Otago Polytechnic

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 Otago Polytechnic



Otago Polytechnic offers highly recognised three-year undergraduate degrees, and graduate and post-graduate qualifications.  We welcome students from all over the world to our beautiful campuses in the city of Dunedin and the region of Central Otago.  Both of our campuses are located on New Zealand's lower South Island. 


Legendary for its awesome landscapes, with lush forests, towering snow-capped mountains and amazing wildlife, the South Island is an amazing place to live while studying.  As a multicultural and diverse society, our friendly people will welcome you, and with plenty to do, like outdoor activities and sport, with arts and culture filling each urban space, you will have plenty to see and experience during your studies.


International students choose Otago Polytechnic for their New Zealand Study Experience because of our reputation for providing students with an exceptional and internationally recognised tertiary education.  Nationally ranked at the top of our sector, Otago Polytechnic is an acclaimed and highly regarded institute of applied research and technology.  (Based on Performance Based Research Funding (PBRF) Quality Evaluation (2006) announced by the New Zealand Government's Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), see for more information.)


International students receive all the support they need to study successfully at Otago Polytechnic, with plenty of opportunities to participate in the social and recreational activities organised on both campuses.  By studying in small classes, with lecturers who know you by name, you'll develop lifelong friendships with both New Zealanders and other international students.  Your study experience at Otago Polytechnic will be rewarding, challenging and memorable.


As a student at Otago Polytechnic, you'll benefit from an education that emphasises real-world learning with a strong theoretical base.  As a graduate, you will be well prepared to succeed and thrive in the global community.


Why Choose Otago Polytechnic?



We offer internationally recognised undergraduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and post-graduate qualifications in a wide range of subject areas.  Academically ranked at the top of our sector in Design, Nursing, Health Studies, Visual Arts and Crafts, Information Technology and Information Services, you'll enjoy and benefit from our outstanding study environment.




Internationally, employers want team members who are well educated, adaptable, and ready to contribute to their workplace.  All of our programmes focus on developing these real-life skills, and when combined with work experience, our graduates are ready for international career success.




Our academic staff members are experienced in their field, experts in cutting-edge technology, dedicated to research and always available to provide students with all the support and guidance they need to reach their academic goals.



We will help you make the most of your student experience in New Zealand.  With well-resourced recreational facilities, full academic support services such as our Learning Centre, assistance with finding the right accommodation, and extensive international student support services, your success is our highest priority.


Unbeatable Lifestyle


New Zealand has a worldwide reputation for being a welcoming and safe destination, with a friendly and honest populace.  As a nation of immigrants, New Zealand's cultural diversity means you will always feel welcome to participate in a range of activities.  New Zealand benefits from the best of all worlds - from snow-capped mountains to famous surfing beaches, and sophisticated, modern cities. 



Destination Dunedin: The Student Capital of New Zealand.


As the country's premier centre of learning, Dunedin is home to a tertiary student population of 25,000.  These students give the city a special character, contributing to its vibrant and lively atmosphere.  Our Dunedin Campus lies in the heart of Dunedin's tertiary environment, surrounded by green parks, student accommodation, and a vibrant caf? culture.


Nestled amongst rolling green hills, Dunedin sits at the end of a beautiful natural harbour.   As the gateway to a variety of recreational opportunities available in the Otago region and the nearby world famous adventure capital city of Queenstown, you will never be bored as a student in Dunedin!

Enjoying a temperate climate, Dunedin may see the occasional winter snowfall, only to watch it melt away within a few hours.  Temperatures in August range from a low of 4?C to an average of 13?C.  A Dunedin summer is breezy and warm, with February temperatures peaking at the mid to high 20s?C.


Visit and

Central Otago: Your Future Adventures Await.


Central Otago is a place unlike any other in the world. Mountains, rivers, lakes and tussock-covered hills provide a stunning backdrop for commercial activities like tourism and hospitality, horticulture and viticulture, adventure, sport, farming and small businesses.  Otago Polytechnic's Central Otago campuses in Cromwell and Wanaka offer programmes and short courses catering to these activities. 


