Phase 2

Phase 2 is broken into 2 distinct parts: the coursework component and the Independent Learning Project (abbreviated ILP). The coursework component is completed in Year 3, and the research component is completed in Year 4.


The coursework component of Phase 2 is an extension of each of the four course themes of Phase 1. However, the structure and content of the courses is quite different to Phase 1, as there is a much greater emphasis on clinical teaching. Three days per week are spent at clinical attachments while only 2 days are spent on campus for lectures and tutorials. In addition, the clinical teaching is quite self-directed compared to Phase 1, as your timetabled activities will provide a good introduction into each area but you will need to use the course syllabus and some of your own time to get the most out of each course.

The clinical allocations for Phase 2 are done via a preference system, as per Phase 1. You also get to place a preference for which kind of community health clinic you would like to be attached to in Society and Health 3. Most people are allocated to the Royal Womens’/Sydney Children’s campus for at least part of Beginnings, Growth and Development, although it is also possible to be allocated to other sites, eg St George or Liverpool.

If you choose, you may complete Phase 2 coursework at one of the faculty’s rural clinical schools: Wagga Wagga, Albury, Port Macquarie or Coffs Harbour, however this is for students completing coursework in year 4.

There are 6 courses in coursework and you will be allocated into one of four sequences in which they are run:

  • Adult Health 1 (6 weeks)
  • Oncology and Palliative Care (4 weeks)
  • Adult Health 2 (6 weeks)
  • Aged Care and Rehabilitation (4 weeks)
  • Beginnings, Growth and Development (6 weeks)
  • Society and Health (6 weeks)

The assessment for Phase 2 coursework takes the form of a group project for Society and Health, and individual case report assignments for the other courses (please note: Beginnings, Growth and Development requires 2 case reports – one based on obstetrics/gynaecology and the other on paediatrics).

You must pass each of these assessments to move to Phase 3, and you must also balance the graduate capabilities you focus on as per Phase 1.

At the end of coursework rotations in Phase 2, there is another End of Phase barrier clinical exam, known as the Integrated Clinical Examination (ICE). The written component consists of a multiple choice examination, whilst the clinical component consists of six 10 minute stations; each station has a 10 minute focused history or physical examination and students will be expected to provide differential diagnoses and answer questions based on the presenting condition.

The Independent Learning Project (ILP)

The ILP is a compulsory research project aimed at giving students some experience in the research process, including developing self-directed learning skills in choosing and completing a project. It is similar in many ways to a Science Honours project, the main difference being that it is slightly shorter and part-time rather than full-time for half of its length.

For more information on the ILP see the Faculty website.

The ILP consists of 4 Teaching Periods: the first term is for completing a literature review of the topic area (3000 words) and learning and skills necessary to complete the project (eg lab techniques); the middle 2 terms are given to collecting data and the final term is for writing the final report (up to 5000 words; written as a journal article). Of the final mark, 40% is awarded directly by the supervisor, and the other 60% is given by the report’s marker. You must pass the ILP to move into Phase 3.

It is advised that you negotiate the topic of your ILP, as this allows you to choose an area you are interested (and hopefully a supervisor who you can work well with). To negotiate a project, contact an academic associated with the Faculty in the area you are interested in, and ask if they have any projects that you could complete or if they would be interested in supervising a topic you are interested in. If you do not negotiate your own, the Faculty does prepare a list of projects for you to choose from. However, as some projects tend to be more popular than others, you may find you are allocated a project that was fairly low on your preference list.

The ILP is given a part-time loading (in the number of units in enrols you in) to allow you to complete your extra-faculty courses.

General Education/Extra-faculty Units

In order to promote broader education for its students, UNSW requires students to undertake studies in areas other than their field of specialisation. For medicine students, this means that students must complete 12 Units of Credit (UoC) in courses outside of the MBBS program. This can be done by studying-

  • General Education courses (normally 3 UoC) and/or
  • Extra Faculty courses (normally 6 UoC)

The courses available are very diverse – virtually every faculty has courses you may enrol in- from Arts to Law, Engineering to Built Environment, Science to Business and even the College of Fine Arts. The only restrictions are courses which are too similar to what is studied in the MBBS program; the Faculty maintains a list of courses which it will not credit on its website. For more complete information, see the Faculty website..

These GenEd/ExtraFac requirements are normally completed in Years 3-4, hence students commencing in Year 1 will receive plenty of information regarding them as they progress through the course.

There are 2 cases in which you do not need to do an ILP: if you have already completed a research project as part of another course (you will need to provide detailed evidence) or if you choose to undertake the Honours program instead.

Instead of completing an ILP, students may apply to undertake the Science Honours program. Typically, this adds an extra 6 months to the length of the degree as extra-faculty units are not completed during the Honours year, although it is possible to complete within the normal 6 year length if you load your courses appropriately in 2nd and 3rd year. If this is done and you are not accepted into Honours, then you run the risk of having less than a full time load (18 or more UoC) in your ILP year and being ineligible for travel concessions and various Centrelink payments, which may or may not be a problem for you.

Acceptance into the Honours program is based on academic merit and the merit and design of the proposed thesis; students whose proposals are not accepted after modification and re-submission are required to undertake the ILP instead.

Completion of the program leads to the award of the Bachelor of Science (Medicine) Honours degree.

See the Faculty website for more information.

Phase 2 Portfolio

There is also another reflective Portfolio due at the end of 4thyear, similar in most aspects to the Phase 1 Portfolio, except that it is a focused version. This means that it only requires a minimum of 2 capabilities, although more can be done as required or desired. In particular, students must address any capability where they received poor marks in the Phase 1 porfolio or in Phase 2 assessments.