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Academic information for exchange students coming to Otago

This page is designed for exchange students nominated by one of the University of Otago Exchange partners.
If your home university is not on this list, please
see the International Office page.

Academic information

  • Language of instruction: English. See English requirements.
  • Courses at Otago are called 'papers'.
  • While there is no limit on the number of students accepted to a particular course, entry to any course is based on relevant academic background.
  • University of Otago grading Scale
  • Restricted programmes: Medicine, Dentistry, Psychiatry, Physiotherapy, Pharmacology, Pharmacy or any other clinical course are not open to exchange students. Some Otago courses such as MBA, Wildlife Management and Master of Science Communication are restricted in admissions.

Level of courses

  • 100: often first year papers; most have no pre-requisites.
  • 200 and 300 (2nd and 3rd year): you must meet prerequisites to take these courses at Otago.
  • 400 and above: Honours/Graduate level papers.

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Explore courses

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Course load requirement

Exchange students are required to maintain a full time student status while at Otago.

  • Minimum Course Load: 54 Points per semester (3 papers).
  • Recommended Course Load: 54-72 Points per semester (3 or 4 papers).
  • Only in exceptional circumstances an Otago Academic Advisor will approve a programme of 5 papers per semester.
  • Otago workload information
  • Law: students from non-English speaking countries or from a civil law background can take maximum of 3 Law papers (45 points) per semester. A 4th paper will be required in order to fulfil the minimum 54 points immigration requirement.

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Academic dates

  • Academic Year: February to November
  • Semester 1: February to June
  • Semester 2: July to November
  • Summer School: January to February
  • International School: June to July

Key Otago dates

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Examination period

Please check when the examination period ends at Otago prior to booking your return flight. Students must sit their final exams on the Otago campus.

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Otago transcripts

As global higher education moves towards more sustainable practices, the University of Otago is transitioning to electronic transcript sharing in 2023. Exchange and study abroad students will access a free copy of their University of Otago transcript on My eQuals and share a copy with their home institution.

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