University of Otago

Founded in 1869, the University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university and one of its finest. It is a leader across all fields of academic endeavour – the humanities, sciences, health sciences and business – regularly topping the New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission’s education performance indicators.

Students can choose from more than 190 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and are taught by leaders in their fields, reflected by an unparalleled record of success in the country’s Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards. The teaching year generally runs from February to November, broken into two 13-week semesters. A number of programmes are offered via Distance Learning and a Summer School is held for six weeks during January and February.

Research excellence underpins all academic activity: more than 4,500 of the University’s 20,000 students study at the postgraduate level. The University has leadership roles in national Centres of Research Excellence and partnerships roles in the country’s National Science Challenges. It also hosts 17 multidisciplinary research themes and 12 research centres, including two of the world’s most highly regarded health and development longitudinal studies. It is home to New Zealand’s first medical school and only schools of dentistry and surveying.

In addition to research and teaching excellence, the University is committed through its Strategic Direction to 2020 to local, national and international betterment; strong external engagement; sustainable capability; providing outstanding student experiences and campus environments. The main campus is located in Dunedin – internationally recognised as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world – with significant health sciences campuses in Christchurch and Wellington, as well as presence in Invercargill and Auckland.


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