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  • Health Sciences First Year (BSc), Dunedin, 2025
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The Health Sciences First Year ( HSFY ) course is the essential first step into the following health professional programmes at Otago:

It is a prescribed 126-point course that is completed in the first year of a student's university study, starting in semester 1.

The HSFY course also provides an excellent foundation for pursuing a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences or a Bachelor of Health Sciences. In addition, HSFY is useful preparation, but not required, for the Bachelor of Dental Technology, Bachelor of Oral Health and Bachelor of Radiation Therapy.

Admission to second-year classes in Dentistry, Medical Laboratory Science, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy is competitive, and for those students applying through the HSFY category depends on achievement in HSFY.

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


Seven required papers make up the HSFY course.

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 optional eighth paper selected from an approved list. More information is available on the Health Sciences First Year website:

Optional eighth paper – Health Sciences First Year

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 must 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.

Background and entry requirements

Health Sciences First Year must be your first year of university study. Undertaking any other tertiary study before enrolling in HSFY could jeopardise your enrolment in the HSFY programme, so you are strongly advised to contact AskOtago if you are considering this.

Contact AskOtago

All HSFY students will sit a compulsory English Diagnostic in week 1 of semester 1. If you do not meet the threshold grade, you will have a second opportunity to sit the test, and if the threshold grade is not reached again, you will be required to pass  ENGL 128 in semester 2. More information about the English Diagnostic is on the English and Linguistics Programme website:

Health Sciences First Year English Diagnostic

If you have not studied Chemistry, Physics or Calculus at NCEA Level 3 (or equivalent) you may find CHEM 191 and PHSI 191 challenging. The Health Sciences First Year website has information about options that may help you succeed in HSFY:

Preparing to study Health Sciences First Year

Admission to Health Sciences professional programmes

Applications for professional programmes must be submitted in the application period of 1 August to 15 September in the year preceding entry to the programme. Selection of eligible applicants is determined by the relevant Admissions Committee.

Admission to the Health Sciences professional programmes is governed by the regulations stipulated in the University Calendar and the professional programme Guidelines for Admission pages. You should read these regulations to ensure you are familiar with the admission requirements.

Guidelines for Admission to Health Sciences professional programmes

For Medicine, the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) must be completed in the year of application as part of the selection process.

University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand (UCAT ANZ)

Information for international students

International students interested in progressing into professional health sciences programmes should check the guidelines for admission.

Guidelines for Admission to Health Sciences professional programmes

Information on places for international students in Health Sciences professional programmes is available on the Health Sciences website:

Undergraduate Health Science: Information for international students


The general contact point for Health Sciences admissions is:

Tel 0800 80 80 98

Physical address:
AskOtago Central Hub
Information Services Building, University of Otago Dunedin campus
65 Albany Street
North Dunedin
Dunedin 9016


For more information, visit the Health Sciences First Year website:

Health Sciences First Year

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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