MD Course Structure

Course themes

There are four main themes which run throughout the program:

  • Basic and Clinical Sciences
    Provides the scientific foundation for your medical studies. You will cover medical sciences of physiology, anatomy and histology, pharmacology and pathology, both in lectures and in practical laboratory sessions.

  • Patient and Doctor
    You will be taught clinical skills and diagnostic methods, clinical reasoning and clinical communication. This theme is taught in the clinical schools.

  • Population Medicine
    Introduces you to subjects such as public health, evidence-based medicine, statistics, and health economics. This theme is taught in interactive tutorial sessions.

  • Personal and Professional Development
    The formal professional development teaching includes the legislative and ethical frameworks in which health care is practiced, patient safety theory and practice, bioethics and an understanding of the special issues around doctors’ own health.

The Medical Program year by year

The Medical Program 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 Medical Program is organised into ‘blocks’ of study as follows.

Stage One (Year 1)
Block 1: Orientation and Foundations
Block 2: Musculoskeletal Sciences
Block 3: Respiratory Sciences
Block 4: Haematology
Block 5: Cardiovascular Sciences

In Year 1 you will spend one day per week based at your Hospital Clinical School. Once you are enrolled you will be provided with a detailed timetable.

Stage Two (Year 2)
Block 6: Neurosciences/Vison/Behaviour
Block 7: Endocrine/Nutrition/Sexual Health/HIV
Block 8: Renal/Urology
Block 9: Gastroenterology/Nutrition/Drug and Alcohol
Block 10: Oncology and Palliative care

In Year 2 you will spend 1 day per week based at your Hospital Clinical School.

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:

Medicine (once in Year 3 and once in Year 4)
Critical Care
Perinatal & Women’s Health
Psychological and Addiction Medicine
Child and Adolescent Health

Year 4 will commence with an Elective term 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.

In addition, during the 4-year course you will undertake an approved, supervised research or capstone project culminating in a 2,500 word report in the form of an article suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

*A sample timetable is available for download.
*For information about the enrolment pattern for the program, refer to Sydney Medical School Handbook.

Registration and practice in Australia and other countries

Student registration
Students enrolled in the medical program 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 Medical Program, 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. The NSW Health Department has made it clear that no Australian trained international medical student is guaranteed an internship upon graduation. 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 Home Affairs or contact the department for details.

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 and Health) is listed on the World Health Organisation directory of international medical schools and the Faimer International Medical Education Directory, and Sydney Medical Program is a well-regarded degree.

In addition to your degree, some countries will have other requirements, such as registration exams.