Since you’re up to date with what it’s like studying a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine at Monash University, it would be completely understandable if you’re now looking for an in-depth opinion on the course.
Luckily, you’ve come to the perfect place.
We got to chat to Vivian, a third year Medicine student, who told us everything there is to know about the course at Monash. She explained the ups and downs, the ins and outs and the pros and cons of a Bachelor of Medicine Science and Doctor of Medicine at Monash University.
Let’s dive in!
Why should you study a Medicine degree at Monash University?
The Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine at Monash is pretty much your one way ticket to the doctor realm — well, almost. It’s Monash’s main Medical degree and is designed to support students in a direct pathway towards practicing as a medical professional.
It’s a course that lasts 5 years and is one of the few medical programs offered to students fresh out of high school. It’s a competitive degree. So, if you’re someone that excels academically and becoming a doctor is a path you see yourself taking, you should go for it!
Hence its title, it’s a program that combines the undergraduate medical science degree with the postgraduate medicine degree. This means that you won’t have to look for post grad options once you graduate (unless you’re hoping to specialise).
As a Medical student at Monash, you’ll be focusing your studies on health and illness, the scientific basis of clinical practice, population, society and clinical skills.
Top 3 Pros of a Medicine degree
#1: Emotional support for medical students
Vivian told us that a unique feature of Monash’s Medical course is their commitment to self-care and emotional support. In fact, Monash provides current and potential students with a wide scope of mental health services. It’s a well known fact that medical school can be pretty taxing so Vivian appreciates this aspect of her course.
“One of the defining things about Monash is that we have a specific supplement about helping Medical students with their wellbeing and stress and self care because Medical students have one of the highest burnout rates and have really concerning mental health tolls as well. We were one of the first medical schools to introduce it,” Vivian said.
You can take a look at the kinds of mental health and general wellbeing services that Monash offers their medical students right here!
Vivian told us what these self care sessions are like:
“We basically have classes where it’s very much focused on how to manage our emotional and mental wellbeing — we get classes on mindfulness and just self care in general which I think is quite different compared to other medical schools around Australia.”
#2: Great facilities
“Monash definitely has some really new and amazing facilities. Our anatomy classes are all undertaken in our new biomedical building where we get very practical cadaver learning for anatomy and there’s just a lot of equipment. I think they’re starting to introduce virtual reality as well so it’s really cool,” Vivian told us.
So, there you go! As a Medical student at Monash, you’ll have access to some great facilities and resources to support your studies and emulate life in a real clinical environment.
You’ll get to participate in a range of clinical placements throughout Melbourne and rural Victoria as well as some great simulated patient programs to get you prepped for the working world.
#3: Experienced teachers and links to hospitals
“Monash is linked to the Monash Hospital which is located right next to the university so a lot of our professors and teachers in the preclinical years are directly from Monash Hospital so that makes it very convenient,” Vivian said.
Your last 3 years of the degree are appropriately termed your ‘clinical years’. So, this is when you’ll be engaging in hospital placements, participating in lectures in the wards and rotating between medical departments.
“The first 2 years are basically your pre-clinical years where you’ll attend university and have all your classes and tutorials at university but once you hit third year onwards, you start your clinical years and you’ll start getting all your lessons at the hospital. So, you’ll get allocated to a hospital and you’ll rotate,” Vivian explained.
You could stick to local hospitals, travel to rural areas or go overseas!
Top 3 Cons of a Medicine degree
#1: Can be an isolating experience
Medical degrees can seem really daunting. They require commitment, dedication and resilience to get through them. But if becoming a doctor is what you want to do, then it’ll be worth it in the long run! Vivian admits that the strain of the degree can be quite alienating.
Vivian explained, “It’s quite isolating even in the pre-clinical years on the campus. Unlike the other degrees where people can mix around and get to know everyone, Medicine is quite secluded so you’re kind of in your own little bubble with all the other Med students.”
While this is the case, as Vivian mentioned earlier, you can be confident that Monash will do everything they can to ease this stress.
#2: Competitive degree and cohort
“Another con would be that the degree in general is quite taxing especially because everyone in Medicine has been through a rigorous interview and all of these exams so everyone is very bright and smart — the pressure definitely gets to you sometimes,” Vivian explained.
