Skip to main content
Courses_

Study arts and medicine as a double degree at the University of Sydney

Overview

Our double degree allows school leavers who have achieved exceptional results to commence a three-year undergraduate arts degree followed by the four-year Doctor of Medicine (MD).

Your background in arts will prove invaluable as you enhance your critical thinking and analysis skills through your study of politics, history, economics and languages. This experience will leave you better prepared for any career in medicine from specialisation to research and academia. 

Why study with us? 

  • The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has a history of excellence spanning 165 years. By joining a community of students from around Australia and the globe, you will be inspired to pursue your passion and combine your interests across the arts and social sciences and medical fields.
  • The Doctor of Medicine is fully accredited by the Australian Medical Council. Graduates are eligible for provisional registration as interns in any Australian state or territory, and in New Zealand. 
  • We focus on small group, team-based learning and integrating theory with practice in the MD. 
  • Our Doctor of Medicine program increases clinical exposure and immersion throughout your degree in rural and urban settings with integration into medical teams. Students are directly supervised on wards, in clinics and in community settings by experienced clinicians and educators.
  • The entire fourth-year of the MD program acts as a pre-internship, giving students full clinical immersion.  
  • Clinical knowledge, reasoning and other skills are built on a foundation of biomedical sciences. 
  • Early patient contact. You will gain hands-on experience from as early as your second week of the MD program. 
  • We have an extensive network of clinical schools and teaching hospitals across New South Wales allowing our students access to a wide range of medical environments. 
  • The MD program offers dedicated time to complete a substantial research project in year three over a 14-week period. Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in specific areas (personalised pathways) through elective and selective studies.
  • You will have access to placement opportunities in both rural and international settings. For example, medical students can apply to undertake a one-year clinical placement in their third or fourth year at our School of Rural Health in Dubbo or Orange.
  • As a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine you will be committed to rational, compassionate healthcare and medical research of the highest quality. 

Who should study this course?

Students who have a broad set of interests, with an underlying passion for health care should complete this double degree as you will have extensive opportunities to explore your passions across this seven year program.

Please note: In 2020 a new MD curriculum and course structure will be introduced as described above. These changes are pending approval from the Australian Medical Council in 2019.

Subject areas

You are required to choose one major from the Bachelor of Arts listing below and a second major or minor either from your faculty options or from our shared pool of majors and minors. 

Shared pool

Admission, fees and how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status

My qualification is

The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

Your fee

How to apply

Prospective domestic students apply through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) for a Commonwealth supported place .

Refer to the UAC website and under 'Admission criteria' for information on assessment dates. 

Refer to the UAC website .

Separate scholarship deadlines apply visit the scholarships webpage for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (March)

Visit the' How to apply' page for detailed information on if you need to apply directly to the University or through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

When you are ready to apply, select the `Apply' button on the right-hand side of this course page.

Refer to the UAC website and under 'Admission criteria' for information on assessment dates. 

Closing dates 

Direct applicants: 

Semester 1 - 31 October of the preceding year

Please also check the admission timeline under 'Admission criteria' on this page for important dates.

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements.Separate scholarship deadlines apply - visit the scholarships webpage for details.

UAC Applicants: Refer to the UAC website. Also check the admission timeline under 'Admission criteria' on this page for important dates. 

Starting date

Semester 1 (March)

What you'll study

The Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine (MD) double degree may be undertaken in seven years full-time. In this double degree you will enrol in units of study to the value of 48 credit points per year in the first three years in arts.

In fourth-year you will progress to the graduate medical program.   

The MD program comprises of eight vertical themes that run through all four years of the course. These themes are: basic and clinical sciences, clinical skills, diagnostics and therapy, research, evidence and informatics, population health, indigenous health, ethics, law and professionalism and interprofessional teamwork.

In year one you will work through a number of blocks that cover all body systems from both basic science and clinical perspectives, with an emphasis on understanding the scientific foundations of clinical reasoning and clinical practice.

These key areas of study include: cardiovascular sciences, respiratory sciences, musculoskeletal/immunology, endocrine nutrition, renal urology, gastroenterology, sexual health and reproduction and neurosciences.

This ensures that the knowledge and problem-solving abilities which underpin medical practice have a strong scientific foundation.

During your first year, students will spend three to four days per week on the main University campus, with one day per week in our clinical schools.

In year two, students cover major aspects of clinical medicine and spend up to fifty per cent of their time in the clinical school. 

