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Applying for a Postgraduate Programme

Postgraduate parade

 Applying to Otago is a simple process. All you need to do is:

  1. Complete our online application (follow the link and click the qualification you wish to apply for)
  2. Meet our academic entrance requirements
  3. Meet our postgraduate English requirements
  4. If you are applying for a research only Masters programme:

    Prior to application, you need to:

    • Visit the website of the academic department appropriate to your subject.
    • Identify the research interests of the relevant department(s) and individual staff members. The University of Otago expertise database is a good place to start.
    • Develop a possible research topic that fits in with these interests.
    • Approach a potential supervisor to see if vacancies exist for research supervision.

    When applying, you need to include the following with your application:

    • A detailed research proposal that shows you are familiar with current literature surrounding your topic.
    • An up-to date curriculum vitae.
    • The name of the academic staff member with whom you have been in contact.
    • An approximate start date.

Documents you will need to provide

  1. Gather and scan your supporting documents before you start. As you go through the online application, you will be required to upload your supporting documents as follows:
  2. You are required to provide scanned copies of your previous official academic transcripts (awards gained, marks, grades) with your application. High school results are not necessary. 
  3. You may also be required to submit an Educational Credential Evaluators report (ECE). If this applies to you, your application will not be assessed until your ECE report has been received by us. If you choose to submit your application through one of our approved agents an ECE report may not be necessary. Official University of Otago representatives & agents
  4. You are required to provide proof of your identity; this is usually achieved by providing a certified copy of the personal details page of your passport or a birth certificate (in English). A scanned document may be uploaded in the first instance, but a 'hard copy' original or certified version of that document will be required in order to complete your enrolment.  What is a certified/notarised copy?

As soon as you have completed your online application, your proof of identity document must be posted to:

International Office
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

We will contact you directly if additional information is required.


For information regarding scholarships please see Postgraduate Scholarships

Any questions regarding scholarships should be directed to the Scholarships Office:

Meeting the English language requirements

If your first language is not English you must provide evidence of a satisfactory level of English language proficiency. You can submit your application without an English result and provide this at a later date. The English language test must have been taken within two years of the proposed study start date.

Any offer made will be conditional until the English requirement has been met.

The English language tests we recognise are as follows:

  • University of Otago Foundation Studies Ltd: Completion of 'English for Postgraduate Academic Purposes' with a grade of C or higher
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0)
  • Paper-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 587 with TWE (Test of Written English) 4.5
  • Internet-based TOEFL score of 95 with a minimum writing score of 22
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) – Overall score of 176 (with no individual band below 169)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) – Overall score of 176 (with no individual band below 169)
  • APIEL Advanced Placement International English Language Examination - Grade 4 or higher
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - Overall score of 64 with no communicative skills score below 57
  • Successful completion of the English Pathway for Postgraduate Studies (EPPS) with a B Grade in the University of Auckland English Language Academy (ELA) pathway programmes.
  • Successful completion of the University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) with a B Grade.

The following programmes require higher levels of achievement than the minimum requirements listed above:

  • Postgraduate Diploma/Master/PhD in Public Health - IELTS of 7.5 - must be provided before applications will be considered
  • Master of Teaching and Learning / Graduate Diploma in Teaching - IELTS of 7.5 in the academic module with no individual band below 7.5
  • Postgraduate Dentistry, Law, and Surveying courses -
    • Internet-based TOEFL - 102 or better with a minimum of 24 in each section
    • Paper-based TOEFL - 600 or better with a TWE (Test of Written English) of 5.0 or better
    • IELTS (Academic) of 7.5 overall with a minimum of 7 in each band
  • Master of Dietetics – IELTS 7.5 in the academic module with no individual band below 7.0

Students enrolling in courses leading to the Diploma for Graduates (regardless of content or endorsement) must meet the standard postgraduate English requirements above.

The University of Otago TOEFL institution code is: 9483

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Application closing dates

  • First Semester: 31 October
  • Second Semester: 30 April
  • Research only: In most cases, you can apply for a research only Masters programme at any time of the year
  • Applications for Dentistry programmes close on 31 May for commencement in the next academic year.
  • Applications for the Bridging Course for Overseas Trained Dentists close on 1 December for the following year.
  • Applicants for the MBA (Master of Business Administration) programme should visit the MBA website.
  • Successful applicants for postgraduate Physiotherapy programmes will need to arrange for temporary registration as a physiotherapist. Further information can be obtained from the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand.
  • Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Wildlife Management (PGDipWLM) must submit all application materials by 1 October.

Frequently asked questions

How much will it cost to study?

Check our international fees schedule

How long is the course?

Check the duration of your programme in our International Prospectus

What can I study?

Check what postgraduate degrees are available at Otago

To study for a postgraduate degree at the University of Otago, students must first hold an undergraduate degree in the same discipline.

If your undergraduate degree was not in the same discipline, you may be interested in learning about our Diploma for Graduates programme.

More questions?  Check out AskOtago, our knowledge base.