If you want to study Medicine in New Zealand as a school leaver, you have two options available to you: the University of Auckland (UoA) or the University of Otago (UoO).

Both require a competitive pre-med year before you have an opportunity to enter the additional five year medicine degree. So, the question for many of you school leavers is where to study? This was a question that plagued me throughout my year 13, and so, with a classic ‘me’ decision making process, I created a table of the pros and cons of each university option 😂

As I feel like there is a heck of a lot to say about this subject, I will be breaking this segment into two blogs. This first blog will cover the purely academic side of entry into medicine whereas the following blog will cover everything else relating to your decision of choosing where to study. These blogs are an expansion on my initial pros and cons list 😂

On the academic side of things, there are many factors to consider:

i) Number of core papers
Otago has 7 papers counting towards the GPA considered for entry into Medicine.
Auckland only counts 4 core papers  towards the GPA in selection for Medicine- three sat in the first semester and one in the second semester.

ii) Weightings Considered for Selection for Medicine
UoA: 60% GPA, 15% UMAT, 25% Interview
UoO: 67% GPA, 33% UMAT
All these results are derived from the competitive first year.

What this might imply is that if you know you are stronger in UMAT as opposed to an interview scenario, UoO may favour you in this way. Conversely, if the UMAT is not as strong and you feel like an interview scenario may be a strength, the UoA selection process may favour you.

iii) Entry Requirements for  Competitive Premed Year 1
UoA requires specific rank scores for entry, as well as some specific subjects and UE
UoO requires UE

University of Auckland

iv) First Year Pathways
UoA offers two pathways potentially leading to Medicine for school leavers. These are Bachelor of Health Science and Bachelor of Science (majoring in Biomedical Science). These two pathways have four common/core papers, and three other prescribed papers in each course, and one ‘general education’ paper = 8 papers in the academic year.
[Keep an eye out on future blogs… there just may be one on the differences between Health Science and Biomedical Science Programmes in the meantime check out Sonna’s post on it from 2017! https://www.theinsideword.ac.nz/2017/05/health-sci-or-biomed/ ]

UoO only has Health Science First Year (HSFY) is the only pathway available for school leavers for entry into medicine. It has 7 prescribed papers in the academic year, with an optional 8th paper if you wish to replace your lowest grade in one of the 7 other papers with your results from that 8th paper.

v) World rankings
UoA ranks =82nd in QS world university rankings
UoO ranks 151st in QS world university rankings

[Source: https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2018]

If the plan is to work in NZ as a doctor, these world rankings may have little significance, but if sights are set for overseas employment, the higher ranking and linked recognition of UoA could increase chances of employibility.

vi) Placements
In the 4th, 5th and 6th years of Medicine, both UoA and UoO offer and require clinical experience.
UoA has year long placements that gives the opportunity to switch locations annually
UoO has three year long placements that are fixed in their campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch and Dunedin.


University of Otago
Credits to Thomas Morgan

There’s a heck of a lot of information on your option out there, so if you’re keen to find out more, make sure you search extensively! Here are the university information pages to get you started:
Hope it helps!

Disclaimer: the information provided is accurate to the best of my knowledge as of June 2018.