During year two, students will also be allocated to a research project that they will conduct in year three. The allocation will be based on personal experience and interest and supported by training in research methods in year two. The objective of the ‘MD Project’ is to add depth to aspects of the medical studies and give students the experience of developing, managing and reporting on a circumscribed project under supervision.

Students will have a number of options for their projects, ranging from an advanced clinical assignment to a small research project. The project will culminate in a written report or an article suitable for publication.

While practical clinical experience forms the basis for all learning in the latter two years of the Sydney Medical Program, it is accompanied by a structured teaching program. The balance between clerkship-based activities and scheduled sessions varies. In general, formal teaching sessions reduce in number and frequency as students move through year three and the main emphasis in year four is on preparation for practice.  This entails a full time, extended clinical placement in a hospital medical, surgical or general practice settings. Students work as part of the clinical multidisciplinary team under supervision, cementing and integrating the knowledge, skills and professional attributes they have developed over the program.

Additional information

For more information on course structure and for a program snapshot please:

Work component

Mandatory work component = 2310 hours.

This translates to 16.5 hours per week.

This mandatory work component must be completed as part of the award requirements for the course.

Completion requirements

In order to progress to the Doctor of Medicine, you need to meet all progression requirements during your first degree studies as specified under the Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine course resolutions found in the respective Faculty Handbook.


You need to complete all requirements for the Bachelor of Arts, including the designated foundational knowledge units for medicine offered by the Faculty of Science within three years (or four years if candidates take an embedded honours component through the Bachelor of Advanced Studies), excluding any authorised periods of suspension.

You also need to maintain a credit average in each year of the Bachelor of Arts, this being the minimum achievement required for admission into the Doctor of Medicine.

Failure to maintain the minimum progression and minimum result requirements will result in candidates being transferred from the double degree program to a Bachelor of Arts degree with full credit for all units of study successfully completed.

Progression within the MD is as specified in the Resolutions for the MD.

Assumed knowledge

Refer to the relevant single degree Bachelor of Arts.  

Admission criteria

Applying for Admission

The University is closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and we remain guided by NSW Government instructions and restrictions. The admissions process for 2021 intake has been reviewed, but may be subject to further changes. Please revisit this website on a regular basis for any updates.

Admission to this course is on the basis of the following criteria:

  • secondary education qualification such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (including national and international equivalents).  An ATAR of 99.95 or equivalent is required.
  • An online assessment process including a written assessment followed by a panel discussion.
  • English language requirements where these are not demonstrated by sufficient qualifications taught in English.

You are only eligible for admission to the first available course intake following receipt of your final results. If your results are not available in time to be considered for the 2021 intake (ie prior to the issue of invitations to the January 2021 assessment), you may be eligible to apply for the 2022 intake. Assessment dates are not negotiable and eligible candidates must attend the first assessment day after the release of their ATAR (or other secondary education qualification) results.  

Admission pathways are open to domestic applicants on the basis of equity or other adjustment factors, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants (a minimum ATAR of 90 to be considered) and E12 applicants (a minimum ATAR of 99.5 to be considered). Eligible applicants will be invited to attend the assessment process after ATAR (or other secondary education qualification) results are released. For details, visit admission pathways.

Inherent requirements

Inherent requirements are the essential tasks and activities necessary to be able to achieve the core learning outcomes of a course. They are specific to a particular course or discipline. To assist students to make informed choices about their study, we have identified and set out the Inherent Requirements for this course.

Prerequisites

For details on the mathematics prerequisite, please visit Mathematics course prerequisites.

Quota

Each year, up to 30 domestic and 10 international places can be offered (this includes both the Bachelor of Arts/Doctor of Medicine and the Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Medicine double degrees).

Timeline for entry

Please note: dates for 2021 entry may be subject to change. Please use the below as a guide.

  • Wed 1 April 2020: UAC applications open; E12 applications open
  • Sun 20 September 2020: E12 applications close
  • Wed 30 September 2020: Close of on time UAC applications
  • Wed 21 October 2020: Online assessment for international applicants
  • Sat 31 October 2020: Close of direct international applications to the University
  • Mon 14 December 2020: Online assessment for international applicants
  • Mon 14 December 2020 Midnight: Close of adding the BA/MD as a preference to be considered for the Assessment on 19 December 2020
  • Fri 18 December 2020: ATARs released
  • Sat 19 December 2020: Online assessment day - assessment dates are not negotiable and eligible candidates must attend the first assessment day after the release of their ATAR (or other secondary education qualification) results.
  • Wed 23 December 2020: UAC December Round 2 offers released
  • Sun 10 January 2021: Close of adding the BA/MD as a preference to be considered for the Assessment on 18 January 2021
  • Mon 18 January 2021: Online assessment day - assessment dates are not negotiable and eligible candidates must attend the first assessment day after the release of their ATAR (or other secondary education qualification) results.
  • Mon 18 January 2021: Online assessment for international applicants.
  • Thu 21 January 2021: UAC January Round 2 offers released (Domestic)

Domestic applicants will attend an assessment day online for 2021 entry only.

