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MAR 09, 2020 • 14 min read
Well, to start with, Australian and New Zealanders have been at the forefront of groundbreaking, life-changing medical research for many years.
From the cochlear ear to IVF treatment, heart transplants to ultrasounds, these two countries have been improving lives for decades.
So, a better question might be, why wouldn't you choose to study medicine in New Zealand or Australia?
Australia and New Zealand are two of the leading countries in the world when it comes to medical research.
However, a by-product of our life-changing medical research is that medical schools across AU and NZ are now extremely popular worldwide. Getting into a medicine degree has never been more difficult!
In order to give yourself the best chance of gaining admission into some of the world's top medical schools, it's important you know the ins and outs of the application process.
While most universities follow a very similar application structure, there are some nuanced differences between universities that you should be aware of.
For example, while you are required to sit the UCAT if you wish to gain admission into an undergraduate degree in medicine, dentistry or health sciences, the importance placed on the test at each university varies.
What's more, the UCAT is only for undergraduate degrees, so if you're applying for a postgraduate degree you will need to sit the GAMSAT, and again, respective universities weight these results differently.
Additionally, at some universities, such as the University of Auckland, once your results have been assessed and shortlisted, you are required to sit a multiple mini interview (MMI), which are a series of eight short interviews that assess non-academic qualities.
At other schools, you are required to sit just one casual, semi-structured interview, and some schools do not require an interview at all.
Taking time to understand these differences between each university's application processes will keep you ahead of the application pool and improve your chances of gaining admission.
To help make the decision a little bit easier, We have compiled a list of seven of the best medicine courses in Australia and New Zealand, and what you will need to do to gain admission.
We hope it helps! Let's start with NZ.
University of Otago is New Zealand's first university and it's also considered one of the best in the medical field. 12 of its courses are in the top 100 in the world, including both medicine and dentistry.
A bonus of studying medicine at the University of Otago is that they offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees, which isn't as common as you might think.
Even though Otago offers an undergraduate course, in NZ you can't study medicine straight out of school. In order to be eligible for undergraduate medicine, you are required to complete one year of a health science degree (called Health Science First Year) and pass all the assessments on first attempt, with a minimum score of 70%. You also need to have a valid UCAT result.
Elements of your application are weighted as follows:
Your GPA after Health Science First Year (HSFY) is worth 100% of your entrance, but your UCAT score must pass a threshold level.
When it comes to the postgraduate degree, it goes without saying that you're required to hold a bachelor's degree (or greater).
There is no preference given to any specific degree qualification or major subject.
A major benefit of applying for medicine at the University of Otago is that there is no interview as part of the application process, which as you will see reading on, can often be the most gruelling part!
Local student: $15,087 NZD
International student: $32,025-$83,200 NZD
Undergraduate: UCAT, HSFY papers
Postgraduate: UCAT, Bachelor's degree (or higher)
Medicine: 51 - 100
Total: 18, 532
International students: 3,871
The University of Auckland is New Zealand's highest ranked university with a strong reputation amongst employers.
The University of Auckland is ranked 62nd in the world for life sciences and medicine, offering both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
In order to be eligible for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), you will be required to sit the obligatory UCAT test and you must complete eight required first year courses in either the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) or the Bachelor of Science (BSc Biomedical Science). Subjects are listed on The University of Auckland website.
No matter how many times you sit these courses, only your first attempt will be considered upon application and you must have a GPA of at least 6.0 to be eligible for the next phase of the admissions process – the interview stage!
Note: achieving the minimum GPA does not guarantee you an interview!
Each year, there are about twice as many eligible candidates as there are places available in the medical program!
The interview stage is one of the more stressful aspects of the medical admissions process at The University of Auckland as they follow the multiple mini interview (MMI) process.
The MMI is exactly what it sounds like; a series of short interviews. In total, there are eight stations. Each station has one interviewer and takes eight minutes to complete: two minutes for the applicant to read and think over a given scenario and six minutes of being interviewed.
