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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Course

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleMBBS
CRICOS code017101M
Total credit points required240
Standard duration of study (years)5 years FT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Bendigo, Clayton)
Contact details

Telephone: +61 3 9905 2048, email: or visit


  • Full-time study only
  • Students are required to attend a residential transition program prior to the commencement of week one and undertake off-campus clinical placements.


The five year MBBS curriculum is designed as an integrated structure incorporating four themes, within which units are taught in an interdisciplinary fashion by staff from across the faculty. The basic knowledge, skills and attitudes that form the curriculum will be related to clinical and other problems or issues. Learning in an appropriate medical context is an overarching principle of the curriculum.

During the early years of the course, the basic medical and behavioural sciences (anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, immunology, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, psychology and sociology) are introduced within interdisciplinary units. These units will all have a major focus on clinical issues through clinical case studies.

For first and second year, semesters are of 14 weeks duration. In third and fourth years, the course has been structured as two semesters of 18 weeks each. In fifth year, the semesters are a notional 18 weeks, although there may be some requirement for more flexible arrangements.

The course requires about 25 formal contact hours per week, though in Years three to five it is expected that students will spend around 40 hours per week working in a clinical site. This provides students with time for self-directed study, and the time and opportunity to be in control of their own learning and to develop skills in problem-solving and the critical appraisal of information.

Patient-centred learning activities

A patient-based learning model will be used, where the knowledge, skills and attitudes that form the content of the curriculum are brought to life via formal patient-centred teaching exercises. Most of the learning activities are designed to support students as they work with patient-centred scenarios.

The themes

The faculty has adopted a four-theme structure. These themes are:

  • Theme I - Personal and professional development
  • Theme II - Population, society, health and illness
  • Theme III - Scientific basis of clinical practice
  • Theme IV - Clinical skills

The four themes will run through all years of the course, but will not be of equal weight; nor will they be of constant weight throughout the course.

Theme I

'Personal and professional development' will focus on the doctor as an individual. This theme concentrates on the personal attributes and qualities needed by medical students and, ultimately, medical practitioners. It covers elements of health enhancement, professional responsibilities, communication skills, information technology, medical informatics and computing skills, ethics and legal issues, and clinical effectiveness.

Theme II

'Population, society, health and illness' provides the structure to develop students' abilities to deal with broader society and population issues. Students will consider the social, environmental and behavioural contexts of illness and the practice of medicine, including an emphasis on rural and remote Australia. Other elements of this theme will be built around health promotion, epidemiology, public health, community diversity, population and global health, and a range of other societal issues. The history and philosophy of the scientific approach to medicine will also be included, extending this to approaches to knowledge and information, and an understanding of evidence-based medicine.

Theme III

'Scientific basis of clinical practice' includes much of the human systems-based teaching in the course. The knowledge and concepts that underpin medicine, both in the basic medical sciences and in the clinical sciences, will be delivered within this theme. In the early semesters, the basic sciences of anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology and psychology of each system will be taught in an integrated manner and from a relevant clinical perspective.

Theme IV

The 'Clinical skills' theme encompasses the whole range of clinical skills, from the earliest to the later parts of the course. Practice in clinical skills (including procedural skills) is stressed early and often. The approach in clinical skills development will be to develop defined clinical competencies. This will begin with clinical aspects of communication skills and move through history taking and physical examinations to the more advanced clinical and procedural skills.

In the early years of the course, this theme will include general practice and rural visits, and an introduction to community clinics and hospitals. Multi-professional education will be promoted through educational interactions with nurses, paramedics, radiographers and other health care professionals. The rural health activities in the early years of the course will provide opportunities for our students to interact with a range of health care professionals. The later years will include advanced elective experience in diverse medical work places, both within and outside the hospital environment.

Community Based Practice Program

The Community Based Practice Program (CBP) is an integral and innovative component of the MBBS course for second-year medical students. CBP provides a meaningful context for future medical practitioners to gain an understanding of issues that relate to social justice, equity and diversity in the wider community. The Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education in partnership with key community-based organisations are responsible for the administration and coordination of CBP.

Students complete a community-based placement, attend orientation and integration lectures, and complete a report so that they understand the context and links between health and illness, medicine and social justice.

Rural practice

The five-year curriculum encourages all students to spend time in rural areas. To meet the requirements of the Australian Government funded RUSC program (Rural Undergraduate Support and Co-ordination), students that hold a Commonwealth Supported Place will be required to undertake a minimum of four weeks experience in rural areas.


The Monash University Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery program will strive to graduate doctors who:

  • are knowledgeable, skilful, reflective and compassionate
  • are innovative in their approach to and solution of problems
  • are skilled at accessing, appraising, and applying the best available evidence to their everyday practice
  • are committed to the health of populations as well as individuals
  • are concerned with issues of equity, quality and humanity in health care and act as advocates for the disadvantaged and dispossessed
  • maintain high standards throughout their professional life by a commitment to life long learning and teaching
  • have the skill to address the key questions relevant to the community and to medicine
  • are capable of leadership and yet are comfortable working as a team member
  • uphold the community's trust and expectations of the role of a doctor
  • are advocates for health by practising preventative medicine and health promotion
  • recognise the essential role of research in underpinning medical practice.

