Doctor of Medicine degree (MD) at UQ
The University of Queensland (UQ) is developing a 4-year MD
program to replace its existing 4-year MBBS medical program.
Subject to approval, this program will be offered for the first
time in 2015.
This information page seeks to outline
What is an MD degree?
As a postgraduate medical training qualification, the
proposed Medicine (MD) program will meet the Level 9 criteria for a
masters degree under the
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
does this differ from the existing UQ MBBS degree?
The current MBBS program is classified as an undergraduate
(bachelor) program. This is a level 7 qualification in the AQF. All
Australian medical programs (with the exception of the Melbourne
MD) are currently undergraduate programs (even though some of them
have graduate entry streams) and meet the Level 7 criteria on the
already has an MD program doesn't it?
Yes, we do. The current UQ MD degree is, however, a
"research higher doctorate program", and this is common terminology
in the UK and in some Australian universities. With the
introduction of the proposed MD medical training program, the name
of the current research doctorate will be changed to avoid any
Why change the MBBS to an
Recent changes in the Australian higher education sector,
including the revised AQF, which was introduced in July 2011,
provide an opportunity to make this change. The MD is considered
the international standard as it is the preferred level and form of
program for producing entry level medical doctors in Europe and
North America. Some comparable Australian institutions have also
decided to introduce an MD, with the first starting in 2011, and
others are planning similar changes for the near future.
As we develop the MD curriculum, we will use this as an
opportunity to build on the strong MBBS program by enhancing the
elements of advanced professional knowledge and research principles
and methods that are critical in the AQF for an extended masters
qualification. Our intent is to design and implement a best in
class MD program at UQ.
So, what will an MD look
First of all an MD will require a minimum of a 3-year bachelor
degree for entry. While it has not yet been finalised, it is
expected that the proposed UQ MD program will have no specific
pre‐requisites for entry. We will encourage and welcome
applications from students with a range of backgrounds.
Most students who study medicine at UQ have a science,
biomedical science or health sciences degree, and all these are
good preparation for medical study and a subsequent medical career.
We recommend that students with these backgrounds also spend some
time studying social sciences and humanities. Similarly, we would
strongly recommend that students without a science, biomedical
science or health science degree, take some biomedical science
courses in their first degree.
It is likely that most students will complete a Bachelor of
Science (3 years) after high school, and then enter the MD. We aim
to keep the Bachelor of Health Science and Bachelor of Arts routes
to medicine, while enhancing the science content in each, so that
students are well prepared for the MD. However, students may choose
to study any other degree at UQ as part of the provisional entry
pathway into medicine.
What will the
4 year MD itself look like?
We are now entering the curriculum development stage and this is
an exciting opportunity to develop a truly best in class MD program
at UQ. We are looking to focus on areas such as 1) excellence in
clinical competence, 2) leadership in a range of areas, 3) research
skills and 4) global medicine. Our curriculum design will allow us
to continue to train world-class doctors.
The design of the UQ MD will be informed by consultation with
students have to pay to do this program?
We aim to keep our existing Commonwealth Supported Places.
Subject to approval of the MD program, we expect to also offer
full-fee paying places to international applicants. While there may
be the option to offer some fee paying places to Australian
students also, whether we will do this is not yet clear, and needs
to be considered carefully.
What about the current provisional entry scheme that is so
popular with high school students? Will that stay?
Definitely! Top performing high school students will be able to
apply for "medicine at UQ" (provisional entry pathway) and
undertake a bachelor degree followed by the MD. For people who are
admitted to this provisional entry pathway, entry to the MD
following the first degree will be guaranteed as it is now.
However, the MD program is a 4-year program that must be preceded
by completion of a bachelor degree of at least 3 years duration
(i.e. 3+4 years). This program structure, which has been designed
to comply with the requirements of the recently amended AQF, means
that the current 6 year dual degrees with the MBBS (i.e. BSc/MBBS,
BA/MBBS and BHlthSc/MBBS) will no longer be available when the MBBS
is replaced by the MD in 2015. However, because of the lead times
involved, no new enrolments will be accepted into the dual degrees
after 2012. The proposed new structure does not preclude students
undertaking longer first bachelors degrees (i.e. Bachelor of
Biomedical Science, Bachelor of Dentistry, Bachelor of Engineering,
Bachelor of Pharmacy) or eligible postgraduate programs and the 3+4
structure references should be understood as the minimum program
Will International School Leavers be able to access a
provisional entry pathway into the MD?
The University is currently considering a proposal that would
enable appropriately qualified international applicants who are
current school leavers to apply for provisional entry to the
medical program at UQ. This would involve a minimum 3 + 4 year
model of study at UQ. Further advice regarding this matter will be
provided when it becomes available.
a current MBBS student transfer into the UQ MD Program?
Under the AQF the MD program will be a level 9 Masters
(Extended) program while the current MBBS program is a level 7
Bachelors program. As such it will not be possible to
transfer to the MD having completed part of an MBBS program nor to
graduate with the MD title having completed the MBBS
will the entry requirements be for the UQ MD Program?
It is envisaged that the entry requirements for the MD will be
similar to the current MBBS entry requirements.
Could prospective MD students undertake an accelerated
undergraduate program before entering the MD?
The AQF states that entry to a Level 9 Masters Degree
(Extended), which the MD will be, requires completion of a minimum
of a 3 year Level 7 Bachelors degree. Therefore students preparing
for entry to the UQ MD post 2015 should ensure the first degree
program they undertake is a Bachelors degree of minimum 3 years'
When is this going to
It is expected the MD will be introduced in 2015.
So, what happens next?
We have established a project team within the School of Medicine
that is working through all the timelines and many issues that need
to be considered. This is a large task and needs to be carefully
planned. The University has established a working party, chaired by
the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) that is providing oversight
of the whole process.
As we scope this out, we promise to consult widely and
to communicate frequently.
The University acknowledges that the study of medicine
at UQ is of great interest to many people including staff, current
and future students, the profession, and alumni. We will engage
with all interested groups as we progress this important
Further enquires can be forwarded to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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