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Undergraduate Health Science: Information for International Students

Pharmacy Student

The University of Otago has places for international students in the following health professional degree programmes:

  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
  • Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB)
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm)
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPhty)

Availability of international student places

The number of places in professional Health Sciences programmes is restricted. The availability of places for second year is reviewed each year depending on New Zealand government requirements for training the New Zealand health workforce and also upon the University’s contractual commitments with overseas governments.

2017 Admission


The following number of second-year places is expected to be available in second-year courses in 2017 for international applicants from all countries:

Bachelor of Dental Surgery up to 6 places
Bachelor of Pharmacy up to 15 places
Bachelor of Physiotherapy up to 5 places
Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science up to 20 places
Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery up to 5 places 

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2018 Admission

The following number of second-year places is expected to be available in second-year courses in 2018 (following the 2017 Health Sciences First Year course) for international applicants from all countries:

Bachelor of Dental Surgery up to 15 places
Bachelor of Pharmacy up to 30 places
Bachelor of Physiotherapy up to 10 places
Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science up to 20 places
Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery up to 5 places

Eligibility criteria

There are a number of entry categories for the health professional degree programmes. They are:

Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) Category

All school leavers or others who have not previously attended a university or tertiary institution must seek entry to the health professional degree programmes by completing the HSFY course in their first year of study at Otago. The HSFY course can be taken at Otago only.
Further information about the HSFY course

Who can take HSFY?

Any school-leavers who have not previously undertaken university study may attempt the HSFY course providing that they have admission to the University and have taken appropriate academic subjects as preparation. However, given the competitive nature of admission at second year, the University recommends that only students with very good grades in high school/matriculation study should attempt the HSFY. Attainment of the relevant minimum grade for entry to the HSFY course does not guarantee that applicants will be competitive in entry to second-year courses.

When does the HSFY course start?

The HSFY course has one intake only each year (late February).

Applications under this category can be made for:

  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
  • Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB)
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm)
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPhty)

Read the application guidelines

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2nd Year of University Study Category

Applicants who are in their second year of degree level study at a New Zealand university may apply under this category.

Applications under this category can be made for:

  • Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm)
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPhty)

Read the application guidelines

Graduate Category

Applicants who have completed the requirements of a first degree from a New Zealand university within three years of application may apply under this category.

Applications under this category can be made for:

  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
  • Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) 
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm)
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPhty)

Read the application guidelines

Alternative Category

Applicants who have an overseas qualification, or who have completed a second or higher degree may apply under this category.

Applicants seeking admission via the alternative category will be required to enrol in the Bachelor of Science and complete a one-year prescribed course of study (with the exception of Physiotherapy).

Applications under this category can be made for:

  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
  • Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm)
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPhty)

Read the application guidelines

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Pharmacy Direct-Entry Category

Further places are available in Pharmacy on a direct-entry basis for students who have completed a recognized pre-university programme or who are completing the University of Otago Foundation Year. High achieving students in this category are directly accepted into the Pharmacy programme at Year 1 (the HSFY) and may progress directly to the second year as long as they pass all of the HSFY papers.

Read the application guidelines

All enquiries about this category should be directed to international.marketing@otago.ac.nz

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Bachelor of Oral Heath, Bachelor of Dental Technology

Admission to these programmes is competitive. Students do not need to complete HSFY in order to apply.
You must complete an online application to apply to these programmes.
The application closing date is 15 September, with outcomes available in December.
Read the application guidelines

Unrestricted Biomedical Science Programmes

The University also offers a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences degree and it is possible to study various Medical Science majors (Anatomy, Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Physiology, Pharmacology) as part of a Bachelor of Science degree. You can continue studies in any of these areas after completion of the HSFY without losing any time.
Read further information about these programmes