University of Sydney Medical Humanities Program

Author Faculty (Discipline)


Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Details

This article was originally published as:

Gordon, J., & Finkelstein, J. (2003). University of Sydney medical humanities program. Academic Medicine, 78(10), 1069-1070. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2003/1000 /University_of_Sydney,_Medical_Humanities_Program.42.aspx

ISSN: 1040-2446


119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified


At the University of Sydney medical students can undertake elective studies in the medical humanities, but this has not always been the case. A new program, at the master’s level, has been designed to redress the balance between medical “training” and a true education. This new master’s program began with a chance conversation between colleagues across the Faculties of Medicine and Arts, remarking on the apparently disproportionate representation of doctors among “humanities practitioners” and “humanities consumers.” We wondered whether the Australian education system, which until quite recently took medical students straight from high school into a narrowly focussed six-year degree program, might be responsible for the apparent hunger among medical graduates for a more broadly based education. (It is less than a decade since some Australian medical schools, the University of Sydney included, changed to a graduate-entry system, similar to the North American system, allowing premedical students to obtain a broader education before committing to the medical degree.) The idea of a master’s degree had such strong appeal that we both became determined to see it through to implementation.


Used by permission: Association of American Medical Colleges

© 2003 Association of American Medical Colleges

This article may be accessed from the publisher here.