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Online learning at Otago

While Otago’s primary teaching mode is via face-to-face learning on-campus, and a number of distance learning options are available, the University also offers offshore undergraduate and coursework postgraduate students a range of programmes via online learning.

Online learning enables a selection of programmes and papers that would normally only be delivered on-campus to be temporarily delivered online in order to support international students that are unable to attend classes in person.

Please note that only a limited selection of online learning options are available for the remainder of 2023. Online learning options will not be offered in 2024. Instead, we welcome you to study on-campus in New Zealand or to consider our range of distance learning options, which are specifically designed for students studying off-campus (across New Zealand and the world).

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Why study online with Otago?

Studying online with Otago allows you to commence your studies even though you cannot physically join us on campus. By studying online, you will have access to the same excellent academic content, comprehensive library services, online resources, our international student support services, and the opportunity to develop your international network with other online learners and those students studying on campus.

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How does online learning work at Otago?

Due to the range of subjects and learning environments across the University, the online learning experience varies across papers. However, some general guidelines are provided to assist prospective and current students to get the most out of their online learning experience.

Read the guidelines for online learning

How is it different to distance learning?

In distance learning, all types of learning (e.g. lectures, tutorials) have been designed to be delivered from a distance and in most cases, all students in those classes are learning from a distance.

In online learning, the class is being run on campus, so most students in the paper will be on campus. Online learners will join the classes virtually from wherever they are in the world, or access recordings of classes. The number of online learners per paper will differ, as will the learning experience. This is why we encourage online learners to contact their paper co-ordinators for all papers they are interested in, prior to enrolling, in order to ensure the online learning environment is suitable to their needs.

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Eligible students

Students interested in studying online will need to be granted approval to do so by the University – including those who have been granted approval to study online in previous semesters.

International students unable to enter New Zealand are eligible to apply for online study in 2023. Please note that New Zealand's borders are open to International travellers.

New Zealand-based undergraduate students are not normally able to study online in 2023. If you have extenuating circumstances that are preventing you from studying on campus, please contact Student Development to discuss the available options that meet your personal situation.

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Programmes and papers available online

The full list of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and papers available online in 2023 can be found on the pages linked to below. Online or distance papers listed on these pages are also available to Diploma for Graduates students.

Delivery combinations and workload

  • Approved students cannot take a mix of on‑campus and online papers, but students can take a mix of distance and online papers
  • Students approved for online papers may normally take up to three papers only per semester

Summer School

Summer School runs from January to February 2023. Students currently offshore are only able to enrol in Summer School papers marked as “distance”.

Summer School – January to February 2023

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How to apply

Step 1 – Apply for your programme

  1. Apply for your programme via eVision – visit the webpage of the qualification you wish to apply for, and click the Apply Now button
  2. If you have any questions before applying for your programme, contact our Student Development team:
  3. Applications for study starting in semester 1 – February 2023 close 23 January 2023
  4. When you have your offer letter, follow the steps below

Step 2 – Decide which paper(s) to take

  1. Review the papers available:
  2. Contact our Student Development team if you need help choosing papers:

Step 3 – Register to study online

  1. Once you have completed the steps above, register to study online with one of the forms below. This includes selecting the papers you would like to study.
    Please note: The online versions of papers cannot be selected via eVision.
  2. Follow the steps below to select online papers.
  3. For study in semester 1 – February 2023, the form above must be submitted by 23 January 2023.

The approval for online study and the addition of online papers is not automatic, and it may take some time for us to approve and process your request. Please check your student email regularly, as you may be required to provide further information. To assist us with processing your request, please provide any requested information as quickly as possible.

Step 4 – Prepare for Otago

Visit our Prepare for Otago webpages to ensure you are ready to start your studies as planned.

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Scholarships for online study

Undergradaute scholarships

International offshore applicants who are admitted to start an online or distance full-time Bachelor’s degree in 2023 will receive a Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship 2023 for International Students (Online) valued at NZ$10,000.

The scholarship will be credited to the student’s 2023 tuition fees account.

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship 2023 for International Students

Postgraduate scholarships

International offshore applicants who are admitted to start online or distance full-time studies in 2023 in any of the available and eligible programmes (Master’s and Postgraduate Diploma) will be considered for a merit-based Otago International Excellence Scholarship (Online), valued at NZ$10,000.

The scholarship will be credited to the student’s 2023 tuition fees account.

Otago International Excellence Scholarship

Important information for all students


If you are currently offshore, you do not need a student visa to study online at Otago. New Zealand's borders are open and we would be delighted to welcome you on-campus. An appropriate visa will be required to enter New Zealand in person.

Tuition fees

All approved students will be required to pay the standard tuition fee for papers regardless of the delivery method. Students unable to attend campus may be eligible for an exemption from the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF).

Computer resources

Approved students must ensure they have appropriate computing resources

Continued studies

The University is unable to guarantee that students’ preferred pathway or paper selection will be available, or that students will be able to complete a qualification online or within the standard minimum timeframe.

The University recommends all students speak to our Student Development team before applying:

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Further information

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