The University of Otago

Bachelor of Dental Surgery



University Location Dunedin, Otago
City Population 133,000
Student Population 25,000
Int'l Student Population 2,800
Main Campus Dunedin
Program Campus Dunedin
Program Duration 5 years (can be completed in 4 years)*
Estimated Annual Tuition $102,087 NZD (2022 fees; subject to increase)
Semester Intake February
Next Available Intake 2024
Application Deadline TBA**
International Places 20


The University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry—Te Kaupeka Pūniho—has an international reputation for clinical and research excellence. Founded in 1907, it is New Zealand’s National Centre for Dentistry. It forms an integral part of the Division of Health Sciences within the University of Otago, in Dunedin.

The Otago Faculty of Dentistry is ranked 34th-best dental school in the world (2019 QS World University Subject Rankings).

The primary aim of the faculty is to remain a nationally and internationally recognised leader of academic excellence in the areas of research, education and training, and clinical practice by:

  • Achieving and retaining a reputation for the highest quality research, teaching, and clinical expertise in each discipline
  • Fostering an environment that stimulates intellectual and professional development

New building project
The University of Otago Council has agreed to spend in excess of NZ$200 million on a number of capital projects, including a program of redevelopments for the Faculty of Dentistry. This will include a new building and refurbishment at its existing site on Great King Street; a new clinic in Auckland; and the establishment of a community clinic in South Dunedin called Te Kāika.

The new dentistry building will be tasteful, modern, and energy efficient, deploying the latest construction methods, and has been designed with great care to ensure they reflect the university’s already world-class campus setting.

This clinical building will house clinical services including Radiography, Oral Surgery, Paediatric Dentistry, undergraduate clinics, and Orthodontics that are currently housed in the Walsh building. The 8,000 square metres of space in the Walsh building will be refurbished to house laboratories for research, academic offices, student support, and teaching spaces.


There are three themes that run through the entire Bachelor of Dental Surgery program at Otago:

1. Biomedical Sciences
2. The Dentist and the Patient
3. The Dentist and the Community

Year 2
In second year the largest theme is Biomedical Sciences, which lays the scientific foundations in anatomy, physiology, and oral biology for the introductory clinical work you will undertake in the second theme, The Dentist and the Patient.

In the third theme, The Dentist and the Community, you will learn about public health dentistry and about how to further develop your communication skills.

Years 3 & 4
In third year and fourth year, The Dentist and the Patient is a major component of the curriculum. Here you will develop your clinical skills, initially in simulation sessions in the cutting-edge simulation laboratory, and then in patient sessions.

You will cover a wide range of clinical dental disciplines including

  • Prosthodontics and clinical cariology
  • Endodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Paediatric dentistry
  • Orthodontics
  • Oral medicine
  • Oral surgery
  • Special needs dentistry

To underpin your increasing clinical experience, the Biomedical Sciences course will cover

  • General and oral pathology
  • Growth and development
  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Therapeutics

In The Dentist and the Community, you will explore epidemiology and determinants of oral health and culture, and ethnicity and oral health.

Year 5
In fifth year you will consolidate your clinical experience and undertake a research project, either in Dunedin, elsewhere in New Zealand, or overseas.

*Please note this is a 5-year undergraduate dentistry program. If you have a completed undergraduate degree (as outlined in the Admissions Requirements section) you may be eligible to apply to the accelerated 4-year option.

Admission Requirements

Completed bachelor’s degree
You must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7/4 (approximately 70% + or B-) with the equivalent of all courses in Otago’s “Health Sciences First Year”:

  • Foundations of Biochemistry
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health
  • Human Body Systems I
  • Human Body Systems II
  • Biological Physics
  • Population Health

Admission Timeline

**Applications for the 2023 intake closed June 29, 2022. For information about the 2024 intake and to apply, please contact OzTREKK.