A new elite course attracts the cream of school leavers
A new offering, the joint Science-Medicine course, will commence in the 2005 academic year. This program is a major collaborative initiative between the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine.
The then Acting Dean of Science, Professor Merlin Crossley, is thrilled with the outcome of the joint course offering. ”The Faculty of Science has long been attracting excellent students to our undergraduate programs. We recognized that many candidates for our advanced programs and our Talented Student Program were also interested in completing training in medicine. We have worked alongside the Faculty of Medicine to be able to offer a course that we believe is an excellent opportunity for some of Australia’s brightest students to combine studies in Science and Medicine at the University of Sydney.”
The aim of this course is to attract the absolute cream of school leavers to the University of Sydney and to provide a clear and prestigious pathway into the graduate entry University of Sydney Medical program (USydMP) MBBS.
With the advent of the graduate-entry medical MBBS in 1997 the University of Sydney Medical Program was no longer directly available to school leavers.
“This joint initiative allows us to actively promote the Faculty of Medicine to the most outstanding school graduates and to re-establish Sydney within high schools as the place to go for Medicine,” Andrew Coats, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine commented.
This course hopes to attract the brightest school leavers and to encourage them to consider a future as a high level research clinician as an alternative to traditional medical practice.
“This is the perfect environment for the brightest young minds interested in clinical research. We have an exceptional profile as a University in attracting research grants; we regularly attract the highest percentage of NHMRC project grants of any university. In addition we have over 40 centres of research excellence covering most areas of health and medical knowledge creation. This new course aims to attract those minds to Sydney,” Professor Coats said.
The joint Science-Medicine course is a seven year full-time program, the first three years of which is completion of either the Bachelor of Science (Advanced) or the Bachelor of Medical Science . In addition to their Faculty of Science degree, Science-Medicine students are required to undertake subjects which aim to increase the students’ reasoning and communication skills and also take part in the Faculty of Science Talented Student Program.
“We are expecting a lot from these students, we intend to give them the mentoring and the skills support they need, not only to be great researchers but also to be excellent communicators of scientific achievement.” said the Associate Dean (Education) in the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Craig Mellis.
After completing the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Medical Science, the next four years is then the standard graduate-entry University of Sydney MBBS. In order to make an automatic transition into the MBBS, students must maintain high grades in their Faculty of Science subjects.
For those who do maintain their grades and successfully transition into the MBBS, however, the pay off is worth it. These students are given a Commonwealth Supported place in the University of Sydney MBBS and are eligible to apply for full Faculty of Medicine Scholarships.
Selection for this course is rigorous. As well as the standard UAC application, candidates were asked to submit an application for the joint Science-Medicine course direct to the Faculty of Medicine. Short listed candidates were interviewed by the Dean and two other senior members of the Faculty.
“The quality of the candidates was truly outstanding”, said Keith McMullen, Admissions Manager. “I was impressed by their maturity and determination to be at the forefront of medical knowledge creation. We are not just attracting great future doctors to this course but possible future leaders in healthcare and research.”
Competition for admission is fierce. In its inaugural year 490 school leavers applied for this program, only 30 were selected for interview for up to 10 places in the 2005 entry. As entry to the Faculty of Science Talented Student Program is a requirement of the joint course, a minimum UAI of 99 is required for consideration, as are outstanding results in both science and the humanities.