Transforming Sydney's Medical Program

19 March 2019
Offering early and prolonged clinical exposure to students

The University of Sydney's flagship program, the Doctor of Medicine (MD), has been re-designed to provide students with greater flexibility than ever before while placing added emphasis on clinical exposure, right from week one.

How is the Sydney Medical Program structured?

Professor Inam Haq, Associate Dean (Education) for the Faculty of Medicine and Health, talks about the new structure of the Doctor of Medicine.

Established in 1856, the University of Sydney School of Medicine has a long and proud history of providing outstanding healthcare education. Each year, the four-year graduate-entry medicine program accepts approximately 300 students from all over the world who pursue careers in clinical practice, research or public health.

Sydney’s medical program is closely aligned to, and guided by Australia’s healthcare landscape as well as wider national and international health priorities.

With these external factors ever evolving, Sydney Medical School recently completed a review of its curriculum to ensure its graduates are prepared and ready for practice in changing clinical and community settings.

Commencing in 2020, the program will maintain the best aspects of the University’s current course, while enhancing learning opportunities based around the underpinning concepts of: “Prepared for entry, personalised pathways and prepared for practice”.

This will be achieved by an online foundational knowledge course, ensuring students are prepared for entry into the MD, personalised options throughout the program, and an immersive fulltime clinical year in year four, preparing students for practice.

Associate Dean (Education) for the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Professor Inam Haq was pleased to be announcing the program update.

“Our new medicine program will leave graduates more prepared for practice than ever before, and ready to enter the exciting and rewarding medical profession either in Australia or internationally.”

New program features

The University’s graduate-entry medicine program is not restricted by prerequisite subjects, meaning students are not required to have completed undergraduate study in science. In fact, approximately twenty per cent of students have a Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field which significantly adds to the breadth and depth of the cohort.

As a result, a free, interactive, online foundational knowledge course has been designed to help students without the required biomedical science knowledge to get up to speed with relevant concepts, prior to starting their medical studies.

While Sydney’s medical program has always placed an emphasis on clinical exposure, there will now be even more opportunities to prepare students for practice in one of the University’s ten clinical schools.

Starting right in year one, the new medical program will see students spend one day a week in a clinical environment. In year two, this will increase to three days per week, and by year four, students will complete a pre-internship spanning the entire year. This exposure will significantly enhance each student’s clinical skills, building upon their foundational knowledge and preparing them for practice as an intern.

There are a number of opportunities for students wanting to extend themselves in areas beyond the course’s main curriculum. The new program offers elective extension activities in a range of different disciplines, including anatomy, pathology, radiology and paediatrics. These placements are offered throughout the course and will help students gain a competitive edge as they position themselves for specialist roles.

The program has adopted eight new themes which inform all course content and are introduced in year one. These themes are integrated vertically and horizontally and seek to improve non-clinical capabilities as well as clinical reasoning and diagnostic skills. They include:

  • basic and clinical science
  • clinical skills
  • diagnostics and therapy
  • research, evidence and informatics
  • population health
  • indigenous health
  • ethics, law and professionalism
  • interprofessional teamwork.

The medicine course structure has been changed to incorporate a dedicated period in year three to complete a research project. This research block will span 14-weeks during semester two and will allow students to produce a substantial body of work.

There is also an opportunity for high-achieving students to extend this research into semester one of year four in an elective period or take time out of the program to complete a Master or PhD degree.

If, for whatever reason, a student would like to pursue an alternative pathway, the new program offers an opportunity to discontinue the Doctor of Medicine and instead complete a Master of Health Studies after completion of two years. This rewards students for the studies they have completed and gives them the flexibility to determine a different direction for themselves.

Sydney Medical School is excited to introduce its new MD program, preparing students for practice in the twenty-first century health setting, where they will help to solve problems and improve lives.

Applications open soon. Find out more.

Please note: The University of Sydney's Doctor of Medicine course changes are pending approval and accreditation from the Australian Medical Council in 2019. 

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