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Another one bites the dust: UND converting to the MD

by , 06 June, 2016
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Now that the horror of GAMSAT® Exam preparation is done and GAMSAT® Exam 2016 is a thing of the past, you’ll need to start thinking about medical school applications. There have been several changes to the application process and degree structures for various universities, so keep an eye out for more blog articles from our GAMSAT® Exam tutors as the application season unfolds. This article will outline the changes happening at the University of Notre Dame (UND) and how they might affect you.

Overview of the changes

From 2017, UND (Sydney and Fremantle) will be replacing its MBBS with the MD – a masters level degree. This follows the general trend of Australian universities converting to the MD.

Whether that’s due to a genuine interest in producing graduates with research skills, or a strategic branding decision to align the degree with international nomenclature, what everyone really wants to know is: what does it mean for me?

The short answer is: not much.  The slightly longer answer is: a bit more work and potentially a bit less money.  Intrigued? Then read on.

A bit more work

Unfortunately, the hard work doesn’t end with the GAMSAT® Exam. On top of the standard medical curriculum, the MD requires students to complete a research component. The UND course guide indicates this will be a “research based or professionally focussed project” which will probably include things like a research project and scientific report, a literature review or a clinical audit. Interestingly, the University is allowing current MBBS students (up to third year) to convert to the MD, so this does affect current students as well.

Being the guinea pigs, you’ll probably find there is still a fair bit of uncertainty around the exact expectations, which will probably result in some bureaucratic-induced frustration. But at the end of the day, you’ll all be in the same boat. As a fellow USyd MD guinea pig, I can assure you that it will be ok.

A bit less money

For those students thinking about preferencing a Full Fee Place (FFP), with the MBBS you will incur a 25% loan fee. This means that an additional fee equal to 25% of the cost of the course (about $35,000 for UNDS) is added onto your FEE-HELP loan.  Although it doesn’t contribute towards the FEE-HELP limit, it’s still a debt you’ll have to repay.

However, the loan fee doesn’t apply to the MD, so that’s pretty good. And I’d say that outweighs the hassle of doing a research project. So all things considered, the move to the MD is probably a good thing!

For more information on HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP visit

You can learn more about other medical schools here: Public Schools