Are Medicine Double Degrees worth it?
5 months ago by Chris
One of the questions some students and parents ask is ‘Should I do Medicine with another degree as a Double Degree?’. This blog answers this question by uncovering the underlying reasons why Australian universities are unique in offering ‘Double Degrees’ in all faculties.
So why do Australian universities love double degrees? It is not because it is good for you! Universities claim that double degrees are best for you because they can satisfy your diverse interests, they are useful if you are unsure which area you want to study, they can be cheaper etc.
However, the real reason is that the Federal Government bans DUFF (Domestic Undergraduate Full Fee) places, but they can charge full fee for Masters level courses. They have found that full fee places at Masters level are not popular. So, an easy way for universities to increase their income is to offer double degrees. This Federal Government policy quirk is the reason why there is ‘Double Degree’ mania here – it is unique to Australia but non-existent overseas.
To be successful in life, focus is important. Double Degrees can waste time, money and ‘opportunity cost’. This is even more so in the case of Medicine (where the opportunity cost is very high). What is relevant for a doctor is obtaining a licence to study medicine: you get exactly the same licence whether you take 5 years, 6 years, 7 years or more to obtain that licence.
If you really want to learn another discipline (arts, music, languages or whatever), MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) are available at no cost. They are often better quality than university degrees and involve little or no ‘opportunity cost’, in comparison to a double degree.
For school leavers intending to pursue Medicine in Australia, there are 5 year degrees (e.g. Monash, Newcastle, Curtin, WSU), 6 year degrees (e.g. Adelaide, UNSW, James Cook), and 7 year graduate entry degrees (UWA, Flinders, Melbourne, Sydney, Qld). Adelaide and UNSW have the extra year as they want you to do research/undertake courses from other faculties. This benefits the university by having students publish research papers which increases their university ranking, gets them more research funding from the Government, and gets them more fees. James Cook is a year longer than it needs to be since the cohort is considered less prepared for academic study in Medicine.
Remember, the longer you spend at university to obtain your licence for practicing medicine, you are losing while universities are gaining. You don’t want to spend a day longer than necessary at university. This will allow you to save time, which you can use to learn what interests you. So our recommendation: as far as possible, choose the shortest medical degree (5 years) which enables you to obtain your licence to practice medicine.
Related blog of interest: https://www.medentry.edu.au/blog/medicine-as-a-double-degree