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The University of Queensland is one of Australia’s leading research and teaching institutions. We are ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide and have research strengths in medicine, science, dentistry and business.
Study medicine in Australia for international students
Australia is one of the best countries for getting a medical education. There are many options for pursuing medical education in Australia ranging from undergraduate to postgraduate, and all of the Australian universities have their own unique way of conducting admissions.
Want to study medicine in Australia? This section will guide you through everything you need to know about studying in Australia – from admissions tests to applying from the UK.
This section is designed to provide information for both school leaving applicants and graduate entry students about how to apply to study medicine in Australia. Don’t forget to use the subpages to make the most of the section!
Study Medicine in Australia: Why Australia?
Australia has long been a favourite destination for medical students taking overseas electives and junior doctors wanting to do a period of training in a less pressured, better paid environment, as well as for GPs and consultants looking for a great salary and a great lifestyle.
So why not take it one step further and do your medical degree in Australia?
Australian medical schools enjoy deservedly excellent international reputations for the quality of their training and research. Five Australian universities are currently ranked in the world’s top 50 for medicine according to the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, including the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland.
Study Medicine in Australia: Which Courses are Available?
Medicine in Australia is offered as a postgraduate or an undergraduate course. The postgraduate programme is the Doctor of Medicine; the undergraduate programme the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.
Some Australian universities only teach postgraduate medicine, others offer only an undergraduate programme. There are also a few medical schools that offer courses for both graduates and school leavers.
Cheapest medical school in uK for international students
This depends whether you are considered a domestic or an international student in Australia. A domestic student is someone who holds citizenship or permanent residency of Australia, or citizenship of New Zealand, as confirmed by their passport at the point of application. An international student is a citizen of any country other than Australia or New Zealand!
If you are an international student, you will submit your applications via Study Options. Study Options is the official representative of Australian universities in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
It’s a free application support service for students, funded directly by Australian universities to help students through the application process on their behalf. Applications lodged via Study Options are fast-tracked through university assessments and are exempt from the usual application fees charged.
If you are a domestic applicant, you will need to apply for a graduate entry (Doctor of Medicine) place directly to an Australian Medical School.
If you are applying for an undergraduate programme (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) you will need to lodge your application via the equivalent of UCAS. These university admissions bodies are state-specific in Australia.
Where can I study Medicine in Australia?
There are a range of different universities where you can study Medicine in Australia. They are as follows:
|University of Adelaide||UG|
|James Cook University JCU||UG|
|University of Tasmania||UG|
|Monash University||UG and PG|
|University of Queensland||PG|
|Australian National University||PG|
|University of Western Australia||PG|
|University of Melbourne||PG|
|Flinders University||PG and P|
|Griffith University||PG and P|
|UNSW Australia||PG and P|
|University of Sydney||PG and P|
|Bond University||UG. Not open to international students.|
|Curtin University||UG. Not open to international students.|
|University of Newcastle||UG. Not open to international students.|
- UG: This school teaches Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
- PG: This school teaches the Doctor of Medicine
- UG and PG: This school offers both undergraduate and graduate entry courses
- P: This school has a dedicated undergraduate pathway to their Doctor of Medicine. This route allows high-achieving school leaving students to enrol on a pathway degree (such as the Bachelor of Medical Science or Bachelor of Health Sciences) as part of a special student cohort aiming to complete in two years, rather than the standard three. Provided academic requirements are met during this pathway degree, the student is then guaranteed a place on the University’s Doctor of Medicine programme. They graduate with two degrees.
The Path to Becoming a Doctor in Australia and New Zealand
The subjects you take in high school (and how well you do in them) are one of the many factors that will determine your success in gaining admission into the best medical schools.
Most universities require biology and chemistry, as well as at least one English course, a maths course, and a physics course.
While some universities may look at your application holistically, some will look at your grades before they consider anything else, so you want to make sure you achieve highly in your high school classes.
Medical schools in Australia require an ATAR score of at least 90 (the more highly ranked the university is, the higher the ATAR cut-off). However, just because you meet a uni’s ATAR cut-off, doesn’t guarantee you admission.
