Sydney Medical Program

Doctor of Medicine (MD)

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) (not open for new enrolments)


Sydney Medical School will award a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree to students who enrol for the first time in the Sydney Medical Program from 2014 onwards. This will replace the existing Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree (MBBS).

All MD students must complete a unit of study in research methods, and a research or capstone project. In other respects, the curriculum, assessment and arrangements for clinical training will be largely unchanged. Important features of the Sydney Medical Program, including the early introduction of clinical experience and the integration of clinical learning and teaching with basic sciences, population health concepts and the development of professionalism, will not change.

The option of undertaking an Honours project, which has been available for selected MBBS candidates, is not available for MD candidates.

Students who enrolled in the Medical Program prior to 2014 will graduate MBBS. There is currently no opportunity for MBBS students or graduates to convert to MD. The MBBS is not open to new enrolments.

  Doctor of Medicine Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery*
Course code KC105 or MAMEDICI3000 KH006 or BGMEDSUR7000
CRICOS code 079216J 006451B
Degree Abbreviation MD MBBS
Credit points required to complete 192 192
Time to complete full-time 4 years 4 years

*not open for new enrolments; information is provided for continuing students.


The following links provide further information about the Sydney Medical Program (MD and MBBS):

  1. Teaching and learning objectives of the Sydney Medical Program
  2. Statement of Expectations, Professionalism and Progress
  3. Distinctive features of the program

1. Teaching and learning objectives of the Sydney Medical Program

The Sydney Medical Program aims to produce medical graduates who are committed to rational, compassionate health care and medical research of the highest quality, attuned to the global context of medical practice, responsive to the health needs of individuals, families and communities and committed to improving the health care system at all levels.

The success of the Program is reflected in the extent to which graduates maintain lifelong, self-directed learning and the pursuit of evidence-based medical practice, and the extent to which they initiate, lead and support advances in clinical medicine, research, education and community service.

2. Statement of Expectations, Professionalism and Progress

On commencement of the Program, all students are introduced to the Sydney Medical Program’s Statement of Expectations (PDF). This Statement has been formally endorsed within the University and provides positive guidance on conduct for students within a professional context. Significant breaches of the requirements set out in the Statement of Expectations attract penalties which may include termination of candidature.

The SMP is a professional degree. The SMP Statement of Expectations and the SMP Professionalism and Satisfactory Progress Provisions are binding statements of principles that guide the operation of the standards and professionalism expected of SMP students. Significant breaches of the requirements set out in the Statement of Expectations attract penalties which may include termination of candidature.

Copies of the local provisions may be accessed from the University of Sydney Policy website:

SMP Statement of Expectations Provisions 2013
SMP Professionalism and Satisfactory Progress Provisions 2013

3. Distinctive features of the program

Graduate students from diverse backgrounds

Students may enter the Program after completion of any degree from a recognised University. Consequently the student community comprises individuals with a diverse range of academic and life experience.

As with all graduate-entry medical programs, students in the Sydney Medical Program are expected to have made a mature decision to prepare for a medical career.

A four-year integrated learning curriculum

Learning in the Medical Program is integrated across disciplines. Four continuous themes frame the structure of the curriculum throughout the four years. These comprise the Basic and Clinical Sciences Theme, the Patient and Doctor Theme, the Population Medicine Theme and the Personal and Professional Development Theme. Further information on the themes is provided below.

A major component of the learning process in the first year (known as Stage 1) and the second year (known as Stage 2) consists of clinical problems presented in problem-based learning tutorials, in which concepts of health and disease are related to the basic biomedical sciences. Through their consideration of these problems, students develop problem-solving and clinical reasoning skills that are essential for their future practice.

Clinical contact from the second week

From the second week of the Medical Program, students have patient contact in their allocated Clinical Schools, which comprise the Westmead Clinical School based at Westmead Hospital, the Central Clinical School at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the Northern Clinical School at Royal North Shore Hospital, the Concord Clinical School at Concord Repatriation General Hospital, the Nepean Clinical School at Nepean Hospital, and the Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical School.

Later in the Program, students undertake a wide range of community and specialty rotations. They receive training in paediatrics and adolescent health at The Children’s Hospital, Westmead, and they are placed in metropolitan and rural general practices to gain experience in primary care and community medicine. They may opt for an extended rural placement at the Dubbo or Orange Clinical Schools of the School of Rural Health. They may also opt for rural placements in the Lismore or Broken Hill University Departments of Rural Health.

Clinical training is undertaken at large urban teaching hospitals and smaller suburban and rural hospitals. This offers students a balanced view of urban and rural health care and insights into the differences in medical practice among these sites. The various sites cater for the different fields of medicine that make up the curriculum.

A structured teaching program accompanies practical clinical training and experience in the latter two years (Stage 3, Years 3-4) of the Medical Program. Clinical learning and teaching activities include clinical clerkships, small-group clinical tutorials, problem-based clinical reasoning sessions and short placements with various clinical teams.

Students have access to most parts of the hospitals to which they are allocated. In addition to scheduled teaching sessions, they are expected to pursue clinical learning opportunities independently in the wards. They may also be invited to observe surgical procedures and visit acute-care areas.

All Clinical Schools provide students with access to the internet, library catalogues, on-line learning materials and e-mail as well as study and assessment resources, including simulation equipment. Other facilities include common rooms, lounge areas and common-use kitchens. Some sites offer access to child-care facilities.

Problem-based learning with online support

By means of problem-solving, students learn the process of clinical reasoning. They learn how to define and analyse clinical problems and seek the information needed to formulate and resolve diagnostic hypotheses and identify treatment options.

This approach also encourages students to become skilled independent learners, able to identify their own learning needs and evaluate their progress.

The problem-based learning sessions in Stages 1 and 2 make use of a comprehensive set of online resources which enable groups of students to work through an authentic clinical case each week. The case of the week reflects the topics covered in other learning and teaching activities during that week.

Research and an evidence-based approach

During Stages 1 and 2, all students attend sessions in which they learn how to frame clinical and research questions and search the literature using electronic databases. They also learn how to evaluate the quality of research-based evidence and how to use it in problem-solving and decision-making. In Stage 3, they develop their ability to apply evidence in their clinical encounters.

During Stage 1, MD students also spend three weeks learning about research methods in a range of paradigms (clinical, epidemiological, biomedical and qualitative). The training in research methods is designed to prepare them to undertake a research or capstone project, known as the MD Project, during Stages 2 and 3.