Bachelor of Medical Science to be Offered at USC starting 2018 [audio][transcript]

Guest: Professor Birgit Lohmann

Presenter: Tabetha Moreto

Guest Bio: Professor Birgit Lohmann is the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sunshine Coast. She has broad responsibility for the academic activities of the University, is the standing deputy to the Vice-Chancellor and President, and the Chair of Academic Board. Prior to joining USC, she served in a number of leadership roles including Head of the School of Science and Director of the Centre for Quantum Dynamics at Griffith University, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Quality) at the University of Adelaide. Professor Lohmann is a graduate of the University of Adelaide (Honours degree in Physics), and of Flinders University (PhD in Atomic Physics).

Segment Overview: In today’s interview, Professor Birgit Lohmann talks about the exciting new Bachelor of Medical Science major that the University of Sunshine Coast will be offering beginning in the first of September next year. Details about the Medical Science degree available here.


Tabetha Moreto: Hello everyone, welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host for today, Tabetha Moreto. Our guest today is Professor Birgit Lohmann, Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast. Today we’re going to talk about a very interesting topic. USC is now offering a Bachelor of Medical Science course for the first time and it will start on semester 1 of 2018. Without further ado, welcome to the show, Birgit. I’m so happy you can join us today.

Professor Birgit Lohmann: Thank you, Tabetha.

T: Okay. So please tell the audience more about yourself and your University, please.

B: Certainly. So I sit on the Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Our University is actually the youngest Public University in Australia, it’s 21 years old this year. We have a comprehensive campus here on the Sunshine Coast but we are also very quickly becoming a Multi-Campus Institution.

T: Wow, that’s sounds fantastic. Now tell us more about this Bachelor of Medical Science major that your University is offering starting next year.

B: So this is really prompted by the fact that we have a fantastic new public hospital here on the Sunshine Coast. It’s a 1.8 billion dollar hospital, it’s called the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. And as part of that, we have a Sunshine Coast Health Institute. There are 4 joint venture partners in that now, so Griffith University, The Queensland Hospital and Health Service and also our local TAFE. So as part of that initiative, Griffith University will be offering a new medical degree from 2019. We’ve been very pleased to be able to offer an Undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Medical Science which will actually provide direct entry into that post-graduate medical degree for the said program.

T: Wow, that’s sound excellent. So tell me, what’s the difference between Bachelor of Medical Science compared to other medical degrees?

B: Okay. So the Bachelor of Medical Science doesn’t qualify you to be a doctor. What it does is that it qualifies you for entry to a Doctor of Medicine program. So the Griffith University program is a post-graduate offering. So you need to have a non-graduate degree before you can go into that program. So our Bachelor of Medical Science provides the suitable undergraduate degree. And the important thing I think for Sunshine Coast residents is that if they’ll be successful in that program, they will get a guaranteed place in the new Doctor of Medicine.

T: That’s excellent. I’m curious, what are the subjects that will be included for the Bachelor of Medical Science degree?

B: So there will be a broad range of in round anatomy, cytology, obviously some basic science. As students progress with the degree, they’ll start to take more clinical subjects so they’ll start to understand more of what’s involved in the medical degree that they’ll be entering. They will also be doing a subject called Human Skills in Medicine. Which is really the subject that allows them to demonstrate that they have the right empathy and the right ability to interact with patients, that they would need to be a doctor.

T: Wow, that’s sound like a very interesting major. I should enroll in your University. It’s time for me to go back to school and study something new.

B: Anything’s possible.

T: Yes. Anyway speaking of Bachelor of Medical Science, what kind of career opportunities do students have once they graduated from this particular course or from this major?

B: So the Bachelor of Medical Science as I’ve said is really designed for those students who want to go into medicine. But of course if that student should choose not to do that, then it will equip them for a whole lot of range of jobs in by medical science, more broadly around the sector. So that includes in pathology laboratories, or in research areas. It does open up a whole lot of opportunities.

T: Wow, that sounds very interesting. It’s a good thing that it not only prepares them for a medical degree, it can also give them other career opportunities as well. That’s the good thing about the new Bachelor of Medical Science major.

B: Yes, absolutely. I would just say, we also have a degree called the Bachelor of Biomedical Science, which is not designed as the direct entry pathway, but does deliver a lot of the same outcomes in terms of employment in the health sector or employment in biomedical science or employment in research in that area.

T: Very good. Tell me, what are the requirements or criteria involved in order for students to enroll in this new major?

B: The new course will actually be very competitive. You do have to be a school leader i.e. within the last three years and you can’t enroll in other tertiary studies. So it really is designed to be a pathway into medicine for school leaders. We expect it to be a very competitive entry, so students really do need to have performed extremely well in high school. Ideally we’ll have a range of experience around Science, English and so on, Mathematics.

T: Wow. That’s sounds like that’s a lot of requirements. But I’m sure it will be worth it once the students are enrolled.

B: I think that they will find it very, very interesting and challenging.

T: Yes. I hope you don’t mind me asking Professor, do other Universities offer this particular course or major?
B: Yes, this particular offering that we have put in place is modeled on the Griffith University, Bachelor of Medical Science. That’s because the students that graduate from our degree will actually be going in to Griffith University’s Doctor of Medicine in the new hospital here.

T: That’s great. So now, for example tell all the students out there especially high school students who want to enroll. Why should they enroll in your University?

B: Well we certainly feel that University of the Sunshine Coast offers a pretty unique experience to students. We have for the past 12 years with 5 stars in the good universities’ guide for teach quality, and that reflects the commitment that our staff, to our students and to their experience. So I think that students studying with us definitely feel that they are very well supported and that they’ll have a very enjoyable time while they’re studying.

T: Wow, that’s wonderful. I’m very happy to hear that. I hope all of the listeners out there especially those who may have children who are in high school or if they have relatives or anybody that they know of that age will come and enroll at your University.

B: I certainly hope so too.

T: Yes, I’m happy to hear that. Now, before we go, can you tell us what is your main takeaway message to all our listeners out there, especially maybe if there are some high school students listening right now?

B: Well I think the main takeaway message is that, if you’re a Sunshine Coast student who wants to actually go on to study medicine, you can now do so without having to leave home, without having to travel elsewhere and actually spend a lot of money to do that. You can study here. If you get through this degree, you’ll have a guarantee place in the medical program.

T: Excellent message. Now, with all of the students out there who are interested in taking up bachelor of Medical Science, how can they in touch with you guys at USC?

B: So the best thing to do is to go to our website and just put in the Bachelor of Medical Science and there will be actually dedicated people who can help interested students to understand what’s involved.

T: That’s excellent. Thank you so much for coming on the show Professor. I really appreciate it.

B: Thank you Tabetha.

T: And that was Professor Birgit Lohmann, Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast. We’ve just been talking about a very interesting topic, the new Bachelor of Medical Science major that is now being offered by the University beginning in 2018. If you liked this interview, transcripts and archives are available at We’re on all social media platforms so don’t forget to follow, like and subscribe. We’re also available for download on SoundCloud and iTunes. I’m Tabetha Moreto and you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.

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