School of Population Health

Medicine Program

Medicine GP Banner


Discipline of General Practice

General Practice is one area of delivering primary care, which varies across healthcare settings and health systems around the world.  In Australia, general practice is the most frequently consulted medical specialty. Over 420,000 people a day see a general practitioner (GP), with 90% of the population seeing their GP at least once per year.  General practice is key to delivering effective and efficient health patient-centred care, which helps improve health and wellbeing, for example, by reducing disease complications, preventable hospital presentations, and healthcare expenditure. 

At UNSW, the Discipline of General Practice sits within the School of Population Health as part of our coursework and research programs. 


We are responsible for courses across all three phases of the Medicine program which leads to the awards of Bachelor of Medical Studies (BMed) and Doctor of Medicine (MD) program.  We also teach postgraduate programs within the School of Population Health.


MFAC3504 Primary care 

Taught in Phase 3, Year 5 or 6

  • Primary care is taught five times per year from January to October; each teaching period is eight weeks. 
  • Students build on their prior learning in biomedical sciences and clinical studies in Phases 1 and 2, and other courses in Phase 3, and apply their knowledge to real situations.

Clinical general practice placements are a core activity, together with a program of lectures and practical workshops. I

Interested in being a general practice supervisor? For further information see: Being a GP Supervisor.  

Find out more:


MFAC2514, MFAC2515, MFAC2516 Society and Health 

Taught in Phase 2, Year 3 (or Year 4 for Graduate entry students)

  • Society and Health is one of six terms that constitute Clinical Coursework in Phase 2
  • Students spend six weeks in Society and Health during which they spend two days of campus-based teaching in biomedical sciences as well as clinical studies centred around six weekly themes. 
  • Students spend three days a week for the first four weeks in a community based clinical setting. 
  • Students share their clinical experiences across a wide range of placements with a case presentation to their peers during the term where that concentrate on the impact of social and cultural factors on patient’s illness experience.

Interested in being a community-based clinical supervisor? Find out more:


MFAC1527 Society & Health

Taught in Phase 1,  Year 2 

  • This is one of eight courses in Phase 1 of the undergraduate medicine program, designed to help students understand how social, cultural, psychological and environmental factors can contribute towards a person’s health. 
  • The emphasis in on how health is more than the absence of specific diseases and explores a wide range of determinants of health.  
  • The course focuses on the respiratory system with emphasis on infectious diseases and immunology
  • Three scenarios are included related to HIV, Influenza and Tuberculosis, and highlighting Society and Health themes: 
    • Society, cultures and genes 
    • Socioeconomic determinants of health 
    • Health delivery systems 
    • Health and human rights


Independent Learning Projects (ILPs)

The Independent Learning Project (ILP) is intended to provide UNSW medical students with a period of in-depth study that engenders an approach to medicine that is constantly questioning and self-critical. The ILP aims to promote lifelong learning patterns and skills which will enable them to approach future medical challenges in their careers with a rigor and depth not possible without a detailed knowledge of the formal processes of research, literature appraisal, data collection, analysis and presentation.

Further, specific experience and placements within the candidates' Independent Learning Project (ILP) are also readily facilitated.


Further Studies with the School

A Master of Public Health in Primary Health Care is available in the School in postgraduate courework study.



We work with a diverse range of academic and primary health care partners, and supervise Independent Learning Project (ILP/Hons), Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and PhD projects.

The School of Population Health provides an environment that fosters excellence in research, innovation and translation of evidence into impact. Through a multidisciplinary approach to research, we leverage the breadth of clinical and research expertise of our people to address current and emerging population health priorities and challenges. Find out more about the School’s research priorities here and in primary health care here



Our partnerships

We have ongoing collaborations with the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity and beyond the School of Population Health.

Our team

Phase 1:

Phase 2:

Phase 3:


Bala Anandasivam

Balakumar Anandasivam, 6th year student, Bachelor of Medical Studies / Doctor of Medicine Student 

"My research team consisted of clinical-academic specialist general practitioners who provided me with all the support and guidance needed to learn how to conduct good quality research from start to finish. My GP term experience was a warm welcome to the world of community medicine thanks to my extremely approachable and knowledgeable supervisors. My favourite part of the term was the sheer diversity of patient groups and diseases encountered ... it always kept me keen and on my toes."


Rosemary Kirk, graduate of Bachelor of Medical Studies / Doctor of Medicine. Recipient of The Australian Medical Association Prize for General Practice

"UNSW’s GP programme was an excellent way to learn a broad range of basic primary care knowledge and skills, and to get a real taste of what a career as a GP can be. The lectures were comprehensive and engaging, and the school staff were highly responsive when any support was needed. Best of all were the two four-week placements during which we had the opportunity to really integrate within a practice, getting to know the doctors and patients alike. The daily teaching on these placements and the opportunities to independently work-up and holistically manage patients made the primary care term amongst the most valuable, both in preparing for exams and for becoming a doctor."


Andrew Knight

Dr Andrew Knight, UNSW School of Population Health Conjoint Senior Lecturer and Director, The Primary and Integrated Care Unit South Western Sydney Local Health District and Ingham Institute

"It has been wonderful having UNSW medical students in the Primary and Integrated Care Unit.  They have carried out and published award winning and significant health systems research that has made a difference.  We are keen that they have a really positive experience with us."