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Health Sciences First Year


The Health Sciences First Year course is the essential first step into Otago’s health professional programmes:

Please note: Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) is not the same as Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHealSc).

Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) is a prescribed 126-point course to be completed in the first year of a student’s university study, starting in the first semester.

The course also provides an excellent foundation for the Bachelor of Dental Technology, Bachelor of Oral Health, and Bachelor of Radiation Therapy, as well as advanced study in the biological, biomedical and other sciences.

Students who have completed not more than one year of university study in subjects other than Health Sciences First Year compulsory papers (or equivalent) may be granted a dispensation to undertake the Health Sciences First Year. No student will be permitted to take an examination in a subject of the first year course in which a pass has already been gained.

Admission to second-year classes in Dentistry, Medical Laboratory Science, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy is determined by Admissions Committees and is most commonly gained through a competitive Health Sciences First Year. A separate application for admission to second-year classes must be submitted no later than 15 September in the year preceding that to which admission is sought.

See the Health Sciences First Year website for more information.

Note: Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) is treated like a major subject for enrolment purposes, however you cannot complete a three-year Bachelor of Science majoring in HSFY. Instead, after completing your first year, you can transfer to a different major subject for second year and beyond. For example, after HSFY, you might enter second-year Anatomy or Biochemistry or Medicine.

If you are interested in working in the areas of public health, Māori health, or Pacific health, you might consider the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHealSc).

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Papers Name Points
BIOC 192 Foundations of Biochemistry 18
CELS 191 Cell and Molecular Biology 18
CHEM 191 The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health 18
HUBS 191 Human Body Systems 1 18
HUBS 192 Human Body Systems 2 18
PHSI 191 Biological Physics 18
POPH 192 Population Health 18

Students may take an additional optional paper selected from an approved list (available on the Health Sciences First Year website). The results in the best seven papers will be counted for the purposes of admission to the professional programmes, provided that the compulsory seven papers are passed at or above the required minimum standard.

All Health Sciences First Year students will sit a compulsory English diagnostic test, to be held in late February at the St David Lecture Theatre. Students who do not pass the test will be required take ENGL 126. For more information about the Health Sciences English Diagnostic Test, please go to the test's Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you have not studied Chemistry or Physics at NCEA Level 3 (or equivalent) you may find CHEM 191 and PHSI 191 quite challenging.

Admission to the Health Sciences professional courses is governed by the regulations contained in the University Calendar (and on the pages listed above). You should read these regulations to ensure you are familiar with the admission requirements. Please be aware that the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) must be taken as part of the selection process for Dentistry and Medicine.

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Information for international students

Health Sciences First Year can lead to limited entry professional programmes. International students interested in progressing into professional health sciences programmes should check the admission conditions for those programmes.

Information on places in other Health Science professional courses for international students is available here.

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Contact details

The general contact point for Health Sciences admissions is:
AskOtago 0800 80 80 98

Physical address:
AskOtago Central Hub located in the Central Library
65 Albany Street
North Dunedin
Dunedin 9016


Health Sciences First Year

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