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Foundation Year entry requirements

You may have already met the entrance requirements to Foundation Year

To be admitted to Foundation Year, you must have met the:

  • English language requirements for admission
  • Academic qualifications for admission

The table below shows the minimum qualifications you need to be eligible to apply for a place in the University of Otago Foundation Year.


Academic requirements for University of Otago Foundation Year

Country Qualification
Minimum Standard
International Qualifications GCE O-Levels 2 B and 2 C grades or equivalent Aggregate
International Baccalaureate* 21 in 6 subjects (average 3.5 on 1-7 scale)
Australia NSW Higher School Certificate or equivalent TER 50
Year 11 or equivalent* Superior grades
Brazil Certificado de Conclusao de 2 Grau Superior pass
Secondary Year 11* Superior pass
Chile Licencia de Educaion Media Good pass
Grades 1-4 in Senior Secondary School* Good pass
China (Senior 3)
Year 12
(Senior 2)
Year 11 (completed)
Fiji School Leaving Certificate Form 6 65% in 4 subjects
Hong Kong HKDSE Score of 11 points over 5 best subjects
Senior Secondary Year 2 Superior Pass
India All India Senior School Certificate Grade C2 in 4 subjects
Indian School Certificate Second division pass
Higher School Certificate (+ 2) Good second division pass
Indonesia SMU 3 70%
SMU 2* 80%
Japan General Upper Secondary School Year 3 Grade 3 average
General Upper Secondary School Year 2* Superior grades
Jordan General Secondary Education Certificate 75% average overall
Korea Senior High School Year 3 Grade C
Senior High School Year 2* Superior grades
Malaysia SPM (or Forecast) Grade 4 average over 5 subjects
UEC* Grade 6 average over 5 subjects
New Zealand NCEA Level 2/3
Sixth Form/Bursary
Applications assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Oman Secondary School Leaving Certificate 75% overall
Papua New Guinea Higher School Certificate Grade B in 5 subjects
Russia Certificate Secondary Education Grade 4 average
Taiwan Senior High School Year 3 Grade B
Senior High School Year 2* Superior grades
Thailand Matayom 6 Grade 2.5 academic or Grade 3 vocational
Matayom 5* Superior grades
Vietnam Completion of High School GPA 6

*Entry to Foundation Year is dependent on successful completion of our Bridging Programme

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English Language requirements for University of Otago Foundation Year

Test Required result
IELTS 5.5 (no band below 5.0)
iBT TOEFL 70 (with a writing score of 15)
TOEFL (Paper-Based) 525
TOEFL (Computer-Based) 196
Cambridge FCE Grade B
Cambridge CAE Grade C
Cambridge CPE Grade C
GCE O-Level English C6
GCE A-Level English D7
HK CEE (English Syllabus B) 3
HK ALE (Use of English) D7
SPM Bahasa Inggeris B+

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General information

If you need additional English tuition before starting the Foundation Year, or wish to sit an IELTS, TOEFL iBT, TOEIC or Cambridge Mainsuite test in Dunedin, the University of Otago Language Centre is situated in the same building as the Foundation Year programme, and offers these courses and tests.

Further information about English language tuition at the University of Otago Language Centre is available elsewhere on this website.

Our Admissions team will assess your application based on several factors.

First of all, the application form must be completed correctly.

Depending on the stream you intend to study, we will check the academic transcripts you have sent us to determine if you have achieved the required level to participate in the programme.

For example, if you intend to study a science stream, your high school maths grades must be high enough to fit in with the programme.

If you are very close to making the grade, but not quite there, we will offer you a conditional offer which would require you to go through our Bridging Programme.

If your English isn’t quite good enough then you can join our General English programme and follow that pathway to Foundation Year.

We run International English examinations in our building too – you can take the IELTS test right here to meet the English entry requirement.

Along with your application we also suggest sending us a cover letter, written by yourself, outlining why you want to study with us and how you can apply yourself to the academic challenges ahead.

A letter of recommendation from a previous teacher or employer would improve your case too.

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