Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

COVID-19 information for new international students currently offshore

Pārongo KOWHEORI-19 mā ngā tauira hou nō tawāhi kei tāwāhi tonu

New Zealand borders and visa processing

New Zealand’s borders are currently closed, except for New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, or those able to enter the country via an alternative border exemption (e.g. Trans-Tasman bubble).

Immigration New Zealand is not currently processing offshore visa applications until February 2022 at the earliest.

While there have been some Government-approved cohorts, allowing select groups of international students to return to New Zealand, at this stage it looks unlikely that there will be a further cohort in 2021.

As a result, unfortunately it is unlikely that new international students will be able to enter New Zealand in time for on-campus studies in semester 1 (February) 2022.

The University of Otago continues to monitor and respond to any Government updates.

Immigration New Zealand COVID-19 updates

^ Top of page

Online education offer

While Otago’s primary teaching mode is via face-to-face learning on-campus, the University currently offers three delivery options for eligible students:

  1. On-campus
  2. Distance learning – existing programmes and papers designed to be delivered by distance learning: otago.ac.nz/courses/distance_study/otago002148.html
  3. Online – a selection of papers and programmes that would normally only be delivered on-campus will be temporarily delivered online in order to support students that are unable to attend classes in person due to COVID-19

Applications for studies taught by distance or online commencing in semester 1 (February) 2022 should be submitted by 10 December 2021.

You do not require a visa to commence studies online.

^ Top of page

Scholarships for online study

Bachelor’s scholarships

International offshore applicants who are admitted to start online, full-time Bachelor’s degree studies in 2022 for available online programmes, will receive a Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship for International Students (Online) valued at NZ$10,000.

The scholarship will be credited to the student’s 2022 tuition fees account.

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for International Students

Postgraduate scholarships

International offshore applicants who are admitted to start online, full-time studies in 2022 in any of the available online master’s degrees or postgraduate diplomas will be considered for a merit-based Otago International Excellence Scholarship (Online), valued at NZ$10,000.

The scholarship will be credited to the student’s 2022 tuition fees account.

Otago International Excellence Scholarship

Key dates

Applications for studies taught online commencing in Semester 1 (February) 2022 should be received no later than 10 December 2021.

^ Top of page

Online English Language and Foundation Studies Certificate – studies and scholarships

Otago offers the Foundation Studies Certificate online, as well as several English language options, including:

  • English for Otago
  • General English
  • IELTS preparation
  • English for Academic Purposes

More information about these online programmes

Pathway scholarships

International offshore applicants who are admitted to the Foundation Studies Certificate online in 2022, will receive an Otago International Pathway Scholarship. The scholarship will be credited to the student’s tuition fees account.

Otago International Pathway Scholarship

^ Top of page

Why study online?

Studying online with the University of Otago allows you to commence your studies as planned. By studying online, you will have access to our academic support unit, comprehensive library services, online resources, our international student support team services, and the opportunity to develop your international network with both other online learners and those students studying on campus.

By studying online, you will have the status of a current student of the University of Otago and will be among our priority student groups to bring into New Zealand as soon as we are able to.

^ Top of page

Visas and online study

If you are currently offshore, you can commence and continue study online with the University of Otago without first obtaining a student visa. However, you will still need to complete all other enrolment steps including:

  • Selection of papers – special instructions will be provided for online students
  • Payment of tuition fees
  • Attending a compulsory online orientation session

Please note that an appropriate visa will be required to enter New Zealand to join us on campus, once border restrictions ease.

^ Top of page

Study abroad 2022

New Zealand’s borders are currently closed and Immigration New Zealand is not processing offshore visa applications until February 2022 at the earliest.

As a result, the University of Otago is not accepting incoming Study Abroad applications for semester 1 (February) 2022 as it unlikely that Study Abroad students will be able to enter New Zealand in time for on campus studies in semester 1 (February) 2022.

Please also observe that the University of Otago has paused the usual accommodation guarantee for Study Abroad students for 2022 due to the uncertainties of the border situation.

For partners with students seeking to study our English language and Study Abroad package, it is possible to commence study plans during 2022 with online English language studies available through the University of Otago Language Centre, followed by a potential on-campus study abroad once borders and visa processing allows. A selection of online options for a virtual study abroad semester will be made available should it not be possible to arrive on campus following the online English component.

Study Abroad partners interested in a virtual Study Abroad semester are invited to contact our International Office for more information.

Students are encouraged to contact the study abroad office at your home institution to find out more about your home institution's study abroad plans and any additional updates from Otago.

For students who are offshore and interested in studying individual papers online as an independent student, you can refer to our list of online papers. The confirmed papers for 2022 are being finalised at this time and will be updated soon. 

^ Top of page

Student exchange 2022

The University of Otago is not currently accepting inbound international exchange students for semester 1 (February) 2022 (exception from Australia), due to New Zealand border and immigration restrictions.

We welcome exchange nominations for virtual exchange in semester 1 (2022). Students must take a full course load at Otago. Please note that only a select number of courses are available for virtual exchange.

Please contact the exchange/international office at your home institution for information about virtual exchange at Otago or any additional updates. We look forward to resuming our full in-person international student exchange programme with partners across the globe as soon as this becomes practical.

Student exchange with Australian partners

The University of Otago welcomes exchange students from Australia in Semester 2 2021 and those planning for an exchange in 2022, provided students understand that:

  • The exchange will only progress if the trans-Tasman bubble is in place when the exchange starts.
  • Should the trans-Tasman bubble close at the end of your exchange, students must ensure that they have additional funds available to stay in New Zealand should their departure be delayed.
  • Should there be a change in border requirements students will be responsible for any and all costs to return to Australia.
  • Students must purchase a suitable insurance policy to cover health and travel while on exchange in New Zealand.

Students currently enrolled at one of our partner universities in Australia are encouraged to contact the exchange/international office at your home university to find out about options to plan your exchange at Otago. We look forward to welcoming you to Otago!

^ Top of page

PhD and research master’s

Applications for PhD and master’s thesis studies are open throughout the year – there is no specific application period or deadline to apply.

Remote starts for PhD applicants currently offshore may be an option in some cases.

For prospective PhD candidates – information for international students currently offshore regarding the admission processes.

For prospective master’s thesis students – information about admission.

^ Top of page

Bachelor’s, master’s, postgraduate studies

The University of Otago continues to welcome applications from international students for studies at bachelor’s, honours, master’s, and postgraduate certificate / diploma levels.

Please note that due to the current border and immigration restrictions currently in place, with offshore visa applications not being processed until February 2022 at the earliest, it is not likely that new international students will be able to commence studies on campus for semester 1 (February) 2022.

Online study options for 2022 are currently being finalised and will be updated soon.

Explore our undergraduate subjects

Explore our postgraduate subjects and qualifications

Additional application information

As always, we encourage you to submit a complete application, supplying all required information and documentation, as this will allow us to process these applications and issue an offer of place in the timeliest manner.

Please check the English language requirements webpage for information on English language proficiency tests, including any additional tests which may be accepted due to COVID-19 impact on normal testing centres for applicants who are offshore.

English language requirements

^ Top of page

Meet us

The University of Otago participates in selected online and in-person education fairs and events around New Zealand and the world to meet with students considering their future study options. At these events, you can talk with our international recruitment staff for personal guidance about study options, how to apply, scholarships, accommodation, and life at Otago.

Meet a representative from the University of Otago

^ Top of page

Visit otago.ac.nz/covid19 for ongoing updates.