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History is the study of how and why the past has meaning in the present

History moves like tectonic plates: both imperceptibly, and with astonishing ruptures. What counts as historical truth in a world of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts'? Studying history provides students with a deep sense of the ways time has shaped today's complex world, and the intellectual tools to tackle an appealing array of professional and career challenges.

Our 2023 Michael King Memorial Lecture was presented by author and investigative journalist Nicky Hager. A video recording of the lecture, “The battle for and against New Zealand’s nuclear free policy – a secret history”, is available to watch on YouTube:

Michael King Memorial Lecture 2023 – YouTube

Career opportunities

History graduates enter a wide range of professions, including government service, industry, all levels of teaching, journalism, broadcasting, museum and library work. Our graduates have the ability to collect and analyse data and write clear, coherent and balanced assessments, together with the ability to think independently, flexibly and objectively. As artificial intelligence takes over much mundane work, these unique 'humanities' skills are increasingly sought after by high-quality employers.

We specialise in the histories of New Zealand, the Pacific, Asia, Europe, Britain and Ireland, and North America.

R. A. Lawson Journal, 1854, Hocken Pictorial Collections image


We offer a complete range of degree programmes in History including:

John Turnbull Thomson, Campong Rochor, Singapore, 1846, Hocken Pictorial Collections image

Postgraduate and research

We have a strong research culture and a vigorous postgraduate programme.

Because of the strength and range of its cultural institutions, Dunedin is an excellent location for undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate research in history.

Contact us

2nd Floor Arts 1 (Burns) Building

History programme
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
+64 3 479 8606
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