Does Studying Medicine in Australia Involve Research
Research Options Available at Australian Medical Schools
When students initially apply to medical school, they think about the likelihood of receiving an offer, the university’s proximity to their home and perhaps the ranking of their select medical schools. What most students do not think about, however, is whether their chosen schools offer the option to partake in research or intercalation studies. Although research may be at the back of your mind now, it’s always good to be aware of which medical schools offer specific research options as it may be something vital to you in the future. Research also tends to boost your application when applying for internship positions and also speciality or surgical training positions later down the track in your career. We have put together a list of the different research options available to you at Australian medical schools in 2022, so if you’re interested, keep reading!
Several Australian universities offer summer ‘studentships’ alongside scholarships. These ‘studentships’ enable you to gain first-hand research and laboratory experience without adding a year onto your medical degree. Some universities may expect students to come up with their own novel research question whilst others may provide students with an existing project and research team. As ‘studentships’ are a dream option for most students, they tend to be quite competitive to get, especially in conjunction with a scholarship. Acceptance to such a program is typically based on academic performance, previous research experience and the interest expressed by a student. Some particularly competitive ‘studentships’ may also require students to attend a selection interview. Students usually receive stipends of $300-$500 per week during their ‘studentship’.
If you love the idea of research and know it is for you, consider taking up the option of an intercalated degree instead! Many Australian universities offer the option to combine your medical degree with a Doctoral (PhD) or Master’s (MPhil/MPH/MMedSc) degree. This involves students temporarily holding their medical studies to focus on a separate degree, resuming their medical studies upon completion of the intercalated degree. Intercalated degrees are usually accelerated which means Master’s degrees can take a year to complete while Doctoral degrees can be completed within three years.
The intercalated degree pathway also tends to be quite competitive, but may be a good way to embellish your CV if you are interested in a particular specialty or medical field (e.g. surgery, cardiology, anaesthetics). Medical students will usually require permission to apply for an intercalated degree and will need excellent grades to facilitate their application.
Research vs Clinical Medicine
If you don’t know if research is something you would like to pursue in the long-term, rest-assured, you don’t have to choose between becoming an academic or a clinician. In fact, most clinical doctors contribute to several research programs while working. Some specialties and programs may even require physicians to keep up to date with research. So it’s always a good idea to try out a bit of research during your medical degree to gain experience, boost your CV and tease out whether research is something you would like to continue to take part in as a doctor.
Research plays a critical role in medicine by helping to advance our understanding of diseases, their underlying mechanisms, and potential treatments. Medical research helps to identify new diagnostic tools, drugs, and therapies, and can ultimately lead to improved patient outcomes and better healthcare outcomes for society as a whole.
An example of medical research could be a study examining the effectiveness of a new drug in treating a specific disease. This could involve testing the drug on a group of patients and monitoring their response to treatment, as well as measuring any side effects or complications that arise.
Yes, Australia has a strong reputation for medical research, with world-class universities, research institutions, and hospitals. Australian researchers have made significant contributions to a wide range of medical fields, including cancer research, infectious diseases, and neuroscience. Additionally, Australia is home to a number of leading medical research organisations, such as the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Baker Institute.
While medical school primarily trains students to become doctors, many programmes do offer opportunities for research training. Some medical schools may have research-focused streams or offer research projects as part of their curriculum. Additionally, students who are interested in pursuing research careers can also undertake further training through graduate research programmes after completing medical school.
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