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 4 years (graduate-entry)*
Estimated Annual Tuition NZD$108,220 (2024 fees; subject to increase)
Semester Intake February
Next Available Intake 2025
Application Deadline June 27, 2024**
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.

According to the 2024 QS World University Rankings by Subject (Dentistry), the University of Otago is ranked #4 in the Oceania region and #40 in the world. As one of the world’s top dental schools, the primary aim of the faculty is to remain a nationally and internationally recognized 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; and by fostering an environment that stimulates intellectual and professional development.

Faculty of Dentistry new building project
The University of Otago Council spent an excess of NZ$200 million on a number of capital projects, including a program of redevelopments for the Faculty of Dentistry. This included 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 is 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 houses clinical services including radiography, oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, undergraduate clinics, and orthodontics . The 8,000 square metres of space in the Walsh building have been refurbished to house laboratories for research, academic offices, student support, and teaching spaces.

Tour the Otago dental school facilities! 


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
Those with a university degree enter this program in Year 2. 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.

Admission Requirements

*Note: This 4-year graduate-entry accelerated pathway is intended for those with a university degree. While Otago offers a 5-year undergraduate option, it is not a guaranteed pathway to practice dentistry in Canada after graduation.

Completed bachelor’s degree
You must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7/4 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

The University of Otago’s Bachelor of Dental Surgery does not require the DAT.

Admission Timeline

**While the application deadline for the 2025 intake is June 27, 2024, you’re encouraged to apply as early as possible.


“Love everything”

Love everything, a bit of chaos in terms of scheduling, but even that is okay. Large class size but better when broken up into streams, more TA or tutors would help with the ratio. Don't wait, apply as soon as you can.

Salah Z
Bachelor of Dental Surgery
The University of Otago, 2023

“…the campus is new and has all the latest technology”

I like that the campus is new and has all the latest technology. The staff is very supportive and helpful. I feel like the faculty can be a bit more organized when it comes to administration, especially during the start of the year. A lot of Canadian students felt unprepared when we reached and found out we had to complete more requirements, like CPR etc. I like the course materials and instructors, we get to do a lot of practice on simulation teeth. I felt sometimes we had less tutors/supervisors than what was needed for our class size.

Hareem Z
Bachelor of Dental Surgery
The University of Otago, 2023

“Instructors are great”

[I like the] staff on campus, the support available. Instructors are great, very supportive and friendly. Course material is interesting and relative to what we are studying.

Raghad J
Bachelor of Dental Surgery
The University of Otago, 2023