Program Overview

World-class academics, a lively student-centered city, and the picturesque landscapes that the South Island is famous for! Our Semester in New Zealand – University of Otago program offers you the chance to live and learn in the heart of Dunedin, a vibrant college town nestled along the southeast coast. As a student at New Zealand’s oldest university, the University of Otago, you’ll benefit from their excellent professors, 24/7 computer labs, active student associations, and state-of-the-art academic and athletic facilities.

GPA Requirement
Application Deadlines
Spring: October 15
Fall: April 15
Avg Course Load
3-4 Courses (12-16 US credits)
Language(s) of Instruction
  • 100+ clubs and student organizations
  • Extensive sports facilities on campus
  • AACB accredited business school
  • Friendly Kiwi hosts in housing to support international students
  • Service-learning and volunteer opportunities
Your Journey Begins Here
  • Connect with your Global Advisor to start planning. Apply by the application deadline.

  • Meet your Program Coordinator to finalize acceptance paperwork, housing, courses, flights, visas, payments, etc. Attend a pre-departure orientation.

  • Fly away. You'll be greeted at the airport, participate in a robust On-site Orientation and La Vida Local Curriculum with your Site Director.



At the University of Otago, you can study in a harbor city on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. Don’t be fooled by Otago’s age as the country’s oldest university (founded in 1869); you’ll find a lively and exciting community. The University’s campus is a picturesque mix of grand architecture and gardens alongside more modern buildings. You can reach Dunedin’s vibrant center in just a short walk. Since this is a comprehensive university, students are able to enroll in any of the the subjects offered on campus.

To truly immerse yourself, consider joining a club—there are literally hundreds of clubs to choose from. New Zealand is known for its scenery for a reason, and the ever-popular outdoorsy clubs will help you explore the South Island’s splendor. If you’d like to lend a helping hand, Otago also has many volunteer and service learning opportunities. Finally, you can take a deep dive into learning about the native Maori culture of New Zealand.

The University of Otago has about 20,000 students, including 1,000 international students from over 100 countries. While Otago is considered a larger university, Dunedin is actually quite quaint. In fact, Otago accounts for about 20 percent of Dunedin’s population. Dunedin is the perfect place to study abroad if you want to live in a historic setting with a college-town vibe!

Accreditation: EQUIS and AACSB

How to Choose Your Courses

Now the fun part! You get to pick the courses you will take abroad. Review the course information on this page. Once you’ve decided which courses you want to take, fill out the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet in your online portal.

Course Approval

Make sure to talk with your home university about course approval and get additional classes approved before you go abroad. For example, if you are taking 4 classes abroad, we recommend getting 8 approved. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.

GPA Requirement

If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement listed at the top of this page, do not despair! Get in touch to let us know your situation. In many cases, there are additional application materials that you can submit to make your case for acceptance.

Choose your courses, making sure to get them approved by your home university and then fill out the Course Selection Worksheet.

Course Information

Subjects Available:
You can choose courses in a wide variety of disciplines, including business, humanities, sciences, and health sciences.

Interested in Courses with Fieldwork? :
The University of Otago offers a wide variety of courses in Archeology, Geography, Media/Film& Communication, Te Tumu and Māori Studies, Business, Bontany, Ecology, Physical Education, Zoolology and more. Below are some examples:

  • ANTH 324 Archaeological Practice
  • GEOG 101 Physical Geography
  • MAOR 108 Waiata: Te Tīmatanga, MAOR
  • TOUR 301 Cultural and Heritage Tourism
  • MFCO 216 New Zealand Cinema
  • MFCO 330 Film Festivals.

If you want a more in depth list please check out this link!

Please note: Study abroad students typically are not permitted to take “papers” (classes) from the following degree areas: Dentistry, Medicine, Medical Laboratory Science, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy.

Course descriptions and catalog: Click here to view all courses offered.

Timetables: Timetables are included in the description of each course.

How to read the University of Otago course catalog:
You will find “papers,” aka courses, offered at the 100, 200, and 300 levels. The 200- and 300-level papers are often equivalent to courses that you would take in your junior and senior years in the US; they will have prerequisites. Papers above the 300 level are graduate level.

Semester 1 in New Zealand is considered spring semester in the US, and Semester 2 is considered fall semester. A number of papers are listed as whole-year. You may enroll for these papers only if you intend to enroll for 2 semesters starting in Semester 1.

