Doctor of Medicine degree (MD) at UQ

MD Announcement

The University of Queensland (UQ) is developing a 4-year MD program to replace the existing 4-year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program. This program will be offered for the first time in 2015 to both domestic and international applicants.  

This information page seeks to provide answers to a number of frequently asked questions regarding the introduction of the new MD program.

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).

How 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.

Didn't UQ already have an MD program?

Yes, we did. The previous UQ MD degree was a research higher doctorate program. With the introduction of the MD medical training program, the higher doctorate has been renamed to Doctor of Medicine (Research) to avoid confusion.

Why change the MBBS to an MD?

Recent changes in the Australian higher education sector, including the revised AQF, which was introduced in July 2011, provided an opportunity to make this change. The MD is considered an international standard as it is a standard program for producing entry level medical doctors in Europe and North America. Some comparable Australian institutions have also decided to transition to an MD.

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.

What will the 4 year MD itself look like?

In comparison to the current MBBS curriculum, we have integrated the AQF requirements for research training and experiences longitudinally into Phase 1 (Years one and two). The space for these elements in the curriculum has been achieved by refining the clinical sciences teaching in years one and two.  The Phase 1 program will see an emphasis of teaching of the basic sciences in the clinical context. The Phase 2 curriculum (primarily discipline rotations across both years three and four) will further cultivate students' skills acquired in Phase 1 by providing opportunities relating to research and advanced professional practice. These shifts in emphasis will have the advantage of further integrating the teaching of research, the basic sciences and clinical medicine throughout the four year program.

The University's commitment to ensure the transition to a quality MD model has remained central throughout the process and the University has taken the necessary steps to manage this important development through its approval processes.

Will students have to pay to do this program?

We aim to keep our existing Commonwealth Supported Places for domestic students.

We will also offer full-fee paying places to international applicants.

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 via the provisional entry pathway which will require students to complete a bachelor degree at UQ before progressing to the MD program. Entry to the MD following the first degree will be guaranteed, subject to satisfaction of a number of conditions, as it is now with the MBBS provisional entry pathway.

Students may choose to study any bachelor degree at UQ as part of the provisional entry pathway into medicine. In order to comply with the requirements of the AQF, the MD program must be preceded by completion of a bachelor degree of at least three years duration. This means that the previously offered accelerated option (of 6-year MBBS dual degrees i.e. BSc/MBBS, BA/MBBS and BHlthSc/MBBS) will no longer be available for the MD.

The proposed new structure does not preclude students undertaking a longer first bachelor degree at UQ (e.g. Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Bachelor of Dentistry, Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Pharmacy).

What options exist for current provisional entry MBBS dual degree students?

Current provisional entry MBBS dual degree students, due to commence the MBBS component of the dual degree in 2014, can apply to transfer to the standard 3-year degree program related to the first part of their dual degree (i.e. to the BSc, BA or BHlthSc) while still retaining their provisional place in the MBBS. If this transfer is approved (and subject to meeting relevant conditions), these students will be able to enrol in the MD in 2015 instead of the MBBS in 2014. Entry to the MD will be subject to conditions of the original provisional medicine offer, that is, the first degree must be completed in the minimum time permitted, and with the required GPA. Students considering this option should refer to the advice, via the following link, regarding appropriate course content to undertake within undergraduate programs in order to adequately prepare for entering the MD: Recommended Entry Pathways to the UQ Doctor of Medicine.

Queries regarding the process of applying to transfer from a provisional entry dual degree to a standard length degree should be directed to: admissionsenquiries@admin.uq.edu.au

Will International School Leavers be able to access a provisional entry pathway into the MD?

The University will continue to consider appropriately qualified applicants who are current school leavers for provisional entry to the medical program at UQ. For the provisional entry pathway, successful applicants will be required to undertake a minimum 3-year Bachelor degree at UQ prior to commencing the MD.

Can a current MBBS student transfer into the UQ MD Program?

No. 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. The learning outcomes for AQF Level 9 qualifications are quite different to the learning outcomes for AQF Level 7 qualifications. As such, it will not be possible for MBBS students to transfer to the MD program or graduate with the MD title after completing the MBBS program.  

What will the entry requirements be for the UQ MD Program?

As an AQF Level 9 qualification, the MD will require the completion of a minimum 3-year bachelor degree for entry. Additional requirements for entry are detailed below.

