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Health and Medicine in New Zealand

Course overview

  • Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) is the gateway to a career in healthcare or medical and biomedical research. These careers provide opportunities to work in private practice, community clinics, hospitals, academia, research institutions, industry and the emergency services. 

    The HSFY is dedicated to general scientific education; involving chemistry, biology, physics, biochemistry, population health and behavioural studies and leads to the development of:

    • a sense of the interconnectedness between different fields of knowledge in the health sciences.
    • a sound understanding of broader principles and concepts underpinning all of the biomedical and life sciences.
    • a strengthened understanding, commitment, excitement, and enthusiasm for science and the scientific method.
    • an awareness of why this knowledge is relevant to the study of ill-health.

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    During HSFY student may apply for admission into any of the five professional programmes to become a doctor, dentist, pharmacist, physiotherapist or medical laboratory scientist.

    2 years of 6-year medical program learning the basic biomedical sciences and the normal and abnormal function of the body systems. Individual development, social influences on health and illness and the role of the doctor are also covered. Teaching is based around lectures, small group tutorials (which are often case-based) and laboratory classes.

    3 years clinical studies: students experience a range of areas of general clinical medicine. This continues in the fifth year, with a greater focus on specialized areas of medicine and surgery. Exit exams take place the end of year 5, and must be passed before students can enter the sixth and final year of medical school.
    The last year of clinical studies involves students becoming TRAINEE INTERNS, again working placements in hospitals, but now at a higher level of involvement and responsibility for patient care.

  • prepares students to graduate as doctors committed to the provision of high-quality, patient-centred, evidence-based medical care within the New Zealand health care system and wherever they practise. Students will graduate with the professional, clinical, biomedical and psychosocial foundations to practise collaboratively as doctors, and to undertake further training in any field of medicine. If you are considering a career in medicine, you should be skilled in communication, understanding people, critical and scientific reasoning, and be prepared for lifelong learning to maintain your practising standards. The Otago Medical School delivers a socially accountable education programme that emphasises graduate commitment to improving the health of individuals and communities, to equitable health outcomes and to the Treaty of Waitangi.
    The University of Otago medical degree (the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery; MB ChB) takes five years from admission after either First Year Health Sciences (undertaken in Dunedin) or a prior undergraduate degree. The first two years of the programme (Early Learning in Medicine) take place in Dunedin; from fourth year, the class is split across Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington for the three clinically-based Advanced Learning in Medicine years.

  • Many international students choose New Zealand to pursue their health and medicine degrees due to the balance of quality education, opportunity for professional development and laid-back lifestyle. Two of New Zealand’s universities rank amongst the top medical schools in the world with many colleges offering a wide variety of disciplines to choose from including veterinary science, dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy, nutritional health science and medicine and surgery (MBBS). The two main medical university in New Zealand are The University of Auckland and The University of Otago, where both are well regarded for their medical programmes and known for their brilliant research facilities and the immersive opportunities they present to students. Postgraduate programs, on the other hand, are usually specialisations after completing an undergraduate study.

  • New Zealand is a choice study destination due to an extensive curriculum that mixes rigorous coursework with internships and research opportunities that provide an immersive experience into the chosen field. Many of the universities provide state-of-the-art facilities and clinical environments for students to accelerate their learning with hands-on training. Certain universities such as The University of Otago include internships in their programs, attaching students to real-world businesses, clinics and hospitals as well for holistic learning in a real-world environment.

  • Studying in New Zealand also opens up greater career opportunities for students looking to stay on and develop a career in the country itself.

    Why study health and medicine in New Zealand?

    • Universities in New Zealand offering health and medical courses have a rigorous and tailored curriculum to ensure graduates are employment-ready.
    • The two medical colleges in New Zealand that offer the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme are accredited by the Medical Council of New Zealand (through the Australian Medical Council).
    • New Zealand universities offer a wide range of courses in the health fields that include veterinary science, dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy, nutritional health science in both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
    • Students studying health and medicine have the opportunity to gain industry insight during their program through internships, hospital and clinical attachments.
    • Excellent employment opportunities await students back home and within New Zealand itself.

    Key facts about studying health and medicine in New Zealand

    • All of New Zealand’s 8 Universities are featured in the QS rankings (QS Top Universities 2020) with the University of Auckland being in the top 100.
    • You can stay and work in New Zealand for 1, 2 or 3 years after you graduate with a health and medicine degree from a New Zealand university with the Post-study work visa.
    • New Zealand is a safe and peaceful country, ranking 2nd out of 163 countries in the 2019 Global Peace Index.

    Choosing your health and medicine university

  • Here are some key things to look out for in choosing your health and medicine university in New Zealand:

    • Academic Excellence – Research on reviews and teaching professors can give a good insight into the course curriculum in addition to course descriptions. Understand if any internships, hospital or clinical attachments are available to ensure a more holistic and practical education.
    • Location – Whether it’s the bustling city of Auckland or the smaller coastal city of Dunedin in Otago you prefer, look for a university situated in a region that offers you the best mix of lifestyle and standard of living.
    • Cost – Tuition fees will vary greatly depending on the type of course chosen, the kind of financial assistance and scholarships available to you may differ substantially as well. Look for a university that offers scholarships and determine if you are eligible, some scholarships are only awarded to students in certain countries, regions and situations.
    • International Student Support – Find a university that offers well-planned support for international students, as they can advise on essentials such as accommodation, student welfare, and post-graduate employment opportunities.

    Admission requirements for New Zealand universities

    Entry into a New Zealand university typically requires a Bachelor's degree from a recognised university or an equivalent diploma or certificate depending on the course applied for. Non-native speakers will also require an overall IELTS (Academic) band score of 6.0, with no individual sub-score less than 5.5 as evidence of English language proficiency. 

  • Students looking to study medicine or dentistry in New Zealand will also have to sit for the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) as part of their application.

  • Those looking for postgraduate programs may need to meet additional entry requirements, such as prior knowledge in certain subjects, work experience, and the successful completion of an audition, portfolio, interview or test.

Finding what fits you best can be overwhelming. Let us help! We will help guide you through the entire process from course selection to university and visa application. Speak to our education specialists now for free.

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