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University confirms undergraduate admission requirements for 2011


Friday 30 July 2010 2:57pm

The University of Otago this week confirmed the details of the new system that will see its existing limitation of enrolment measures extended to cover all undergraduate degree programmes from 2011.

The long-standing limitation mechanisms already in place for professional degrees in areas such as the health sciences, teacher education, surveying and physical education will be retained. The new system will be introduced alongside this to limit entry to degrees such as the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science, which have not previously been subject to limitation.

In confirming the changes Professor Vernon Squire, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) highlighted the changing environment the University is operating in and the need to maintain high academic standards.

“In recent years the University has faced significant increases in enrolments and limitations in Government funding. This has led to increasing pressure on the University’s resources and services.”

“In order to maintain high standards in the learning experience of our students, it has become necessary to extend our management of enrolments to cover all undergraduate programmes.”

Professor Squire said that this will be done by introducing two pathways for admission to previously unrestricted undergraduate programmes, with the entrance criteria through both these pathways being based primarily on academic merit.

“These changes are similar to admission policies currently in place or in the process of being introduced at several other New Zealand universities, but the Otago approach has some unique features that are designed to give high-calibre students the earliest possible assurance about their place at Otago,” says Professor Squire.

“This approach reflects the fact that some 80 per cent of commencing undergraduate students at Otago come from outside Dunedin, with almost 40 per cent from the North Island; early assurance is important for such students as they make their plans to relocate from home to Dunedin to commence their studies.”

The two pathways for admission under the new system are Preferential Entry and Competitive Entry.

Intending students may qualify for Preferential Entry in a number of ways including achieving a high standard in NCEA Level 3, the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Examinations. Distinguishing features of the Otago system will include the opportunity to qualify for Preferential Entry through achieving NCEA Level 2 awarded with merit or excellence, or through gaining a place in one of the University’s residential colleges (which give priority to academic merit in their selection).

Preferential Entry status converts into a guaranteed place at Otago when a prospective student gains a university entrance qualification (subject, of course, to that student also meeting the normal minimum age and language requirements).

Intending students who do not gain Preferential Entry will be placed on the Competitive Entry pathway. They will then be assessed and ranked according to their academic performance and other relevant criteria and will be offered places in order of priority, subject to the availability of places in their nominated programmes.

Many of those who start on the Competitive Entry pathway will subsequently qualify for Preferential Entry status, and so will be transferred onto the Preferential Entry pathway at that point. Enhanced admission for Mäori and Pacific applicants will be a feature of this new system.

A full list of undergraduate programmes that are subject to the new system is attached, along with a list of those undergraduate programmes that already have limitation mechanisms in place.

Please note that this system applies to domestic students seeking to enrol at Otago for the first time (including those seeking to transfer from other universities), or seeking to re-commence their enrolment at Otago after a break from study of more than two years. It does not apply to intending postgraduate students or prospective international students, who will continue to be subject to existing limitation measures specific to their area.

Otago Undergraduate Degrees Subject to First Year Enrolment Limitation for 2011

Under the new preferential/competitive entry system

  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences
  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Bachelor of Consumer and Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Bachelor of Science (including health sciences first year and other first year intermediate courses)
  • Bachelor of Theology
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB, at the previously open-entry first year level)

Under previously established limitation measures

  • Bachelor of Dental Technology
  • Bachelor of Education Studies
  • Bachelor of Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Oral Health
  • Bachelor of Physical Education
  • Bachelor of Teaching

Note: Previously established limitation measures will also remain in force for those undergraduate degrees for which selection occurs after a first intermediate year or initial year (or years) of study. Degrees subject this type of limitation include Otago honours degrees, Bachelor of Laws (for progression beyond first year), Bachelor of Social and Community Work, and the main undergraduate professional degrees in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Medical Laboratory Science and Surveying.