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Pacific at Health Sciences


The University of Otago's Division of Health Sciences provides Pacific Island students with a range of programmes and support. These include the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit, and the Pacific Foundation Programme.

The Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit

The Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit (PIRSSU):

  • Coordinates support for over 200 Pacific Island students studying Health Sciences at the University of Otago
  • Provides a research-informed approach on how best to recruit, retain, and increase the completion rates for Pacific students in health sciences
  • Follows the Health Sciences Pacific Strategic Framework to coordinate work within the Division
  • Engages with Pacific communities and organisations, schools, career advisors, government, and non-governmental organisations in the efforts to improve outcomes for Pacific students at tertiary level

The Pacific Foundation Programme

The Pacific Foundation Programme (PFP) works closely with PIRSSU.

The programme:

  • Is run by the University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year
  • Supports and prepares young New Zealand Pacific secondary school leavers wishing to enter the Health Sciences First Year (HSFY)
  • Is 33 weeks long, and begins in late-February each year

Information, resources, and support for Pacific Island students

Pacific Island students have access to information, resources, and support from centres throughout the University of Otago, and other student associations: