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University of Otago
The University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university and a vibrant international centre of learning. It was established in 1869 by Scottish settlers with a strong conviction in the transforming power of education. Today the University has about 20,000 students, from all over New Zealand and from nearly 100 countries around the world.
Otago has many distinctive features. It is New Zealand’s most research-intensive university, and the highest ranked for the quality of its research. Otago academics have won the largest share of the prestigious Marsden Fund for five years in a row. In contrast to many other distinguished research universities, however, we also put a great emphasis on the quality of undergraduate teaching. Even first year students have the opportunity to be taught by academics who are world leaders in their field.
The campus life at Otago is also legendary. Most undergraduates study at the main campus in Dunedin, which is the only true university city in Australasia. Many start their university life in one of our 14 residential colleges. The University also has important health sciences campuses in Christchurch and Wellington, a centre in Auckland, and a small campus for the College of Education in Invercargill.
As a research university, we also emphasise postgraduate study. Otago has a higher proportion of PhD students than any other university in New Zealand. In 2008 we opened Abbey College, New Zealand’s first residential college for postgraduates.
Although the University has grown considerably over recent decades, it still forms a remarkable academic community. Young students come into regular contact with senior academics, while scholars and scientists in different disciplines learn from each other. There are superb facilities for a wide range of cultural and sporting activities. Next year will see the opening of the second largest covered stadium in the southern hemisphere, which is being built on our campus.
While valuing our outstanding academic community and student experience, Otago is also an outward-looking university. We have a Treaty-based partnership with Ngai Tahu, the Māori people of the South Island, and strong links with other Maori tribes. One of the strategic imperatives we have identified is to contribute to the national good and to international progress. As well as welcoming students and teachers from all over the globe, we encourage New Zealand students to spend part of their course at leading international universities which are our partners. We also have research groups who are collaborating with colleagues in developing countries to enhance health and living standards throughout the world. Our links with Pacific Island countries are especially close.
Islamic History / Studies
Religious Studies and Theology
Social History / Studies
Whether you're following world news or watching what’s happening on campus, you'll be aware of the impact of religion on the contemporary world. Virtually every aspect of human culture has been, and continues to be, shaped by beliefs about gods and demons, saints and shamans. In our own day, religious beliefs and practices show no sign of disappearing. Indeed, they are currently undergoing a revival, one form of which is fundamentalism.
So if you want to understand our world, you need to know something about religion. Religious Studies helps you to understand the complex world of religion by introducing you to the diversity of religious beliefs and practices. It traces our established traditions from their ancient roots through to modern times. It also examines the various forms of 'spirituality' that feature so prominently in modern popular culture.
Religious Studies courses are designed to be accessible to everyone, irrespective of religious background.