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Admission into Health Sciences First Year FAQs

Do you dream about becoming a doctor, pharmacist, medical laboratory scientist, dentist, or physiotherapist? Are you interested in studying anatomy, physiology, or genetics? The Health Sciences First Year can take you to all these places—and more!

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you navigate your way through the Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) admissions process:

If these FAQs don't answer your question, maybe you can find what you are after in one of our other FAQ pages:

What is Health Sciences First Year (HSFY)?

Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) is:

  • The first year for the five professional programmes: Dentistry, Medical Laboratory Science, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy
  • An excellent way to begin a degree in Biomedical Science or any of the broad range of biological sciences
  • Great preparation for students seeking admission to the restricted-entry programmes in Oral Health, Dental Technology, or Radiation Therapy

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What will I study during HSFY?

HSFY has seven compulsory papers which will give you a strong foundation in science and biological sciences. These are:

* Previously called 'HEAL 192 Foundations of Epidemiology'.

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I'm an international applicant—can I apply for HSFY?

Please contact the University of Otago's International Office if you do not hold New Zealand or Australian citizenship or permanent residence, and are interested in applying for admission into HSFY.

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I have already completed some university study—can I still enter HSFY?

Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) should be your first year of university study.

You are strongly advised to contact the Health Sciences Admissions Office if you are considering tertiary study before enrolling in the HSFY. Failure to do so could jeopardise your enrolment into this course.

Please note that you may be able to get a dispensation for prior university study. Please read:
Can I get a dispensation for prior university study?

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Can I get a dispensation for prior university study?

Yes, in some cases, a dispensation may be granted if an application for enrolment to HSFY is made by someone who has prior university study, but only if:

  • The student has not studied any degree level university paper or papers that include any subject that is the same, similar to, or contains, significant portions of any of the prescribed HSFY papers, and
  • The student's previous degree level study does not total more than one year of equivalent full-time study

Please contact the Health Sciences Admissions Office for information about dispensation for prior university study.

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Are there any background requirements for entry into HSFY?

There are no subject requirements for entry into HSFY. However, we strongly recommend you take Chemistry, Physics, and Biology at Year 13.

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What are the English language requirements for HSFY?

All HSFY students who are looking to apply to Dentistry, Medical Laboratory Science, Medicine, Pharmacy, or Physiotherapy are required to sit an English Language Diagnostic test at the beginning of Semester One.

Please visit the Department of English and Linguistics website for more information.

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I’m a native English language speaker—do I still have to sit the English language diagnostic test?

Yes. All HSFY students—regardless of whether they are native English language speakers or not—must take the English language diagnostic test.

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What are my options once I complete HSFY?

Once you have completed HSFY you have a few options:

  1. You can apply for admission into the five professional programmes so you can study to become a doctor, dentist, pharmacist, physiotherapist, or medical laboratory scientist
  2. You can apply for entry into the Health Sciences restricted-entry degree programmes: Dental Technology, Oral Health, and Radiation Therapy
  3. You may find that you discover new areas of interest as you explore the wide range of subjects presented during Health Sciences First Year
    • There are many opportunities at the University of Otago after completion of this year
    • Papers from this year can be credited towards a vast range of undergraduate sciences, commerce, law, and arts degrees

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