BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU

ANU Medical Science - Fact Sheet

Love being in science labs? Want to enter a career in medical research or health? Then, studying a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU is something you should consider! 

With the help of Pranav, a third-year Medical Science student from ANU, this article explores all you’ll need to know before applying for this course.

If you want to know more about the core units, research opportunities and classes in a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU, keep reading on! 

What is a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU?
Core Units for this Degree
How to Get into a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU?

A Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU combines a variety of science areas all related to the human body. Medical Science students take classes in physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology and more advanced courses in the later years of the degree.

Throughout the three years of study, students undertake visits to the Canberra Hospital, research schools and pathology laboratories, as well as have the opportunity to complete a research project.

ANU Medical Science - Quote

Can this degree be studied in conjunction with another of completed as Honours?

While it is not mandatory, a Bachelor of Medical Science is popularly studied as a double degree. ANU’s flexible degree “builder” makes a vast range of double degrees compatible with a Bachelor of Medical Science, with pairings including a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies, a Bachelor of Classical Studies to a Bachelor of Design (find the full list here). 

In addition, you can continue and study an additional two-semester Honours program. This is provided that you achieve a WAM of 70 for the Honours pathway units studied in the Bachelor of Medical Science. 

Career Paths

Most Medical Science students pursue postgraduate study since a Bachelor of Medical Science has quite a broad course program. Taking this into account, students may enter careers in the following with further study: 

  • Biomedical scientist
  • Doctor 
  • Biomedical engineer
  • Forensic scientist
  • Nutritionist

Core Units for this Degree

There are nine core units in a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU.

  • Biology 1: Evolution, Ecology & Genetics
  • Biology 2: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • General Microbiology
  • Genes: Replication and Expression
  • Biochemistry and Nutrition 
  • Medical Science in the Workplace
  • Chemistry 1
  • Chemistry 2
  • Medical Physiology and Pharmacology

The units, Biology 1 & 2 and Chemistry 1 & 2, must be studied in your first year. These are introductory units, some of which you might have studied in high school.

Chemistry 1 & 2 are laboratory-focussed classes, which explore relationships in chemical bonding, thermodynamics and other understandings of chemical reactions. In Biology 1 & 2 , you’ll study evolution, genetics and cellular function studies. 

Capstone Unit

The third-year capstone unit, Medical Science in the Workplace, offers exciting opportunities wherein you’ll meet professionals and researchers from different areas of medical science and run an interview with them. You’ll also visit the Canberra Hospital, research schools and pathology laboratories while understanding ethical standards of the workplace.

Are there any majors?

While there are no majors in a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU, the course program makes ample space for electives. You’ll get to study four electives in your first two years and seven in your third!

Based on the electives you choose, you’ll explore different areas of sciences or niche into one science. For example, you can diversify into psychology in the unit, Quantitative Methods in Psychology, or focus on medical research in Genetics of Human Disease 1 and Advanced and Applied Immunology.

How to Get into a Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU

The ATAR cut off for guaranteed entry into this program is 85.00. 

If your ATAR does not meet the cut-off, the ANU Adjustment factors scheme offers up to 10 adjustment factors for applicants who have the following achievements: 

  • Band 5 in Chemistry
  • Band 5 in English (except ESL) or Languages (other than English) or Indigenous Studies 
  • E3 in Specialist Mathematics (major/minor or double major)
  • Band 5 in Physics 
  • Successful completion in Music AMEB Grade 8

The specific number of adjustment points can be found here!

Prerequisite Subjects

The prerequisite knowledge for this course is Chemistry. There is no assumed knowledge or additional assessments required for entry.


ANU provides a variety of scholarships for its students to aid with tuition and study costs. For example, the ANU Science Olympiad Scholarship offers a minimum value of $5,000 per year for Health and Medicine students who represented Australia and were awarded a Gold Medal in the International Science Olympiad.

More generally, the Australian Excellence Scholarship offers a stipend of $12,500 per annum for up to 5 years for the top three applicants in their state or territory (based on their ANU selection rank/ATAR).

