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UNSW new Integraded curriculum

Discussion in 'Australasia and Oceania' started by anomorato, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. anomorato

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    What do you guys think of the UNSW integraded curriculum? Rather than using the old traditional subject by subject curriculum, they now have an integraded program where all courses througout the basic science years (first 3 yrs) are integraded.

    Thanks for your inputs
     
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  3. nwhilk

    nwhilk Junior Member

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    Personally I think I learn better with the old, traditional way (which is how most American schools are like).

    I espeically don't care for first 2 yrs at UNSW where you have to take classes in public health, communication skills, medical ethics, etc. I feel like it's a bit of a waste of time, personally. Not because the subjects aren't important to learn, but because I don't think the time spent on them at the expense of other possibilities would be helpful to me. Maybe if they only did that in about a year or less it'd be better? I don't know. Just my opinion, for myself. You could be totally different.

    Again, personally, I liked that there was more of a solid foundation in science in the old/traditional program, more emphasis on things like biochemistry and pharmacology. I don't like that anatomy isn't really taught until the later years. On the other hand, an emphasis on self-directed learning works a lot better for some people, and doctors should learn to do this anyway, beyond med school.

    Also during these first years, you go to hospital only once every two weeks, I believe it is. But I heard that at the grad med schools like Sydney Uni you go more frequently (but I don't blame UNSW at all, as they are a longer course, 6 yrs vs 4 yrs at Sydney Uni; although if I remember, you said in the past that you got like a year knocked off, and only need to take 5 yrs worth of classes?). I'd rather be able to go to hospital more often. I think I'd personally benefit more from the early exposure. But then again, it's not like you won't get enough hospital later on, as fortunately things change quickly during your 3rd year, and you go to hospital several times per week.

    Again, to reemphasize, all this, it could just be me. You, and so far as I know, most people could very well learn better with the UNSW's integrated approach.

    Sorry for rambling. A lot of people seem to have different opinions, though. There is a huge amount of debate over this. Look up past threads on systems based approach and PBL here on SDN (and Google) as these are relevant to your question, too. But as you probably know, most Aussie med schools already have or are moving towards having a more systems/PBL approach so it's really no different at the UNSW. You'll pretty much get that no matter where you go in Australia.
     
  4. anomorato

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    Do you think this integraded curriculum at UNSW will only prepare you to be a Doctor in Australia? What if you wonna take the USMLE's and practice in the US, do you think you will be get the proper education for that?
     
  5. nwhilk

    nwhilk Junior Member

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    I would say that depends on what you are comparing UNSW to.

    If you are comparing it to an American school like UCLA or whatever, then obviously no, UNSW doesn't train you to become a doctor in the US, since UNSW is an Australian uni preparing Australian docs.

    But let's take a step back and look at doctors around the world. If you are comparing UNSW to other foreign/international schools, then certainly Australian schools like UNSW are top notch for training future physicians. Compared to third world nations, obviously most if not all Australian med schools tend to train better doctors. Compared to second world nations like China or some nations in the Middle East, I would still think Australian med schools train better physicians in general. After all, many Asians and Africans and Middle Easterners seem to want to apply to study in Australia, not vice versa (it also helps that English is the lingua franca of the globe, currently).

    My point is UNSW and other Australian med schools can stand shoulder to shoulder with med schools of first world nations, including in Europe and North America. You will become a competent physician once you finish your medical training (which includes residency to attending physician in the US or consultant in Australia*). In other words, UNSW's future physicians are well respected around the world, including in the USA.

    Having said all this, if your goal is truly to practice in the US, the best choice woudl obviously be to go to a US med school as UNSW will not train you for the USMLE, you gotta study on your own. That doesn't mean you won't have the knowledge to pass, per se, if you go to UNSW, as UNSW does provide basic science courses, and arguably more so than 4 yr grad programs (but this is arguable), but at the same time, you have be aware that it does not train for the USMLE.

    Also, how much do you want to end up working in the US? If you simply must work in the US, and if to you nothing is more important, then it's best to spend the time upfront to get into a US med school than to study abroad at the UNSW.

    So enroll in a post-baccalaureate program if you didn't take the prereqs, or join the Peace Corps or some other humanitarian program if your extracurriculars aren't up to snuff, apply to US med schools that might not require as high MCAT scores, etc. Basically do whatever it takes to present yourself with the best foot forward, with the best application to hoepfully get into a good US med school. Even though it seems like more time spent upfront before you are even admitted to med school, in the long run, it may make more sense if you want to work in the US. You may actually save yourself more time, perhaps, if you spend the time (years) upfront trying to get into a US med school and hopefully getting into one than if you have to worry about studying in another country, taking the USMLE, hopefully doing well enough to get into a speciality you like, and all the other hurdles or heartaches you might have just to come back to the US.

    Again, this is assuming your goal is to pracitce in the US, and that it trumps all other considerations or priorities.

    But if you have other things you want, like you really want to study overseas and don't mind going through all the hurdles of getting back to the US, then Australia and the UNSW in particular is an excellent choice.

    It depends, again, ultimately on what your goals and what your priorities in life are. For example, is it a priority for you to work in the US or are you ok if you end up working and living in another nation such as Australia? Do you want to enter a competitive specialty like general surgery or are you ok doing another specialty? Those sorts of questions.

    This is just my two cents, so please take it with a grain of salt.

    *One thing to keep in mind though, is that Australian doctors have a longer residency than say American doctors. Generally, it takes longer to become a consultant in Australia than it does to become an attending in the US. But the Australian consultant should be just as competent a doctor as the American attending which is my main point.
     
  6. nwhilk

    nwhilk Junior Member

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    By the way, anomorato, any tips on applying to the UNSW as a foreign student? (I asked you about a month ago via a personal message, but perhaps you didn't get it for some reason?) Anyway, just wondering if you might pls have any tips or advice on applying to the UNSW? I'm thinking about applying, although 6 yrs is pretty long, and I would personally go for a 4 yr if I get in (like Sydney Uni). But still, I was thinking about it, and would definitely appreicate your thoughts, whatever you might have, on the UNSW's application process. Thanks.
     
  7. eanaddare

    eanaddare MSc (LSHTM), UNSW yr 1

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    UNSW first year here (international student).

    The program is well planned and organised however student can easily get confused about the level of knowledge they need to know in any given check point. 4 weeks into the course we are expected to know about histology, microbiology, immunology and public health! No kidding.

    I would have been studying overnight if I weren't a MSc holder. Having known that I'll get a 8 months- a year exemption from the course is reassuring. Indeed if you have a degree in science I would recommand this program since you will be clear about what spectrum you are required to pass.

    There is an awful lot of Honkies and Singaporeans in the international students cohort (over 60%). You might experience difficulties.
     
  8. KiwiMD

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    I have dual citizenship and am strongly considering Australia for medical school. I am curious as to the differences in salaries between US and Australian physicians. In America, in my understanding, the range is from $100,000 for a GP or pediatrician in a rural location up to $900,000 for the extreme specialties like neurosurgery in big cities.

    Cheers!
     

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