About the Doctor of Medicine

Sydney Medical School’s Doctor of Medicine (MD) program is for those wishing to become a doctor. It is a four-year professional postgraduate program and is recognised by the Australian Medical Council and the Medical Board of Australia. Sydney Medical School has been training practitioners for almost 160 years and is highly ranked both within Australia and internationally. With an extensive and closely linked network of research institutes and major hospitals, our teachers, clinicians and researchers are directly involved at every level in improving health care for our own communities and overseas.

Our program aims to:

  • equip you with excellent clinical skills and practice readiness
  • give you experience in research
  • provide you with experience and awareness of health in an international setting.

Our program integrates clinical learning and teaching with basic sciences, population health concepts and the development of professionalism.

Doctor of Medicine

Credit points for award Duration full-time
192 4 years

Teaching and learning objectives of the Doctor of Medicine

The University of Sydney MD aims to produce medical graduates who are committed to rational, compassionate health care and medical research of the highest quality.

The program encourages enrolment of students from diverse backgrounds and aims to help them to become graduates 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 will be measured by the extent to which University of Sydney 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.

Doctor of Medicine Statement of Expectations

The Doctor of Medicine Graduate Attributes and the conduct required of students in the program is described in a document entitled the Sydney Medical Program Statement of Expectations (PDF).

Future students should study this document and the positive guidance it offers. As the MD is a professional degree, the Statement of Expectations has also been registered as a 'local provision' for the Doctor of Medicine program (links below). This means that after a significant breach a student may be asked to 'show cause' as to why they should be allowed to remain in the program.

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

Distinctive Features of the MD program

Graduate students from diverse backgrounds

Students enter the program as successful graduates from a diverse range of academic and life experiences, having made a singular commitment to the study of medicine.

Each individual will have made a mature decision to participate in the University of Sydney MD program as their preferred route for entry into the medical profession.

A four-year integrated learning curriculum

Learning in the Medical Program is integrated across disciplines and the four themes listed carefully build from year to year.

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. This ensures the knowledge and problem-solving abilities which underpin medical practice have a strong scientific foundation.

Clinical contact from the second week

From the second week of the Medical Program, students have patient contact in the various clinical schools at Westmead Hospital (Western), Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (Central), Royal North Shore Hospital (Northern), Concord Hospital (Concord), Nepean Hospital (Nepean), Sydney Adventist Hospital (SAH) and later at Dubbo and Orange Hospitals (School of Rural Health) and at the Children's Hospital, Westmead. These schools provide invaluable clinical experience in a variety of settings.

Clinical training is undertaken at large urban hospitals and smaller rural hospitals. This offers students a balanced view of urban and rural health care and their differences. Across the hospitals a huge range of specialisations are catered for, with paediatrics and its subspecialties being the focus of the Children's Hospital at Westmead.

Students have access to most parts of the hospitals; they are able to sit in on surgical procedures, visit wards and accident and emergency units.

Clinical schools provide students with access to the internet, library catalogues and email as well as study and exam areas. It is not all work, thankfully, as students can relax in common rooms, swimming pools, and lounges or whip up a meal in BBQ areas and kitchens within the hospitals.

While practical clinical experience forms the basis for all learning in the latter two years of the MD, it is accompanied by a structured teaching program. The balance between clerkship-based activities and scheduled sessions varies. In general, formal teaching sessions reduce in number and frequency as students move throughout Years 3 and 4 of Stage 3 and are essentially withdrawn in the Pre-Internship Block.

Problem-based learning with online support

The focus on problem-solving teaches students 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 in Stages 1 and 2 is supported by a comprehensive set of online resources which are used to present an authentic clinical case each week and give extensive guidance for both group and independent learning.

An evidence-based approach

The evaluation of evidence from research is an essential part of clinical problem-solving and decision-making. Students learn the skills of critical appraisal in Stages 1 and 2 and practise applying these skills to the published medical literature. In Stage 3, they develop their ability to practise evidence-based medicine in their clinical encounters.