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Foundation Year entry requirements

You may have already met the entrance requirements to Foundation Year

To be admitted to Foundation Year, you must have met the:

  • English language requirements for admission
  • Academic qualifications for admission

The table below shows the minimum qualifications you need to be eligible to apply for a place in the University of Otago Foundation Year.


Academic requirements for University of Otago Foundation Year

Country Qualification
Minimum Standard
International Qualifications GCE O-Levels 20 Points and below in 5 subjects
International Baccalaureate 18 Points in 6 subjects (on a scale of 0-7)
Australia Year 12 Certificate (ACT ) Grade C or scale 3 out of 5 or 50%
Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE) Scale 3 out of 4
Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) Scale 5 out of 7
Higher School Certificate (HSC) 65% Average
Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE) Grade C or scale 3 out of 5 or 11 out of 20
South Australia Certificate of Education (SACE) Grade C or scale 5 out of 7 or 65%
Victoria Certificate of Education (VCE) Grade D
Victoria Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) Grade D
Western Australia Certificate of Education (WACE) Grade C or scale 3 out of 5 or 60%
Year 11 or equivalent Superior pass
Brazil Certificado de Conclusao de 2 Grau Superior pass
Cambodia Year 12 70% average
Chile Licencia de Educacion Media Good pass
China Senior Year 3 70% Average
Senior Year 2 80% Average
Fiji School Leaving Certificate Examination 65% Average over 4 subjects
Hong Kong HKDSE Pass 3 relevant subjects with Level 2 grades
Form 5 Pass 4 relevant subjects with 50% minimum
India India Senior School Certificate (CBSE) Grade C2 in 4 subjects
Indian School Certificate (ISC) 2nd Division Pass or 45% average
Higher Secondary School Examination Good 2nd Division Pass or 55% average
Indonesia SMA 3 7.0 Average in 4 relevant subjects
SMA 2 7.5 Average in 4 relevant subjects
Japan Senior Year 3 Grade 3 or 70% Average
Kiribati National Certificate 70% Average
Korea Senior Year 3 70% Average
Senior Year 2 75% Average
Kuwait General Secondary School Certificate 80% Average
Lao People’s Democratic Republic Year 12 70% Average
Malaysia SPM Grade B average in 5 subjects
UEC Grade B4 average in 5 subjects
Nauru Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate (PSSC) 70% Average
New Zealand NCEA Level 2 Applications assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Oman Secondary School Leaving Certificate 70% Average
Papua New Guinea Higher School Certificate Grade B average in 5 subjects
Philippines Secondary School Year 4 Grade B average
Samoa School Certificate or SPFSC 70% Average
Saudi Arabia General Secondary Education Certificate 70% Average
Solomon Islands Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate (PSSC) 70% Average
Taiwan Senior Year 3 Grade B or 70% average
Senior Year 2 Superior grades
Thailand Matayom 6 or Year 12 Grade 2.5
Matayom 5 or Year 11 Grade 3.0
Tonga Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate (PSSC) 70% Average
Tuvalu Pacific Senior Secondary Certificate (PSSC) 70% Average
United Arab Emirates Secondary School Certificate 2 B's and 2 C's or 70% Average
Vietnam Bang Tu Tai or Year 12 7.0 Average

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English Language requirements for University of Otago Foundation Year

Test Required result
IELTS 5.5 (without any band below 5.0)
IELTS Indicator
5.5 (without any band below 5.0)*
iBT TOEFL 70 (with a writing score of 15)
TOEFL (Paper-Based) 525
TOEFL (Computer-Based) 196
Cambridge FCE Grade B
Cambridge CAE Grade C
Cambridge CPE Grade C
Duolingo English Test
GCE O-Level English C6
GCE A-Level English D7
HK CEE (English Syllabus B) 3
HK ALE (Use of English) D7
LanguageCert B2*
SPM Bahasa Inggeris B+
Pearson Test of English (Academic) PTE (Academic) score of 42 with no band score lower than 36
English New Zealand Accredited Pathway Assessment Level 1

* These test results are temporarily accepted for those applicants in countries where test centres are closed.

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General information

If you need additional English tuition before starting the Foundation Year, or wish to sit an IELTS, TOEFL iBT, TOEIC or Cambridge Mainsuite test in Dunedin, the University of Otago Language Centre is situated in the same building as the Foundation Year programme, and offers these courses and tests.

Further information about English language tuition at the University of Otago Language Centre is available elsewhere on this website.

Our Admissions team will assess your application based on several factors.

First of all, the application form must be completed correctly.

Depending on the stream you intend to study, we will check the academic transcripts you have sent us to determine if you have achieved the required level to participate in the programme.

For example, if you intend to study a science stream, your high school maths grades must be high enough to fit in with the programme.

If you are very close to making the grade, but not quite there, we will offer you a conditional offer which would require you to go through our Bridging Programme.

If your English isn’t quite good enough then you can join our General English programme and follow that pathway to Foundation Year.

We run International English examinations in our building too – you can take the IELTS test right here to meet the English entry requirement.

Along with your application we also suggest sending us a cover letter, written by yourself, outlining why you want to study with us and how you can apply yourself to the academic challenges ahead.

A letter of recommendation from a previous teacher or employer would improve your case too.

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