Studying medicine in New Zealand


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.

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 and an eight-week elective in the 5th and 6th years respectively.

The cost of basic living in Auckland is approximately NZ$300 per week, including food and accommodation. University-affiliated accommodation is available close to the campus. Fees for international students for the MBChB course at the University of Auckland for 2012 were NZ$63,600. 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.

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 specialties (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 international students for medicine are about NZ$63,720 per year ($58,000 per year for pre-clinical years and $67,000 per year for clinical years).