You’ve got the official information on a Bachelor of Health Science at ANU, but you might still be wondering exactly what this degree is like!
What are the good bits, what sucks, and what can you expect? We chatted to Michael, a third year student in this course (who’s just been admitted to postgraduate medical studies!) and found out more about his experience.
Keep reading to understand where you could be in just a couple of years!
Why should you study a Bachelor of Health Science at ANU?
In short, this is a dynamic degree that teaches you many different facets about medicine and general health! If you’re looking to become an expert in health, this degree could be well worth your while.
Top 3 Pros of a Health Science degree
#1: Courses are chosen for you
In this degree, most courses are streamlined and each person is studying the same thing. You know exactly what you will be up to each semester, which is helpful for planning your year and creating structure!
“Because they choose the courses for you, you know that what you’re learning will be built upon knowledge of previous courses you’ve done. It’s kind of progressive in that sense, which I like,” Michael said.
The best part is that you won’t have to stress about finding courses or electives that meet requirements for graduation — it’ll all be done for you!
#2: A small cohort
Each year, ANU accepts about 60 students into Health Science. Yes, you read that right — it’ll likely be smaller than your high school cohort! This is quite unique for a uni degree, and means you’ll be able to build great relationships.
“You’ll easily find personal relationships with your peers in Health Science. That really helps with finding people to study with,” Michael mentioned.
The small nature of the cohort also sets you up for some friendly competition! You’ll be interacting with the same peers in tutorials and labs, and you will be able to build consistent study patterns that help each other.
#3: Medical school with no GAMSAT
We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth bringing up again. If you’re a med-inclined kid or you’ve been looking at Health Science for a while, you’ll know this is significant.
The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is an Australian test that evaluates your abilities to enter medical school. It’s rigorous, and usually compulsory.
However, ANU Health Science students have the opportunity to gain entry into medical school without it! Each year, up to 30 people in the cohort may be offered entry to the Doctor of Medicine and Surgery. This is based on a personal application statement, an interview process and top-performing scores.
“I feel like that’s a pretty big pro!” Michael said.
Top 3 Cons of a Health Science degree
#1: The competitiveness
Michael has mixed feelings on this one. Though a bit of friendly cohort competitiveness is great, and can pull the cohort up, it’s not for everyone. Some students would rather work at their own pace, and that’s okay!
“If you don’t feel comfortable with the pressure that comes from a competitive environment and selection process, it might be difficult. In saying that, for students who aspire to study medicine, it’s just a reality you have to face,” Michael explained.
Due to the academic nature of Health Science, most degrees in this area are going to be competitive. However, if you’d like to slip a little more under the radar a bigger cohort may suit you better for you! Many Biomedical Science degrees offer similar content with a far bigger group.
#2: You’ve got to be an all-rounder
This degree focuses on both social understanding and medicine. You need to conceptualise big social issues, including educational issues, access, disability and different situations regarding socio-economic status — this includes essay writing!
You also need to be science oriented and able to understand complex biological structures.
“If you’re not really versed in both writing and science, if you’re very one-sided to arts or science, it might be a little challenging. You need both [types of skills] and they take different sorts of thinking in terms of creativity and rationality,” he noted.
#3: Entry into Health Science is challenging
“Getting entry to the course is a little bit competitive as well, since they only let 60 people in each year,” Michael said.
“You have to write a personal statement upon entry to Health Science, which they look at and choose participants from,” Michael explained.
You can get a recap of entry to Health Science here!
Essentially, you’ll need to achieve an ATAR over 85, complete some extra-curricular service and write a stellar personal interest statement.
This may all seem kind of daunting, but it’s great practice for future placement applications. It also helps you to consider why you really want to do this course, which can help you stay motivated.
“I’m really happy with my degree, except I wish I had taken more of an opportunity to engage with my lecturers and ask questions. For instance, because all the lectures are recorded, it’s easy to skimp out and not go to the real lectures.”
Michael really enjoys his degree and doesn’t have any regrets about the structure or cohort, but he does recommend that new students make the most of finding out all they can from ANU staff!
“They’re really knowledgeable because as lecturers at ANU [a largely research-invested university], they’re prominent researchers in their respective fields,” he explained.
What do you wish you had known before starting an ANU Bachelor of Health Science?
“Just make the most of it! With this degree, you’re going to be so focused on getting marks because your aim is [likely] to get into med school. It’s really easy to forget that you’re actually learning information that you’re going to want to use one day.”
Michael said it’s easy to become complacent, but it’s great if you can remember that you’re studying a really valuable course. In fact, you’ll be privy to some of Australia’s best medical experts, and that’s exciting!
Aside from this, the Bachelor of Health Science is well laid out, so you can find most information online before you even begin studying.
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
“It offers you an opportunity to get entry into postgrad with med without doing the GAMSAT if that’s what you want to do. Even if that’s not your main goal, you know you can come into Health Science with the opportunity to do a degree that helps you to learn about the intersection of science and public health. It’s a very well-rounded degree,” Michael said.
Though there are many health and medical science degrees around, this one really provides you with the social understanding to compliment biological and medical study. It’s an all rounder!
What inspired you to choose an ANU Bachelor of Health Science?
“I wanted to do medicine, I knew that… but I didn’t get a good UMAT score. When I worked out this was a degree, I thought that if it gave me a chance to get into medicine without doing the GAMSAT, I was going to take it.”
Michael is an example of a student who really knew what he wanted his end goal to be and worked backwards! This is a great way to figure out exactly what you’d like to study, and if this course is right for you.
“I really saw it as a stepping stone into med,” he said.
What are the possible career paths?
As we’ve chatted about, most people use this degree as an entry point into medicine. However, there’s plenty of other great things you can do with this undergraduate course!
You might enter into a more specialised area of health study, like nutrition, speech pathology or immunology. Perhaps you’re keen to get a teaching degree and health high school students learn about health or science.
Without any other study, here are some careers you could go into:
- Mental health worker (often with further study)
- Wellbeing manager
- Telehealth coach
- Environmental health officer
- Lifestyle coach
- Policy informer
- NDIS work
Ultimately, this is a rigorous, academic degree that puts you on the road for success regardless of what you choose to do after studying. You will be among only a handful of people with a health degree that intersects into social science and political knowledge with medicine.
If you think this may be the degree for you, it’s definitely worth finding out more on the ANU website, or contacting Student Services directly.
Lucinda Garbutt-Young hopes to one day be writing for a big-shot newspaper… or maybe just for a friendly magazine in the arts sector. Right now, she is enjoying studying a Bachelor of Public Communication (Public Relations and Journalism) at UTS while she writes on the side. She also loves making coffees for people in her job as a barista, and loves nothing more than a sun shower.