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Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring, Year
  • Budget Sheets: Fall, Spring
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Language Prerequisite: No previous study
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College, SEAS
Other Eligibility Requirements: Prior Coursework as Required by Subject Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: Apartment/Off-Campus, University Residence Hall/Apartment Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: October 15
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

BNZ LogoUniversity of Otago

Founded in 1869, the University of Otago is New Zealand's oldest university and the number one research institution in the country. With more than 22,000 students, Otago offers a rich cultural life, reflecting a diverse international student community and New Zealand's own multicultural population. From its original Scottish foundations, the University now embraces its Pacific heritage. It is engaged in a mutually-beneficial partnership with Maori, particularly with the local iwi (tribe), Ngai Tahi. However, just as it is proactive in meeting the needs of the New Zealand people, the University welcomes the world with nearly 2,600 international students from over 90 countries.

Located on the edge of the Dunedin Botanic Gardens, the Otago campus is very beautiful. The Water of Leith winds its way past the majestic stone Clocktower, a visible reminder of the University's history and tradition of learning, state-of-the-art Center for Innovation and the many character villas which house much of the student population. Almost all Otago students live within walking distance of the campus.

For additional information, visit the University of Otago website
The City of Dunedin

Situated on the southeastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Dunedin has a population of approximately 123,000. One in six residents are Otago students, making this a true student city.  The central city streets are lined with restaurants, bars, cafes, shopping malls, boutiques, galleries, and weekly craft and farmers’ markets. Dunedin is also home to New Zealand’s largest, newest, and most versatile arena – the Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza. The city is encircled by a “Town Belt” of native bush and trees and its coastline is home to colonies of yellow-eyed penguins, New Zealand fur seals, and the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross. Just a few hours’ drive out of the city are some of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions – rugged mountains, deep fiords, clear blue lakes – including Queenstown and Wanaka.

Did you know…?

Dunedin’s Baldwin Street is the steepest street in the world, and Dunedin Railway Station is the most photographed building in New Zealand.
The University of Otago was the first in the country to admit women to all of its classes.



The program at the University of Otago is for Engineering students and College credit only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Other Requirements: Completion of at least two full years of undergraduate study by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure is required.


Language of Instruction



A full course load at the University of Otago consists of four “papers” (courses) per semester.  Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.

Penn students have the freedom to select any course which is offered during their semester as long as they meet the prerequisite requirements and if there are vacancies available.

University of Otago Academic Calendar
University of Otago Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students
Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.

Grades are reported to Penn on the Otago Scale and as Otago uses the same letter grades there is no conversion so grades are transferred directly to the Penn transcript.

Special Features

BNZ Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by the University of Otago prior to the start of each semester.  More information on the University’s orientation activities can be found here.

Language Match

Otago Language Match brings together students to share and improve their language skills through a conversational Language Exchange Program. More information can be found here.

The Otago International Friendship Network

The Otago International Friendship Network (OIFN) connects new incoming international students with friendly returning Otago students to help them settle into Dunedin and adjust to life at the University of Otago. More information can be found here.

BNZ Special FeaturesStudent Associations

Penn students studying at the University of Otago have access to a wide range of student activities and associations. More information can be found through the Uni Students’ Association (OUSA), which oversees the many clubs at Otago.

Additionally, you can find more information through Recreation Services regarding the range of recreational facilities, activities, and services on and off-campus. At the Recreation Center students can find out about the many activities, courses, and tours available – from crafts and leisure activities to social sports and outdoor pursuits. Sports and recreation equipment is available for hire at heavily discounted rates for students.


BNZ CampusParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Penn students at the University of Otago live in flats located within an easy walk of the University campus and shopping center. Every flat is unique - some are older houses that have been renovated and others are newer, purpose built flats normally in a complex containing 5 -9 flats. All flats are of a good standard and well maintained. Each lounge and kitchen is furnished, and each bedroom is furnished with a double bed, study desk and chair, and wardrobe. Most flats will have a local New Zealand student to act as a Kiwi-host for the international students. Living in a flat with others is an enriching experience which requires a positive input. Students share the cleaning and cooking duties and usually shop together for the food.

Information regarding accommodation can be found here.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

Generation Study Abroad Excellence and Travel Awards: Education New Zealand and New Zealand tertiary institutions provide three difference scholarship opportunities, two of which Penn students may be eligible to apply for.

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Dunedin, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.