Most students who study medicine at UQ have a science, biomedical science or health sciences degree, and these are all 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 strongly recommend that students without a science, biomedical science or health science degree, take some biomedical science courses in their first degree. A minimum suggested study plan of appropriate preparation would include intermediate or advanced (i.e. second year) university level courses in Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry. Student may have to undertake introductory (i.e. first year) courses in order to be able to undertake these year two courses.

Further information regarding recommended entry pathways to the UQ Doctor of Medicine is available via: Recommended Entry Pathways to the UQ Doctor of Medicine.

Entry Requirements for Domestic Applicants

MD (Direct Entry for Graduates):

Eligibility:

  • Minimum 3-year Bachelor degree; and
  • GPA of 5.00 (on 7-point scale) in latest key degree (bachelor degree, postgraduate honours, postgraduate diploma, masters or doctoral degree)
  • Current Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) score.

The key degree must have been completed less than ten years prior to the proposed commencement date; otherwise other approved postgraduate study (such as a Graduate Certificate) must be completed prior to consideration.

Application process:

  • Applications must be submitted through the Graduate Entry Medical School Admissions System (GEMSAS). Please refer to the GEMSAS website for information regarding application dates.

Selection:

  • Applications will be selected on the basis of the GAMSAT result. If required, the GPA of the key degree will be used to differentiate between applicants with the same GAMSAT score.

MD (Provisional Entry for School Leavers):

Eligibility:

Application process:

  • Applications will be processed through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC). Please refer to the QTAC website for information regarding application dates.

Selection:

  • Applications will be selected on the basis of the UMAT result. If required, the Section 1 score will be used to differentiate between applicants with the same overall score.

It is also expected that the existing special admission schemes will include admission to the MD. For information on the existing schemes, please refer to the links below.

Entry Requirements for International Applicants

The University will continue to consider appropriately qualified international applicants for direct entry and current school leavers for provisional entry to the medical program at UQ.

MD (Direct Entry for Graduates):

Eligibility:

  • Minimum 3-year Bachelor degree
  • GPA of 5.00 (on 7-point scale) in latest key degree (bachelor degree, postgraduate honours, postgraduate diploma, masters or doctoral degree)
  • Current Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) (or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)) score
  • English Language Proficiency: If English is not your first language and you have undertaken studies in a language other than English, you are required to demonstrate your English language proficiency: IELTS overall 7; reading 7; writing 7; speaking 7; listening 7. View the English Language Proficiency Admission and Concurrent Support policy.

The key degree must have been completed less than ten years prior to the proposed commencement date; otherwise other approved postgraduate study (such as a Graduate Certificate) must be completed prior to consideration.

Application process:

Selection:

  • Applications will be selected on the basis of the GAMSAT (or MCAT) result.

MD (Provisional Entry for School Leavers):

 Eligibility:

Application process:

Selection:

  • Applications will be selected on the basis of the UMAT (or ISAT) result.

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 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 an AQF compliant Level 7 Bachelors degree of minimum three years' duration.

What arrangements will be in place for MBBS students who undertake a Research Higher Degree with their MBBS, who fail or who need to take a leave of absence during the transition period to the MD?

All MBBS students will have sufficient time to complete the MBBS program in accordance with the program rules. It is not possible for MBBS students to change to the MD program due to the different AQF levels of the two programs. Appropriate transition arrangements will be in place for students who are granted an interruption to their studies in accordance with the program rules.  This includes those students who interrupt their MBBS program in order to undertake a Research Higher Degree (in accordance with the program rules relating to the concurrent MBBS/MPhil, and intercalated MBBS/MPhil and intercalated MBBS/PhD programs) as well as students who fail courses or  who are approved for an interruption in accordance with the program rules, due to other extenuating circumstances.

Can a student who receives, or has received, an offer for the MBBS in 2014, or 2013, defer their offer until the MD commences in 2015?

The last intake for the MBBS program will be in 2014. Graduate entry students wanting to defer an MBBS offer beyond 2014 would need to be eligible to enter the MD from 2015 onwards. Provisional entry students wanting to defer entry to the medical program beyond the 2014 MBBS entry will need to ensure they complete a minimum 3-year program at UQ, and meet the standard provisional entry requirements, in order to be eligible to enter the MD from 2015 onwards

Queries regarding deferrals should be directed to: admissionsenquiries@admin.uq.edu.au

So, what happens next?

The University's MD working party, chaired by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) continues to provide oversight of this important development.

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 matter.

Further enquires can be forwarded to: uqmd@uq.edu.au

For those future students who would like to stay in the loop with the latest School of Medicine updates join the Health@UQ's online community.

 

Updated: 17/02/2014