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Otago University Dental School Dunedin – Requirements

Otago University Dunedin

Dentistry is a challenging and rewarding career. If you want to become a dentist in New Zealand, there is only one place to do it. The University of Otago offers the only Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in New Zealand. Located in the heart of Dunedin City, the University of Otago offers a five-year course for students. The University of Otago Dental School was built in 1907 and currently, in 2017, it is going under major redevelopment.

Today we will dissect everything you need to know about studying Dentistry at Otago University. We will give a list of resources to help you gain a competitive advantage over others. With a Bachelor of Dental Surgery, you can work in Emergency dentistry, general and cosmetic dentistry.

Entry Requirements

There is a basic University entry requirement for all wishing to undertake an undergraduate program. That is you must hold an acceptable qualification that is accepted by the University. This can be:

  • National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA)
  • If you studied overseas, you may be able to cross-credit.

Besides this, you must have good grades in your year 13 of high school.

Entry Pathways

There are two pathways into the Otago Dental School, these are Health Science First Year (HSFY), the Graduate Category and the Alternative Category. They each have different requirements.


To get into the HSFY programme you must have good grades in your 13 of high school.

  • In your first year, you can enrol in any undergraduate program such as Biology, Anatomy etc.
  • You must take all the seven HSFY courses, these are:
    • BIOC 192
    • CELS 191
    • CHEM 191
    • HUBS 191
    • HUBS 192
    • PHSI 191
    • PUBH 192
  • You can take an approved optional eighth paper, and the results of the best 7 papers will be counted towards your GPA.
  • All students must sit a compulsory English diagnostic test, and if you fail you must enrol in ENG 126.

To be considered for admission to Dental School, a student must have:

  • Passed all HSFY prescribed papers with a minimum of 70% and no papers less 65%.
  • Passed the UMAT exam, and have a score higher than the one prescribed each year.
  • Undertaken an interview and achieved a threshold level.

If you have all the above requirement, then the final selection will be made based on your average GPA score. For more information, you can contact the dentist Dunedin.

Graduate Category

Otago Uni Dentistry

If you missed the opportunity through the HSFY, you can continue your programme and apply for Dental School once you have completed your bachelor’s degree. This would take another two years.




The entry requirements are:

  • You must have a bachelors degree, an honours degree or a post-graduate degree awarded by a university in New Zealand.
  • This must be your first degree and it must be completed within the minimum academic time.
  • You must have achieved a UMAT result above the prescribed threshold.
  • Must take the Dental Admissions Interview and achieve a result above the threshold.
  • You must then apply within three years of completing your degree
  • Your latest UMAT score will be taken.
  • You must have passed all the HSFY prescribed courses with a minimum of B grade.
  • The final selection into the Bachelor of Dental Surgery will be made based on your GPA score.

The GPA score for Dental School varies each year and depends on a number of factors including the number of applicants, the GPA of those applicants. In the last few years, it has been around 7.5. It is recommended to get as high GPA as you can. 

Alternative Category

To be accepted via the alternative category:

  • You must have completed a degree in New Zealand and
  • Be no longer able to apply via the graduate category, or
  • Have completed a degree outside of New Zealand or
  • You have a masters or doctoral degree.

If you missed been accepted via the graduate category, then you should apply for this category. Remember that you can apply via the graduate category for up to three times.

  • You must have passed the equivalence of the HSFY prescribed courses.
  • Achieved a GPA of 5 and above.
  • You must have a UMAT result above the threshold.
  • Have undertaken the admissions interview and passed it.

The final selection will be made on academic merit and the interview result.


Candidates who have passed the HSFY courses and have achieved the minimum prescribed GPA will be called for an interview. You will be tested in the interview and must achieve a result above the threshold. You will be tested on a number of things including:

  • Communication skills
  • Knowledge of oral health
  • Passion
  • Interests

 International Students

The University of Otago has designated a number of places for the international students. Although the requirements for entry into the Bachelor of Dental Surgery is the same for international students. The only difference is if you have completed your degree outside of New Zealand. This is if you are applying via the graduate or alternative category.

Otago University

Tuition Fees

The tuition fee for domestic students is $15,087. For international students, the fee is $32,000 for HSFY courses, and $90,780 per year for years 2-5. This can be costly but the University of Otago Dental School is among the highest ranked in the world. 

Why study dentistry?

Dentistry is a very rewarding field of study as well as a career. You can improve the oral health of your community and make people smile, improve their confidence. This is rewarding, knowing the fact that you improved someone’s self-confidence and freed them from pain.

Dunedin Dentist

Dentists are always highly in demand around the world, and especially around the developing country, where oral care and oral health is neglected. In New Zealand, newly graduated dentists can work for a dental clinic or open their own practice. As well as being able to open your own Dunedin practice or anywhere in New Zealand. The salary for dentists in New Zealand is estimated to be $125,000 per year.


1 comment

  • Hi Amy,

    Congratulations on getting into Dentistry. And we totally agree with you on that.