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All students enrolling at the University of Otago must be proficient in the use of English. Where English is not a student's first or native language, English proficiency may be demonstrated via one or more of the categories outlined in sections 1–6 below.

Some programmes have higher requirements, and information on these programmes is included in section 7 below.

The information on this page is valid for both domestic and international applicants.

1. English requirements met via admission criteria

English language requirements are fulfilled if you meet admission criteria in the following categories:

Those entering the University on the basis of NCEA, or Cambridge International or International Baccalaureate (IB) taken in New Zealand, must meet the standard literacy requirements for admission through these categories – they cannot be replaced by IELTS (or similar) tests. Applicants entering the University on the basis of Cambridge International or IB taken outside New Zealand may meet the literacy requirement through an approved alternative as outlined below.

2. English proficiency tests

TestUndergraduate requirementPostgraduate requirement
IELTS (Academic module) (including IELTS Online)Overall score of 6.0, no individual band below 5.5Overall score of 6.5, no individual band below 6.0
TOEFL iBTOverall score of 80 and a writing score of 20
The University of Otago TOEFL institution code is 9483
(Please note we do not accept MyBest TOEFL scores)
Overall score of 90 and a writing score of 21
The University of Otago TOEFL institution code is 9483
(Please note we do not accept MyBest TOEFL scores)
C1 Advanced (previously Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE))Overall score of 169 (with no individual band below 162)Overall score of 176 (with no individual band below 169)
C2 Proficiency (previously Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE))Overall score of 169 (with no individual band below 162)Overall score of 176 (with no individual band below 169)
Pearson Test of English (PTE) AcademicOverall score of 50 with no communicative skills score below 42Overall score of 58 with no communicative skills score below 50
English New Zealand's Accredited Pathway AssessmentAssessment Level 2 (with no skill lower than Level 1)Assessment Level 3 (with no skill lower than Level 2)
LanguageCert – International ESOLC1 Expert (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skillC1 Expert (LRWS) with a high pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill OR C2 Mastery (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
NZCELNZCEL 4 Academic endorsementNZCEL 5 Academic endorsement
APIEL Advanced Placement International English Language ExaminationGrade 3 or higherGrade 4 or higher

3. Secondary qualifications from other countries (undergraduate study only)

The study must have been undertaken no more than two years prior to the date you begin your study at Otago. This validity period may be extended to five years on a case-by-case basis if you are able to provide evidence of continued immersion in an English-speaking environment (e.g. English language work experience or further study).

Exchange and Study Abroad applicants who have successfully completed one of the International Secondary Qualifications or Country Specific Qualifications below will not be subject to the two-year validity period for prior study completed in English. However, if a Study Abroad applicant also applies for a full degree programme at Otago, then this application will be subject to the two-year validity period.

CountryQualificationUndergraduate requirement
UKGCE A or AS Level English Language, Literature in English, Language and Literature in English
(Must be endorsed by CI, OCR, Edexcel, AQA or other UK authority)
E
SingaporeGCE 'O' level English or the General Paper H1 levelGrade C or higher
Three-year full-time diploma from Singapore Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic or Republic PolytechnicSuccessful completion
International Baccalaureate (taken outside New Zealand)English at Higher or Standard level in Language A: literature, or Language A: language and literature; or at Higher level in Language BScore of 4 or above
AustraliaGrade 12 English-intensive subject150%
CanadaGrade 12 English-intensive subject150%
DenmarkUpper Secondary School examination/StudentereksamenEnglish A: 7
English B: 10
FijiYear 13 Certificate English50%
FinlandYlioppilastutkinoto or Studentexamen – English languageM, E or L (grade 5 or above on 0–7 grading scale)
GermanyAbitur English Language3 or below (6–1 grading scale)
8 or above (1–15 grading scale)
DAAD testB2 or C1
Hong KongHong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)Level 4
IndiaAll India Senior School Certificate (CBSE), Indian School Certificate (CISCE), or Grade 12 English from specified Higher Secondary State Boards270% in English
Grade 12 English from all other Higher Secondary State Boards85% in English
MalaysiaGCE 'O' Level English 1119Grade of C or higher, or attainment of CEFR level C1
NetherlandsVWO-Gymnasium or VWO-Atheneum A or BGrade 7
NorwayVitnemål for videregående opplæring – English in student's final year4.0 or higher
SamoaNational University of Samoa – University Foundation Certificate60% (C1) in HEN004 Foundation English
SwedenSlutbetyg/Examensbevis från GymnasieskolanGrade of C (VG) or better in English 5 & 6 (English A & B)
South AfricaNational Senior Certificate/Senior Certificate/Matriculation English5 or C
South Pacific countriesSouth Pacific Form Seven Certificate EnglishGrade of 5 or above
TongaTonga National Form Seven Certificate EnglishMerit
USAACTELA score25
SAT Reasoning Test Evidence-Based Reading and Writing550
High School DiplomaSuccessful completion (minimum 2 years of attendance)

