10 Tips for Choosing a Medical School in Australia and New Zealand
Which ANZ Medical School is Your Best Fit?
With so many medical schools across Australia and New Zealand, it can be hard to choose which ones you would thrive most in. If you’re currently struggling to decide which universities you should apply to, we’ve compiled our Top 10 Tips for choosing a medical school below!
Tip #1 – Consider Your Dream Degree
One of the first things you should consider when choosing a medical school is the type of degree you want. Whether you are applying to an undergraduate or graduate-entry program may depend on your level of education, i.e. whether you are a direct high school leaver or if you have previous tertiary education experience.
Moreover, while all medical degrees in Australia are equally recognised by the Australian Medical Council (AMC), it might still be important to compare the differences between certain degrees. Most Australian medical schools are, in 2022, transitioning away from the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree to offer Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees — this represents a shift from an Australian Qualifications Framework (AFQ) Level 7 degree to Level 9 degree.
For more detail on ANZ 2022 undergraduate medical schools, please see our Comprehensive Undergraduate Medical Schools Guide.
For more detail on ANZ 2022 graduate-entry medical schools, please see our Comprehensive Graduate-Entry Medical Schools Guide.
Tip #2 – Consider Financial Differences
Another major factor you would want to consider when choosing a medical school is whether you are able to afford the entire degree. Some medical schools offer special pathways for those from low socioeconomic backgrounds or First Nations students. To find out more about special medical school pathways, see our Undergraduate Medical School Guide.
Many universities also offer several scholarships. It would therefore be a good idea to compare which universities offer the most promising financial bursaries/scholarships before you decide on a particular medical school.
Finally, also note that some universities, such as the Macquarie University’s Doctor of Medicine (MD) program, do not have any commonwealth support places (CSP) which means that all students will be considered full-fee paying.
Tip #3 – Do Your Due Diligence
Medical schools tend to be quite different from each other in teaching style and degree structure. For example, medical schools may have:
- A more clinical-based focus which includes hospital placements from the first year of the program
- A rural-based focus which will entail more time spent in rural communities with fewer resources and a larger emphasis on Aboriginal and tropical health
- Case-based learning where you go through different medical cases and themes
So it would definitely be smart to research the course content and degree structure of each medical school you are looking at. This will allow you to decide which university offers the style and structure of learning most tailored to you.
Tip #4 – Consider Academic Aspects
Some universities are more research-focused than others; here, students are often required to complete a few months or years of research as part of their degree. Other universities may offer students summer research opportunities — although these will likely be quite expensive and very competitive!
If you’re very interested in medical research or want to gain academic experience before graduation, consider applying to those universities that have an integrated research year. For example, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has an undergraduate medicine program where all students are required to complete a year of research in Year 4 of the degree.
Tip #5 – Location Matters
While the thought of moving far from home and gaining more independence may sound enticing, it’s important to remember that moving to a university quite far awa will come with a lot of additional costs! Moreover, moving away from home may mean that you lose some of your local support which can be tough as medicine is generally a very demanding degree.
Moreover, most medical schools in Australia will be affiliated with different hospitals in the region which is where their students will be placed whilst in their clinical years. If you are interested in learning at a particular hospital (e.g. because of its focus on a specialty of particular interest to you), then it would be good to research their teaching affiliations.
Tip #6 – Screen the Support Available to You
As mentioned previously, medicine is a very challenging and, at times, isolating degree. Therefore, we recommend screening the support and resources available to you at each university. For example, some medical schools may have a dedicated counselor/wellbeing officer that you can reach out to. If you have any specific health needs due to a physical or mental disability, it’s also important to confirm that the medical schools you apply to are able to offer you adequate support — for example, offering you lengthened examination times or a scribe for your written exams.
Tip #7 – What Else Do You Want to Pursue at Medical School?
While the key aim of attending medical school is to become a doctor, most students are also interested in pursuing other goals during their time at university. For instance, you may want to join specific clubs or societies. These could include social, cultural, artistic or sports-based clubs. Some medical schools will have a more diverse range of clubs and societies so if trying new things is a priority for you whilst at medical school, make sure you research the opportunities available at each location.
Tip #8 – Current Students Are Your Best Friends
Although it is useful to look through each university’s website, real testimonials from current students are a great supplement to more official information. Since current students will be in the process of completing their medical degree, they will likely remember how they chose which schools to apply to and will usually be happy to offer you their experience. They can also tell you about the structure of the medical course and examinations from a student perspective. Hearing from someone just a little further along the medicine journey than you are can definitely help you when making your decision.
Tip #9 – Go With Your Gut
At the end of the day, if you’re struggling to choose between several different medical schools, just go with your gut. After you’ve done your research and spoken to current students, it might actually be better to apply to the universities you feel most connected to as opposed to constructing more pros and cons lists. If you feel that you would enjoy yourself and learn best at certain medical schools, those are most likely the best fit for you.
Tip #10 – Don’t Overthink
Lastly, don’t overthink your decision once you’ve made one. It’s natural to think back on your decisions and wonder if you’re making the right choices, especially since medicine degrees are very long, taxing and expensive! However, rest assured that if you’re looking into 2022 medical degrees in Australia, they’re all recognised equally by the AMC and will all allow you to apply for a medical internship upon graduation. Once you’ve shortlisted the medical schools you wish to apply to, it would be much more worth the time to go through their entry requirements and focus on maintaining a high level of academic performance so you’re able to secure an offer.
While the quality of medical education in Australia is generally high across all universities, there are some differences between institutions. Factors such as curriculum structure, teaching methods, and clinical exposure can vary between schools. However, in terms of future career prospects, the reputation and connections of the medical school may play a role in job opportunities and postgraduate training.
Admission requirements vary by school, but typically include a high school diploma or equivalent, a strong academic record, completion of prerequisite courses, and satisfactory performance on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Some of the top medical schools in Australia include the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, and Monash University. In New Zealand, the University of Auckland and the University of Otago are highly regarded.
The number 1 medical school in Australia can be subjective depending on various ranking systems. According to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022, the University of Melbourne is ranked number 1 for Medicine in Australia, followed closely by the University of Sydney and the University of Queensland.
When choosing the right medical school, there are several factors to consider, such as curriculum structure, teaching methods, clinical exposure, location, student support services, and research opportunities. It’s important to research each institution’s programme thoroughly and consider your own personal goals and preferences when making a decision.
Factors to consider include the reputation of the school, location, program structure, curriculum, teaching style, clinical exposure, research opportunities, student support services, and admission requirements.
Admission to medical school in Australia is highly competitive, and entry requirements can vary between institutions. However, some schools may have slightly lower entry requirements or offer alternative pathways to entry, such as graduate entry programmes. For example, the University of Tasmania offers a graduate entry programme with a lower minimum GPA requirement compared to their undergraduate programme.
While the reputation and connections of the medical school may play a role in future job opportunities and postgraduate training, it is not the only factor that matters. Ultimately, your individual performance during medical school and your own personal attributes and experiences will play a greater role in your career success. It’s important to choose a medical school that aligns with your values and goals, and where you feel you can thrive and develop as a doctor.
Research opportunities vary by school, but many offer opportunities for students to participate in research projects or undertake research-based electives.
Personalised lessons and regular progress updates to support you in acing the UCAT
With over 1000 questions, mock paper walkthroughs, timing tips, and more!
Live day, packed full of UCAT advice and tips from the experts. Taking you through all UCAT sections with worked examples