Training doctors for internship in South Africa, the MBChB curriculum underwent an intensive renewal process from August 2017, the third major overhaul since its inception in 1956. Accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), the new curriculum was implemented with the registration of first-year students in 2022.
Building on the strengths of the previous curriculum, a sound foundation provides students with a thorough understanding of the human body in its entirety before learning to treat it. Students benefit from early experience with patients. The renewed curriculum focuses on holistic care, including the health and wellbeing of patients and doctors.
A shift in the approach to student-centred learning created a much more balanced and student-friendly curriculum. The teaching methods are learning-centred, making use of advanced multimedia technologies. An emphasis on research builds lifelong internally driven learning skills. This critical competency ensures that practitioners keep abreast of new developments in medicine and are comfortable treating patients with evidence-based medicine.
Doctors who graduate from Stellenbosch University will have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to use the opportunities available during the two-year internship optimally. After that, they could function autonomously in the primary health care sector and have acquired the ability and insight to develop personally and professionally.
Students learn to converse with patients and healthcare colleagues in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. The Longitudinal Primary Healthcare Exposure and Clinical Curiosity modules are taught in tandem with the following modules:
Year 1: Being and Becoming in Healthcare; Form and Function
Year 2: Health and Wellness; Dysfunction
Year 3: Medical Detective; Intervention
Year 4–5: Clinical Rotations
Year 6: Distributed Apprenticeship
The curriculum’s final year will be spent away from our tertiary teaching hospitals. While still under supervision, students could participate in authentic learning opportunities as members of clinical teams in various contexts across the district health system. Read here about the development of the new curriculum.
The training of medical doctors
Two years of internship and a year of community service follow the six-year training. After that, you will be eligible for registration as an Independent Medical Practitioner with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
A wide range of employment opportunities exists, for instance, in private practice, in hospitals or other medical institutions, in various government or non-governmental organisations, in research, in academic medicine or the private sector with, for example, insurance companies or the pharmaceutical industry.
Postgraduate studies for a career in research or for specialisation in any clinical discipline are further attractive options. For our postgraduate offering, see here.
For further information on the curriculum, see our Calendar.
Minimum admission requirements
Write the Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
Please note: The use of the SJT in the selection process is currently under review. For the latest information, please visit this programme's selection guidelines.
- An aggregate pass mark of at least 70% (excluding Life Orientation) for the National Senior Certificate or an equivalent qualification
- Mathematics 60%
- Physical Sciences 50%
- Life Sciences 50%
- Applications close on 31 July.
- About 290 candidates are selected in the year before study begins. See application and selection.
- For MBChB selection guidelines, see here.