Last Updated: February 17, 2021
Study Medicine in Australia
Australia has several world-leading universities that offer high-quality education. Despite the recent appreciation of the Australian dollar and the resulting rise in the cost of life and education there, students across the world are opting to complete their higher education from Australia, due to the promise of lucrative jobs, good quality of life, excellent climate, and beautiful locales.
Why Pursue Medical Education in Australia?
Medical science is a course that is immensely popular amongst international students seeking enrolment in Australia. According to the globally recognized QS World University Rankings for 2020, 7 Australian Universities make it to the top 100 institutes for Medicine and Medical Sciences. 5 of these made it into the top 50, including:
- The University of Melbourne,
- The University of Sydney,
- Monash University,
- The University of New South Wales and
- The University of Queensland.
The high bar for academic excellence, world-class infrastructure, modern and versatile teaching methodologies, and properly structured syllabi make it an obvious choice for aspiring medical professionals. Of all its universities, 39 varsities in the country are governed by strict regulations, which ensures that the degrees conferred by these colleges are of high quality and are recognized by most institutions and governments across the world.
What Information do you Need?
Students interested in pursuing their medical education in Australian institutions need key information about the courses offered therein, including what courses are offered by the best universities, their eligibility for these undergrad and postgraduate courses, what career patterns they may have to follow on completion of said courses and ultimately, their financial viability. This information is a critical prerequisite towards attempting to seek a medical vocation in the country. This article answers many questions you, a prospective medical student, might have in a comprehensive and concise manner.
Are you Eligible for the Undergraduate Medical Program?
The undergraduate medical course in Australia spans five to six years which may be referred to as the following: MBBS (Medicinae Baccalaureus & Bachelor of Surgery), BMBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery), or BMedSc. (Bachelor of Medical Science), depending on the university. This is a provisional admission for students who have completed (or are on the verge of completing) 12 years of schooling. To apply, applicants must take the following into consideration:
- Students must have completed their school leaving qualification or be in the final year of study for that qualification.
- Most medical schools require that the applicant have excellent scores in a combination of the following subjects in their final years of high school training: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Maths.
- Australian universities require applicants to have results of an aptitude test, most commonly the International Student Admissions Test (ISAT). Some universities may also accept University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand (UCAT ANZ) scores. This includes the University of Adelaide, replacing their in-house Personal Qualities Assessment (PQA) in favor of the UCAT ANZ. These tests measure the applicant's logical reasoning and aptitude for practicing in the fields of medicine and dentistry.
(Note: The UCAT ANZ is a two-hour computer-based test that assesses a large range of abilities. The test consists of 5 parts, each of which is separately timed and assessed. Multiple choices are presented to the examinee, of which s/he is supposed to select an answer. Applicants should keep in mind that breaks are not allowed for the duration of the test.)
- The candidate should have completed year 12 or equivalent high school education and year 12 equivalent English. International students might need to have proof of proficiency in English, depending on the country of origin and the university they are applying to. An applicant whose first language is not English must have achieved, within two years of the date on which the applicant will commence the course, an IELTS overall band score of 6.5-7.0, with at least 6.0 in each band.
Are you Eligible for the Post-Graduate Medical Program?
The graduate medical program in Australia is a four-year course, called the Doctorate of Medicine or MD. Applicants for this program need to comply with the following requirements (in addition to the UG requirements):
- Applicants must have completed a basic degree in a core science-based discipline. Your completed bachelor’s degree must have been at least 3 years full-time equivalence (FTE).
- Some Universities may require a bachelor’s degree from an overseas university listed in the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition Guide, provided that the degree is equivalent to an Australian bachelor’s degree (pass or with honors).
- Applicants have to results in either the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). These test the extent of the applicant's knowledge of science subjects relevant to Medical sciences and practices. Specific Universities will require different minimum scores in these tests to merit admission. Applicants are advised to enquire about the specifics of the same from their desired universities.
Top Australian universities offering medical education
All medical colleges in Australia offering under-grad and post-grad courses are accredited by the Australian Medical Council. Since all medical degrees offered in Australia are recognized by the AMC, International students need to check with their respective medical councils if degrees obtained from their choice of Australian universities will be valid in their own countries. Students from the US can refer to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
However, the intake of students into postgraduate courses is far more numerous and available in comparison to undergraduate courses in most universities. This is case with Universities such as the University of Sydney which only has the intake capacity for 30 domestic and 10 international students in its undergraduate program. International students, therefore, are more likely to get into postgraduate programs, most of which intake far more students.
|NAME OF THE UNIVERSITY||DEGREE OFFERED|
|Australian National University||MBBS (Graduate entry)|
|University of Sydney|| MBBS (Graduate and provisional undergraduate entry)|
|University of New South Wales|| MBBS & B.Med, MD (Undergraduate entry)|
|University of Western Sydney|| MBBS|
|University of Wollongong|| MBBS|
|University of Newcastle||B.Med offered jointly with University of New England|
|University of Notre Dame||MBBS (Graduate entry)|
|Bond University||MBBS (Graduate entry)|
|Griffith University||MBBS (Graduate entry)|
|James Cook University||MBBS (Undergraduate entry)|
|University of Queensland||MBBS (Graduate and provisional undergraduate entry)|
|University of Adelaide||MBBS (Undergraduate entry)|
|Flinders University||BMBS (Graduate entry)|
|University of Tasmania||MBBS (Undergraduate entry)|
|University of Melbourne||MD (Graduate and provisional undergraduate entry)|
|Deakin University||BMBS (Graduate entry)|
|University of Western Australia||MD (Graduate entry)|
Career pattern that medical students in Australia need to follow
The Australian medical study format is similar to that of the UK. Upon completion of their graduation or post-graduation courses, students are required to work as an intern in a registered hospital for a year (more specifically, a minimum of 47 weeks) to be eligible to register with the state medical registration board. Graduate students are responsible for attaining, coordinating, and maintaining their own internships. Applications are for such internships typically occur during the same time in Australia and usually close in June the year prior to their commencement.
Each state has its own candidate priorities list and intake numbers. State-based websites are excellent resources to find and apply for internships in hospitals (in their specific states). Graduate students may also wish to consider the Junior Doctor Training Program Private Hospital Stream which offers 115 positions. This is a good option for international applicants as well.
Six weeks prior to the completion of a medical degree, students will also need to apply for provisional registration with the Australian Medical Board to complete this supervised year of practice.
After obtaining a registration, medical graduates can work as Resident Medical Officers or Hospital Medical Officers. Based on the work experience gained during this tenure, they can opt for vocational and specialization programs.
Cost of studying medicine in Australia
Australia has a relatively high cost of living, which makes an education there a rather expensive option for international students. However, the excellent quality of medical education offered by Australian universities and the widespread recognition of an AMC certification are reasons why it is still an excellent choice for aspiring medical professionals.
The average estimated cost of completing a medical studies degree in Australia is about AUD 250,000 (Around USD 200,000) to AUD 600,000 (Around USD 450,000). The fees also vary wildly depending on the university or institution and their respective courses/programs. Also, the Australian government does not have a scholarship program that covers the entire expense of a medical degree for international students. However, pursuing medicine as a profession is highly lucrative as the mean salaries of medical professionals are often much higher than that of the median/average income of a given country. Hence, it's important that international students looking for fully-funded scholarship programs to study medicine in Australia check with their respective governments for financial aid and funding.