Future career prospects

Otago graduates are in high demand both domestically and internationally with 95% of our students go into work or to further study. 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 here.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, you need to show you meet our English language requirements. We accept a number of international tests and results, and students from some countries may be able to use their previous studies to demonstrate their language level. See our website for the language results we accept and to check if you meet the minimum requirements.

The University of Otago Language Centre English for Otago programme offers a pathway for students to meet the English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Facilities and support arrangements

The University of Otago has campuses in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. While most study takes place on our Dunedin campus, our Christchurch and Wellington campuses are medical and health science hubs for postgraduate students.

The Dunedin campus has been ranked among the 15 most beautiful campuses in the world and the Central Library, one of nine libraries at Otago, is ranked 13th best library in the world.

The University of Otago also have genuinely world-class teaching and research labs, performance spaces, lecture theatres, study areas, and sporting facilities.

The University of Otago provides an outstanding student experience with a strong commitment to pastoral care and support networks.

Learn more about Otago’s student and academic services

International students enjoy additional support services to help you settle into life at Otago and make the very best of your time with us.

Fees, scholarships and living costs

New Zealand is a relatively affordable country to live in, and Dunedin, being a student-focused city, has living and entertainment options for all budgets. Click here for more information on living costs.

The University of Otago also recognises academic excellence and supports international students at all levels of study with a range of scholarships.


There are several accommodation options for international students studying at the University of Otago including University-owned accommodation such as residential colleges and Uni Flats, shared flatting (the quintessential Otago experience), studio rooms and more. Find out more about the accommodation options here.


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 here. 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.

Otago prides itself on offering a warm welcome to all. 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.

How to apply

You are encouraged to apply as early as possible in order to be sure of a place on your chosen course, ensure sufficient time for applying for a visa and make your accommodation arrangements. All applications must be submitted online via the University of Otago admissions application system, called eVision. For more information on how to apply click here

Application deadlines - for 2023 study

  • 31 October – Applications from international students for most undergraduate and postgraduate degrees for study beginning at the start of the following academic year
  • There are no specific due dates for applications for PhD study. See this link for further PhD application information

Contact details

+64 3 479 7000
PO Box 56