Each stage of the MMI process will assess a non-academic quality that the university considers to be important when pursuing a career in medicine. The interview panels consist of staff members from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and invited members of the wider community.
For graduate entry, it is the same process, except you don't have to take the eight Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) or the Bachelor of Science subjects because you will already hold a Bachelor's degree.
Note: you can only have two attempts at applying to the MBChB program.
Local student: $15,082.80 NZD
International student: $72,896 NZD
Undergraduate: UCAT score (15%), first year subjects GPA (60%), Multiple Mini Interview (25%), competent in English (prerequisite)
Overall: = 82
Life sciences and medicine: = 62
Medicine: 51 - 100
International students: 8,568
When it comes to studying medicine in Australia, Sydney Medical School is the creme de la creme, ranked number one in Australia and 15 globally. There's just one catch: they only offer a postgraduate medicine degree.
However, there is a way for students to gain admission straight after high school and that is by applying to the Double Degree Medicine Program (DDMP).
The DDMP allows recent secondary school graduates to enrol in an approved three-year undergraduate degree and then continue on with the four-year graduate entry Doctor of Medicine (MD). Unfortunately, this is one of the most competitive courses at the university.
Each year, only up to 30 domestic and 10 international places are offered for the DDMP and the ATAR cut-off is estimated to be 99.95 for domestic applicants and of an equally high standard for international applicants.
For everyone else, in order to gain admission, you will have to have already obtained a relevant Bachelor's degree with a credit average as the absolute minimum.
In addition to this, you'll have to sit the GAMSAT with a minimum score of 50 and go through the Multiple Mini Interview process; eight interviews assessing different non-academic qualities that are deemed to be relevant to a career in medicine.
Local student: $10,596.00 AUD
International student: $74,000 AUD
Undergraduate double degree: Competent in English, 99.95 ATAR (or equivalent)
Postgraduate: GAMSAT, MMI, Bachelor's degree GPA
International students: 8,568
At the UNSW, students are granted an interview based on academic merit, demonstrated by your ATAR (or equivalent) result and UCAT result. Each section is weighted equally, 50:50.
The minimum required ATAR is 96.0 (or equivalent).
The minimum required UCAT raw score is 150.
You will be admitted into the course based on your strength in all three of those components – ATAR, UCAT and interview. Note that your ATAR and UCAT scores will not be averaged, which means you can't compensate for a low score in one area by performing really well in another, as some other universities allow. You need to be at the top of your game for everything!
The interview process is less complicated than many other universities that endorse the MMI process. At UNSW, it's a simple interview in front of a panel.
Local student: $63,576 AUD
International student: $254,880 AUD
Undergraduate: Academic rank, UCAT score and interview mark.
International students: 14,292
Medicine at the University of Melbourne has a similar structure to The University of Sydney in that it only offers postgraduate medicine.
However, at the University of Melbourne, you can also complete a double degree, but this does not guarantee you a spot in the Doctor of Medicine. Undergraduate pathways include the Melbourne Chancellor's Scholarship, Bachelor of Biomedicine, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Arts!
Entry offers are only provisional and will be finalised based on your academic performance in your undergraduate degree. So if you're keen on studying medicine at Melbourne, you best keep on top of your grades!
Because the University of Melbourne is the top ranked research university in Australia and is in the top 20 in the world for medicine, it's also expensive.
In fact, it's the most expensive degree for both domestic and international students on our list of seven schools. You will see what I mean below!
Interesting fact: In the 1970s, ground breaking research by Dr Graeme Clark at the University of Melbourne led to the invention of the cochlear implant!
Local student: $65,568 AUD
International student: $77,824 AUD
Undergraduate: 95+ ATAR (or equivalent)
International students: 18,030
Monash University is one of Australia's most elite universities, and unlike University of Melbourne, it offers a direct-entry medicine program for school graduates – the only one of its kind in the state of Victoria.