In New Zealand on the other hand, your high school grades aren’t as important because you’ll need to complete one year of a degree prior to applying to medical school. Your degree’s GPA is therefore a determining factor as to whether or not you get into medical school.
However, if you’re from New Zealand and want to go to medical school in Australia, your school grades will be considered. NCEA results will be converted to an ATAR score that you can then use to apply to Australian medical schools.
Luckily, your NCEA results have a relatively favourable ATAR conversion so your ATAR might be slightly higher than it would be if you attended high school in Australia. As a standard, admission into competitive medicine courses will be difficult if your ATAR is below 97.
Both Australian and New Zealand medical schools accept IB and CIE grades. Scoring in the 40s in the IB, or getting an AAAA in the CIE gives you a good chance at gaining entry into the top medical schools. In every case, the higher you score, the better.
However, if your high school grades aren’t competitive, you should consider completing an undergraduate degree first, and then applying to medical school as a postgrad. Plus, you don’t need to study anything medicine related so if you’ve always had a passion for English, get a degree in English! Then, if you get great grades and crush your GAMSAT, you’ll have a much better chance of getting into a top medical program than if you simply applied with mediocre high school grades.
Medical School Entrance Exams
There are two entrance exams that most universities in Australia and New Zealand require – the UCAT and the GAMSAT.
The below universities in Australia require students to sit the UCAT for undergraduate medical admission:
- The University of Adelaide
- Curtin University
- Flinders University
- Monash University
- The University of Newcastle/University of New England
- The University of New South Wales
- The University of Queensland
- University of Tasmania
- The University of Western Australia
- Western Sydney University
The two universities that offer medicine in New Zealand also require the UCAT:
- The University of Auckland
- University of Otago
If you want to go to medical school in Australia, you need to sit the UCAT in your final year of high school. Because you need to complete a one-year degree before medical school in New Zealand, you won’t need to sit the UCAT until you are at university.
Each university has its own UCAT cut-offs but like your high school scores, just meeting the UCAT cut offs isn’t enough. You’ll need to exceed the score expectations to have a chance of getting into your dream university.
About the UCAT
The UCAT does not test for academic knowledge. This exam tests for general skills and abilities that you have developed over the course of your education and life in general.
There are practice tests you can sit and tricks you can master in order to ace the UCAT, however, you must start preparing early since this is not an exam you can cram for.
The exam consists of five parts:
- Verbal Reasoning
- Decision Making
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Abstract Reasoning
- Situational Judgement
You will receive a score for each section which makes up your overall score. Your final score then determines your percentile rank.
Most universities weigh your UCAT score against your interview and ATAR score differently, so at some universities, including The University of Adelaide, a great ATAR score can make up for a slightly lower UCAT score.
If you decide to go to medical school as a postgraduate student, you will need to sit the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT).
The below universities in Australia require the GAMSAT:
- Australian National University
- Griffith University
- Monash University
- University of Melbourne
- University of Notre Dame
- Deakin University
- University of Queensland
- University of Western Australia
- University of Wollongong
- Flinders University
- The University of Sydney
The first nine schools on the list above are also part of the Graduate Entry Medical School Admission System (GEMSAS), which means that you can apply to them all at once!
About the GAMSAT
The GAMSAT tests your academic knowledge. This means that in order to do well on the GAMSAT, a solid understanding of physical and biological sciences is necessary. So, if you completed a non-science related undergraduate degree you’ll need to study extra to prepare for this exam.
The GAMSAT also has three sections:
- Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences: 75 questions in 100 minutes with 10 extra minutes for reading
- Written Communication: two questions in 60 minutes with five extra minutes for reading
- Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences: 110 questions in 170 minutes with 10 extra minutes for reading
Each section is scored out of 100 and averaged to give you your overall score. You’ll need at least a 65 to get into most medical schools but you should aim for a higher score to increase your chances of getting accepted to your dream schools.
The importance of proper preparation ahead of the GAMSAT cannot be overstated. MedView offer 1-1 online tutoring with medical students who have excelled in this exam and are dedicated to upskilling future medical students.
The Medical Interview
Another crucial part of your medical school application is the interview.
Not all universities require an interview, but most of the top programs do. For many applicants, the interview is the most challenging part of their application.
