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University of Otago

Program Overview 

Location: Otago, New Zealand
Culture: Supportive/collaborative, outdoorsy
Neighborhood: University-owned flats
Housing: University-owned flats
English level: Intermediate - advanced

As the oldest university in New Zealand, the University of Otago has a long tradition of education and teaching excellence. This is translated both through their rigorous courses as well as their respect for their cultural history. 

Sports and outdoor activities are commonplace and popular among the students. The university has the Forsyth Barr Stadium on campus, which is New Zealand’s only covered sports field, where student can catch top-level rugby matches. The university showcases many fine examples of what New Zealand has to offer SAF Scholars.

The university is situated in Dunedin, considered the gateway to the South Island. Nestled between the mountains, harbor, and the sea, natural beauty abounds and there are easy connections to other outdoor activities in the area.

Student Profile

SAF Scholars seeking an opportunity to take academic courses in an adventurous yet supportive university would be well-suited for Otago. As they would be in close proximity to beaches, alpine peaks, fjords, glaciers, and sub-tropical rainforest, the right-fit student would also enjoy outdoor and adventurous activities.

Other Programs at University

The University of Otago also offers SAF Scholars the opportunity to participate in a Language Program.

Other Comparable Programs

Program Details

Program Dates by Term Availability

Semester 1 (February - June)
Semester 2 (July - November)

Progression or Concurrent Notes

A progression option is available. Students that choose this program will need to achieve at least a 75% or higher in the program in order to advance to academic classes. The following minimum language proficiency scores are the minimums necessary to choose this option:
IELTS: 5.5

Program Strengths

A key strength of Otago is its position within the city of Dunedin. The strong presence of the university makes it easy for students to live and interact with domestic students and have a true “kiwi ” student experience while studying at the university.

# of Credits (per term)

Three or four papers (courses) are considered an average course load.

Course Registration Policies & Procedures

SAF Scholars will register for courses online prior to their arrival in New Zealand. This means that scholars will know their courses before entering the country. They will have the option of adding/dropping courses during the first week of the semester.

Course/Departmental Restrictions

Students cannot enroll in the following courses:
  • Dentistry
  • Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Science
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy

Graduate Courses


Housing Type

On-campus apartment



Type of Room

Student Life

Co-/Extra-Curricular Opportunities or Programs

SAF Scholars have access to many university resources, from its libraries to the 24-hour computer centers. The Otago University Student Association (OUSA) is also open for students to utilize, which manages the student-centric clubs and support networks. Between the numerous sports clubs and societies, from Kayak Racing to Meditation Club to Spearfishing and Hunting, students will find something that interests them.

Life on Campus

With the student population of 20,000 making up approximately one fifth of the city’s population, life on campus could never be considered isolated. Dunedin developed together with the university, making education a long lasting priority to the town.

Last Updated: 1/9/19