Course structure

students with X-ray


  1. Course Themes
  2. The Doctor of Medicine Year by Year
  3. Registration and practice in Australia and other countries

1. Course Themes

The four main themes run throughout the program:

  • Basic and Clinical Sciences

  • - Ensures that you have the science knowledge appropriate for the MD.
    - Practical sessions typically include laboratory work where you gain hands-on practical experience.
    • Patient and Doctor

  • - You will be taught clinical skills, diagnostic methods, ‘bedside manner’ and informed about patient safety.
    - This theme is taught in the clinical schools.
    • Population Medicine

  • - Introduces students to subjects such as public health, evidence-based medicine, statistics, and health economics.
    - It is taught in interactive tutorial sessions.
    • Personal and Professional Development

  • - In your professional development sessions you will become familiar with topics such as medical ethics, medico-legal issues and doctors’ health. These sessions are taught in an interactive tutorial environment.
  • Students are required to demonstrate satisfactory performance in all four themes in order to progress.

    2. The Doctor of Medicine Year by Year

    The Doctor of Medicine is divided into three stages. The focus of each year will change and develop your understanding as you are introduced to each new field of medicine. The MD is organised into ‘blocks’ of study as follows:

    stage 1 timetable

    A sample week in Stage 1

    Stage One (Year 1)
    Block one: Orientation and Foundations
    Block two: Musculoskeletal Sciences
    Block three: Respiratory Sciences
    Block four: Haematology
    Block five: Cardiovascular Sciences

    In Year 1 you will spend one day per week based at your Hospital Clinical School. This will usually be a Monday or Wednesday, but may be subject to change. Once you are enrolled you will be provided with a detailed timetable.

    Stage Two (Year 2)
    Block six: Neurosciences/Vision/Behaviour
    Block seven: Endocrine system/Nutrition/Sexual Health
    Block eight: Renal/Urology
    Block nine: Gastroenterology/Nutrition/Drug & Alcohol
    Block ten: Oncology and Palliative care

    In Year 2 you will spend 1 day per week based at your Hospital Clinical School, either a Tuesday or Thursday.

    Stage Three (Years 3 and 4)
    A series of eight-week terms through both years, organised into four streams of students, completing the following blocks:
    Critical Care
    Perinatal & Women’s Health
    Psychological and Addiction Medicine
    Child and Adolescent Health

    Year 4 will commence with an elective term or honours research project and finish with the Pre-Intern term. We encourage you to spend your elective term overseas or at another location in Australia.
    In Years 3 and 4 you will spend the majority of your time at your clinical school.||Sydney Medical School Handbook]].

    3. Registration and practice in Australia and other countries

    Student registration

    Students enrolled in the Doctor of Medicine will be registered with AHPRA by the University. Information about Student Registration can be found on the AHPRA website.

    Registration and practise in Australia

    Following the successful completion of the Doctor of Medicine, graduates enter the medical workforce, primarily in the major public teaching hospitals, and complete a 1 year internship program. Upon successful completion of this internship junior doctors are eligible to receive full registration with the State Medical Board or Council. In general, registration in one state of Australia entitles the doctor to registration in other states.

    The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has announced that graduates in all health disciplines will be required to demonstrate English language skills at IELTS level 7 or equivalent. Please note that this standard applies to all applicants for initial registration as a medical practitioner or medical specialist. It does not apply to students.

    Information about the mandatory registration standards can be found on the AHPRA website

    Most junior doctors undertake an additional year of hospital training before commencing postgraduate medical training leading to specialisation. Specialist medical training is carried out by the relevant specialty medical college in conjunction with the state public health system. This training is not conducted by universities.
    Contact details of the specialist medical colleges are available from the AMC website

    In Australia, State Health Departments are responsible for the funding of, and placement of students for, internships. Internships are therefore determined by the relevant State Health Departments, not universities. These Departments have made it clear that no student is guaranteed an internship upon graduation from a medical program. Please visit the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) website for any updates

    Australian-trained international medical graduates may stay on and work as interns in public hospitals and access vocational medical training. This policy however is subject to change. Australian-trained international students should check the current situation at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship > Permanent Visa Options for Doctors or contact the department for details.

    Letter from the Dean of Medicine (PDF) regarding internships for international students.

    Registering to practice in countries other than Australia

    Graduates intending to practise medicine in a country other than Australia must satisfy the particular requirements of that country.

    These requirements are different in each country and students must contact the relevant professional medical association of their intended country of practise. Sydney Medical School (University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine) is listed on the World Health Organisation directory of international medical schools and the Famier International Medical Education Directory, and Sydney Medical Program is a well-regarded and very widely accepted degree.
    In addition to your degree, some countries will have other requirements, such as registration exams.

    To find out more, contact the relevant medical association, some of which are listed below: