What is Medicine at Otago?
Doctors care for our health and well-being. Doctors help to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure illness, injury and diseases as general practitioners, and as doctors who practise in specialities such as surgery, psychiatry, cardiology, pathology, and public health.
Medicine is a caring profession, which provides great satisfaction to those who enjoy understanding and helping people. There are all kinds of opportunities to follow a range of personal medical interests while providing a community service in a respected profession. Studying medicine never ends, but it can begin with the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees offered by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Otago.
What can I do when I graduate?
Before you can practise as a doctor in New Zealand, you must gain registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand by completing one year of supervised practice in a hospital. After that, most doctors will continue to train further, typically for a period of 5-6 years, to gain further professional qualifications which allow full specialist practice as a general practitioner or in a wide range of other specialties in medicine.
Most doctors graduating in New Zealand will continue to live and practice in New Zealand, often after a period of further study and experience overseas. You may choose to work in the public or private sectors, to pursue a career in medical research, or to have an academic and teaching career. Many doctors combine all of these options in their day to day working life. You don’t need to travel overseas to experience a different side of life once you’re a qualified doctor. There are plenty of opportunities to work in rural areas, major cities and regional community practices all over New Zealand.
What will I study?
The Otago Health Sciences First Year counts as the first year of the six-year University of Otago MB ChB degree. Admission to second year in medicine may be from Health Sciences First Year, as an entrant who has graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree from another course (graduate entry), or under the Further Categories entry scheme. Further information on entry requirements and regulations is available at the Division of Health Sciences.
Early Learning in Medicine – ELM: Second- and third-year medicine provides an introduction to the scientific, clinical, and societal aspects of medicine. The ELM programme, while maintaining the important learning of scientific principles underpinning the practice of medicine. Study of body systems such as the cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, renal, respiratory, nervous and musculoskeletal systems, and subjects such as blood, genetics, infection, immunity, cancer, metabolism, reproduction, development and ageing, public health, behaviour, ethics, and professional development are all integrated with Case Based Learning, Clinical Skills and Healthcare in the Community. For more information on the ELM Programme, click here.
Advanced Learning in Medicine (ALM): After the third year you will choose to undertake your continuing medical studies at one of the three Schools of Medicine in Dunedin, Wellington or Christchurch. The fourth and fifth years centre on advanced learning and supervised clinical activities in hospitals, in community based clinics, and in regional and rural general practices.
For some students, there will be the opportunity to undertake the whole of fifth year in the Rural Medical Immersion Programme at one of our Rural Immersion Hubs, first established in 2007.
The sixth year is a trainee internship, which is a transition to practice year that has a strong focus on clinical activities and responsibility in the working health environment. During this year, you will have an opportunity for elective study in an area that interests you for three months, usually in a new location, often overseas. The trainee intern year is an important preparatory year for the first postgraduate (intern) year leading to general registration as a medical practitioner by the Medical Council of New Zealand.
Research is a vitally important part of medicine. During your studies there will be many opportunities to undertake research. The curriculum in medicine has a strong research led approach, you will undertake research projects during your course, and you may also wish to take up summer studentships in research. There are opportunities to take a Bachelor of Medical Science Honours degree during your medical course, or to study for a PhD during your medical studies or after graduating. There also are many options for postgraduate work, specialist study, and other higher degrees at Otago.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand.