Otago vs. Auckland

07/07/20215 minute read
Otago vs. Auckland

Otago vs. Auckland


You’ve made the first big decision, you want to be a doctor. But there’s another big decision looming, where do you want to spend your medical school years - Otago or Auckland? Both are high quality institutions within beautiful Aotearoa New Zealand, it’s just about making the right decision for you.


There are a few key differences in the application process for Otago and Auckland, the biggest one being -- the interview. University of Otago is pretty straightforward, your admission is based solely on your GPA as long as you reach a threshold score for your UCAT. If you know you’ve been hitting the books like mad, or perhaps the word interview sets your teeth on edge. Then it’s possible that Otago is the place for you!

The MMI or the Multiple Mini Interview is only required for application to the University of Auckland. If you love to talk, or maybe you feel that your grades/UCAT left a little to be desired, then the MMI is a great place to show your stuff. But be forewarned, the MMI is not like any other interview out there - and you’ll need to prepare strategically if you want to blow the competition out of the water. Want to learn more about New Zealand Medical School Admissions, check out this video!


Otago has much to offer in the way of lifestyle. They are world renowned for their halls of residence - it’s almost like you’re living in Hogwarts! The halls offer a sense of community, and have options for every individual interest. Additionally Dunedin is very walkable, so if you like to sleep until the very last second before class, you might be able to! Otago is the place to be if you want to be close to world class ski fields and tramping terrains.

Auckland is another amazing place to be for medical school. The Grafton campus where you will sit your preclinical years is across the road from New Zealand’s largest hospital - Auckland City Hospital. This also means that some of New Zealand’s best clinicians walk across the street to lecture to the Auckland medical students. Another important consideration worth mentioning is where your parents live - you have the potential to save money, have home cooked meals and folded laundry - even the most luxurious campus housing can’t offer you that!

Medical School Experience

Most of the medical school experience is similar for both University of Auckland and University of Otago - you have three preclinical years. This includes the first year, which can be just as rough as everyone says, but you have to learn how to work strategically, and know when to seek help. The next two years of medical school involve a deep immersion into the medical sciences. After your preclinical years you have - you guessed it - the clinical years! This means you’ll be in the hospital doing hands on learning!

One big difference between Auckland and Otago’s medical programmes is how the clinical years are structured. At the University of Otago, you have the option of being placed for your clinical years in Dunedin, Wellington or Christchurch. Wherever you choose, you will be placed for the entire three years of your clinical years. At University of Auckland you have many options to choose from for your clinical years, Auckland, Whangarei, Rotorua, Tauranga, Taranaki and Hamilton. But you will choose a different location every year of your clinical years. So if you’re a serious homebody, Otago might be the place for you. If you want to live all over New Zealand, check out Auckland!


There are no wrong decisions for medical school in New Zealand - it’s a personal decision at the end of the day. If you need help with starting your path to medical school, sign up for a free Academic Assessment. Our specialist team can create a personalised plan for you, and give you all the relevant information to maximise your application.

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