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Medicine Courses in New Zealand

If you’re looking for a challenging field of study, have an interest in health and wellbeing, and enjoy helping people, you may consider studying medicine. Medicine can be tough but it is a very rewarding study and career choice. It is also a diverse field of work, with opportunities to work in many different settings — from hospitals to local medical clinics, research laboratories and universities.

Programmes in this field lead students to become doctors, but there are also specialisations at postgraduate level for those already working in the field.

If you are interested in studying medicine, you may also consider courses in dentistry, health and nursing.

If you are interested in studying mathematics, you may also consider courses in business and management, computer science and IT, science and engineering.

For more information about studying medicine in New Zealand, visit the following websites:

  • New Zealand Medical Association
  • Medical Council of New Zealand

What you can study

Medicine can be studied at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Vocational programmes do not provide entry into the medical profession. To read about vocational study options, see the Health profile.

Entry into medical programmes is very competitive. Undergraduate medical students must first complete the Health Sciences First Year at the University of Otago or University of Auckland. Applicants must also sit the Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) in the year of application. Following completion of this first year of study, students must pass other tests and may also need to attend an interview.

The next step involves five additional years of specialist study to gain the bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery (MBChB). Entry is determined by academic performance in the first year of study. In the final year of study, medical students are based at hospitals and work as Trainee Interns. Graduates then complete clinical placements for two years as ‘House Officers’, which helps them to decide which area they would like to pursue further. House Officer training then leads to employment as a registrar, during which students undertake intensive study and research to become a specialist.

Postgraduate courses in the medical field provide the opportunity to pursue further study. They may specialise in areas such as cardiology, paediatrics, palliative care, surgery or general practice. There is also the option to enter the bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery at graduate level, following completion of a related degree.

Research is a popular study choice, allowing students to undertake intensive research in their specialist field.

Where to study

Medicine is offered at the University of Otago and the University of Auckland, although health sciences programmes may be completed at other universities in New Zealand. Clinical experience is guaranteed in medical programmes, but it is worth looking at the universities’ relationships with local hospitals and employers as well as the facilities on campus to determine if they will suit your needs.

If you are considering postgraduate research, your choice may be influenced by a particular university’s experience with your intended project topic.

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