Themes and graduate attributes


The four curriculum themes describe important professional characteristics, which students acquire during and after completion of the program. Elements within the four themes are necessarily overlapping and the following program objectives should therefore be read as a single statement.

Basic and Clinical Sciences Theme:

Graduates of the University of Sydney Doctor of Medicine will demonstrate the ability to:

  • apply an understanding of normal and abnormal human structure, function and behaviour to the diagnosis, management and prevention of health problems
  • use the best available evidence on outcomes to prevent or cure disease, relieve symptoms or minimise disability
  • analyse clinical data and published work to determine their validity and application
  • participate in the generation, interpretation, application and dissemination of significant advances in medical knowledge
  • recognise the limits to scientific knowledge and understanding, and the continuing nature of all scientific endeavour.

Patient and Doctor Theme:

Graduates of the University of Sydney Doctor of Medicine will demonstrate:

  • understanding of the therapeutic nature of the patient-doctor relationship and the effects on that relationship of the individual characteristics of both patient and doctor
  • the ability to listen, to identify issues of concern to patients, families and carers and to respond to those concerns, using whatever means are necessary for effective communication
  • the ability to elicit and interpret clinical symptoms and signs by interviewing and examining patients systematically and with sensitivity, and to use this information to guide further investigations
  • the ability to perform important clinical procedures, particularly those vital in life-threatening situations
  • ethical behaviour in meeting the needs of patients, families, colleagues and the broader community
  • concern for confidentiality and respect for individual autonomy, enabling patients and their families to make informed decisions in relation to their medical care.

Population Medicine Theme:

Graduates of the University of Sydney Doctor of Medicine will demonstrate the ability to:

  • evaluate the distribution of and risk factors for disease and injury
  • understand prevention practices in the care of individual patients and communities
  • make evidence-based, ethical and economically responsible decisions about the most appropriate management of health problems in individuals and in communities
  • identify the economic, psychological, occupational and socio-cultural factors that contribute to the development and/or continuation of poor health and to explain how poor health affects individuals and communities
  • evaluate the economic, political, social and legal factors which determine the way that individuals and communities respond to health problems and to describe how public and population health strategies are systematically planned and implemented.

Personal and Professional Development Theme:

Graduates of the University of Sydney Doctor of Medicine will:

  • show commitment to compassionate, ethical professional behaviour
  • be able to work cooperatively as a member of a team, accepting and providing leadership as appropriate
  • have the capacity to make rational and sensitive decisions based on the best available evidence, recognising that many decisions will inevitably be made in the face of uncertainty
  • be able to recognise their personal physical and emotional needs and responses to stress, and be open to assistance when it is required
  • show commitment to the advancement of learning within a community of medical scholars
  • have skills in the recording, organisation and management of information, with appropriate use of information technology.