Friday 7 March 2014 4:25pm

Rachel Spronken-SmithOtago is well-known for its unique undergraduate experience, but did you know that Otago offers an incredible package for postgraduates?

Otago takes a holistic view of supporting postgraduates, ranging from excellent lecturers and supervisors, to world-class research facilities, distance programmes, academic and social support, a host of scholarships to fund your study, and a range of accommodation to suit your needs.

This unique combination serves to create a vibrant postgraduate culture which means your experience at Otago will be productive, enjoyable and memorable.

In the 2012 Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) exercise, which assessed the research intensity of New Zealand Higher Education Institutions, Otago came out on top for research when measured against the size of our postgraduate student cohort – this is the third time in a row that we have achieved this leading position!

The quality of our academic staff is a key factor in this ranking. Otago has the best ratio of postgraduate students to academic staff who rank nationally or internationally as leaders in their disciplines – a ratio of 5:1 compared with 9:1 across the New Zealand university sector.

Postgraduates at Otago have access to world-class research facilities in terms of laboratories, libraries and field equipment. Many departments and programmes have strong national and international links, with students travelling abroad for part of their study.

Our main campus is based in Dunedin, but there are medical schools also in Christchurch and Wellington, a College of Education campus in Invercargill, and a small campus in Auckland – mainly for professional courses. Plus we offer some postgraduate programmes by distance, particularly in health science professions.

A draw-card to Otago is the academic and social support we offer to postgraduates.

Although most support for academic skills is gained through postgraduate programmes, lecturers and supervisors, there is a wealth of centralised support available for postgraduates.

The Graduate Research School and the Student Learning Centre offer an extensive programme of workshops, digital resources and one-to-one consultancies to support aspects of postgraduate study.

Moreover, there is a strong and growing emphasis on peer learning – which can offer support for both academic skills and social networks.

Social events for postgraduates are hosted by departments and across the University. The OU Postgraduate Society run regular events, and there is also the Vice-Chancellor's Garden Party. And for research students, the Dean's Sausage Sizzle, and the Graduate Research Ball.

Undertaking postgraduate study involves considerable personal commitment and, of course, expense.

Otago is proud to offer over 180 doctoral scholarships, about 60 research master's scholarships and up to 20 scholarships for coursework masters.

Our scholarship stipends are very competitive nationally and some scholarships also cover tuition fees.

Coupled with the comparatively low cost of living (especially for South Island campuses) this makes Otago an attractive postgraduate destination.

We have a range of accommodation types, particularly for the main Dunedin campus which has New Zealand's only dedicated residential postgraduate college – Abbey College – as well as shared university flats.

With the accommodation being adjacent to campus and the close proximity of the city, the quality of life is very good. Moreover, many postgraduates opt to surf at local beaches, walk in the many parks and local reserves, mountain bike, or take a trip inland to Central Otago to go skiing and tramping.

Come to Otago for the whole package… a terrific postgraduate education and a great lifestyle! Do consider us for your postgraduate study - I look forward to welcoming you here.

Professor Rachel Spronken-Smith
Dean, Graduate Research School

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