Types Of Medical Student Places Offered And Degrees Conferred

Last updated: 18/08/21

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Medical Student Places In Australia

For medical schools in Australia, there are broadly three types of places available.

1. Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)

CSPs are subsidised by the Australian government. As a result, if you receive an offer for a CSP place, which is limited in number and is highly competitive, you are only required to pay a fraction of the tuition fee, known as the Student Contribution Amount (SCA). The amount you pay is dependent on the student contribution band of each unit within your field of study. For medicine, the maximum student contribution amount for 2021 is $11,300. Another major advantage of a CSP is that graduating students are guaranteed an internship in Australia as per The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreement.

If you are enrolled in a CSP, you may be eligible for a HECS-HELP loan which would cover your Student Contribution Amount. If studying medicine, a HELP loan reaches its maximum limit at $155,448. It is important to note that the HELP loan does not cover accommodation, laptops, or textbooks. You need to start paying back this loan once your annual income reaches a certain threshold - in 2021-22, this threshold is $47,014.

CSPs are available for:

  • Australian citizens
  • Australian permanent humanitarian visa holders
  • Australian permanent residents
  • New Zealand citizens

Within the CSP category, there are Bonded Programmes, which aim to address the shortage of medical doctors in regional, rural and remote areas. While you may maximise your chance of getting an offer by being prepared to accept a bonded place, you need to keep in mind that you will be required to work in an area of workforce shortage for one to six years should you accept such an offer. The length of required time is dependent on your Deed of Agreement form.

Refer to the following links for more information on CSPs and Bonded Programmes:

2. Domestic full-fee place

Domestic full-fee places may be offered to students who were not offered a CSP, or students applying to programmes that do not offer a CSP (e.g. Bond University, Macquarie University). Full-fee paying students are required to pay a considerably higher tuition fee since they do not receive a government subsidy. This varies from university to university, but is typically in the range of $40,000-$80,000 and is close to the international student fee. It should be noted that domestic full-fee paying students may not be guaranteed an internship in Australia upon successful completion of their medical degree, whereas CSP students are.

3. International place

Many Australian medical schools have varying numbers of reserved places for international students. For instance, Notre Dame’s Sydney campus will accept a maximum of 10 international students, while the University of Adelaide will have 36 places for international students in 2022. Tuition fees for international students vary from university to university, but as a guide you can expect to pay about $70,000-$80,000 each year. Medical degrees awarded in Australia are internationally recognised and graduates may apply for residency positions in other countries (e.g. if a graduate wishes to practise medicine back in their own country). It is important to note that, due to factors such as eligible visas, it may be more challenging for international students to secure an internship in Australia after graduating compared to domestic students.

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Medical Student Places In New Zealand

For medical schools in New Zealand, there are two types of places available: domestic and international. Domestic places are akin to CSPs in Australia in that the government subsidises the tuition fees, and students can expect to pay around $15,000 per year for years 2-6 (first year fee is ~$8,000). Currently, permanent residents and citizens of New Zealand and Australia are considered as domestic students in New Zealand. International students can expect to pay around $80,000-$90,000 per year for years 2-6 and ~$35,000 for the first year. It should be noted that like Australia, the prospect of getting an internship may be more difficult for international students in New Zealand, but graduates have an option of applying for residency positions in other countries.

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Other places and pathways

You may be eligible for bonus points or be able to apply to reserved places under special schemes (e.g. rural, equity, Indigenous Australian, Māori-Pacific Islander schemes). If you think that you may be eligible, it is strongly advisable to check application forms or contact individual universities for details.

A square academic cap

What Do These Medical Degrees Mean? MD vs MBBS vs MChD vs MBChB

Currently, medical schools in Australia and New Zealand offer a number of different medical degrees (MD, MBBS, MBChB and MChD). All of these degrees are recognised by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and allow you to undertake an internship at a hospital in Australia or New Zealand (i.e. they all enable you to become a medical doctor).

One subtle difference between these degrees revolves around their recognition in the qualifications framework. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and New Zealand Qualifications Framework set out the “level” of education represented by a degree or qualification. Under both frameworks, Level 7 refers to a Bachelor’s degree and Level 9 refers to a Master’s degree. Traditionally, medical graduates were awarded a Level 7 qualification, but many Australian universities with a postgraduate medical program now offer a Level 9 qualification.

Here we summarise the different degrees:

MD (Doctor of Medicine)

  • Awarded at Level 9 in AQF
  • Direct entry or graduate entry
  • Takes 4-6 years to complete
  • It should be noted that some confusion exists over the title of MD, as the “MD” title was traditionally (and in some cases is) reserved for a higher research degree in both Australia and New Zealand, comparable to a PhD.

MChD (Doctor of Medicine and Surgery)

  • Awarded at Level 9 in AQF
  • Graduate entry
  • Takes 4 years to complete

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery)

  • Awarded at Level 7 in AQF
  • Direct entry
  • Takes 5-6 years to complete

MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery)

  • Awarded at Level 7 in NZQF (equivalent to AQF 7)
  • Direct entry (also possible for graduates to enter at year 1 or 2, depending on prerequisite fulfilment)
  • Takes 6 years to complete

Again, it should be stressed that all degrees are recognised as being comparable by the AMC.

Are you interested in attending a medical school in the UK instead of Australia or New Zealand? Check out Medify’s UK Medical School Admissions Guide.

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