University of Otago

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: >75 credits by departure
Location: Oceania, New Zealand
GPA: 3.0
Program Overview

In this 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—most study abroad students live in flats managed by the University of Otago, which house both Kiwi and international students.

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 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. The South Island is well-known for outdoor activities and beautiful natural scenery, both in the summer and winter months. Dunedin also 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 at the university. The University of Otago also has a wide range of student services available, including offices devoted to recreation and sports, disability services and academic accommodations, student government, student health, and learning support resources.

UO-Otago Indigenous Studies Program

GEO will offer full scholarships to two UO students to participate in the Fall 2024 semester (July-November) at the University of Otago. The UO-Otago ISE Scholarship will cover the full cost of tuition, room and board, airfare, passport and visa application fees (if applicable), and additional fees associated with required course or extra-curricular activities (if applicable).

Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) Majors and Minors at the University of Oregon have the opportunity to explore Indigenous sovereignty and Native studies through the lens of the University of Otago’s Te Tumu School of Maori Pacific and Indigenous Studies programs, an experience designed to help students frame their understanding of Native American and Indigenous Studies topics in the United States within a broader international Indigenous Studies perspective. NAIS Majors and Minors at the University of Oregon who have completed two years of coursework may be eligible to apply for a full scholarship.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Fall Semester (Semester Two) 2024 2/1/2024 Early July Early November
Academic Year 2024-25 TBD Early July Late June
Calendar Year 2025 TBD   Early November
Spring Semester (Semester One) 2025 TBD Late February Late June

Discount for Pell Recipients

To expand access to study abroad, GEO is offering a $400 discount for this program (Summer 2024 and beyond) to UO students who currently have the Pell Grant as part of their federal financial aid (FAFSA).

Academic Details

The University of Otago offers a wide variety of classes (called ‘papers’ at Otago) within the fields of Commerce (business), Health Sciences, Humanities, and Sciences. You can search for papers (classes) and subjects (majors) here:

Please note that the fields of study of Law, Medicine, Midwifery, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy are not open to exchange students.

Usually exchange students take a mixture of 100, 200 and 300-level papers at Otago. Papers at the 200 and 300 level often require some pre-requisite coursework in that subject. Papers beyond 300-level are normally postgraduate papers and require an advanced background. Note: Some papers may run for the full year.

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 at Otago are worth 18 points, which is equivalent to 7 UO credits. Exchange students usually take 3-4 papers for 54-72 points. Thus, you will generally earn 21-28 UO credits per semester.

You are encouraged to work closely with your UO academic advisor as you select classes at Otago.

Course Equivalencies

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

Non-UO students: 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.

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

The application process for this program is competitiveGEO staff will review your application materials, and a decision about your enrollment will not be made until after the application deadline. In some cases, an interview is required. If your program requires an interview, you will be contacted with further details about this process after the application deadline. Early applications are encouraged.

Successful applicants will receive a nomination from GEO. Selection will be based on a holistic review of your application. This includes a review of your GPA, transcripts (including courses taken and in-progress), any additional requirements or prerequisites (see section "Additional Requirements"), and written statements. 

Applying for this program involves 2 steps. If you receive a nomination from GEO, you will also need to complete the host university's application, which is administered and reviewed by your host university directly. Instructions will be provided after acceptance by GEO. The host university makes the final decision regarding acceptance into the program.

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.  

Please note that placement in University of Otago-managed flat ("UniFlats") may not be guaranteed. You should submit your application by 1 November of the preceding year for a February start, or by 15 May for a July start.