What’s the Teaching Format?

A Bachelor of Medical Science at ANU is studied in semesters. The regular classes you’ll take consist of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals and workshops. 

Class Structure

ANU Medical Science - Class Structure


Lectures include a simple recorded presentation by the lecturer, where students would take notes from the theory.

While lectures typically have a large cohort size, the lecture attendance is quite low, in which less than half of students attend lectures in person. The class size is therefore around 30 people. Lectures typically last 1-2 hours. 

Seminars and Tutorials

Seminars and tutorials are both 1-2 hours long and focus on theoretical content. Seminars are discussion-based, where a class of 30 students learn through asking questions and talking about the lecture content.

Tutorials are exercise-based and have a larger class size of 50 students. In tutorials, students are given sets of problems to complete over the lesson with the remainder finished outside of class.

Practicals and Workshops

Practicals and workshops are both approximately 3 hours long and have around a class size of 100 students. Practicals are laboratory-based classes, where theory is demonstrated and experienced hands on.

Class activities vary depending on the unit and can range from chemistry-based experiments to looking at bacteria and other microorganisms. Workshops are similar to practicals however, they often include laboratory demonstrations that are less ‘hands on’. 

How much time do you spend in class?

On average, you’ll spend 15 hours a week attending all your classes — though keep in mind that you’ll also need to factor in time to study and complete assessments.

What are the assessments like?

The main types of assessments include laboratory reports, mid-term class tests and final exams. 

Research-focussed units often include many laboratory reports, which are written reports based on the practical classes. These often weigh around 20-40% however, you’ll write around 3 reports in this assessment.  

Mid-term class tests and final exams are in almost every units.These can include anything from short answer questions, problem-solving tasks, and small multiple-choice tests.

Mid-term exams are around 20% of the unit grade. However, final exams are often almost half of your unit grade and typically weigh 40-45%.

It should be noted that you’ll have to achieve a minimum 65 WAM in every unit. Students who do not meet the minimum requirement will be transferred to a different Science degree! 

Skills You Refine and Learn

ANU Medical Science - Skills

Since many of these units incorporate long laboratory sessions, you’ll get to know how to use various equipment and etiquette around the lab. Importantly, graduates learn to work accurately when collecting experimental data, representing their results and interpreting graphical representations of the results.

Collaboration is key to functioning well in both practical and non-practical environments. Laboratory sessions heavily involve teamwork based on meeting a certain goal. In seminars, you’ll learn how to convey your disciplinary knowledge to both peers and tutors. 

Problem-solving is mainly built through tutorial work, practical classes as well as all your assessments. Through working on foreseen and unforeseen problems, you’ll apply your knowledge to diverse perspectives and issues.  

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?


The students and staff in the Medical Science cohort are, most of the time, supportive and friendly such that you’ll be likely to make long lasting friendships from this degree. The ANU College of Science has many state-of-the-art teaching spaces, laboratories as well as research schools that offer student projects that you may contribute to! 

As many Medical Science students seek a pathway into a Doctor of Medicine, the competition is inevitably high among students and the staff are often tough when marking assessments.


You can find great people through joining any of the ANU societies. If you want to find like-minded people, the Science Society and Medical Students’ Society are a few go-to’s.

The Science Society is catered to all STEM students and is a great way to meet friends from the engineering, psychology or maths faculty. They offer all types of events such as GAMSAT masterclasses, study sessions, drinks nights and an annual Science Ball! 

The Medical Students’ Society is an excellent way to find a study group or get advice from later-year peers. They offer elective evenings, where you’ll hear students share their experiences on various Medical Science electives, as well as more social events such as mental health week, fundraisers and orientation parties. 


ANU Thrive offers a student-led mentoring program to promote student wellbeing, where you can either get help from an ANU Thrive peer mentor or become a ANU Thrive peer mentor to have a chat with others who are struggling.  

Lynn Chen is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is a Communication student at UTS with a major in Creative Writing. Lynn’s articles have been published in Vertigo, The Comma, and Shut Up and Go. In her spare time, she also writes poetry.

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