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The basics
New Zealand: Subject Guides

Where to study dentistry in New Zealand?

New Zealand has some world-renowned institutions offering degrees with global recognition. This includes qualifications in the ever-popular field of dentistry. We explore where you can study the qualification in the country.

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Studying for a degree in dentistry is sometimes described as a calling. Becoming a dentist requires time, focus and specialist skills. Dentistry provides good career options and job security while also offering a variety of specialisations. If you are on the lookout for a quality institution offering qualifications in dentistry and a great place to study, you may want to consider New Zealand. We give you the inside information on the best universities for dentistry in New Zealand.


To select the premier universities for dentistry in New Zealand, we’ve consulted the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 (QS) and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 (THE).


University of Otago 


Located in the city of Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, the University of Otago enjoys the distinction of being one of the top 250 universities globally as per the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 and is rated in the top 200 institutions worldwide by the QS World University Rankings 2022.


For dentistry degrees in New Zealand, the university ranks as the top dental school in the country and the world’s top 50 by QS. The Faculty of Dentistry consists of five departments and units, namely:


  • Oral Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences
  • Oral Rehabilitation
  • Oral Sciences
  • Sterilising Services Unit
  • Technical Services Laboratory


As an undergraduate student at the university, you can pursue a degree in dental technology, dentistry, and oral health. All these qualifications are categorised as professional bachelor’s degrees. Should you have your eye on a postgraduate qualification you can do so in the same areas of specialisation at postgraduate diploma and master’s degree level. PhD studies are available in clinical dentistry, dental science, dental technology or dental research.


Find out more about what you can expect if you study for a degree in dentistry.




Auckland University of Technology


The Auckland University of Technology calls the capital of New Zealand home and has a QS five-star rating and a position in the world’s top 300 universities as ranked by THE. This includes the third spot in New Zealand for dentistry and health sciences as per THE. The institution is also one of the largest providers of healthcare qualifications in the country, including dentistry.


The Oral Health Department at Auckland University of Technology falls under the Faculty of Health Sciences, with faculty consisting of experts in dental surgery, dental hygiene, dental therapy and other specialisations. Undergraduate courses available for study include:


  • Bachelor of Health Science (Oral Health)
  • Graduate Certificate in Health Science
  • Graduate Diploma in Health Science


Postgraduate programmes in oral health are offered at certificate, diploma, master’s and PhD degree levels. The university is also home to a state-of-the-art oral health simulation laboratory which allows for advanced practice and diagnostics.


Explore more on the top universities in New Zealand and how much it costs to study in the country.


What are the entry requirements for international students?


If you are interested in pursuing a dental or oral health sciences qualification in New Zealand you will need to tick a few boxes. Firstly, a qualification that includes science, mathematics, chemistry or physics is necessary. This can be an International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Examination. Prior degree study at a recognised international institution is also accepted.


A qualification in dentistry is competitive. Therefore, an academic average above 70 per cent will give you a good chance of being accepted. If you do not have a prior undergraduate or postgraduate qualification and choose to study at the University of Otago you will need to take the Health Sciences First Year course and achieve an average of over 70 per cent. You can think of it as a pathway programme and preparation year.


All courses in New Zealand are taught in English meaning you will have the right level of English language proficiency to be accepted. For undergraduate study, this is a minimum IELTS score, or equivalent, of 6.0 with no band lower than 5.5. For a postgraduate qualification in dentistry, you require an IELTS score, or equivalent, of 7.5 with no band lower than 7.0. Other English language tests that are accepted include TOEFL, Pearson Academic, and the Cambridge Certificate in English.


You do have the option of taking a pre-sessional English course to reach the entry requirements. The University of Otago offers English pathway programmes for undergraduate and postgraduate study. The institution also offers IELTS preparation courses.


So, there you have it. You are now in the know as to where you can study dentistry in New Zealand. If you feel you don’t know enough about the country take some time to read our guide to New Zealand’s top five citieshow to apply to study in the country, and why to study in New Zealand. You can also explore more of your options with our course matcher.