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Medicine at USyd or UNSW?

A brief comparison of studying medicine at UNSW and USyd.

Whilst the release of final ATAR results may still be a while away, it is important for high achieving students to consider now whether they would choose to study medicine at UNSW or USyd. Below is a simple and concise outline of what each of the UNSW medicine and USyd medicine pathways, respectively, entail.

USyd does not offer an undergraduate degree in medicine.

From 2014 onwards the undergraduate degree offered by UNSW for medicine is the Bachelor of Medical Studies / Doctor of Medicine replacing the former Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) award. The course is 6 years full time.

What does this mean if I want to study medicine?

If you want to go straight into studying medicine, the only way of doing so is through the UCAT pathway i.e the entry pathway offered by UNSW. If you choose to attend The University of Sydney you will not be able to gain entry into medicine straight away. You will be required to complete an undergraduate degree and then sit the GAMSAT (a 6.5 hour test) and multiple interview rounds (MMI) to gain entry into graduate medicine.
Thus, it is absolutely essential that you sit the UCAT and score highly on the UCAT in order to gain entry into your preferred undergraduate medicine course. Studying an undergraduate degree in medicine means your place in medicine is guaranteed and you do not have to continue to achieve top of the range scores in an undergraduate degree to get into medical degree.

Please see the blog on 'Chancellors scholarships' for information regarding the guaranteed double degree option at USyd.

What are the main differences between USyd and UNSW medicine entry pathways?

Firstly, it is important to note that universities, by government regulation, cannot charge full fee for undergraduate degrees. Thus, The University of Sydney profits from offering medicine as a post graduate degree because it is able to charge full fee.
Secondly, the pathway offered by USyd takes an additional year to complete. This may not seem significant but given that specialisation in most areas of medicine will require a further seven years - the sooner you are able to get out into the field, the more experienced and employable you will become. Valuable time should not be wasted studying a non-medicine undergraduate degree.
Perhaps the most compelling argument against the graduate entry medicine pathway offered by USyd is that you will not have a guaranteed place in their graduate medicine course. Even with the Chancellors scholarship (for those with 99.95), you have conditions such as needing to maintain high GPA.
If you fail to gain entry into the graduate medicine degree offered by USyd - you will be left floundering with only an undergraduate degree and no other entry options into medicine. You may have the ability to pay full-fee, but for most people this will be unattainable at $70,000 AUD + p/a. Even so, this too will require satisfactory results on the GAMSAT, WAM (weighted averaged mark) and interview. For many students the undergraduate degree they are left with will be in science which leaves limited career options in research and other under-funded science areas.

This blog explores this issue in more detail:

How do I get into med at UNSW?

There are three equally weighted criteria:

Academic Merit  based on:

  • Year 12 results i.e ATAR and,
  • UCAT result (Unversity Clinical Aptitude Test) and,
  • Interview. Interviews are offered on the basis of ATAR scores and UCAT results.
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