To be considered for a place in the Bachelor of Medical Science at Monash University, you will need to have a minimum ATAR of 90. However, due to the competitiveness of the course, the higher your ATAR, the better your chances of getting in. You will also need to sit the UCAT and go through the MMI process.
For the postgraduate Doctor of Medicine (MD), you will need to sit the GAMSAT and hold an accredited degree with a minimum weighted average mark (WAM).
The WAM cut-off for an interview in 2017 (25 total places) was 81.39. But meeting the WAM requirement doesn't guarantee an interview or entry, so aim high!
Postgraduate applicants will also need to go through the MMI process. At Monash, the eight stages of the multiple mini interviews are related to:
Fun fact: Monash played a vital role in the conception of the first frozen in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) baby in 1984.
Local student: $9800 AUD
International student: $38,500 AUD
Undergraduate: UCAT, 94 ATAR (or equivalent), MMI, school subject prerequisites (maths, english, science)
Postgraduate: GAMSAT, MMI, Bachelor's degree (or equivalent)
Life sciences and medicine: =28
International students: 20,578
Like many other postgraduate medicine programs, there is an admission option for students who have just graduated from high school.
At the University of Queensland, it's called the provisional entry pathway, and basically, that's exactly what it is. You gain admission given these provisions:
You must complete your undergraduate degree in a minimum specified time and if you achieve an overall GPA of 5.0 (on a seven-point scale) or more, you gain admission into the Doctor of Medicine.
There are 280 positions available in the MD and only 140 are offered to provisional pathways students. So you need to make sure you're at the top end of the group.
For postgraduate entrants, the requirements are at the same standard, however, you have to have completed a Bachelor's degree and the GAMSAT.
For the GAMSAT, you need a minimum score of 50 in each section and in your undergrad degree, you must have achieved a minimum GPA of 5.0 on a seven-point scale.
One massive bonus of attending University of Queensland is that there's no interview involved in the admissions process! When you consider the strenuous process of sitting the MMI – an eight stage process – this is a load off any applicant's shoulders!
Undergraduate: Queensland Year 12 English (or equivalent), high school OP 1 or 99 Entry Rank 99 (or equivalent) and a competitive overall UCAT score.
Postgraduate: A previous degree or qualification with a minimum GPA, relevant professional experience, compliance with special entry requirements, GAMSAT score.
Life sciences and medicine: 32
International students: 10,420
Now you have an important decision to make: which university do you apply to?
This will depend on much more than just the nuanced differences in the application process and there are some other factors you will need to consider carefully, such as the cultural and social elements of the city, where you wish to work upon graduation, and most importantly, how much weight the university places on each entry requirement.
For example, if your UCAT score is not of the best standard, though still acceptable, you might want to apply for a university that places more emphasis on your ATAR or equivalent high school results.
There are pros and cons to every university, and it's up to you to choose which is going to suit you best on your way to becoming a doctor.
When it comes to studying medicine, given you spend a lot of your time as a doctor-in-training, you will have the opportunity to connect with local doctors throughout the course of your degree.
This ability to establish local connections with doctors, not to mention the alumni network you'll be part of, will have a great impact on where you end up securing a job post graduation.
Chances are, you'll land a job in the city you study in.
For this reason, the location of your study is pretty important to your career pathway and Australia and New Zealand are two of the best options for prospective doctors.
Choosing a university is a big decision and there are plenty of factors that come into play.
You've got this list, so the rest is up to you. You can't really go wrong by picking any of these seven universities, because they're all kick-ass campuses and crazy good courses.
But life can't be all study and no fun. Think about your lifestyle, too.
If you love beaches, consider a Sydney university.
If you love coffee and rugging up, consider a Melbourne university.
No matter which university you select as your number one priority, it takes hard work, dedication and some high class academic scores to gain admission.
So make sure you're studying hard!
Good luck - your future is fast approaching!
If you would like support on your path to medical school, get in touch today to learn more about how MedView can help.