Universities will typically interview you only if your exam score and GPA/high school grades are high enough, so if you’ve made it this far, congratulations!
The below universities use the Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) system to fairly assess your potential to do well in medical school:
- The University of Sydney
- University of Wollongong
- Australian National University
- The University of Melbourne
- Monash University
- Deakin University
- Griffith University
- The University of Notre Dame
- Bond University
- The University of Auckland (NZ)
This system consists of 6-10 small panel interviews, each taking place at different stations.
While many people fear the MMI, it actually works to your advantage. The process is much more objective than a typical interview system. This way, the university gets a much broader and reliable assessment of your non-academic skills.
While the interviewers are judging you from a holistic perspective, there are some key skills and characteristics they are looking for, including:
- Quality of argument
- Critical thinking
- Social responsibility
- Cultural safety
- Awareness of health issues
- Moral reasoning
- Conflict resolution
- Career choice
Each mini interview will assess you on two to three of these qualities so you don’t need to cover all of these items in one short sitting.
Universities that don’t use the MMI system use either a semi-structured interview, a “hybrid” interview or a Multiple Skills Assessment interview.
All of these processes have their own pros and cons but luckily, regardless of what type of interview you’re facing, there are plenty of ways you can prepare to ensure you impress the interviewers!
Some ways to prepare include mock interviews, expanding your vocabulary and building your confidence through a public speaking course or simply conversing with your friends and family about relevant subjects.
Now that you know what you’ll need to get into medical school, let’s take a look at how to fund medical school.
Study medicine in Australia for international students fees
New Zealand Expenses and Financial Aid
The average medical tuition in New Zealand, for New Zealand or Australian citizens, or residents of New Zealand, is about $15,249 NZD a year.
As an international student, you’re looking at between $32,376 and $78,907 NZD a year, depending on your course.
You will also need to factor in your living costs. Depending on the city you go to school in and your lifestyle, you will need between $15,182 and $25,969 NZD a year for living costs (excluding your tuition).
Altogether you’re looking at around $30,431 – $40,945 NZD per year if you’re a local student and around $47,558-$104,876 NZD a year if you’re an international student.
If you’re a New Zealand or Australia citizen, or a resident of New Zealand, you are eligible for student loans. There are government student loans that cover your tuition fees and living costs. However, you’ll need to pay these loans back once start making more than $19,136 NZD (pre-tax). You may also be eligible for a weekly allowance that you don’t need to pay back.
As an international student, however, you’re not eligible for student loans. Luckily, there are quite a few scholarships available for you and you may be able to work 20 hours a week on your student visa.
Cheap medical schools in Australia for international students
Australian Expenses and Financial Aid
Australian universities are a bit more complicated because every uni has three different tuition prices.
- Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) price: Eligible Australian citizens only as of 2018
- Domestic price: All other Australian citizens
- International price: The rest of the world, including New Zealand
Commonwealth Supported Places are government subsidies that do not need to be paid back. With CSP, the government covers part of your tuition and you are expected to pay the rest through your “student contribution amount”. The amount you’ll need to contribute is based on your course.
As a medical student, your student contribution amount is $10,596 AUD a year.
If you aren’t eligible for a CSP, you’ll pay the domestic price which is closer to the international price.
For example, studying medicine at Western Sydney University would cost a CSP $10,596 AUD a year, a domestic student $42,320 AUD a year, and an international student $60,760 AUD a year.
Once again, you’ll also need to factor in your cost of living, which can vary dramatically throughout Australia.
You need between $9,372 and $48,436 AUD depending on your location and lifestyle.
Scholarships to study medicine in Australia for international students
There are three different government loan options for Australian citizens:
- FEE-HELP: Only for tuition fees with a maximum lifetime limit of $124,238 AUD
- HECS-HELP: Only for CSP students with no limit
- SA-HELP: Only for student services and amenities fee limited to around $294 AUD a year
Once your income is above $54,126 AUD a year, you’ll need to start paying your loans back.
As an international student, your options are limited to a few competitive school scholarships
Life After Medical School
After being accepted into medical school, and funding your studies, you will spend the next five to seven years actually studying, depending on your pathway.
