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Pacific at Health Sciences


The University of Otago's Division of Health Sciences provides Pacific Island students with a range of programmes and support. These include the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit, and the Pacific Foundation Programme.

The Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit

Island flowerThe Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit (PIRSSU):

  • Coordinates support for over 500 Pacific Island students studying Health Sciences at the University of Otago
  • Provides a research-informed approach on how best to recruit, retain, and increase the completion rates for Pacific students in health sciences
  • Follows the Health Sciences Pacific Strategic Framework to coordinate work within the Division
  • Engages with Pacific communities and organisations, schools, career advisors, government, and non-governmental organisations in the efforts to improve outcomes for Pacific students at tertiary level

The POPO Foundation Programme

Three students at a table The POPO Foundation Programme (PFP) works closely with PIRSSU.

The Foundation Year course at Otago is a great way to prepare for your first year of university. It also gives you time to adjust to the student life in Dunedin.

Each year, the POPO Foundation Scholarship Programme (PFP) supports 10 Pacific students who:

  • Are studying the Foundation Year Health Sciences course, and
  • Intend to apply for the Health Sciences First Year course at Otago, or any other health-related programme
  • The 10 PFP students will receive a guaranteed place in a University of Otago residential college.

Information, resources, and support for Pacific Island students

3 students on balcony Pacific Island students have access to information, resources, and support from centres throughout the University of Otago, and other student associations: