The University of Otago is a collegiate university located in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.
The university was created by a committee led by Thomas Burns, and officially established by an ordinance of the Otago Provincial Council in 1869. The university accepted its first students in July 1871, making it the oldest university in New Zealand and third-oldest in Oceania. Between 1874 and 1961 the University of Otago was a part of the federal University of New Zealand, and issued degrees in its name.
The university is divided into four academic divisions: Division of Humanities, Division of Health Sciences, Division of Sciences, School of Business.
For external and marketing purposes, the Division of Commerce is known as the School of Business, as that is the term commonly used for its equivalent in North America. Historically, there were a number of schools and faculties, which have now been grouped with stand alone departments to form these divisions.
In addition to the usual university disciplines, the University of Otago Medical School (founded 1875) is one of only two medical schools in New Zealand (with component schools in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington); and Otago is the only university in the country to offer training in Dentistry. Other professional schools and faculties not found in all New Zealand universities include Pharmacy, Physical Education, Physiotherapy, Medical Laboratory Science, and Surveying. It was also home to the School of Mines, until this was transferred to the University of Auckland in 1987. Theology is also offered, traditionally in conjunction with the School of Ministry, Knox College, and Holy Cross College, Mosgiel.