Studying Medicine

Best preparation for entry to Medicine


There are two options for studying Medicine in NZ – Auckland University or Otago University


Students wanting to apply for Medicine will benefit from having studied Maths, Biology, Chemistry & Physics to NCEA Level 3 and an English-rich subject. At the University of Auckland you will also need to meet the rank score requirement for guaranteed entry (250 for Health Science and 280 for Bio-med).


To be eligible to apply for Medicine in NZ as an undergraduate, students need to complete the first year of one of three programmes:

  1. Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) at the University of Auckland
  2. Bachelor of Health Sciences at the University of Auckland
  3. Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) at the University of Otago


It is good to have a look at the papers you will be studying in this first year to understand what you need to be prepared for. Each university has its own recommendations of school subjects to have studied for the pre-med entry year.


  1. BSc Biomedical Science (Auckland) – Chemistry strongly recommended, Biology recommended, Physics useful, Maths useful (statistics or calculus) & an English-rich subject useful.
  2. BHSc (Auckland) – Biology, Chemistry are strongly recommended & at least one English-rich subject.  (See Table A & B requirements as well).  Physics is NOT one of the core papers.
  3. HSFY (Otago) – Chemistry, Biology & Physics are strongly recommended at Year 13.


Pre-Med first year papers studied at the University of Auckland:

  • Note 4 papers are common in the first year of the BHSc & BSc (Biomed). Students are ranked and shortlisted for interviews based on their grades.
  •  The results of the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) are also a factor in the selection process.

For both degrees you will take:

Additionally, for Bachelor of Heath Science only:


Additionally, for Bachelor of Science in Biomed only:



Pre-Med first year papers studied at the University of Otago:

As with Auckland, entry into Medicine and the MBChB programme is highly competitive based on a student’s GPA in this first year & their UCAT result but there is no interview for medicine applicants.

Papers Name
BIOC 192 Foundations of Biochemistry
CELS 191 Cell and Molecular Biology
CHEM 191 The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health
HUBS 191 Human Body Systems 1
HUBS 192 Human Body Systems 2
PHSI 191 Biological Physics (this paper will be removed from 2022)
POPH 192 Population Health


Students who have not done Physics at school previously, can catch up the following ways:


UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test)

All students will be required to do a UCAT test as part of the entry criteria into Medicine.  You can find out more information on the UCAT here.  The test is held in July each year and bookings open early March and close early-mid May.



Please note – if you are intending to apply for Medicine in Australia some Universities require you to sit the UCAT test as part of the entry process for first year.  Please make sure you check the criteria for the University you are wanting to apply to.


As Medicine is a highly competitive program it is important that you think through the alternatives if you are not successful in gaining entry into the second year.

You can find more information on where you can go from Otago HSFY here


Other Useful Links

Who gets into Medical School and Why – Stuff article 16/5/20

ICAN Med – UCAT workshops

Inside the Career Podcast – Ex Westlakers talk about their experiences (Medicine)