The University of Otago

Dunedin, Otago


University Location Dunedin, Otago
Address 362 Leith Street, North Dunedin, Dunedin 9016 New Zealand
Main Campus Dunedin
City Population 133,000
Student Population 25,000
Int'l Student Population 2,800
Semester 1 Start February
Semester 2 Start July


Founded in 1869, the University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university and is still leading the way when it comes to world-class, research-led teaching and a unique student lifestyle. The University of Otago campus is situated in the centre of Dunedin, a city offering the best of both worlds to students. It has the facilities, entertainment and variety of larger cities, with a wide range of social, cultural, and sporting activities.

Otago is New Zealand’s only university offering both academic excellence and outstanding student experience.

Academic departments and schools at the University of Otago are divided into four academic divisions:

1. Division of Humanities
2. Division of Health Sciences (Dentistry)
3. Division of Sciences
4. School of Business

Why Study Here?

The University of Otago is ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world according to the QS World University Rankings and houses New Zealand’s only dental school. In fact, Otago ranks among the world’s top 50 (QS rankings 2022) for the study of sports-related subjects and dentistry.

Students and staff at the University of Otago are well supported by a range of academic, electronic, recreational and welfare services, and much more:

  • Unipol Recreation Services offers a huge choice of recreational activities, including cardio and weights, sports halls, group fitness, outdoor rental, social sport and outdoor adventures.
  • Outstanding commitment to pastoral care with extensive student services and support networks including Campus Watch Safety Patrol.
  • More than 150 student clubs and societies to choose from.
  • Student surveys show overwhelming satisfaction with services provided. (98% with campus safety; 97% with sport and recreation facilities; 99% with libraries; 98% with administration and support; 98% with residential colleges).
  • Annual academic convocation ceremony and orientation programs for students.
  • Director of First-Year Experience helps students transition to university life.

Location Details

New Zealand is a multicultural South Pacific nation. Aotearoa is its Māori name. The Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous population, migrated from Polynesia approximately 1,000 years ago. They comprise 14% of New Zealand’s population. The majority of New Zealanders are of British and Irish heritage, but other European influences are noticeable. In more recent years a large number of Pacific Islanders have come to live here from countries such as Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. There are also large numbers of other nationalities, including recent Asian and European immigrants, who make up New Zealand’s 3.8 million population.

New Zealand covers approximately the same area as Great Britain, making it one of the least crowded countries in the world and a haven for peace and relaxation. New Zealanders are friendly, easy-going people. They welcome visitors warmly and are interested in meeting those from other cultures who come to enjoy what New Zealand has to offer.

Dunedin campus and Otago region
The main campus of the University of Otago is located in Dunedin, which is the major city within the province of Otago, and is close to all of Dunedin’s cafés, music venues, designer boutiques, stores, museums and galleries.  The vast majority of courses are offered here, including the only dental school in the country. The University of Otago also has campuses in Christchurch and Wellington.

More than 20,000 students make up one-fifth of Dunedin’s population, creating an energy and atmosphere that you’ll only find at Otago.

Dunedin is also the gateway to the beautiful south of the South Island—Queenstown, Fiordland, Wanaka and the wild West Coast. Otago’s international students spend their weekends exploring their extraordinary backyard—mountains and fjords, sandy beaches that surfers share with native wildlife—weekends are about recreation, adventure and leisure time outdoors.

Like Australia, New Zealand’s seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. The warmest months are December, January, and February, while the coldest are in June, July, and August. In Dunedin, spring and summer days can become quite warm with temperatures ranging from 14°C to 26°C. It is generally cool in the winter months, averaging 11°C from June to September. There are sometimes frosty mornings, usually followed by clear sunny days, and occasional snowfalls, so be sure to take a jacket!


“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