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Application information for international undergraduate

Choosing which papers to take

Papers offered at the Department of Geology draw heavily on our research. We offer undergraduate papers (formal classes) from 100 to 300 level and postgraduate papers at 400-level.

If you have specific questions about our courses after viewing the information on our website then you should contact the following course advisers and cc the academic administrator: geology@otago.ac.nz

These staff can advise you about course-related matters during the academic year. If you cannot contact one of the advisers immediately (for example, a staff member may be in the field or on leave), then contact our academic administrator: geology@otago.ac.nz

Recommended paper: GEOL 252 field studies and New Zealand Geology

For international students, the undergraduate paper most commonly chosen is GEOL252 - "Field studies and New Zealand Geology". This paper is predominantly field-based, with about two weeks spent at two field schools. The paper is offered in Summer School and Semester 1.

How to apply

Applications are made through the international office. Here are some useful links:

IMPORTANT: planning your travel around semester dates, exams and field trips

Before you finalise your travel, please check key dates such as semester and exam periods at Otago, these are set by the University, and cannot be changed for personal reasons. Students must arrive at the start of the semester (or before the start of the semester if taking papers with a field school -see note below). Students should plan to stay until the end of the exam period (see note below on exam dates).

Field schools

Some field schools (GEOL252, GEOL344) run shortly before the official start of semester - web pages for those classes give details. Some other courses (e.g. Geol 272/372, 263/363) have weekend field trips early in the first semester. Geol 273/373 has a compulsory marine sedimentology course in early July, just before official start of second semester (odd years). Please be sure to check the web pages for these papers or others you wish to take

Exam dates

The exact dates for examinations in particular courses are set by the University administration, and advised about the middle of Semesters 1 and 2. The Department of Geology cannot change these dates to accommodate the plans of individual students.

What’s it like studying at Otago?

International undergraduate students are most welcome and important members of our department - adding enthusiasm and diversity to our teaching, research, and social life. Typically, we host around 30 international undergraduate students annually.

International students participate in many different geology courses at Otago. Here, the Geology 263/363 Basin Studies class is in the field at the exit to Cave Stream cave. There is also an active Otago Students Geological Society (OSGS) that run events like tramping trips, field trips, quiz nights etc.

students in the geology museum looking at displays
Geology 263/363 Basin Studies class is in the field at the exit to Cave Stream cave.

Comments from previous international students include:

I had a great time in the 252 field course. The labs were pretty challenging, but the field trips made the whole thing more than worthwhile. I know that at home I would not have had the opportunity to spend two weeks out in the field, and definitely not in such spectacular settings. Our trip to Fiordland was absolutely amazing; not only was the scenery beautiful, but the geology was explained in such a way that I could actually understand it despite the obvious complexities. The department is great, too; the professors are friendly and the students form a pretty close group. It was nice to be in a class with so many Kiwis because it was a great way to meet people from down here. If you’re a geology student from the States, definitely take a field course at Otago – you won’t be sorry. Jeb Berman, Brown University, USA

I know that Dave and Lawrence had a great time at your school thanks to everyone in the department. We'll certainly recommend Otago to other students who want to go south.
Raymond A. Coish, Professor Middlebury College, USA

I had a fabulous time at Otago... ...I found my experience at Otago to be extremely fulfilling. The Geology department is a particularly tight knit group. After travelling around NZ I found myself glad to be back in Dunedin. It is a great city and there is never a lack of something to do, whether it be at the pubs or a small cafe.
Lawrence Klein, Middlebury College, USA

If I were to have any advice for anyone it would be to stay for the year if you can. Another piece of advice is to take at least one class that gets you out in the field. How many other Universities take week long field trips? I was so jealous of my classmates when they would talk about their excursions, because as a geologist, that is the fun of it all!
I was highly impressed with the classes I took and heard amazing stories from fellow Americans that were in other, more advanced classes. Above all, I miss afternoon tea in the middle of lab!

Karen Eller, Trinity University, USA

I really, really enjoyed the Field Studies 302 class. It was a wonderful way to make friends, particularly kiwi friends. Most importantly, it made me feel comfortable with the geo department immediately upon my arrival to Otago. I already knew people in my other geo papers on the first day of class due to the field excursion during orientation week.
I also enjoy the friendliness of the department, and the small size. I come from a very small department back home (maybe 30 people), so it was nice to not be too overwhelmed here at Otago.

Suzanne Mills, Bryn Mawr College, USA