Studying in Central Otago means hands-on learning within the industry, small classes and dedicated tutors.  There is also plenty of part-time work available in the region - perfect for students who are looking for a head start in their careers.


Central Otago's dry climate brings cool winters and hot summers.  As the only place in New Zealand that comes close to having a continental climate, with four distinct seasons, Central Otago enjoys average summer temperatures in the low 20 ?C and winter temperatures hover around 5?C.




Accommodation Options:


Experience Affordable Accommodation and Lifestyle.  We Can Help you Find It!


Both Dunedin and Central Otago are reasonably inexpensive places to live when compared with other cities in the world.  Rent is comparatively cheap, and you are likely to share your expenses with other students.  In both Dunedin and Central Otago, living close to campus, means that your transport costs will be minimal, as most essential ?everyday' activities are within walking distance.


There are many different types of accommodation available for international students, including Halls of Residence and homestays (supervised accommodation), rented accommodation and houses (flatting.)


Many international students choose to live in a ?homestay' for their first year in New Zealand.  This is where students get the unique experience of living with a New Zealand family, in their home.


Living in an apartment or house with other people is commonly referred to as ?flatting' in New Zealand.  Most international students choose this option during their second or third year of study.  When flatting, students share living costs such as electricity, telephone and food. 


Please contact us for more information, details and assistance about finding suitable accommodation.  More information is available on our website.  See


What are the Tuition Fees?: Tuition fees vary between programmes, are due on a yearly basis, and are usually between $16 000 - $20 000NZD.

What is the Minimum/Maximum Age?: There is no maximum age to apply, provided that you are a genuine student.  Usually, students entering are at least 18 years of age.

How long will my study take?: Undergraduate Degrees are 3 years, Diplomas are 2 years and Certificates are 1 year.  Graduate and Post-Graduate qualifications can take 1-2 years to complete.

What about International Recognition?: All of our qualifications are recognised internationally and you are able to take your Otago Polytechnic undergraduate degree and apply to other national and international tertiary institutions for post-graduate study.

How much can I earn as a Student?: Those students who are eligible to work while studying will probably get casual jobs in areas like hospitality or other service industries.  Your hourly wage will be between $8-15 NZD.

What do I need for my Study Visa?: Your Otago Polytechnic ?offer of place letter', which means that you have been accepted to study. It also states your tuition fee and costs, which you must pay first and then receive a receipt of payment from us.   You must submit these two documents (your offer of place and your receipt of fees), along with evidence that you have sufficient funds for living expenses, a return international air ticket, or evidence of sufficient funds to buy one, to your nearest New Zealand embassy, consulate or immigration office.  For courses longer than 24 months, you will also need to provide very recent medical and x-ray certificates and if you are over 17 years of age, you will need a police certificate to show that you are of good character.

What happens when I finish my degree?: Students who have completed their degree in the normal time and have a job offer related to their studies, can obtain a work visa for another 2 years to work in the job they have been offered, and may qualify for residence.

What about applying for New Zealand Residency?: If you meet the requirements of the current immigration policy in New Zealand it is possible for you to apply for residence at any time. Immigration policy encourages students who have completed their degree in New Zealand to apply for permanent residence.

Is there an application fee?: No.  How does it take to apply?: We suggest you apply at least 4 months before your programmes starts, so that you are organised to arrive on time.

What do I need to include in my application?: A copy of your passport, or birth certificate  if you do not yet have a passport. .Your English Language Test Results:  IELTS, TOEFL, or TOIEC (our preference is IELTS.)  We also require certified copies of any academic results you have from your overseas high school or university.  We may also require your curriculum vitae or a portfolio.


Make Your Dreams Happen.  Apply Now.


Employment, Immigration and Your Work Rights as a Student.


All international students require a student visa from New Zealand Immigration to enable them to study in New Zealand.  International Student Services can assist students with their student visa applications. 


