Bachelor of Medical Science

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

The Bachelor of Medical Science is a structured, three-year course which focuses on developing your knowledge of the structure and function of the human body, from molecular to whole systems. It is an obvious choice if you wish to pursue graduate research in medical science, or if you wish to undertake the University of Sydney's graduate medicine or dentistry programs.

In your first year, you will cover the basic sciences, chemistry, biology, microbiology, biochemistry, and physics or psychology. These units will give you the fundamental knowledge needed for the clinical subjects you will undertake in your second and third years.

In your second year, you will complete medical science units built around themes within this discipline, such as cell structure and function, sensory and motor functions, microbes and body defences, or disease in society. You will also be able to do science or non-science electives. In your third year, you will choose from units offered in anatomy and histology, biochemistry, biology (genetics), history and philosophy of science, immunology, infectious diseases, microbiology, pharmacology, pathology and physiology.

After completing this course you will have the ideal base for graduate research in medical science. If you are planning a career in medical research, you should plan to study an honours year, followed by research via a Master or PhD program.

Course outline

View a sample study plan/course structure table.

Study plan


The Bachelor of Medical Science may be undertaken over three years full-time or six years part-time. Full-time students enrol in units of study to the value of 48 credit points (cp) in each year.

In first year you will complete 48cp including MBLG1001 or MBLG1901 and 12cp each from chemistry, mathematics and physics or psychology (not including PHYS1500), plus 6cp from biology. In second year you will take 48cp, comprised of six integrated medical science units covering areas such as cell structure and function, sensory and motor functions, microbes and body defences and disease in society. You will also have the opportunity to take two science or non-science electives. In third year you will complete 48cp, including a minimum 36cp from your choice of one of the following subject areas: anatomy and histology, biochemistry, biology (genetics), history and philosophy of science, immunology, infectious diseases, microbiology, pharmacology, pathology, or physiology.

Majors

Further course information

Progression rules

(1) Except with the permission of the dean, students may not enrol in an intermediate core unit of study until they have completed 42 credit points of junior units of study.

(2) Students may not enrol in a senior unit of study until they have completed 18 credit points of intermediate core units of study including BMED2401.

What is an elective?

An elective is a unit of study (subject) which you are allowed to enrol in as part of your course and which will count towards the completion of your course. It differs to a core unit in that you have a choice about which electives, amongst a given set of electives, you want to study.

In the Bachelor of Medical Science, you can do up to four non-medical science electives in the second and third years of your degree. Elective units are available from any other faculty at the University, provided that you receive permission from the relevant department and the Faculty of Science to add that elective to your course plan.

See the Bachelor of Medical Science study plan table to get an idea of how electives fit in amongst your other units of study.

Course opportunities

The course includes opportunities to participate in the University's Study Abroad and Exchange Program, the Science Link-Up and Mentoring (SLAM) Program and the Science Talented Student Program (entry by invitation from the Dean of Science), and opportunities specific to majors or subject areas, such as the Year in Industry program offered by the School of Chemistry.

Study Abroad and Exchange Program

Science Link-Up and Mentoring (SLAM) Program

Science Talented Student Program

Year in Industry Program

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

The Bachelor of Medical Science is an obvious choice if you wish to undertake the University of Sydney's graduate medicine and dentistry programs, available after you complete your undergraduate course.

The Bachelor of Medical Science also forms an ideal base for graduate research in medical science. If you are planning a career in medical research, you should plan to study an honours year followed by research for a Masters or PhD.

Alternatively, you may choose, as many graduates do, to undertake an administrative career in private industry or government where a good knowledge of the medical sciences is an advantage.

More information about careers in the medical industry, including starting salaries and other courses to consider.

Further study

If you are interested in medical research, you have the opportunity to study for an honours course by completing an extra year of study and research.

You might also wish to complete a postgraduate coursework program to concentrate further on an area of interest or to diversify your studies. The Faculty of Science offers a range of science-based postgraduate courses in a range of areas, at the graduate certificate, graduate diploma and master's levels.

About honours

Honours is a widely recognised and highly regarded additional year of undergraduate study available to you after you complete your undergraduate course. It’s a unique opportunity for you to explore your research potential and put the theory from your undergraduate studies into practice. An honours qualification is not only well regarded in academia, but also in industry where further, concentrated studies in a specialised area is highly sought after.

Depending on your interests and the availability of honours projects, you might wish to undertake honours in anatomy, biochemistry, biology (genetics), cell pathology, histology and embryology, immunology, infectious diseases, microbiology, pharmacology or physiology.

More information about Honours in Science.

Other study options

It is possible for non-degree students to enrol in a unit of study (subject) offered in the Faculty of Science without being enrolled in an award course (degree). This provides a valuable opportunity for professionals to update their knowledge to enhance career pathways or for personal interest. Non-degree students pay full tuition fees, take the unit of study with award course students, and are assessed at the same level. Non-degree applicants meet the same prerequisites as students enrolled in an award course at the University of Sydney (or have completed equivalent units of study at another institution) to be able to enrol in any particular unit of study.

More information about non-degree study.

Units of study may also be undertaken cross-institutionally by students, subject to the approval of the Dean. Cross-institutional candidates are enrolled in an award course at another university and have approval from their home institution to complete a unit or units of study at Sydney, to be credited toward their degree.

More information about cross-institutional study.

Admission

Admission requirements

Admission to this course is on the basis of a secondary school leaving qualification such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (including national and international equivalents), tertiary study or an approved preparation program. English language requirements must be met (where these are not demonstrated) by sufficient qualifications taught in English. Special admission pathways are open for domestic mature aged applicants who do not possess a school leaving qualification, educationally disadvantaged applicants and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Applicants are ranked by merit and offers for available places are issued according to the ranking.

Mid-year entry (international):

The Bachelor of Medical Science program has been designed to commence at the beginning of the year, i.e. starting in Semester 1. Typically, units of study (subjects) attempted in Semester 2 build on content covered in Semester 1. As such, applicants seeking to commence in the middle of the year, i.e. starting in Semester 2, are advised that they may experience some academic disconnect by attempting units of study out of synchronisation with the rest of the student cohort. International applicants for mid-year entry are recommended to have a background in Biology and strong English language abilities.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Applications for the University's undergraduate courses are made through the Universities Admission Centre (UAC). On-time applications for the March Semester close on the last working day of September.

Further requirements

There are no formal prerequisites for candidates wishing to enrol in the Bachelor of Medical Science. The degree is, however, taught on the assumption that candidates will have completed mathematics, chemistry, physics or biology.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply:

(i) directly to the University's International Student Office using the online application form, or
(ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent), or
(iii) through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), for students applying on the basis of a current Australian Year 12 secondary school examination, or studying either an International Baccalaureate** in Australia or a New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3.

** All International Baccalaureate (IB) applicants seeking admission to the University of Sydney may now apply either directly to the International Student Office using the online application form or through UAC.

Fee disclaimer

Domestic students

Indicative Undergraduate Student Contribution Amount

This student contribution amount for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2015 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact student contribution that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol. If you are a Commonwealth supported student and was enrolled in a University course before 1 January 2014 your student contribution may differ.

For further information about how to calculate your specific total student contribution, please refer to the University's Future Students' website.

Annual review

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

International students

Indicative international tuition fees for undergraduate students

This international tuition fee is an indication only of the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2015, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact tuition fees that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol.

For further information about how to calculate your specific total tuition fees, please refer to the University's Future Students' website.

Annual review

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

Student profiles