University of Otago Dunedin School of Medicine

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Dunedin School of Medicine

The Dunedin School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that make up the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Otago. All Otago University medical students who gain entry after a first year "Health Sciences" program, or who gain graduate entry spend their second and third years studying in Dunedin at the school of medicine. In their fourth and fifth years, medical students can either continue to study in Dunedin, or at the Christchurch or Wellington Schools of Medicine.


Opened in 1875, the Otago Medical School (as it was then known) initially taught a 2 year course with training completed overseas. 1887 saw the first medical graduate taught solely at Otago, and in 1891 the medical school was formally made the Faculty of Medicine. Until 1920, training took only four years, but was then extended to six.

From 1924, students could complete their last year of training at hospitals in either Auckland, Christchurch, or Wellington as well as Dunedin. In 1938, branch faculties were established in these other centres. Otago's relationship with Auckland ceased after the opening of the University of Auckland's School of Medicine in 1968. The branch faculties in Christchurch and Wellington became 'clinical' schools in 1973 and 1977 respectively, the forerunners to the modern Christchurch and Wellington Medical Schools. In 2003 the school founded the New Zealand Medical Student Journal.

Faculty of Medicine

The title Faculty of Medicine currently applies to an administrative Unit of the Division of Health Sciences which includes the Christchurch, Dunedin, and Wellington Medical Schools and the Otago School of Medical Sciences (which comprises departments of Anatomy & Structural Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Physiology). Other faculties and schools within the Division of Health Sciences are Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy.


The Dunedin School of Medicine is structured into six departments with a number of sub-units: General Practice, Medical and Surgical Sciences (Anaesthesia & Intensive Care, Bioethics Centre, Medicine, Sports Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, Ophthalmology, Surgery), Pathology, Preventive & Social Medicine, Psychological Medicine, and Women's and Children's Health (Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics & Child Health). Additional disciplines are taught in Christchurch and Wellington.

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