Are Medicine Double Degrees worth it?

Are Medicine Double Degrees worth it?

1 week ago by Chris

One of the questions some students and parents ask is ‘Should I do Medicine with another degree as a Double Degree?’. This blog answers this question by uncovering the underlying reasons why Australian universities are unique in offering ‘Double Degrees’ in all faculties.

So why do Australian universities love double degrees? It is not because it is good for you! Universities claim that double degrees are best for you because they can satisfy your diverse interests, they are useful if you are unsure which area you want to study, they can be cheaper etc.

However, the real reason is that the Federal Government bans DUFF (Domestic Undergraduate Full Fee) places, but they can charge full fee for Masters level courses. They have found that full fee places at Masters level are not popular. So, an easy way for universities to increase their income is to offer double degrees. This Federal Government policy quirk is the reason why there is ‘Double Degree’ mania here – it is unique to Australia but non-existent overseas.

To be successful in life, focus is important. Double Degrees can waste time, money and ‘opportunity cost’. This is even more so in the case of Medicine (where the opportunity cost is very high). What is relevant for a doctor is obtaining a licence to study medicine: you get exactly the same licence whether you take 5 years, 6 years, 7 years or more to obtain that licence.

If you really want to learn another discipline (arts, music, languages or whatever), MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) are available at no cost. They are often better quality than university degrees and involve little or no ‘opportunity cost’, in comparison to a double degree.

For school leavers intending to pursue Medicine in Australia, there are 5 year degrees (e.g. Monash, Newcastle, Curtin, WSU), 6 year degrees (e.g. Adelaide, UNSW, James Cook), and 7 year graduate entry degrees (UWA, Flinders, Melbourne, Sydney, Qld). Adelaide and UNSW have the extra year as they want you to do research/undertake courses from other faculties. This benefits the university by having students publish research papers which increases their university ranking, gets them more research funding from the Government, and gets them more fees. 

Remember, the universities have a vested interest to keep you at university for longer. Our recommendation: as far as possible, spend the minimum time at university by choosing the shortest medical degree (5-6 years). This will allow you to save time and learn what interests you. 

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