Program Overview

In this exchange program, you will enroll directly in classes at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.  The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students from any discipline for a semester or full academic year of study. You are able to embrace the full “kiwi” experience by living with local and international students in flats managed by the University of Otago. Adventure seekers will find sailing and surfing near this coastal city with skiing and some of the world's best hiking. 


The University of Otago is New Zealand's oldest university, founded in 1869. It has earned an international reputation for the quality of its research and teaching. Teaching at Otago is closely related to scholarly research, with the result that most teaching is undertaken by academics at the forefront of relevant knowledge. 


Otago's attractive campus is a mixture of historic and modern buildings located in the center of Dunedin. The campus is a short walk from the city's central shopping and services. Otago students rate its campus lifestyle as one of its strongest attractions. The students live as a community immediately around the campus area in student Colleges of Residence or self-catering flats. Dunedin is a coastal city situated in the southern part of the South Island of New Zealand. It offers excellent cultural facilities including museums, art galleries, libraries and craft centers. 
 
The University of Otago offers a diverse faculty and wide variety of courses that allow you to explore topics and cultures not commonly taught at the University of Oregon, particularly Maori studies. Renowned for its health sciences, the University of Otago prides itself on its research facilities and well regarded psychology department. 
 
Otago’s International Office provides specialist support for international students, welcoming you with a tailored orientation program and providing ongoing help and support throughout your time there.  
For those who like to play for fun, the University’s Clubs and Societies program offers over 150 short courses and activities, from arts, crafts and dancing to cooking, languages and music. Unipol Recreation Centre is a superb gym facility that offers everything you need free of charge, including cardio and weights, sports halls, group fitness classes, social sport and outdoor adventures.  


The Disability Information and Support Office provides learning support, advice, advocacy and information to international students with disabilities, impairments, medical conditions or injuries that may impact on their study.  


Student Health provides daily urgent and routine appointments to all international students.  
Student Learning Development offers a free service including interactive workshops, individual consultations with learning advisers, and peer learning and support programs.  


The Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) is an independent organization that represents students’ interests. If you’ve lost your wallet, need some help with budgeting, or require advocacy and support, OUSA is the place to go.  

Additional requirements

  • Completion of UO WR 121 and 122 with grades of B- or higher
  • GPA of 3.25 or above for graduate students

What is an Exchange?

This is an exchange program in which you will directly enroll in courses at a UO partner university. Exchange programs differ from other study abroad options and on-site student support services such as academic advising, health & counselling services may vary. Students most comfortable and successful in exchange programs typically have high levels of self-reliance, resourcefulness, and willingness to adapt to unfamiliar teaching styles and living arrangements.

NOTE: The host university has its own credit and grading system. The transcripts provided by the host institution will be converted by the UO Registrar’s Office based on established standards of conversion. Exchange applicants should meet with a GEO advisor to discuss program details.

Academic Details

New Zealand universities generally offer a three-year undergraduate bachelor’s degree and the subject you choose to specialize in is called your major.  The building blocks of the degree are called papers (similar to UO classes). A paper is a fixed amount of work in certain aspects of a subject at a particular level. Introductory papers are called 100-level papers, and you move on in subsequent years or semesters to 200-level and 300-level papers. Usually students take a mixture of 100, 200 and 300-level papers in their semester at Otago. Papers beyond 300-level are normally postgraduate papers and require an advanced background.  
Please note that the fields of study of Law, Medicine, Midwifery, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy are closed to exchange students. 

The basic method of presenting subject information are the lectures, which normally last fifty minutes and are a basic means of introducing new knowledge. You must back them up with your own reading. You will have essays and assignments, and may take part in laboratories or tutorials where more individual attention is available. Papers are assessed in a variety of ways. Examinations (finals) are usually the most important and most papers end with a three-hour examination at the end of each semester.  
 
Most papers are single semester papers and are worth 18 points. 18 Otago points are worth approximately 9 ECTS, which is approximately 6-7 UO quarter credits.  A full-time course is generally 54-72 points in any one semester (three to four papers).   

Note: You should consult with your UO academic advisor before submitting your course enrollment to the University of Otago. 

Housing Description

The University of Otago is renowned for its residential campus environment, and you are therefore encouraged to live in “self-catering flats” (apartments or houses) with other international and local students. Flatting is an important part of the university lifestyle, and offers both freedom and responsibility. You will often cook meals and create lasting friendships with your “flatmates.” The university flats surround the University campus and are no more than a 20-minute walk to downtown Dunedin. You will be responsible for paying weekly rent, but you will be provided with a bed and a dresser in your partly furnished flat. The Accommodation Office at Otago will assist you in arranging your housing once accepted to the University. 

There are several accommodation options for international students and it is important to consider whether you prefer an independent lifestyle or enjoy living in a community.  Otago does not offer a meal plan program for exchange students.  

The Student Accommodation Centre manages the applications for University Flats. You should submit your application by mid-November of the preceding year for a February start, or by the end of May for a July start.  Once international students have received an offer of an academic place, their accommodation application will be forwarded to their first preference for consideration. 

Application process

Applying for an exchange program involves 2 steps. First, you will complete the GEO application process and interview. Selection for this program is based on a review of your online written application, transcripts, recommendations, and completion of the interview process. After your initial application is complete, GEO will review it and select successful candidates for nomination to Otago. Nominations are made in March for the fall semester and in September for the spring semester of the following year. 

Next, you will need to complete a secondary application for the host university. After being nominated by GEO, students will receive instructions regarding the secondary exchange application for Otago. This typically includes an online application for Otago, and providing documents such as your transcript, copy of passport, and a study plan. 
Otago makes the final decision regarding acceptance into the program. The acceptance letter will also include information about registering for papers.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearDeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Fall Semester20182/1/2018Early JulyEarly November
Spring Semester20192/1/2018Late FebruaryLate June
Academic Year2018-192/1/2018Early JulyLate June
Calendar Year20192/1/2018Late FebruaryEarly November

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.