If you are studying in New Zealand, the last year of your studies will take the form of an internship, during which you’ll get paid a sum of money to work as an apprentice and rotate through different roles at a hospital. You’ll also apply to be a housing officer through a program called ACE. Then, once you graduate, you receive provisional registration through the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ).
After you graduate from a university in NZ, you become a house officer for the next two years.
If you are studying in Australia, you will complete a year-long internship program after you graduate.
Then you’ll spend a year as a general resident, which is very similar to New Zealand’s junior house officer program. Finally, you will enter a specialised training program.
At this stage, the two countries’ pathways converge. Once you finish your time as a house officer or a resident you become a Registrar (junior doctor).
Your job is still relatively general until you enter into a specialised training program. Entry into training programs can take four or more years due to their competitiveness. Once you’re in, expect to train for another four to six years. Finally, after the years of hard work and dedication, you will become a doctor!
MD in Australia for international students
Even though you might be set on Australia or New Zealand for medical school, don’t forget that there are other options around the world that may better suit your needs.
Keep in mind that medicine in Australia and New Zealand is extremely competitive. If you don’t get a perfect ATAR or UCAT score, you’re probably won’t gain admission into one of the top medical universities. Therefore, you’re much better off using your great (but not perfect) scores to get into an Ivy League or Oxbridge university, getting a world class undergraduate education and then coming back to Australia/New Zealand to study medicine at one of the top universities.
For example, you need a 95 ATAR or above to get into the medical program at University of Tasmania, which isn’t Australia’s best medical school. However, with the same ATAR you may get a 1500 SAT score, which is adequate to get into University of Pennsylvania – an Ivy League college! By completing an undergraduate degree at UPenn first, you get the opportunity to travel, gain new perspectives, learn a new subject, and do it all at one of the top universities in the world.
Then, once you’ve completed your undergraduate degree, you will be in a better position to crush your GAMSAT and gain admission to a top medical university, such as The University of Sydney.
Consider all of your options – studying in the US or abroad may make you a better doctor in the long run, so don’t rule out opportunities abroad when deciding where to go to school!
The path to medical school is long and requires determination and commitment, but ultimately, you will be working in one of the world’s most rewarding careers.
As you are planning your future, it’s important to keep in mind the different options and opportunities that are available to you – don’t give up on your dream just because the conventional way didn’t work out for you. Your hard work will pay off, regardless of the path you choose.
There are three types of medical school places available at Australian universities:
- Commonwealth supported places
- Bonded places
- Full fee-paying places
Commonwealth supported places
Commonwealth supported places are university places subsidised substantially by the Australian Government. It funds each public university for an agreed number of student places. Students are only required to pay a ‘student contribution’ amount for their units of study rather than tuition fees.
Commonwealth supported places are available to Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens and permanent residents. They are not available to international students.
As a student you will pay for a component of your degree – $10,596 per year for medical students in 2018 – and the remainder is subsidised by the government.
Australian citizens and permanent residents can get access to HECS-HELP to help students pay their student contribution amounts through a loan or upfront discounts. You can find out more at the Australian Government’s Study Assist website.
From the 2018 academic year, 28.5 percent of all first-year commonwealth supported places in medical schools are expected to be bonded through the Bonded Medical Place Scheme (BMPS).
In simple terms, the government sets aside medical school places for students willing to meet certain obligations when they complete their training. This is called the return-of-service obligation. If you apply for a bonded place you must meet the same entry requirements to medical school as other applicants.
In accepting a BMP place, you commit to working in a ‘district of workforce shortage’ for at least 12 months after you complete your medical degree, and to completing this return-of-service obligation prior to, or within five years of, finishing your specialist training. District of workforce shortages are usually outer-metropolitan, regional and rural areas and indigenous medical services.
Bonded students do not receive financial assistance, scholarships or other incentives for either their basic medical degree or postgraduate vocational training, and must pay their HECS-HELP debt in full.
If you choose to undertake your return-of-service obligation after completing your medical degree, but prior to admission into a training program leading to fellowship, you may complete your return-of-service obligation in any geographic area that is classified under the Modified Monash Model as a category 4-7 location.
The Modified Monash Model is the classification system used by the government to categorise metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to both geographical remoteness and town size.
