The Diploma in Arts (DipArts), the Diploma in Commerce (DipCom) and the Diploma in Science (DipSci) are NZQF Level 5 qualifications that are open to both international and domestic students.
Diploma in Arts (DipArts)
Diploma in Commerce (DipCom)
Diploma in Science (DipSci)
The diplomas enable highly motivated, near-miss university entrance students to gain a qualification that allows direct progression into the second year of relevant bachelor's degree programmes.
The Diploma in Arts, Diploma in Commerce and Diploma in Science are each taught over a period of two 12-week semesters plus exam period, aligned to the University's regular academic year. They have one intake per year starting in February.
These are fast-track qualifications suitable for international and domestic students who only just miss New Zealand university entrance requirements and who are well placed to succeed in level 5 studies. They are designed to help students transition into university study through a focused and highly supported environment.
The Diploma in Arts leads into the second year of the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, with a range of major subjects available.
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
The Diploma in Commerce leads into the second year of the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degree.
Bachelor of Commerce (BCom)
The Diploma in Science leads into the second year of the Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree.
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
The Diploma in Arts, Diploma in Commerce and Diploma in Science follow a carefully structured programme format, taught in a highly supportive and focused learning environment.
The diplomas combine pathway NZQF Level 5 courses with first-year bachelor level courses from the chosen diploma subject area.
The diplomas also incorporate mātauranga Māori and Pacific perspectives across all papers. This supports all students to have a sound cultural context for their continued studies in Aotearoa New Zealand and future employment opportunities.
The diplomas have been designed to create learning communities so that students work together with their peers during the diploma year and then move together into second year bachelor degree studies.
All students take:
- PTWY 101 English Skills for University Purposes 1
- PTWY 102 English Skills for University Purposes 2
- PTWY 103 Academic Skills for University Success
- PTWY 104 Cultural Awareness in Aotearoa NZ
DipArts students also take:
- PTWY 120 Representing Aotearoa NZ in Contemporary Literature
- PTWY 121 Historical Worlds: Building States
- PTWY 122 Contemporary Worlds: Our Challenges
Plus 3 additional courses taught at first year Bachelor of Arts level (100-level papers).
DipCom students also take:
- PTWY 110 Mathematics for Commerce
- PTWY 111 Principles of Economics
- PTWY 112 Essential Business Finance
Plus 3 additional courses taught at first year Bachelor of Commerce level (100-level papers).
DipSci students also take:
- PTWY 130 Mathematics for University Purposes
- PTWY 131 Introduction to the Human Body
- PTWY 132 Introduction to Plant Life
Plus 3 additional courses taught at first year Bachelor of Science level (100-level papers).
The DipArts, DipCom and DipSci are suitable for near-miss university entrance students who are highly motivated to succeed and to transition directly into second year bachelor degree studies.
Applicants shall either:
- be an international student with an overall IELTS score of 5.5 (with no band less than 5.0) or equivalent; have completed the final year of their high school system; and have gained the equivalent of a minimum B- average across at least three relevant subjects or,
- be a student whose achievement at NCEA Level 3 or equivalent is deemed sufficient to meet the requirements of the programme even if their achievement does not meet the requirements for matriculation to the University.
Don't meet the entry requirements?
The Foundation Studies Certificate may be a more suitable option for you.
Otago also offers English language courses to help you reach English language requirements for pathway and university-level study:
There is one intake for the DipArts, DipCom and DipSci programmes each year, starting in February.
Applications from international students offshore should be submitted by 1 December in the year prior to study, to allow plenty of time for student visa processing.
Applications from domestic students and international students already in New Zealand should be made by 22 January.
Diploma tuition fees are listed on the Dates and fees page:
We welcome diploma applicants to apply for the University of Otago Pathway │ Te Huarahi Scholarship:
If you have studied in a New Zealand high school, you are also welcome to apply for Otago Undergraduate Entrance Scholarships (application period 1 July–15 August), which may be applicable to your diploma studies.
The University welcomes diploma students to the following accommodation options:
Students already in New Zealand (international or domestic) should apply for a place in a Residential College before 30 September in the year prior to study.
International students located offshore should apply for a Residential College before 1 December in the year prior to study.
If you are an international student under age 18 when you enrol in studies, additional information applies to you:
To make an application, please contact us:
If you are an education consultant (agent) ready to place an application, please email us at the address above for application assistance.
If you would like more information or advice, please contact us via our enquiry form: