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Study Abroad

Students searching for books in the library

Study Abroad students can enrol for one or two semesters at the University of Otago independently, or as part of a Study Abroad programme organised by their home university or a Study Abroad placement organisation.

Applying to Otago as a Study Abroad student is a simple process. All you need to do is:

  • Complete our online application by clicking the Apply Now button on this page
  • Attach all the necessary supporting documents as explained below
  • Meet our undergraduate English requirements

Application Closing Dates

  • First Semester: 1 December
  • Second Semester: 30 April
  • Summer School: 31 October

To find out when you should arrive at and leave Otago, please check our important dates for international students.

Documents you will need to provide

Gather and scan your supporting documents before you start.  As you go through the online application, you will be required to upload your supporting documents as follows:

  1. Original or certified copies of all previous tertiary level studies undertaken (a full academic transcript showing all subjects attempted, including failures, marks, or grades).  The International Division will also accept documents that have been certified/notarised by staff of the Study Abroad office at your home institution.
  2. Evidence of English language proficiency (if applicable).
  3. A key/guide to the grading system must also be included.
  4. Documents not in English must be accompanied by official English language translations.
  5. You are required to provide proof of your identity; this is usually achieved by providing a certified copy of the personal details page of your passport or a birth certificate (in English). A scanned document may be uploaded in the first instance, but a 'hard copy' original or certified version of that document will be required in order to complete your enrolment. Information on certified/notarised documents.

As soon as you have completed your online application, your proof of identity document must be posted to:

International Division
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

We will contact you directly if additional information is required.

Meeting the entrance requirements

To be eligible to apply for the Study Abroad programme you should have:

  • Completed at least one year of study at an accredited tertiary institution. US students are expected to be in their Junior year.
  • Current enrolment at an accredited tertiary institution.
  • A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or greater (USA), or have "credit", "good", or above average results.

Students who do not meet all of the above criteria are welcome to apply. We will confirm your eligibility for Study Abroad.

In addition to the requirements above, if you wish to gain entry to higher level undergraduate classes at Otago, you will need to have completed academic prerequisites at your home institution.

Meeting the English language requirements

If your first language is not English you must provide evidence of a satisfactory level of English language proficiency.

Evidence of English language proficiency may be satisfied by one of the following:

  • IELTS score of 6.0 in the academic module (no individual band below 6.0).
  • Internet-based TOEFL score of 80 (minimum writing score of 20).

For a full list of English language tests we accept please see:
English language requirements for undergraduate applicants

Frequently asked questions

How do I get courses (we call them 'papers') pre-approved?

Some students need to apply for pre-approval, so that they know their home institution will give them credit for the papers they do at Otago. To do this, list the papers you need pre-approval for on your application form when you apply.  You can apply to have a maximum of six papers pre-approved per semester.

How many papers can I do?

54-72 points per semester (three or four papers) can be regarded as an average course load. Typically, one paper is worth 18 points.  54 points is the minimum course load to maintain full-time status for one semester. 18 points is the minimum course load to maintain full-time status for Summer School.

If you are applying for two semesters of study you will need to select papers for both semesters.

How do study levels work at Otago?

Papers are grouped in levels, and levels 100-300 are undergraduate. In a general sense, 100-level papers are suited to 1st year students, 200-level papers are suited to 2nd year students, and so on. It is possible, however, to apply for approval to take papers that are above your 'normal' level, if you feel you have the required academic background. 

What papers can I study?

Subjects and papers offered at Otago

Normally, you will not be permitted to take papers from the following degree schedules: Dentistry, Medicine, Medical Laboratory Science, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy. 

Papers numbered 200-300 normally require the fulfilment of academic prerequisites at your home institution.  Papers numbered above 300 level are postgraduate papers. You will need to have an advanced background to be accepted for these papers.  If the papers you are considering have prerequisites, you will need to seek pre-approval to take them. You can check online if a paper has specific prerequisites.

You can only take papers which are taught in the semester you are applying to study in.  If you're unsure if your paper is offered at the right time or not, search for the paper number on our website to check.

A number of papers are listed as "full year". You may enrol for these papers only if you intend to enrol for two semesters commencing in the First Semester (February).

The information sheets below are designed to provide you with information about some of the papers that you may be interested in studying at the University of Otago as a Study Abroad student.

How much are the fees and living costs at Otago ?

Study Abroad Tuition Fees & Living costs

More questions?  Check out AskOtago, our knowledge base.