Australia’s first undergraduate MD

Australia’s first undergraduate-entry Doctor of Medicine (MD) program will offer UNSW medical graduates a higher level qualification and a more globally-recognised degree. 

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Australia’s first undergraduate-entry Doctor of Medicine (MD) program at the University of New South Wales will offer medical graduates the dual benefits of a higher level qualification and a more globally-recognised degree. 

UNSW Medicine has gained approval to offer Australia’s first undergraduate-entry integrated Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine (BMed MD) program, replacing the traditional Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).

Applications will be taken from this year for 2014 entry and currently enrolled students have been able to elect to transfer to the new MD program, with the first cohort due to graduate in December 2013. The transition will cause no disruption as curriculum, fees, and application and enrolment processes remain the same.

UNSW Medicine Dean, Professor Peter Smith, says a recent review of the MBBS and its curriculum structure revealed that UNSW Medicine students were already studying at a level equivalent to a postgraduate degree, so the current MBBS did not adequately reflect their achievements.

“We believe by introducing the MD we will more appropriately recognise our students’ efforts – without any need for curriculum changes,” Professor Smith says.

Internationally, the MD is widely recognised and it is the standard medical qualification in the United States, a favoured destination for postgraduate training.

UNSW’s move to the MD elevates the current double Bachelors degree to a postgraduate-level qualification, an acknowledgement of the high level of knowledge, skills, critical thinking, independent learning and clinical experience a UNSW Medicine qualification demands.

The MD is a Level 9 qualification on the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) scale, the national measure for education standards, compared to Level 7 for the MBBS program. The Medical Board of Australia has also recognised the new UNSW MD.

UNSW Medicine offers a competitive undergraduate-entry medical education program over six years, the minimum period of study to qualify for an integrated Bachelor/MD qualification. Students who complete a Bachelor degree before enrolling in a graduate-entry medical school complete seven years study. 

At UNSW, medical students undertake a substantial Independent Learning Project (ILP) to develop skills in independently researching and critically analysing complex issues. The ILP plays an important role in preparing UNSW Medicine graduates for lifelong learning in a constantly changing profession.

“Medicine is an incredibly dynamic field. Digital technology is accelerating research and generating huge volumes of new knowledge and new technologies, and therapies are constantly changing the way we work,” says Professor Smith.

“We believe the six years of study at UNSW gives our graduates a valuable edge and equips them to successfully navigate the complexities of modern medicine for the benefit of their patients.”

Under the new MD program the curriculum, the fee structure and application and enrolment processes will remain the same. The same number of Australian students will also be accepted. UNSW Medicine will not offer places to domestic full-fee paying students.

For more information go to UNSW Medicine

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media Office, 0422 934 024