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Australian Med School Guide for Singaporean Students (2024)

Which med school in Australia is the best?

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Apr 09, 2024

Australia, with 11 medical schools offering qualifications approved by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC), has rapidly become a preferred destination for Singapore students aspiring to study medicine. This guide aims to assist you in choosing the best school suitable for your needs and aspirations. 

Comparison of SMC approved schools in Australia

There are currently 8 schools on the SMC approved list for Australia. However, only four schools offer courses that are available at the undergraduate level. In this course, we’ll focus on those schools. They are: 

  • Monash University
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Western Australia

These four schools differ fairly widely in terms of the specific programmes offered, however all of them allow you to graduate with both a Bachelor’s degree and an M. D. 

Application process

Unlike the UK, Australia doesn’t have a centralised platform that allows you to apply to multiple schools at the same time. Instead, you’ll apply to each school through their own application portal. This means that you can apply to as many medical schools as you’d like, but you’ll need to submit multiple applications.

It’s also useful to know that unlike many other countries in the world, the Australian academic year starts in February. Take this into account in your application process, because it means that the dates may not be the same as other countries. 

Type of programme: combined Bachelor/M.D. program

Unlike the more traditional Bachelor's degree in medicine, or the MBBS commonly pursued in Singapore or the UK, this pathway demands a deeper level of study. This program typically extends beyond the timeline of a standard Bachelor's degree, sometimes taking an extra 1-2 years to complete.

One crucial aspect to grasp is that all the programs we'll explore today are integrated. This means that prospective students apply once, usually at the culmination of their pre-university education, for admission into both the Bachelor's and M.D. programs. 

This setup stands in contrast to the process for a graduate degree, which is an option available at select Australian universities and Duke-NUS. With a graduate degree, you'd first complete your undergraduate studies before applying separately for the M.D. program.

These integrated Bachelor’s/M.D. programs offer a streamlined approach, sparing students the stress often associated with applying for an additional degree. This simplification can be a significant relief for those considering a future in graduate medicine.

Required Tests

UCAT ANZ or UCAT 

The UCAT ANZ is essentially Australia and New Zealand’s version of the UK-based UCAT, or University Clinical Aptitude Test. The content of the test is the same, and you can prepare for the test in the same way as you would prepare for the UCAT. Most of the time, international students are not required to take this test and are asked to take the ISAT instead. The only exception to this that we’ll talk about is the UNSW, which gives you the option to take either.

 

ISAT

The ISAT, or the International Student Admissions Test, is a 3-hour computer-based multiple-choice test designed to assess a candidate's intellectual skills and abilities that are the foundation of academic success at tertiary level. Unlike the UCAT ANZ, which is centered around clinical knowledge, the ISAT measures skills acquired over a period of time rather than particular subject knowledge. 

Remember to check which test you’ll need to take before applying.

Monash

Monash’s Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (MD) course is a five-year program of study with direct entry from pre-university education. In your first two years, you’ll do pre-clinical studies, before proceeding to clinical practice in your final years. 

You will also take on an intensive research project under the supervision of a researcher or clinician. The school also works closely with the largest healthcare provider network in Australia, including the Monash Medical Centre and The Alfred, Melbourne’s major casualty hospital. 

Requirements

At Monash, you need to take the ISAT to apply. The university requires English and Chemistry at A Level or IB, with a minimum score required.

UNSW

UNSW offers a six year Bachelor of Medical Studies, Doctor of Medicine programme. Ranked one of the top 50 medical schools in the world, at UNSW you’ll be exposed to a dynamic blend of both hands-on clinical experience and research-focused learning, with placements beginning very early on in your time of study. You’ll also benefit from the University’s strong industry links and have the opportunity to explore medical research in Year 4. 

Requirements 

There are no subject requirements at UNSW, and they take applicants based on your aggregate IB score or A Levels. For A Levels, they take an aggregate of your best 3 H1s, your best 3 H2s and any H3 subjects. At UNSW, you can take either the ISAT or the UCAT ANZ. If you take both, your best score will be considered. 

University of Sydney

The university offers students the option of the Bachelor of Arts & Doctor of Medicine programme, as well as the Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine programme. 

In this 7 year course, you’ll spend the first three years working on an undergraduate degree of your choice in either the sciences or the arts. This includes a multitude of disciplines, like Anthropology, Gender Studies and History, as well as Mathematics, Neuroscience and Statistics. After you’ve completed your 3 year long B.A or B.Sc, you’ll then move on to the University’s Doctor of Medicine programme. Along the way, you’ll also need to take some bridging science modules if you’re in the arts, and maintain your grades in order to continue to be automatically admitted to the M.D. programme. 

After your B.A. or B.Sc, you’ll commence 4 years of medical studies. The University of Sydney offers a programme that is focused on patient interaction from your first year of Medical studies, as well as opportunities for research. The school prides itself on a balance between clerkship-based activities and scheduled sessions, so that students can benefit from working as part of the clinical multidisciplinary team. The university also offers established elective placement opportunities in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia. 

Requirements

You’ll have to complete any prerequisites for the specific undergraduate course you’re applying to. For example, if you want to study Mathematics, you’ll have to complete the prerequisite for that. The University of Sydney doesn’t require an external test like the ISAT or the UCAT ANZ, but there is an internal examination that you must complete in order to be considered for admission. 

University of Western Australia

You’ll spend the first three years of your degree taking on any undergraduate degree of your choice. While many students choose a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, you can choose a subject in the arts, commerce or another science subject. After completing your three year undergraduate degree, you’ll move on to spend an additional three years doing your M.D. Your admission to the M.D. is guaranteed, provided that you meet the minimum subject requirements for passing your Bachelor’s degree. 

At the University of Western Australia, the M.D programme is centred around six core themes, developing you to becoming a professional, leader, advocate, clinician, educator and scholar. In the first year of the MD program, you’ll gain necessary background knowledge in biomedical sciences. In years two and three, you’ll have clinical attachments in the wards and clinics of the hospitals of Perth, general practices and other community settings. Being in Perth will also expose you to a variety of medical settings, both rural and urban.

UWA is also the only Australian Medical School to have a longitudinal mentoring program, where you’ll have a faculty member following you throughout your course of study. There are no subject requirements except those required by your undergraduate degree. The school requires the ISAT and you must exceed the 25th percentile for each section of the test

While there are no specific subject requirements, you will need to meet any requirements for the specific undergraduate degree that you’re applying to. In addition, you will need to sit for the ISAT and exceed the 25th percentile for each section of the test. 

Final Words

Choosing the right medical school is a significant step towards your dream of becoming a doctor. With the information provided in our guide, you are now better equipped to make an informed decision regarding your medical education in Australia. Looking for ISAT or UCAT resources? Want interview tips? Check out our e-guide or drop us a message to schedule a free, obligation consultation!

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