What To StudyLife Sciences & MedicineStudying Medicine In New Zealand

Studying Medicine In New Zealand

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New Zealand offers a choice of two top-quality medical schools and countless opportunities for experience and further study.

New Zealand is a country in the South Pacific, of approximately 4.4 million people, renowned for its natural landscape and beauty. As a medical professional working in New Zealand, opportunities are spread throughout the country, in both rural and urban settings, across 20 district health boards. The medical professional in New Zealand enjoys the perfect mix of a balanced healthy lifestyle and the opportunity for professional development across a broad range of specialities. There are two medical schools in New Zealand; at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago.

Medicine at The University of Auckland

The University of Auckland’s Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) is a six-year programme, starting with a one-year pre-medical course which is highly competitive. Then there are two pre-clinical theory-based years in Auckland and three clinical years where students can enjoy clinical attachments in Auckland, Waikato, Tauranga, Rotorua and Whangarei. While studying, medical students at Auckland cover the major clinical attachments (General Medicine, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Paediatrics, Psychiatry, General Practice and others) as well as having the opportunity to complete a four-week selective in the 5th year and an eight-week elective in the 6th year.

The cost of basic living in Auckland is between $264 and $494 per week for necessities according to the University of Auckland in 2016, including food and accommodation. University-affiliated accommodation is available close to the campus. For the Bachelor of Health Sciences (one-year competitive pre-medical course), the fee in 2017 is NZ$32,392. The fee for international students for the MBChB course at the University of Auckland for 2017 is NZ$72,896 per year for the second year of Medicine onwards. The University of Auckland may provide free accommodation and additional financial support to a student who is on a clinical run outside of Auckland during their studies.

Medicine at The University of Otago


The University of Otago’s Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) programme is similarly structured. High-school graduates complete a Health Sciences First Year course at Otago before applying for entry into medical school. Students then do two pre-clinical years in Dunedin. After this, the class is evenly divided into thirds, with students being allocated to spend the remaining three clinical years in Dunedin, Christchurch or Wellington. Clinical attachments in all three locations include all the major specialities (General Medicine, Oncology, Paediatrics, Psychological Medicine, Surgery, Pathology, Public Health, General Practice and others). In the 6th year, students undertake a 12-week medical elective.

Fees for the competitive entry year in 2017 are $30,960. Fees for the pre-clinical years (2 and 3) in 2017 are $70,000 per year and fees for the clinical years (4, 5 and 6) in 2017 are $80,000 per year.

The cost of basic living in Dunedin is approximately NZ$265 per week and the University recommends NZ$15,000-17,000 per academic year (40 weeks) for living costs, including food, accommodation, textbooks and other costs in order to live comfortably. This amount needs to be increased if planning to stay for a calendar year (52 weeks). The International Office at the University of Otago provides a guarantee of accommodation placement services to all international students who receive an academic offer. This could be in a University College of Residence or in a University managed flat.

Studying in New Zealand


There are a number of support systems for international students in New Zealand. Both universities have an international student support department, and each medical school has a regional medical students’ association, which aims to advocate on behalf of all its members. The New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) also provides a number of support systems for international students, as well as representing all medical students at a national and international level, and organising a wide range of events. During the MBChB programme, students are given the opportunity to undertake a one-year research-based Honours programme. Graduates of the MBChB programme are granted one-year provisional registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand. After one year of working in a New Zealand hospital, general medical registration is granted. There are many opportunities for further post-graduate study. Both universities offer post-graduate diplomas and degrees in a wide range of areas, for those who are interested in further study and specialisation. Undertaking medical education in New Zealand is a challenging yet highly rewarding experience for all international students that choose to come here.

Sami Swadi, Education Officer 2017
New Zealand Medical Students’ Association www.nzmsa.org.nz

Key contacts:

University of Auckland, International Student Information – https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/international-students.html

University of Otago, International Student Information – http://www.otago.ac.nz/international/