Special requirements

Health requirements

For the protection of other students, patients and themselves, students in the MBBS course should comply with certain precautionary procedures.

This policy is in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council advice that educational institutions training students in health sciences should ensure that such students are protected as far as possible by vaccination against risks of infection.

The faculty's own policy requires that all students accept responsibility for having a satisfactory immunisation status at the commencement of the MBBS course. Immunisations include diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B.

Prospective students should note that, prior to enrolment, they are provided with detailed written information about the effect that HIV, hepatitis B or other infections may have on the ability of health care workers to practice their profession. During the early weeks of first year, arrangements will be made by the faculty for students to have consultations with medical practitioners, to check that their immunisation status is satisfactory and to receive personal advice regarding infectious diseases and their personal health.

Working with Children and Police checks

It is essential that all MBBS students have current Working With Children and Police checks regarding their suitability to undertake clinical and community placements. All enrolled and prospective students are advised that they will be required to obtain both checks prior to undertaking their course. As the Working With Children checks cover a five year period, most students will only need to obtain a free check at the commencement of year 1, whilst students must apply and pay for a Police check annually. Note that some community based partnerships require a Police check be renewed every six months.

Student registration with the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria

In keeping with a student's professional responsibilities, all MBBS students must be registered with the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria and must keep the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences informed of any matters that would impact on that registration.


Clinical practice units

This course requires students to undertake off-campus clinical placements. In the clinical setting students will have an opportunity to apply theory to practice under supervision. Attendance is mandatory for the clinical component of each unit.

Where a student's skill or knowledge is found to be inadequate, access to the clinical component of the unit will be denied. A student may be withdrawn from a clinical practicum if required skills and knowledge are deemed inadequate, or on other grounds deemed appropriate by the Deputy Dean (MBBS Curriculum).


Years one and two

On the weekend prior to the commencement of the course, students will attend a residential transition program, designed to focus on transition to university life, personal ethics, healthy lifestyle, group support and introduction to communication skills.

Throughout the first two years, blocks of systems-based sub-units will be presented with a mix of basic medical science content, patient-based presentations and discussions in small groups. These sub-units combine basic content with generic skills and are set in appropriate clinical contexts, largely through the use of patient-oriented learning. Topics include:

  • cardiovascular
  • endocrinology
  • gastrointestinal
  • genomics
  • human behaviour
  • human development and growth
  • immunology and infection
  • metabolism
  • molecules, cells and tissues
  • musculo-skeletal
  • neurosciences
  • nutrition
  • renal
  • reproduction
  • respiratory.

Years three and four

In the third and fourth years, the clinical content is delivered in blocks of clinical rotations, with a mix of advanced and applied medical science, patient-oriented presentations, and discussions in small tutorial groups. A diversity of clinical settings is used, including a range of hospitals, ambulatory clinics and the rural environment. The emphasis will be on students gaining real clinical experience, participating in patient care and understanding how health care teams work.

In the third year, students will study 'Integrated medicine and surgery' which will be taught together with a series of problem-based and core-based learning sessions. The fourth year will be largely taken up with the core clinical rotations* of 'Women's and children's health' and 'General practice and psychological medicine'.

Year five

The fifth year of the course is focused on facilitating the transition of students into the medical workplace as trainee interns and will be structured as a series of clinical rotations*. Students will participate in a range of learning experiences designed to substantially enhance their clinical reasoning, diagnostic and case management skills. Students will consolidate and enhance their knowledge, clinical skills and professional behaviours in five clinically orientated rotations:

  • aged care
  • emergency medicine
  • medical
  • surgical
  • specialty.

In addition, students will undertake a student elective rotation in a clinical area of personal interest, subject to faculty approval.

* Students choose from a range of placements offered by the faculty.


First year

First semester

Second semester

Second year

First semester

Second semester

Third year

First semester

Second semester

Fourth year

  • MED4000 Mark and grade for Years 3 and 4
  • MED4071 General practice and psychological medicine
  • MED4082 Women's and children's health

Fifth year

  • MED5091 Advanced clinical practice I
  • MED5092 Advanced clinical practice II
  • MED5100 Honours grade
  • MED5102 Contemporary developments in clinical practice: patient safety

Progression to further studies

Eligible students may if they choose, during the course of the MBBS, intermit their studies to undertake the Honours degree of Bachelor of Medical Science.

Alternative exit(s)

The Bachelor of Human Sciences is an exit award for students enrolled in this course, who have successfully completed at least 144 points of study, but who cannot or do not wish to progress through their degree.


Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (with Honours)

Where more than one award is listed the actual award conferred may depend on units/majors/streams/specialisations studied, the level of academic merit achieved, or other factors relevant to the individual student's program of study.