Course opportunities

You may undertake the Bachelor of Arts in the Dalyell Scholars program.  

Most subject areas within the double degree allow you to take part in an international exchange program. These programs enable you to enhance your skills in a language other than English and your knowledge of other societies and cultures.

As a student in the Doctor of Medicine, you will have contact with patients and observe aspects of disease throughout your four years of study, with clinical placements at world-renowned institutes, and established elective placement opportunities in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia.

Important information

Professional accreditation

Graduates of the Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine double degree are eligible for registration by medical boards in all Australian states and territories and in New Zealand.

One year of internship is required prior to full registration. Most junior doctors make their career choice during their second postgraduate year, most commonly opting for general practice or one of the other specialties. 

Deferral

  • Deferral of enrolment following an offer of a place will be considered ONLY if applicants are required to fulfill mandatory obligations (e.g. National Service).
  • Requests for deferral of enrolment along with supporting documentation must be submitted to the University Admissions Office via email: admissions.medicine@sydney.edu.au within 14 days of the date of the offer letter.
  • Applicants will receive the outcome of the request by email in due course.

Special Consideration

In the interest of equity and fairness to all applicants, those applicants who do not meet the admission criteria, including the required ATAR (or equivalent) and performance in the assessment, will not be considered for admission to the double degree. The ATAR (or equivalent) requirements shall apply, regardless of circumstances such as illness, misadventure or disadvantage during secondary school or high school studies.

No exemptions and advanced standing

It is not possible for candidates to obtain credit/advanced standing or exemptions for previous tertiary studies.

Additional requirements

Most students enrolled in this double degree who have met all the requirements of their bachelor's degree will be permitted to begin the MD without being required to sit the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) or the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT), or participate in the assessment selection process for entry into the Doctor of Medicine.

Prior to commencing their observational study, students are required to comply with requirements for entering NSW Health facilities.

Impermissible conduct

Sydney Medical School reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to reject an application for admission or to vary or cancel an offer of admission if your conduct prior to enrolment causes the Medical School to form the view that you are unsuitable for admission to the Doctor of Medicine. 

Examples of conduct that might make you unsuitable for admission to the Doctor of Medicine include (but are not limited to):

  • failure to treat University of Sydney employees, students, applicants or other members of the University community with respect and courtesy, including failure to use appropriate language and tone in your written or verbal communications;
  • failure to act honestly and ethically in your dealings with University of Sydney employees, students, applicants or other members of the University community;
  • conduct that results in you being suspended or excluded from the University of Sydney;
  • conduct that gives Sydney Medical School reasonable cause to believe that enrolling you in clinical training may place you, your peers, or members of the public at risk of harm; and
  • conduct that results in you being charged with a criminal offence.

Change in immigration status

International applicants to the double degree whose immigration status changes after they lodge their application should refer to the information on the University’s website at http://sydney.edu.au/future-students/international/undergraduate/predeparture-orientation/australian-student-visa.shtml.

Career Pathways

Our graduates can be found in a broad range of careers and roles, including:

  • General practitioner or specialist 
  • Surgeon 
  • Researcher 
  • Pharmaceutical industry 
  • Forensic anthropologist 
  • Government policy officer 
  • Medical journalist 
  • Aid worker 
  • Management consultancy 
  • Teaching 
  • Medical administration 
  • Medical communication

 

Future study

Honours is available to meritorious candidates in the Bachelor of Arts and requires an additional year of full-time study after the completion of your undergraduate degree. If you qualify to undertake honours in the Bachelor of Arts degree you can do so after completing the double degree program, or you can elect to suspend candidature from the Doctor of Medicine degree for one year, with the permission of the Sydney Medical School. The Faculty of Medicine and Health also offer a range of postgraduate courses at the graduate certificate, graduate diploma and master's degree levels to extend your learning.

We’ve reimagined the Sydney Undergraduate Experience – the way we teach and the way you’ll learn – to prepare you for a future full of possibilities.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.