If you choose to undertake your return-of-service obligation after starting a specialist training program, or when you become a specialist, you may complete it in any district of workforce shortage other than an inner metropolitan location, or in any geographic area that is classified under the Modified Monash Model as a category 4-7 location. Specialists (other than general practitioners) may also work in an inner metropolitan location if the location is classified as a district of workforce shortage for their specialty.
Following acceptance of an offer of a BMPS place, you will receive an agreement containing the terms and conditions which form part of a legal contract between you and the Commonwealth of Australia. You should seek legal advice to ensure that you fully understand all the terms and conditions before signing the BMPS agreement.
Full fee-paying places
Many public universities offer undergraduate and graduate entry full fee places to international students. Private universities are able to offer full fee places to Australian students.
Public universities generally cannot offer full fee places to Australian students, the exceptions being some of the Doctor of Medicine postgraduate medical degrees offered by some public universities.
As a full fee-paying student, the Australian Government does not contribute towards your study costs. Instead, you pay a tuition fee for each subject in the course, which must be paid in full and upfront.
On average, a standard full-time year of study in the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) can cost over $60,000 for domestic students and $75,000 for international students.
In 2014, 20 per cent of all medical students were fee-paying with nearly two-thirds of these occupied by international students.
International full fee-paying students are not guaranteed an internship following graduation from medical school, and may have to continue their training overseas.
Study Medicine in Australia for International Students: Undergraduate
Interested in studying undergraduate medicine in Australia? This page will guide you through the process to study Medicine in Australia for international students, from A-Level entry requirements to different aptitude tests required.
Study Medicine in Australia for International Students
Undergraduate Medicine (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery – 6 years)
Students applying for an undergraduate medical degree in Australia will have their applications assessed against three criteria:
- Academic merit (as demonstrated by grades in A-Levels, International Baccalaureate or equivalent. BTEC Diplomas are not accepted by Australian medical schools as being suitable for entry)
- Aptitude test score
- Interview (the format of this will vary depending on the school. Some interviews are formal and have to be attended in person, others are more relaxed discussions held over Skype or phone)
In order to be eligible to apply, students must have completed their school leaving qualification (or be in the final year of study for that qualification) with strong grades in the required subjects and have achieved a minimum score on an aptitude test.
Provided academic and aptitude test score requirements are met, applicants are invited to interview for a place on the course.
Study Medicine in Australia for International Students: What subjects should I study?
There is some variation in subject prerequisite requirements but almost all medical schools will require you to have a strong pass in Chemistry (at A2 or Higher Level in IB). Most will also require Maths, and Physics or Biology is also recommended.
Study Medicine in Australia for International Students: What grades will I need?
Grade requirements vary between universities between ABB and A*A*A, or between 35 and 43 in the IB. Please note that achieving (or being predicted) the minimum grades required makes you eligible to apply; it does not guarantee you a place.
Study Medicine in Australia for International Students: What aptitude test do I need?
All but one of the Australian universities that require aptitude test results as part of your application require the International Student Admissions Test (ISAT). The exception to this is the University of Adelaide, which runs its own aptitude test, the PQA.
ISAT is administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). It is a 3-hour computer-based multiple choice test. There are no set dates for testing and you can choose to sit the test at a date and time that suits you within an 11-month window.
ISAT is designed to test skills including the ability to reason, make logical deductions and form judgements. It does not examine any particular subject knowledge and is therefore not something that can be revised for. Having some familiarity with the type of questions asked can certainly be an advantage, however, and you can access practice tests on the ACER website. However, you can only take ISAT once within a 12-month period.
Undergraduate Medicine: Key Facts
When are the intake dates?
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery programmes (and all undergraduate pathway options to the Doctor of Medicine) have one intake each year, in Semester 1 (February). Students are required to be on campus early to mid-February in order to attend international student orientation and enrolment. Teaching usually commences on the first Monday of March.
When should I apply?
Applications usually open at the beginning of March the year before the intake. Application deadlines range from June to the end of September, depending on the university.
How much does it cost?
International tuition fees range from A$55,000 to A$71,000 per year.
What are the funding options?
Not available for international students. Domestic students should contact the relevant medical school directly for information.