University of Otago

Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB)

  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery


Admission into Medicine at Otago is usually through the Health Sciences First Year course. School leavers enrol at Otago for the common Health Sciences First Year course and then apply for admission to second year medicine. Graduates may also apply for admission at second year. If successful, students will complete a further five years, then after graduation work for another year under probation in order to gain general registration. 

To be considered for admission in the HSFY category an applicant must be enrolled in HSFY at Otago and pass all the papers prescribed for HSFY at first attempt, with a minimum of 70%, and have a valid current UCAT result which meets the threshold in all of the five UCAT sections to be determined annually by the Medical Admissions Committee.

Applicants will also be required to have passed the HSFY English Diagnostic Test or have passed ENGL 126.

Alternative category

This category for application for admission to second-year Medicine is open to allied health professionals, other graduates, or mental health professionals.

To be considered for admission under the Alternative category, an applicant must be a domestic student and:

Hold a degree from a New Zealand university, and no longer be eligible under the Graduate category; or have completed a degree at an overseas university at a standard of at least NZQF Level 7; or hold a master's or doctoral degree; or demonstrate health-related professional experience in a relevant field to a standard acceptable to the Medical Admissions Committee.

Applicants seeking admission to Medicine with health-related professional experience will be required to demonstrate academic and/or professional experience in the relevant field, to a standard acceptable to the Medical Admissions Committee, as part of the selection process. Allied health professionals are recommended to have not less than five years' experience in their chosen profession(s), and preferably at least two years in New Zealand.

International applicants are not considered under the Alternative category.

Qualifications that applicants wish to be considered as part of their application must be completed (with results available by 1 May in the year of application) and a full academic transcript must be provided before an application can be processed.

Applicants will be required to provide the names and contact details of three referees, who will be contacted only when an applicant is selected for interview.

Please note that references are confidential and will not be released.

Candidate selction is a two-stage process. Candidates are selected for a medical interview based on an application statement and CV. Not all applicants will be selected for medical interview.

At the University of Otago medical interview, the topics covered include:

  • Academic achievement
  • Other achievements
  • Commitment to a career change
  • Communication skills
  • Knowledge of the New Zealand health system
  • Understanding of the profession

Interviews take place in Dunedin approximately eight weeks from the closing date. Notification is via your eVision account. Applicants need to ensure that they are available to attend for interview if invited, as the Interview Panel will not reschedule their dates.

A candidate may apply once only using this category.

Applicants who are offered a place in second-year Medicine that have not completed the Otago Health Sciences First Year papers (or an approved equivalent), may be required to undertake a prescribed course of study. When the Medical Admissions Committee offer a place, these applicants will be advised which papers he or she must complete, as well as the grades that must be attained in order to be eligible to be admitted to the second-year of Medicine.

Important Dates

Applications for admission to Medicine via the HSFY and Graduate categories for 2022:
Open: Start of August 2022
Close: Mid-September 2022
Applications for admission to Medicine via the ‘Alternative’ category for 2022:
Open: Start of April 2022
Close: Start of May 2022

Read full details about Medicine / Medical Degree at the University of Otago.


The majority of places are offered to students who have completed the HSFY programme at the University of Otago. Selection into Dentistry from HSFY is based on your grades in the HSFY, your results in UCAT, and a structured medical interview. High grades are required and no compulsory paper can be less than a 65%. The UCAT and the medical interview assess qualities other than academic attributes. In all cases, you must have completed the HSFY papers or approved alternative with the required grades, the UCAT, and be available for the medical interview. A small number of places are available for international students who return to their home country after graduating. Applicants who are of Mäori or Pacific Island (Polynesian) descent, or who have had a rural New Zealand upbringing and/or education, may request this be taken into account as part of their application.

Applicants must have a minimum average of 70% in all their HSFY papers and a current UCAT result (in all five sections). Applicants who reach the academic and UCAT thresholds will be offered an interview. Final selection will be based on academic score.

Applicants will also be required to have passed the HSFY English Diagnostic Test or have passed ENGL 126.

Email MedEntry to discuss further details about the structure and styles of the interview questions for The University of Otago Dentistry and Medicine.

Important Dates

Applications for admission to Dentistry for 2023:
Open: Start of August 2022
Close: Mid-September 2022

(Precise dates to be confirmed)

Read full details about Dentistry at the University of Otago.

If you have or expecting to receive an interview offer for Otago University Dentistry / Medicine, then you should consider attending a Medical Interview training session.

Australian Applicants

Australian residents are considered as New Zealand domestic applicants.

A reciprocal agreement between the New Zealand and Australian governments enables Australian citizens and permanent residents studying in New Zealand to be classified as domestic students for enrolment purposes (including fees). Students who have completed Year 12 in Australia, to be eligible for New Zealand university entrance, must achieve an ATAR of 74 or above, or QLD OP rank of 12 or below. 

Further information regarding enrolment for Australian students is available via The University of Otago website.

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