University of Otago Exchange

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: >75 credits by departure
Location: Oceania, New Zealand
GPA: 3.0
Program Overview
Application deadline extended to June 15 for Spring Semester 2023.

In Spring 2023, this program will only be available as a direct enroll. See posted budget for details.

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.  

UO-Otago Indigenous Studies Program

Native American Studies (NAS) 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. Native-identifying students and Native American Studies (NAS) Minors at the University of Oregon who have completed two years of coursework are eligible to apply for a full scholarship.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Fall Semester (Semester Two) 2022 02/01/2022 Early July Early November
Academic Year 2022-23 02/01/2022 Early July Late June
Calendar Year 2023 02/01/2022 Late February Early November
Spring Semester (Semester One) 2023 6/15/2022 Late February Late June
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

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.

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. 

Travel Advisories

GEO programs are under continuous review during this period of global uncertainty and limited travel. All program details outlined on this page, including program cost, are subject to change if global or location-specific conditions require modifications to program structure.

To learn more about COVID regulations while studying abroad, visit our FAQ page.