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Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB)

Entry Level



Dunedin, South Island, Aotearoa/New Zealand


6 years

Important Dates

September: Applications Close

Indigenous Entry Pathway

Yes, the University of Otago has a Māori and a Pacific student entry process and sub-category for admissions.


University of Otago

Faculty of Medicine

Sayers Building (Ground Floor)
290 Great King Street
Dunedin 9050
New Zealand

Kōhatu – Centre for Hauora Māori

Dunedin School of Medicine
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9050
New Zealand

Māori/Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI)

School of Medicine and Health Sciences
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345
New Zealand

Contact Information


The Medical course at the University of Otago takes six years and leads to the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB). After admission to medical school students complete the second and third years of the course in Dunedin where they participate in an integrated course providing teaching and learning in the foundations of Medical Practice.  The course is taught in a series of integrated modules and is based around small group tutorials, lectures, laboratory and community settings.

The final (clinical) years are completed at the Dunedin, Christchurch or Wellington School of Medicine. The focus of these years is on work in hospital wards, in general practices and other community settings. There is an option for a Rural Immersion Programme in the 5th year where students can choose to learn in a rural setting.  Maori health is a vertical module that is taught in each year of the medical course.
Candidates for admission will be considered in the following categories and at the following times:

(i) Health Sciences First Year – in the first year of university study at the University of Otago, for candidates who will have fulfilled the requirements of the first year course;

(ii) Graduate – within three years of the completion of the requirements of a first degree awarded by a university in New Zealand;

(iii) Other – at one subsequent time, which may be on completion of a second degree or other university qualification.

A candidate may apply once only in each of the three categories of this regulation.


Entry Level

An undergraduate course is an entry level course at university. Most students go from high school, but you can also apply as a mature age student, or have done an enabling course or previous study at TAFE. You can also do an undergraduate course if you have already done a degree, but in a different field. In medicine, undergraduate courses are 5 or 6 years long.

Undergraduate/School leaver

Most people who wish to apply for entry to Otago Medical School enrol and complete Health Science First Year (HSFY) in their first undergraduate year.  HSFY is taught in Dunedin and restricted to those students who have not studied at University before, or those students who have studied at Tertiary level however in areas with no overlap with Health Science First Year.   Seven compulsory papers are taught in HSFY.

Graduate Entry

Students can apply for Otago Medical School as recent Graduates.  These are people who have completed a Bachelors Degree within the past 3 years.  To gain entry in the Graduate category, applicants must have completed, normally in the minimum academic time and within three years of the date of application, the requirements of a first degree awarded by a university in New Zealand at an academic level to be determined by the Admissions Committees from year to year

Other Category

All other applicants who have completed a degree and do not meet the graduate entry requirements are considered under the Other category. To gain entry in the Other category, a candidate must be a graduate who does not meet the requirements to apply as a graduate entrant or have health-related professional experience and satisfy special criteria. September: Applications Close.

Entry Criteria

From Health Science First Year: Applicants applying under the Maori subcategory need to have passed all Health Science First Year papers and achieved a B average across the papers.  Further information can be obtained through the Maori Health Workforce Development Unit.

Graduate category: All applicants in the Graduate category are ranked on the basis of a score derived from the grades achieved in:

Their first degree, or
Their first degree followed by an honours degree, or
A first degree followed by a postgraduate diploma similar to an honours programme
No preference is given to degree qualification or major subject. The academic score for the applicants’ degrees will be determined annually by the Medical Admissions Committee. Candidates considered for entry in the Graduate category must have valid UMAT results.

Other category:  Applicants are assessed across a range of criteria including their written application, their academic and health backgrounds and on an interview.

Preparation Course

The University of Otago’s Tū Kahika programme is a two semester (from February to October) Health Sciences programme.
Tū Kahika is a scholarship run within Foundation Year and supported by the Māori health workforce development unit (Health Sciences Division).

Tū Kahika prepares Māori students academically for their first year of tertiary study and a future career in Māori health. As a Tū Kahika student, you will receive guaranteed accommodation in a Residential College, and financial assistance towards your tuition fees and accommodation costs.


Indigenous Entry Pathway

Yes, the University of Otago has a Māori and a Pacific student entry process and sub-category for admissions.

Applicants may choose to apply under the Maori and the Pacific sub-category at the time of application for a health professional programme.  Applicants may apply under the Māori sub-category from HSFY, graduate entry and Other category pathways.  Applications under the Maori sub category complete a Form A which includes an endorsement of whakapapa and a written statement documenting reasons for applying under the Māori sub-category and outlining your commitment to and interest in Māori health. Please refer to the Guidelines for Admission link for more information about details.  Advice about Māori entry pathways is also provided by the Māori Health Workforce Development Unit.

Additional Information

There are no subject requirements for entry into the Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) programme, but it is strongly recommend you take chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics at Year 13. HSFY must be your first year of university study.


What assistance is available to me?
Māori Health Workforce Development Unit

The Māori Health Workforce Development Unit (MHWDU) provides a number of tailored programmes and MHWDU services include providing information, guidance, and support for Māori seeking pathways into health professional and health sciences study at the University of Otago. The MHWDU works closely with key University of Otago networks and services to ensure Māori students have access to high quality services to meet their range of needs.

The Māori Health Workforce Development Unit’s programmes

Tū Kahika

Tū Kahika is a scholarship programme preparing young Māori for Health Science study. It is for young Māori interested in a career in health, and provides a range of benefits for Māori students wanting to excel in tertiary health science study.

Te Whakapuawai (Health Science First Year achievement programme)

Te Whakapuawai is a programme to support Māori students enrolled in Health Sciences First Year (HSFY). All Māori students enrolled in HSFY receive ongoing information and guidance about HSFY from the Māori Health Workforce Development Unit as soon as they enrol.

Te Whakapuawai provides Māori HSFY students key information regarding academic assistance, entry into professional programmes and opportunities for whanaungatanga with other Māori HSFY students.

Tū Tauira Hauora (BSc and professional programme support)

Tū Tauira Hauora provides support, information and guidance for Māori Bachelor of Science (BSc) students wanting to gain entry into a professional programme via second year entry or Competitive Graduate Entry Pathways.
Tū Tauira Hauora is also a retention programme for Māori students enrolled in professional programmes.
It provides direct links and opportunities for students to engage with other health professional programme students and Māori health professionals working in the community. Tū Tauira Hauora supports students through their studies and beyond into the health workforce.

Māori Centre

The Māori Centre is a support service for all students of Māori descent. The Centre aims to encourage Iwi Māori to participate and succeed in tertiary education from pre-enrolment through to graduation. The Centre offers support for academic, cultural and social needs and operates from a kaupapa Māori base (Māori philosophy) and provides services such as liaison, academic, hui and resources.

University Scholarships

Māori Student Specific Scholarships
Mainstream Scholarships

* For more scholarship information please email frank.edwards@otago.ac.nz at the Māori Centre


Otago Accommodation Services

Financial Assistance


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