New degree finds harmony between music and medicine
15 June 2006
As areas of study, music and medicine both require a finely tuned skill set, long-term dedication and uncompromising discipline.
This high level of commitment has traditionally made it difficult for one individual to study both. But the University of Sydney's introduction of a combined music and medicine degree will exploit their common ground, producing a new generation of doctors, who are "in-touch with their feelings and able to resonate with their patients on all levels of care", in the words of Associate Professor Merrilyn Walton from the office of Teaching and Learning in Medicine.
"In the past doctors have predominantly focused on scientific principles but in today's complex environment we need to produce empathetic doctors who are able to understand the complexities of illnesses from their patients' point of view and are able to provide a more holistic form of care," said Professor Walton.
The double degree, starting in 2007, involves a three-year undergraduate degree in music followed by a four-year MBBS degree. The University will offer two scholarships per year, valued at $4000 each.
"This dual combination will not dilute the medical degree," said Professor Walton. "Rather it will endeavour to attract a new cohort of students who would have otherwise been lost to alternative universities."
Sydney is unique among NSW universities in only offering medicine as a graduate entry degree. This inevitably means that some students elect to go to other universities where medicine is an undergraduate degree, but the Dean of Medicine, Professor Andrew Coats, said Sydney was looking at ways of broadening the pathways into medicine for potential students.
"This follows on from the success of our innovative combined science and medicine program, and recognises the fact that while medicine is largely a science-based course, it also draws heavily upon insights from the humanities," he said. "We want our students to come from a range of different backgrounds and to bring their unique problem-solving skills and personalities to the program."
Contact: Mandy Sacher
Phone: 02 9351 3168