1. English-intensive subjects: Biology, Classical Studies, Economics, English Language, English Literature, History, History of Art, Geography
2. Maharastra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board and West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education

4. Foundation English programmes and foundation certificates

Teaching institutionProgrammeUndergraduate requirementPostgraduate requirement
University of OtagoLanguage Centre “English for Otago”English for Undergraduate Academic Purposes – Grade C or higherEnglish for Postgraduate Academic Purposes – Grade C or higher
University of AucklandFoundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP)Successful completion of the certificate with a C grade or higherSuccessful completion of the certificate with a B grade or higher
English Language Academy (ELA) pathway programmesSuccessful completion of the English Pathway for Undergraduate Studies (EPUS) with a C GradeSuccessful completion of the English Pathway for Postgradu10ate Studies (EPPS) with a B Grade
Auckland University of TechnologyCertificate in English for Academic StudyB overall, minimum B in writing, all other grades C+ or higherA overall, minimum A in writing, all other grades B+ or higher
Lincoln UniversityCertificate in English for Academic Purposes65%70%
University of WaikatoCertificate of Attainment in English Language (CAEL)CAEL Level 8N/A
UP International CollegeUniversity of Auckland Certificate in Foundation Studies (EAP module)65% (B- grade)N/A
AUT Certificate in Foundation Studies (EAP module)65% (B- grade)N/A
NCUK International Foundation YearEnglish for Academic Purposes moduleC grade overall, no less than a D grade in each componentN/A

5. Tertiary study in the English medium

Prior tertiary study taught in English from the countries/territories listed below may be accepted.

Undergraduate requirement: At least one year of successful degree-level study.

Postgraduate requirement: A completed degree, or completed postgraduate qualification requiring at least one year of full-time study. Where a student has completed at least one year of successful degree-level study at a New Zealand university as part of an overseas qualification, this may be considered sufficient evidence of English Language proficiency, and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

In all cases, the following provisos apply:

  • The study undertaken must have been at a university or polytechnic institution recognised by UKECCTIS or CEP
  • The study must be at a level comparable to New Zealand bachelor degree-level study
  • The study must have been undertaken no more than two years prior to the date you begin your study at Otago. This validity period may be extended to five years on a case-by-case basis if you are able to provide evidence of sustained proficiency in English (e.g. continued immersion in an English-speaking environment through English language work experience or further study)

This is valid for the following countries and territories/regions:

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Botswana
  • Canada (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • Denmark (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • Cayman Islands
  • Cyprus (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • Fiji
  • Ghana
  • Guyana
  • Hong Kong (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • India (if the degree has been taught in English, and the awarding institution is on this list)
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Malaysia (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Nigeria
  • New Zealand
  • Norway (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • South Africa (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • Sri Lanka (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • Sweden (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • Tanzania
  • The Netherlands (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • Uganda (if the degree has been taught in English)
  • UK
  • USA
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Also:

  • University of the South Pacific (all campuses)
  • University of the West Indies (all campuses)

Study Abroad/Exchange applicants

Study Abroad/Exchange applicants who are not applying for full degree programmes at the University of Otago may fulfil English language requirements as follows:

  • Current enrolment at a University of Otago exchange partner institution
  • Prior enrolment in bachelor degree level study (must be New Zealand comparable) as per the countries/provisos listed in section 5 above
  • Applicants from Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden or the Netherlands: where the standard high school English requirements are not met as students have completed their secondary schooling elsewhere, a letter of recommendation from their current institution is acceptable
  • Applicants from Germany may fulfil the English requirement with a 'B' or higher in each of the four components of the University English Language Proficiency test from the English department of their home institution

6. Other

  • Current registration as a doctor with the New Zealand Medical Council, or as a nurse with the Nursing Council of New Zealand, is sufficient to fulfil the standard English language requirements for most undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications. Some programmes have higher requirements. Registration with other professional bodies may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applicants applying to the MBA programme who do not meet the usual English language requirements may be considered to have fulfilled the English language requirement on the basis of their performance in the MBA test or interview; again this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

7. Programmes with higher English requirements

Teaching

  • Bachelor of Teaching (BTchg)
  • Master of Teaching and Learning (MTchgLn)

All applicants to initial teacher education programmes at the University of Otago must meet the language competency requirements of the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. These criteria can be found on the Teaching Council website.

Language competency requirements – Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Social Work

  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
  • Master of Social and Community Work (Applied) (MSCW(Applied))

IELTS: overall score of 7.0, with no individual band below 7.0
or
TOEFL iBT: overall score of 95, with a writing score of 22.

These tests must have been completed in one sitting within the previous two years.

Clinical postgraduate Dentistry

IELTS: overall score of 7.5, with no individual band below 7.0.

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