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Students applying for admission to the University of Otago must be competent in the use and understanding of written and spoken English. The minimum requirements are described below.

English language requirements are fulfilled if you meet admission criteria in the following categories:

If you do not meet the criteria for any of these methods of admission, and your first language is not English or Māori, you must normally provide evidence satisfying the language requirements for admission to the University of Otago.

Notes: The University does not accept responsibility for academic failure which can be attributed to a student's lack of competence in English.
Admission to some courses may require higher levels of attainment.

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Minimum language requirements for undergraduate students

Assessment Method Undergraduate Requirements
NCEA National Certificate in Educational Achievement 10 Level 2 credits in approved literacy (5 in reading, 5 in writing)
Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge International) Grade E or better in AS English
IB International Baccalaureate English at Higher or Standard level in Language A: literature, or Language A: language and literature; or at Higher level in Language B
NZUEBS New Zealand University Entrance Bursaries and Scholarships English mark of 46% or higher
IELTS International English Language Testing System (Academic) 6.0 in academic module (with no individual band below 5.5)
IELTS Online is also accepted.
LanguageCert – International ESOL C1 Expert (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
TOEFL (paper based) Test of English as a Foreign Language 550
Test of Written English 4.5
TOEFL (internet based) Test of English as a Foreign Language 80 (with a Writing score of 20)
TOEFL iBT Home Edition is currently accepted for applications for intakes commencing semester 2 2022 and 2023 intakes.
CPE Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English Overall score of 176 (with no individual band below 169)
CAE Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English Overall score of 176 (with no individual band below 169)
APIEL Advanced Placement International English Language Examination Grade 3 or higher
University of Otago Foundation Studies Ltd Successful completion of ‘English for Undergraduate Academic Purposes’ paper
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic Overall score of 50 with no communicative skills score below 42.
Pearson Test of English Academic Online is currently accepted for applications for intakes commencing in semester 2 2022 and 2023 intakes.
University of Auckland English Language Academy (ELA) pathway programmes Successful completion of the English Pathway for Undergraduate Studies (EPUS) with a C Grade
University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) Successful completion of the certificate with a C Grade
English New Zealand's Accredited Pathway Assessment English New Zealand’s Accredited Pathway Assessment Level 2 (with no skill lower than Level 1)
NZCEL NZCEL 4 Academic endorsement

See also Other evidence of English-language competency.

International student? See the English language requirements for international undergraduate students page.

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Assessment Method Postgraduate Requirements

Minimum language requirements for postgraduate students

NCEA National Certificate in Educational Achievement 10 Level 2 credits in approved literacy (5 in reading, 5 in writing)
CIE Cambridge International Examinations Grade E or better in AS English
IB International Baccalaureate English at Higher or Standard level in Language A: literature, or Language A: language and literature; or at Higher level in Language B
NZUEBS New Zealand University Entrance Bursaries and Scholarships English mark of 46% or higher
IELTS International English Language Testing System (Academic) 6.5 in academic module (with no individual band below 6.0)
IELTS Online is also accepted.
LanguageCert – International ESOL C1 Expert (LRWS) with a high pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill OR C2 Mastery (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
TOEFL (paper based) Test of English as a Foreign Language 587
Test of Written English 4.5
TOEFL (internet based) Test of English as a Foreign Language 90 (with a Writing score of 21)
TOEFL iBT Home Edition is currently accepted for applications for intakes commencing semester 2 2022 and 2023 intakes.
CPE Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English Overall score of 176 (with no individual band below 169)
CAE Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English Overall score of 176 (with no individual band below 169)
APIEL Advanced Placement International English Language Examination Grade 4 or higher
University of Otago Foundation Studies Ltd Successful completion of ‘English for Postgraduate Academic Purposes’ paper
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic Overall score of 58 with no communicative skills score below 50
Pearson Test of English Academic Online is currently accepted for applications for intakes commencing in semester 2 2022 and 2023 intakes.
University of Auckland English Language Academy (ELA) pathway programmes Successful completion of the English Pathway for Postgraduate Studies (EPPS) with a B Grade
University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) Successful completion of the certificate with a B Grade
English New Zealand's Accredited Pathway Assessment English New Zealand’s Accredited Pathway Assessment Level 3 (with no skill lower than Level 2)
NZCEL NZCEL 5 Academic endorsement

See also Other evidence of English-language competency.

English language requirements for international postgraduate students are available elsewhere on this website.

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Other evidence of English-language competency

For domestic applicants the University may consider other evidence of language competency on a case-by-case basis, such as current registration for a profession which requires proof of language competency (e.g. New Zealand registration as a doctor or nurse) or study at an appropriate level at another New Zealand university. In all cases approval is at the discretion of the University, which must be satisfied of the sufficiency of the evidence provided to demonstrate English-language competency. Self-assertion of English-language competency without further information will not be deemed to meet these criteria.

For more information on providing alternative evidence of language competency, please email university@otago.ac.nz or telephone 0800 80 80 98.

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