University of Otago Medicine Programme Content

University of Otago Medicine Programme Content

Programme content

What will I study?


Health Sciences First Year counts as the first year of the six-year University of Otago Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) medical degree. After selection from Health Sciences First Year (or the Graduate or Alternative categories), you commence second year of the MB ChB programme.

Second- and third-year Medicine offers an integrated course based on various body system modules and core clinical cases. The clinical cases run throughout the programme and act as a framework for learning, as well as bringing relevance to the underlying clinical and basic science. Learning clinical skills and a focus on health in the community start at the beginning of second- year and feature prominently throughout both years.

Learning is achieved through a variety of modalities including experiential practise (laboratories, clinical skills, talking with people), lectures, small group discussions, and independent learning.

After third year, you will complete studies at one of Otago’s campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch, or Wellington.

Fourth- and fifth-year Medicine offer increased interaction with people and are centred around clinical work in hospital wards and in outpatient clinics in teaching hospitals, in smaller rural hospitals and general practices, and completing components of public health and community medicine.

Sixth-year Medicine is an apprenticeship-style year, also known as the Trainee Intern (TI) year. You assume greater responsibility in hospital wards and general practices. This final year includes a three-month ‘elective’ involving a project or clinical work usually in another hospital, or overseas.

See also  University of Otagouni 100-, 200-, 300 -level etc.

Bachelor of Medical Science with Honours (BMedSc(Hons)

There are research opportunities within the medical programme including the option of taking one year off after third or fifth year to complete a Bachelor of Medical Science with Honours (BMedSc(Hons)) degree. Some medical graduates choose to undertake further research and may enrol in a higher degree such as a PhD.

Early Learning in Medicine (ELM)

Second- and third-year medicine provides an introduction to the scientific, clinical, and societal aspects of medicine; while maintaining the important learning of scientific principles underpinning the practice of medicine.

Study of body systems such as the cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, renal, respiratory, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems—and subjects such as blood, genetics, infection, immunity, cancer, metabolism, reproduction, development and ageing, public health, behaviour, ethics, and professional development—are all integrated with case-based learning, clinical skills, and healthcare in the community.

Advanced Learning in Medicine (ALM)

After the third year you will choose to undertake your continuing medical studies at one of the three schools of medicine: Dunedin School of Medicine; University of Otago, Christchurch; or University of Otago, Wellington.

The fourth and fifth years centre on advanced learning and supervised clinical activities in hospitals, in community based clinics, and in regional and rural general practices.

For some students, there will be the opportunity to undertake the whole of fifth year in the Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP) at one of Otago Medical School’s rural immersion hubs.

See also  University of Otagouni Paper codes

The sixth year is a trainee internship (‘TI year’), which is a transition to practice that has a strong focus on clinical activities and responsibility in the working health environment. During this year, you will have an opportunity for elective study in an area that interests you for three months, usually in a new location, often overseas. The TI year is an important preparatory year for the first postgraduate (intern) year leading to general registration as a medical practitioner by the Medical Council of New Zealand.


Research is a vitally important part of medicine. During your studies there will be many opportunities to undertake research. The curriculum in medicine has a strong research led approach, you will undertake research projects during your course, and you may also wish to take up summer studentships in research. There also are many options for postgraduate work, specialist study, and other higher degrees at Otago.


Before you can practise as a doctor in New Zealand, you must register with the Medical Council of New Zealand and complete one year of supervised practice in a hospital.

There are limited, if any, New Zealand hospital places available for international students who will normally complete registration requirements in their home country.

See Also: University of Otago Admissions