It makes sense that the cohort would be pretty competitive — to be eligible to apply, you’d need a minimum ATAR of 96! Since it’s such a tough course, there aren’t too many alternative entry pathways. You’re essentially relying on an outstandingly good ATAR.
“It’s just everyone is really dedicated and you’re always feeling like you’re being left behind or it could be like imposter syndrome,” Vivian added.
#3: Having to move interstate
This con is unique to Vivian’s experience but maybe you’re also considering Monash’s on-campus accommodation!
Vivian explained, “I think one of the biggest cons for me personally was that it’s interstate. I’m actually from Sydney so I had to move. Moving out by yourself can be a hard adjustment period that you go through but on the other side you do develop a lot more independence living by yourself and having to take care of everything on your own.”
So, if you’re considering moving to Melbourne for uni it may be a bit tricky to adjust but for the most part, you’ll be gaining some great independence skills for later on in life. You can take a look at the accommodation that Monash offers here!
Vivian told us that while she doesn’t have any regrets per se, she hasn’t been too keen on the isolating experience and limited class time. But all in all, Vivian has loved her decision.
“I think the only regret is that my time on campus was quite short especially since one of the years was online so I didn’t get as much of that uni life experience. Also the fact that it’s quite isolating means that you’re very much confined to medicine itself,” Vivian explained.
What do you wish you had known before starting Monash University Medicine?
#1: Don’t have too many expectations
“I wasn’t too sure coming in, I kind of just ran with the flow of things so I didn’t have any particular expectations but I’m glad about that,” Vivian told us.
Vivian said that in retrospect, this open mindedness was really helpful. She told us that not having to meet particular expectations meant that she was able to take the experience as it came.
#2: Join plenty of societies!
As Vivian mentioned, Medicine can be a taxing and isolating experience. Of course, you’ll be doing some amazing things and getting some amazing experience but with the intense study and class time, it’ll likely be pretty intense.
Because of this, Vivian explained the importance of going out and meeting new people from outside of Medicine. She said that this was achieved most easily by joining the student associations.
She explained, “I’d really recommend going out. So, instead of just sticking to clubs and societies in Medicine, join others to get to know and meet other people from different degrees as well.”
Monash is a great uni if you’re someone that values social events and networking opportunities. In fact, as a student at Monash, you’ll have access to over 100 student-led clubs and societies to foster friendships, increase your network and try new things!
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
There aren’t actually a huge variety of options when it comes to Medicine degrees designed for students straight out of high school. So, that in itself is pretty unique to Monash. Alongside the facilities, experienced staff and mental wellbeing sessions that Vivian mentioned earlier, the clinical classes are a feature that Vivian thoroughly enjoys.
“We’ll go to labs… to actually see a lot of the structures on the cadavers or 3D printed human body parts. We also have clinical skills which are more focused on the doctor element. It’s about interacting with patients, so sometimes they’ll bring in patients and oftentimes we’ll just practice on each other,” Vivian told us.
What inspired you to choose Monash University Medicine?
Just like a lot of us, Vivian wasn’t too sure what path she wanted to take once she finished high school.
“I would say that I didn’t have the clearest idea of what I wanted to do at uni — there were just so many options. It was quite overwhelming but I think I leaned towards medicine just because there’s a good mix of both science and humanities so you kind of get the best of both worlds,” Vivian said.
So, while the mix of arts and science greatly appealed to Vivian, she also told us that becoming a doctor was a perfect career path.
Vivian explained, “It’s a lot about interacting with people and getting to do meaningful work by helping other people.”
With this in mind, it was just about finding the right uni to suit! Monash just happened to be that choice.
What are the possible career paths?
If you’re studying Medicine, it’s likely that becoming a medical professional is the end goal. This is great!
But it’s good to know that as a graduate you are definitely not limited to just becoming a general practitioner. There are so many other cool options depending on what you want to specialise in, where you’d like to work and what clients you’d like to have.
Since you’ll graduate with a Medical science and Medicine degree, your skillset will be pretty broad and highly sought after. You’ll be set with the skills and knowledge applicable to a wide range of medical positions.
Gemma Billington is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and an undergraduate student at the University of Technology Sydney. While studying Journalism and Social and Political Sciences, Gemma enjoys spending her time at the gym or reading about Britain’s medieval monarchy – ideally not at the same time. She currently creates and administers social media posts for Central News and writes for the student publication, The Comma. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to study a Masters of Medieval History and is very excited about the prospect!