Under the Entry Pathway system there are two pathways for admission to general bachelors' degrees (together with Certificate of Proficiency, first year Law courses, Health Sciences First Year, Social Work Pre-professional, Surveying First Year and other intermediate courses) for new domestic undergraduate students (and certain students who have enrolled at Otago previously).
For most students being considered under the Entry Pathway system, an entry score is calculated, based on results for examinations taken in their final year at secondary school. These scores will be used to determine eligibility for Preferential Entry or rankings for Competitive Entry.
For students who have a university entrance qualification and meet minimum age and language requirements, Preferential Entry guarantees a place in the University, while Competitive Entry students will be admitted on the basis of their ranking and the availability of places.
Preferential Entry guarantees a place at Otago for high-calibre students (except for those applying for Special Admission or Discretionary Entrance), subject to gaining a university entrance qualification and fulfilling minimum age and language requirements.
Preferential Entry is available under the categories below. Those who have previously undertaken substantial study at tertiary level will not usually be eligible for Preferential Entry on the basis of school results.
No previous tertiary study:
You qualify for Preferential Entry if you apply by the due date and you:
- have, in Year 12 or earlier, achieved NCEA Level 2 awarded with merit or excellence, or
- have achieved an entry score of at least 140 points for NCEA Level 3 or have achieved NCEA Level 3 awarded with merit or excellence, or
- have achieved the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 26 points, or
- have achieved an entry score of at least 140 points for the Cambridge International Examinations, or
- have an Australian ATAR, TER, ENTER or UAI rank of 80 or above or an OP rank of 10 or below, or
- have accepted a place in a residential college owned by or affiliated to the University of Otago, or
- have accepted a University of Otago undergraduate scholarship, or
- are a Māori applicant, or a Pacific applicant of Polynesian, Melanesian or Micronesian descent, who has not previously studied at a tertiary institution but who holds or is studying towards a New Zealand university entrance qualification.
Previous tertiary study
If you have previously undertaken tertiary study, you will normally be considered on the basis of your tertiary GPA rather than your secondary school results. You will qualify for Preferential Entry if you apply by the due date and you:
- are a recommencing Otago student, or a student transferring from another New Zealand university, or a student who has previously studied at an overseas university, with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4 (B-) or more for their most recent university study (only their results from their most recent equivalent two years of full-time enrolment will be considered)
- have undertaken suitable tertiary study other than at a university. Such study will be considered on a case by case basis depending on the programme and level of study.
In addition to the above categories, you must apply to the University by:
10 December (for study commencing in Summer School or first semester of the following year)
15 June (for study commencing in the second semester)
Preferential entry automatically converts to a guaranteed place at Otago when you also meet university entrance requirements (including minimum age and language requirements).
In many cases, if you do not have Preferential Entry when you first apply you may qualify later when your examination results become available or you accept a place in a residential college.
If you already hold a university entrance qualification and meet one of the Preferential Entry criteria at the time of application, you are immediately guaranteed a place at Otago (subject to verification of identity and citizenship status).
The University may in limited circumstances agree to afford Preferential Entry to any applicant who does not meet any of the above criteria but who has achieved an appropriate standard in other recognised qualifications or study or who has otherwise demonstrated strong ability to achieve to a high standard in study at the University.
Students with tertiary passes will be considered on the basis of their tertiary GPA rather than their secondary school results other than in exceptional circumstances.
New and recommencing students who cannot initially be placed on the Preferential Entry pathway will be placed on the Competitive Entry pathway.
If you are originally placed on the Competitive Entry pathway when you first apply you may qualify later to be switched to the Preferential Entry pathway, as further information becomes available (for example, when your examination results become available or you accept a place in a residential college). If this occurs, you will be notified via eVision.
If you do not meet the criteria to transfer to the Preferential Entry pathway you will remain on the Competitive Entry pathway and will be competing against other applicants. Applicants will be ranked primarily according to academic performance and will be offered places, in order of priority, if there are places available (subject to meeting minimum university entrance, age and language requirements).
It is expected that the majority of students will ultimately meet the criteria for Preferential Entry.
If you apply after 10 December you will automatically be assigned to the Competitive Entry pathway.
Applications for admission via Special Admission or Discretionary Entrance will be considered under the Competitive Entry pathway.
Calculating an entry score
- NCEA Calculator for Entry Pathways
- Grade Point Average Calculator for Entry Pathways
- Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) Entry Score Information
- International Baccalaureate (IB) Entry Score Information