Practicing medicine in Australia is a very exciting and life altering career path. Maybe you want to help improve the health and wellbeing of others. Or maybe you want to pursue a career science-dominated. Or you like the financial stability. Medicine would be a good fit for you. So, the first step would be to decide which medical university to go to.
Normally, in countries like the USA, the reputation and prestige of a university is quite important. However, here in Australia, it’s not so much. As long as the medical program is AMC accredited, (and at the time of writing all medical programs are) it would be fine. There are other ranking websites and QS World Rankings for universities. However, these are not important when it comes to deciding on which program to enrol in. In fact, a large proportion of the rankings come from the research funding and output from each university and does not account for the quality of the education. The best university is highly subjective and will come down to our own preferences.
We have ranked the universities based on their course offerings. We have taken into account both academic and pragmatic factors. These include the different types of programs, the course length, location and the difficulties in admission.
5. University of Queensland (UQ)
The University of Queensland is ranked at number 5 for Australian medical schools, according to QS Top University Rankings 2020.
UQ offers a four-year Doctor of Medicine degree for postgraduate students, running from the main campus in Herston. Like many other postgraduate programs, there is an admission option for recent school leavers called the provisional entry pathway. The first two years of the course develops one’s knowledge of the medical sciences and clinical skills in a case-based context with early exposure to patients while the final two years take place cross clinical schools in the form of clinical placements.
For the provisional entry, the minimal requirements are:
- Queensland Year 12 English or equivalent
- An adjusted ATAR 95 or equivalent
- A competitive UCAT ANZ aggregate score for the year of application
- A multiple mini interview (MMI)
To progress to the Doctor of Medicine, students will need to complete their first bachelor at UQ. There is quite a range in the number of courses they can choose. From then on, they’ll need to maintain a minimum GPA of 5.0 and complete the degree within the minimum time.
For postgraduate entries, the requirements are the same. However you also need a minimum 5.0 GPA in their key degree and a minimum score of 50 in each section of the GAMSAT.
Some pros to this program include the freedom to try out other bachelor degrees such as science and arts before entering into the MD course.
Cons include the longer duration of the program (4/7 years) as well as the inflexible provisional entry.
4. University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne offers a four-year Doctor of Medicine for postgraduate, running from the main campus in Herston. Recent school leavers can also complete an undergraduate degree in biomedicine or science meeting the required prerequisite subjects. However, through this pathway, the GAMSAT and a MMI (multi mini interview) must also be conducted. An alternative pathway is through the Melbourne Chancellor’s Scholars which requires an ATAR of 99.90. It is a scholarship for the undergraduate degree and “guarantees” entry into the MD. The prerequisite is an interview at the end of the third year which one can fail and not make it.
The course is comprised of one year of bioscience and clinical learning, using a cased-base teaching process. This is followed by two core clinical training years. There would also be a MD research project and a final semester to rehearse all the necessary clinical skills.
Some pros of the program include a more varied choice in the undergraduate degrees compared to other universities as well as the prestige and research output demonstrated by the university. Some cons would include the length of the program (including the undergraduate years) as well as the non-guaranteed pathways.
3. University of Sydney
The university also offers a four-year Doctor of Medicine degree for postgraduate students, located on the main Camperdown campus. Like many other postgraduate programs, there is an opportunity for students to gain admission right after high school through the seven-year double degree pathway. However, there is only 30 domestic places available for students each year and is extremely competitive.
The first year of the course develops the clinical and science foundation with students spending a day per week at a clinical school. In year two, students cover the major aspects of clinical medicine with up to fifty percent of their time in the clinical schools. For the final two years, practical clinical experience encompasses most of their learning.
The pros of the university include the overseas opportunities and a wide range of clinical schools to enhance learning while the disadvantages would be the duration of the program as well as strict requirements going through the undergraduate pathway.
2. Monash University
Monash, unlike the others, offers a direct-entry program for school graduates. The undergraduate program is a five-year program of study. The first 2 years being campus based while the final 3 being hospital and community based.
The graduate entry program is a four-year course available to students who have completed at least one of the few required degrees with a satisfactory WAM. They also need to take a SJT (situational judgement test) and participate in a MMI in order to qualify. It has roughly the same structure as the undergraduate program but only the first year is on campus.
The pros to this medicinal course include the shorter course length of 5 years. It’s also the only Victorian university to offer a direct entry for high school students. The cons to this program would be the location. The Gippsland campus is more remote compared to other campuses.
1. University of New South Wales
UNSW offers a six-year Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine degree for undergraduate students. It’s run from their main campus in Kensington. Admission would depend on the student’s interview marks, ATAR and UCAT results. For non-school leavers, their tertiary marks may also be factored in, if they have completed more than 0.75 of a full year for a single degree.
The course is structured into 3 main phases: scenario-based learning, practiced based learning and independent reflective learning. The first two years focuses on the basics of medical science and social and ethical issues related to health care. The third year would have an increased emphasis on clinical content. The fourth year would involve the independent research project while the last two years would have a clinical focus.
The pros to this program would be that it is a direct entry program for high school students as well as the research project in the 4th year for students who are interested. The cons to this program would be the potential expenses related to student living as well as the course length being longer compared to some other Sydney medical programs.
Whichever medical school you’ve got your heart set on – one thing is for sure – a lot of other people do too. You’ll have to compete. Thankfully, we can make the hard work be a little bit less painful with our powerful teaching techniques such as mental effort and our emphasis on exam skills like Explain questions. These will help you get into the medical school you dream.
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