Life in Dunedin

Welcome and Orientation

Upon arrival you’ll take part in a three day CISabroad orientation program in Wellington, then a shorter one hosted by the university in Dunedin. You’ll learn the “do’s and don’ts” of living in Dunedin, New Zealand. Where to go out, how to stay safe, getting around, best places to buy food are just a few of questions that will be answered. You’ll also learn some helpful Kiwi and Maori sayings and gain some insights into NZ culture. As we know students love food, we will also host you to a yummy welcome meal showcasing modern Asian food that Wellington is known for.

Farewell and Re-entry Program

At the end of the program we will all get together for one last epic meal and talk about your adventures and experiences. Our staff will also share some precious tips on going back home feeling like a champ! Your study abroad experience is something to be cherished and shared with your family and friends back home.

Housing Options

As a Semester in New Zealand – South Island student your accommodation will be self-catered, at the Otago University Flats. The flats are located within a quick walking distance from the University of Otago campus and only ten minutes from the main city shopping center. Students who live in these off-campus flats will have the opportunity to live with New Zealanders, and can immerse themselves in, and learn more about, the Kiwi culture.


  • Basic kitchen set up to prepare your meals
  • Bedrooms contain a double bed with mattress, a desk, chair, and drawers.


cyclists on the coast of Dunedin

Local Life

  • Street Art Trail: Experience 28 vibrant, whimsical artworks from international & local artists.
  • Foodie Life: Dive into the cuisine scene.
  • Outdoor Life: Explore Dunedin’s iconic surf beaches, bike tracks & golf courses this summer.
  • Wildlife: Enjoy the beauty of Dunedin's eco-tour attractions. They are easily accessible to students and interns living in the city.

More About Dunedin

Dunedin is a small, lively, coastal city that lives up to New Zealand's reputation for natural beauty and adventure. Just over 120,000 folks call this city home, which is located towards the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island. Considered the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin has an impressive selection of restaurants, bars, nightlife, museums, shopping, and natural attractions. The city's preserved Victorian architecture feels like stepping back in time.

Consider Dunedin ground zero for hiking, skiing, water sports, and adventure tourism (including bungee jumping). For the adrenaline junkies, journey up to Queenstown, which is considered the adventure capital of the world. For a more mellow experience, explore the majestic Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Film buffs might want to tour the many filming locations of The Lord of The Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia. Dunedin is a UNESCO-designated City of Literature. Another fun fact: the city is home to Baldwin Street, which holds the Guinness Book of World Records as the steepest street in the world.

New Zealanders, also known as "Kiwis," are very proud of their sports teams, especially rugby. In Dunedin, join the locals cheering on their favorite rival teams, including the All Blacks or Highlanders. And, you don't have to just sit on the sidelines. You can play intramural rugby at the University of Otago for the complete New Zealand experience.


Program Excursions

While participating on a CISabroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.


Experience a city that’s reinventing itself after the 2010-11 earthquakes. Visit the amazing cardboard cathedral made out of giant “toilet rolls,” dine at food vendors in the mall housed in shipping containers, and ride the Gondola up to the top of the Port Hills.


This is a chance to take the ferry from Wellington to Picton and spend the weekend in the marvelous Marlborough Sounds.

Your Support Staff

Global Advising Team

Travel Tip: We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us be it through a phone call, email or personal visit, you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Emma Van Loon
Senior Program Coordinator - Australia, New Zealand, and Hawai'i

Travel Tip: When I begin planning a trip I love to leave two or three days free. There are always fun activities you’ll learn about while in country so you don’t want to miss out on them due to over scheduling!

Learn more about Emma

Helena Henare-Coolen
Site Director of New Zealand

Travel Tip: Leave the umbrella at home as it is no match for the capital known as ‘Windy Wellington”. Make sure you pack a good raincoat and some warm socks.

Learn more about Helena

Student Feedback

CISabroad created a comfortable and eventful atmosphere. This program opened my eyes to the world and allowed me to grow comfortable in my own skin when placed in new surroundings.

Rebecca Garibaldi, Semester in New Zealand - South Island, Colby Sawyer College, English

Program Fees & Dates

Advisor Tip: Please do not book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Fall 2019
    Application Deadline
    April 15
    June 30 (Estimated)
    November 14 (Estimated)
  • Spring 2020
    Application Deadline
    October 15
    February 14 (Estimated)
    June 19 (Estimated)
    $18,990 (Estimated)

CISabroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.

Program Inclusions

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Predeparture orientation
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • CISabroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Airport pickup
  • University of Otago official transcript
  • NYTimes Digital Subscription
  • La Vida Local cultural program