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Doctor of Medicine (MC-DMED) // Attributes, outcomes and skills

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Professional accreditation

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is accredited by the Australian Medical Council.

Graduates of the Doctor of Medicine are eligible for provisional registration with the Medical Board of Australia and full registration upon completion of an accredited internship.

Intended learning outcomes

The Doctor of Medicine draws on the University of Melbourne’s reputation for excellence in teaching and research to inspire and enable students to become outstanding doctors ready to excel as world-class leaders in their chosen field.

Desired graduate attributes have been carefully defined, developed and mapped to every component of the course. The 67 attributes, listed in full below, have been collated into six domains:

1. Self
2. Knowledge
3. Patient
4. Medical Profession
5. Systems of Health Care
6. Society

Graduate attributes

The graduate attributes for the Melbourne MD were derived using a formal concept mapping process using seven reference groups (students, patients, bioscientists, doctors, allied health professionals, public health practitioners and Faculty members), and refined by an expert group who then developed the graduate attribute framework. The framework was approved at a large, representative workshop. The product of this process was 67 graduate attribute statements collated into six domains of Self, Knowledge, Patients, Medical Profession, Systems of Health Care and Society.

Subject objectives for each subject have been derived from these graduate attributes. It is envisaged that the educational process necessary to attain the graduate attributes by the completion of the course will require the objectives of each subject to build sequentially over the four years of the program. The subject objectives are derived in this way and are designed to allow the student to understand what they need to achieve in the individual subject in the context of the larger goal of attaining the graduate attributes for the course. As a result of this approach, individual subject objectives may have different curriculum content weightings depending on the specific objective and the timing of the subject within the course.


In building their relationship with self, students will develop:

1. an understanding of the principles of empathy, compassion, honesty, integrity, altruism, resilience and lifelong curiosity; the ability to demonstrate them and a recognition of their importance in health care
2. an understanding of the principles of reflective practice, the ability to apply them, and a recognition of their importance in health care
3. an understanding of the principles of self-awareness, the ability to recognise when clinical problems exceed their knowledge and skill, and a willingness to seek help
4. the ability to identify and address their own learning needs
5. the ability to respond constructively to appraisal, performance review or assessment
6. the ability to manage uncertainty
7. the ability to apply effective time management and organisational skills
8. the ability to recognise and manage emotion in themselves and others
9. the ability to maintain their own physical, emotional, social and spiritual health and a recognition of the importance of professional support in this process
10. a recognition of their own personal, spiritual, cultural or religious beliefs and an awareness that these beliefs must not prevent the provision of adequate and appropriate care to the patient


In building their relationship with knowledge, students will develop:

1. an understanding of the scientific method relevant to biological, behavioural and social science
2. an understanding of research methods and their applications
3. an understanding of normal structure, function and development of the human body and mind at all stages of life
4. an understanding of the molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms that are important in maintaining the body’s homeostasis
5. an understanding of normal life processes including conception, development, birth, ageing and death
6. an understanding of the factors that might disturb normal structure, function and development
7. an understanding of the aetiology, pathology, symptoms and signs, natural history and prognosis of important physical and mental illnesses in all stages of life
8. an understanding of the management (pharmacological, physical, nutritional, behavioural and psychological) of important medical conditions
9. the ability to access new knowledge from all sources, to analyse and interpret it in a critical manner, and to apply it appropriately to their provision of health care
10. the ability to learn from patients, health professionals and the community in a broad range of settings
11. an appreciation of the responsibility to contribute towards the generation of new knowledge


In building their relationship with patients, students will develop:

1. an understanding of and respect for the rights of patients including patient choice, dignity and privacy
2. the ability to communicate with patients from diverse backgrounds including the ability to listen to, respond to, inform and understand the patient’s perspective
3. the ability to advocate appropriately on behalf of the patient
4. an understanding of factors affecting human relationships and the psychological, cultural and spiritual wellbeing of patients
5. an understanding of principles of rehabilitation in the amelioration of suffering from acute or chronic disability
6. an understanding of the principles of the care of the dying and a commitment to ease pain and suffering in all patients
7. an understanding of chronic illness and disability and its impact on the patient, their carers and communities
8. the ability to construct with the patient an accurate, thorough, organised, medical history and to perform an accurate physical and mental state examination
9. the ability to integrate and interpret clinical findings and apply rigorous reasoning to arrive at an appropriate diagnosis or differential diagnosis
10. the ability to recognise serious illness
11. the ability to select and interpret the most appropriate and cost effective diagnostic procedures
12. the ability to formulate an evidence-based and cost effective management plan in collaboration with the patient
13. the ability to perform relevant medical procedures effectively and safely, with due regard for the patient’s comfort including important emergency and life-saving procedures
14. a recognition that it is not always in the interests of the patient to do everything that is technically possible to make a precise diagnosis or to attempt to modify the course of an illness

Medical Profession

In building their relationship with the medical profession, students will develop:

1. an understanding of the continuum of medical training and the diverse roles and expertise of doctors
2. an understanding of the potential conflicts of interest that may confront doctors
3. an understanding of and ability to apply the principles of ethics in the provision of health care and research.
4. an understanding of organisational governance, the ability to be an active participant in professional organisations, and an appreciation of the benefits of this participation
5. an understanding of the principles of mentorship and the ability to apply them with colleagues
6. the ability to give effective feedback to colleagues in order to help them improve their performance
7. an understanding of educational theory and practice and the ability to teach
8. an appreciation of the responsibility to maintain standards of medical practice at the highest level throughout a professional career

Systems of Health Care

In building their relationship with systems of health care, students will develop:

1. an understanding of the roles, responsibilities and expertise of all health professionals, and how they work in teams to deliver health care
2. a respect for the roles and expertise of other health care professionals and the ability to communicate effectively with them
3. an understanding of the principles of team work and the ability to work effectively in a team, including as a leader
4. an appreciation of the responsibility to contribute to the education of all health professionals
5. an understanding of the principles of quality and safety in health care systems
6. the ability to work effectively as a doctor within a quality and safety framework including the ability to recognise, respond to and learn from adverse events and medical errors
7. an understanding of the principles of effective record keeping and the ability to maintain high quality medical records
8. an understanding of the principles of continuity and coordination of health care
9. an understanding of the structure of the Australian health care system and health care systems globally
10. an understanding of the principles of efficient and equitable allocation and use of finite resources in health care systems, locally and globally
11. an understanding of the role of political systems in shaping health care systems locally, nationally and internationally


In building their relationship with society, students will develop:

1. an understanding of the interactions between humans and their social and physical environment
2. an understanding of the determinants of a well society and the economic, political, psychological, social and cultural factors that contribute to the development and persistence of health and illness
3. an understanding of the principles of health promotion including primary and secondary prevention
4. an understanding of the health of Indigenous Australians including their history, cultural development and the impact of colonisation and the ongoing health disparities of Indigenous people in this country and globally
5. an understanding of the burden of disease in differing populations and geographic locations
6. an understanding of the differing requirements of health care systems in a culturally diverse society
7. the ability to respect community values, including an appreciation of a diversity of backgrounds and cultural values
8. an understanding of the principles of health literacy and a willingness and ability to contribute to the health education of the community
9. the ability to consider local, regional, national and global ramifications of health care issues
10. the ability and a willingness to contribute to the community
11. a commitment to contribute to the resolution of health inequities locally and globally
12. an understanding of the relationship between environmental issues and the health of local communities and society
13. a commitment to practise medicine in an environmentally responsible way