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University of Otago Dunedin School of Medicine

The historic Scott Building, formerly used by the Dunedin School of Medicine, is now used by the School of Biomedical Sciences

The Dunedin School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that, along with the School of Biomedical Sciences, make up the University of Otago Medical School. All University of Otago medical students who gain entry after the competitive Health Sciences First Year program, or who gain graduate entry, spend their second and third years (ELM; Early Learning in Medicine) studying under Otago Medical School in Dunedin. In their fourth, fifth, and sixth years (ALM; Advanced Learning in Medicine), students can either study at the Dunedin School of Medicine, the University of Otago, Christchurch, or the University of Otago, Wellington.


Opened in 1875, the Otago Medical School initially taught a two-year course with training completed overseas. 1887 saw the first medical graduate who had been taught solely at Otago. 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 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 University of Otago, Christchurch and University of Otago, Wellington.

University of Otago Medical SchoolEdit

The title University of Otago Medical School currently applies to an administrative unit of the Division of Health Sciences. The University of Otago Medical School comprises four component schools: Dunedin School of Medicine; University of Otago, Christchurch; University of Otago, Wellington; and School of Biomedical Sciences (which consists of the Departments of Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Physiology). The other faculties and schools within the University of Otago Division of Health Sciences are Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy.


The Dunedin School of Medicine is structured into nine departments: the Dean's Department, Bioethics, General Practice and Rural Health, Medicine, Pathology, Preventive and Social Medicine, Psychological Medicine, Surgical Sciences, and Women's and Children's Health. Most of these departments have a number of sub-sections or units.


The bulk of the Dunedin School of Medicine is centred on a group of buildings to the southwest of the main University of Otago Campus, in an area including Dunedin Hospital and bounded by George Street, Hanover Street, Cumberland Street, and Frederick Street. These include the Hercus Building (Department of Pathology),[1] the Adams Building (Department of Preventive and Social Medicine),[2] and the Fraser Building (Department of Psychological Medicine). Other parts of the school are located within Dunedin Hospital, most notably the Colquhoun and Barnett lecture theatres, the Dean's Department, and the Departments of Medicine, Surgical Sciences, and Women's and Children's Health. The Department of General Practice and Rural Health is located at 55 Hanover Street. The Bioethics Centre is located on the corner of Frederick and Malcolm Streets.

Near the heart of the School of Medicine, located alongside the Hercus and Adams buildings, are the Scott and Lindo Ferguson Buildings, both listed by Heritage New Zealand as Category II and Category I respectively. The Scott Building,[3] built during the First World War by the architectural firm of Mason and Wales, is now used by the School of Biomedical Sciences. The imposing Lindo Ferguson Building[4] is an Oamaru Stone and brick structure in classical styling built in 1927 to a design by Edmund Anscombe, also used by the School of Biomedical Sciences. It was named for Sir Lindo Ferguson, Dean of the Otago Medical School from 1914 to 1937.


  1. ^ "Hercus Building", Otago University website
  2. ^ "Adams Building", Otago University Research Heritage
  3. ^ "Scott Building - Otago Medical School". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand.
  4. ^ "Lindo Ferguson Building". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand.

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