Medical School Entrance Examinations – Studies in Linz

Starting this fall, the Faculty of Medicine in Linz will accept 180 new students to the medical degree program instead of 120 as in previous years and for the first time, 60 students will complete the entire program at the JKU.

[Translate to Englisch:] v.l.: Janko, Lukas, Olschewski

The interest to study medicine at the Johannes Kepler University has never been greater and now the recent admission test scores are in. The first four semesters of the program focus on basic medicine using a didactic concept unique in Austria and the program’s many other unique features have proven attractive to prospective students.

The number of prospective applicants was impressive: 1,694 people registered to take the medical school entrance examination (an increase of 81.1% compared to 2017); 1,269 actually took the examination. The scores were announced yesterday.

The majority of prospective new students come from Upper Austria (44.4%). 8.3% are from Lower Austria, 7.2% are from Vienna, and 6.7% from Salzburg.

As usual, the highest number of prospective students applying from abroad was from Germany. 46 students from the neighboring country will start medical studies this fall (25.6% of all accepted students). One student from Afghanistan and a student from Mexico have also been accepted to the program, along with two women and a man who hold Turkish citizenship. Of the 180 students accepted to the program this fall, 96 students are female (53.3%), 84 are male (46.7%).

Focus on Holistic Medicine and Interdisciplinary Features

The medical degree program at the JKU’s Faculty of Medicine features two key strengths such as hands-on clinical experience early on in the program as well as acquiring medical skills and capabilities early on.

IThe program in Linz not only builds on conventional subjects in the field of medicine, but also focuses on organ systems and thematic complexities. The innovative curriculum was developed in close cooperation with, among others, the Berlin Charité and Ruhr-Universität Bochum. These institutions both teach medicine using a more holistic approach that does not include just diagnosing patients and their afflictions in a pure sense of organ pathology and dysfunction, but rather by taking bio-psychological influences into account.

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Medicine in Linz by Semester and Content
Each semester consists of several modules belonging to a higher-level topic.

First and Second Semester: The first two semesters of the program focus on base-knowledge medicine such as cells, basic anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, etc. The JKU’s Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences supports the program’s interdisciplinary aspect as some courses involve classes taught by TN faculty members.

Third and Fourth Semester: During the following semesters, students study more complex organ systems and take advanced classes in anatomy, bio-chemistry, physiology, histology, pharmacology, and pathology. A large part of the program takes place in small learning groups. Another important part is conducting research on ageing. Ageing is an increasingly important subject area, particularly in lieu of today’s longer life expectancies.

Fifth Semester Onwards: Beginning in the third year of the program, there is a special focus on “problem-oriented learning” by studying clinical case studies. Students can use this time to close any knowledge gaps they may have.

Blend of Conventional Haptic and Virtual Anatomy Courses
The study of anatomy in Linz is blend of the following:

  • Intro to Basics
  • Blocked Dissection Course in Graz
  • Microscopy Courses and Organ-Specific Education
  • Virtual-Haptic Anatomy in a Virtual Dissecting Table
  • Virtual Anatomy in Linz

Anatomy at the JKU is taught using modern, cutting-edge technology based on multiple innovative teaching methods. Students first have introductory courses to learn the basics of anatomy. During the second semester, students are then required to take a dissection course in Graz. Students work on-site in small groups at the Medical University of Graz. By preparing courses for dissection themselves, a 3-D topography is created, providing students with an unparalleled look at the human body and unique perspectives. Anatomy courses in this respect mean a number of microscopy courses as well as organ-specific courses in various modules. The virtual-haptic anatomy course uses high-quality models and virtual dissecting table. An additional highlight is, of course, the 3D “Virtual Anatomy” class developed and offered in Linz.

Anatomy courses in Linz (at the Life Science Campus on Gruber/Huemerstraße) include virtual-haptic education and hands-on instruction so that students become familiar with the size and arrangement of body parts as well as anatomical peculiarities that require a deeper understanding of anatomical relationships. At the same time, virtual dissecting tables contain unique imaging systems which are also used at top medical colleges around the world. These tables (“Anatomage”) were developed with the involvement of the Anatomical Institute at Stanford University. They are a unique system for real-world total segmented anatomy in 3D. Studying anatomy becomes an interactive experience with a 1:1 scale touch screen in the form of a surgical table. The table gives students an incomparable opportunity to study the human body.

Developing virtual anatomy aspects in Linz is not only unique in Austria. The exemplary project will be supported and implemented by Univ. Prof. Prim. Dr. Franz Fellner, director of the Central Radiological Institute at the Kepler University Hospital, and the Ars Electronica Center Linz. The innovative, photorealistic 3D images (see screenshots) were nominated for this year’s “Deutscher Zukunftspreis”.

The Johannes Kepler University currently holds a temporary two to three year professorship position and an additional professorship position for Anatomy. At the same time, the Faculty of Medicine will create its own Institute of Anatomy responsible for research and teaching in this field.

“Taking Advantage of the Opportunity to Offer a Modern Degree Program”
For Prof. Dr. med. Thorsten Schäfer (Dean of Studies at Ruhr-Universität Bochum), the JKU is “a modern, extremely efficient university. One could say that establishing a medical school at a state university is something special nowadays.” The opportunity to create a modern medical degree program is an opportunity that the Kepler University took advantage of. Prof. Schäfer, who was instrumental in drafting the curriculum in Linz, added, “Modern means: a topic-centered curriculum, a focus on real-world problems, and working with patients at an earlier stage of the program. It is important to involve general practitioners right from the start. I would like to congratulate all newly accepted students to the program and advise them to take advantage of this modern degree program, just as the JKU took advantage of their opportunity to create it.”

JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas explained, “The positive feedback by international experts not only confirms the path that the Faculty of Medicine has taken from the start, is also serves as an incentive and motivation to continue. The recent numbers prove once again that the program in Linz is becoming well established in this cutting-edge scientific era.” The faculty would not be where it is today without the unwavering support provided by numerous cooperation partners both at the Kepler University Hospital as well as the local business community, health community, and local government. “Our highly qualified team of experts involved in teaching and research – as well as our unique selling points – have helped us to establish a name for ourselves – a name that extends beyond our borders.”

Andrea Olschewski, JKU Vice-Rector of Medicine, emphasizes the on-hands aspect of the Linz program: “Our students grow into their roles as medical physicians right from the start as they come into contact with actual patients early on in the program.” The program involves over 200 medical physicians, not only giving the students specialized skills, but even the ability to learn how to interview well. Prof. Olschweski added “By teaching hands-on skills and providing instruction by local doctors, students should be encouraged later on to practice their profession in Austria, even in rural regions.”