International students may be granted a Variation of Conditions (VOC) on their student visa, to change institution of programme.  Generally, if you are enrolled in a full-time programme, you can apply to work for up to 20 hours per week.


Students can apply to work over the summer holidays, if they are enrolled in any programme lasting 12 months or more.  Full details of Visa requirements, advice on rights to employment while studying, and other requirements are available through the New Zealand Immigration Service, at

Health and Travel Insurance.

International Students are well looked after in New Zealand.  Otago Polytechnic has agreed to observe and be bound by the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students, published by New Zealand's Ministry of Education.  Copies of the Code are available from the Ministry's website at

MEDICAL AND TRAVEL INSURANCE: International students must have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance while studying in New Zealand.  Our preferred provider is Uni-Care and we can arrange this Code compliant insurance cover for you. 

ELIGIBILITY FOR HEALTH SERVICES: Most international students are not entitled to publicly funded health services while in New Zealand.  If they receive medical treatment during their visit, they may be liable for the full costs of that treatment.  Full details on entitlements to publicly funded health services are available through the Ministry of Health, at

ACCIDENT INSURANCE: The Accident Compensation Corporation provides accident insurance for all New Zealand citizens, residents and temporary visitors to New Zealand, but students may still be liable for all other medical and related costs. Further information can be viewed on the ACC website at


English Language Admission Requirements.


All courses and programmes at Otago Polytechnic are taught and examined, in English.  If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of a satisfactory level of English language proficiency.  All of our academic programmes require an IELTS or TOEFL score, or equivalent, for admission.


Our Foundation Studies and English Language Programmes.


Study English or Foundation Studies First.


We offer a wide range of entry options with our Foundation and English Language Courses.  Our English Language courses (Levels 1-4) are ideal for students who require English Language instruction prior to starting their academic programme.  Our Foundation Studies and Certificates programmes are ideal for students who lack the academic entry criteria for study.  With our flexible and well-resourced English Language and Foundation Studies programmes, Otago Polytechnic aims to provide a study pathway that meets each international student's individual academic and personal goals.



Key Facts about Studying English at Otago Polytechnic:

  • Our small classes mean one-one-one attention.
  • No English Language Test score is required for entry.
  •  Four levels of English Language instruction from Beginner (Level 1) to Advanced (Level 4).
  • Clear progression paths into an Otago Polytechnic certificate, diploma or degree programme.
  • Clear pathways into academic study, by offering you the opportunity to combine your ESOL study with specially selected academic courses.  This is called English PLUS.


English PLUS: Get a head start or just enjoy learning.

English PLUS is your chance to get ahead in academic study by combining your English language studies with interesting courses from these academic areas: Sport, Adventure, Creative Studies, Business, Hospitality, Engineering and Information Technology.  English PLUS is a great personal and learning experience, even for a short time, students can enjoy learning a new skill, while improving their English language competency.


English for Groups

Our English for Groups programme is designed to provide student groups with a combined programme of intensive English, cultural tours of Dunedin and trips to other beautiful places in New Zealand.

Our flexibility and expertise work for you: Special focus areas include English and Environmental Studies, Media Studies or Business.

Key facts about English for Groups:

  • Specially designed - each experience is special and customised.
  • Well organised and supported, with a dedicated English for Groups coordinator.


How to Apply


For academic entry criteria and English language requirements, and secondary school and graduate qualification equivalencies, go to and download our International Students' Programme Guide and Application Form.  We assess each application individually and you must provide certified copies of your academic results and English Language Test results.


Academic Programmes at Otago Polytechnic:

Otago Polytechnic offers undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications in a diverse range of subject areas.

Including: art, design, creative studies, computing, electrical technology, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, architectural draughting, quantity surveying, construction, horticulture, adventure, sport , snow sports, travel and tourism, hospitality management, food and beverage service, cookery, business administration, business management, massage therapy, social services, midwifery, nursing, occupational therapy, veterinary nursing and animal health.


Student Population


Undergraduate Students: over 6 000

Postgraduate Students: over 100



410 Academic Teaching Staff

340 General Staff 2012