Types Of Medical Student Places Offered And Degrees Conferred

Last updated: 03/12/21

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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).

Below is a summary of Indigenous Australian and Māori Entry Schemes in Australia and New Zealand.

Direct Entry Medicine

Medical School

Applicants must provide proof of Indigenous Australian, Māori and/or Pacific Islander descent

Applicants must sit the UCAT ANZ

Applicants must complete a written application or a supporting statement

Applicants must attend an interview

Bond University

  • Bond University does not have a specific access scheme for Indigenous Australian applicants.
  • Applicants must participate in psychometric testing.

Charles Sturt - First Nations Applicants scheme

  • During the interview, applicants will need to provide transcripts, resumes and other supporting documentation of community involvement.
  • Applicants can indicate their preference to study at either Charles Sturt or Western Sydney campuses, but the preference is not guaranteed.

Curtin University - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway

  • Applicants may receive a bonus of up to 5 points added to their ATAR.
  • Applicants are not required to sit the UCAT ANZ, with the exception of those within the Pre-Medicine enabling course.
  • Applicants within the Pre-Medicine and Health Science enabling courses are required to pass all units of the course.
  • Applicants do not need to apply through TISC

James Cook University - Alternative Entry Program

  • Applicants must have successfully completed the prerequisites of year 12 Chemistry, English, and Mathematical Methods.

Monash University - Indigenous Student Access Scheme

  • Family and significant others are welcome to attend the interview with the applicant.
  • Documents that showcase academic achievement, community involvement, and other accomplishments should be provided for the interview.

University of Adelaide - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Pathway

  • Selection is based on two categories: written application and interview.

University of Auckland - Māori and Pacific Admission Scheme

  • Māori and Pacific applicants are required to meet the same academic standards as all other undergraduate students.
  • Applying through this pathway will provide additional academic tutorial, pastoral support, a culturally safe community, and other bonuses.
  • A minimum GPA of 6.0 is required.

University of Newcastle and University of New England - Miroma Bunbilla Program

  • 17 places are set aside for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
  • Applicants must attend a confirmation of Aboriginality interview.
  • Must participate in a Multiple Skills Assessment and Personal Qualities Assessment.
  • Must attend the Miroma Bunbila Pre-Medicine  program activities during the month of December.

University of New South Wales - Indigenous Entry Scheme

  • Applicants must apply through the Pre-Medicine Program (PMP). The 3-week program is designed to introduce Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students to an engaging environment where students can develop fundamental study skills. Applicants will be accepted into the medical program depending on their success in the PMP and their interview. 
  • To apply for the PMP, applicants must:
  1. Express motivation to study medicine
  2. Have the academic capability to study medicine (UNSW will use Secondary education records, Tertiary education records to assess this)
  3. Demonstrate the ability to relate to Indigenous Australian health issues

University of Otago - Mirror on Society Subcategory

  • Applicants who have Indigenous Pacific Origins must be residents of New Zealand before applying.

Western Sydney University - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway

  • Must apply through Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).
  • Applicants can indicate their preference to study at either Charles Sturt or Western Sydney campuses, but the preference is not guaranteed.

University of Tasmania - Aboriginal Entry Application Process

  • Must satisfy year 12 English and Chemistry (or equivalent) prerequisites.
  • Must have a competitive ATAR (school-leaver), or qualifications and experience within a health-related field such as nursing (school-leaver).

Graduate Entry Medicine

Medical School

Applicants must provide proof of Indigenous Australian, Māori and/or Pacific Islander descent

Applicants must sit the GAMSAT

Applicants must complete a written application or a supporting statement

Applicants must attend an interview

Australian National University - Indigenous Pathway

  • Offers are based on 50% interview score and the composite GPA/GAMSAT score of 50%.

Deakin University - Indigenous Entry Scheme

  • 5% of places are reserved for Indigenous Australian students.
  • Minimum GPA of 5.0 is required.

Flinders University - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Entry Stream

  • Applicants can either study in Adelaide or in the Northern Territory. 
  • Must complete the Flinders 4-5 week Preparation for Medicine Program (PMP).
  • There is no GPA requirement, however, a competitive GPA is necessary. A competitive GPA is around 5.5.

Griffith University - First Peoples' Health Pathway

  • Minimum GPA of 5.0 is required.
  • Although the GUMSAA interview is not required, applicants are still required to attend a panel interview conducted by those within the university’s Indigenous Support Unit and the First Peoples Health Unit.

Macquarie University - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Entry Pathway

  • Written application outlines why you have chosen to attend university.
  • Applicants will receive a 3% adjustment bonus to their GPA.
  • Submission of GAMSAT results is optional.
  • Interview and application guidance will automatically be provided.

University of Melbourne - Indigenous Student Entry Pathway

  • Applicants are not required to apply through GEMSAS.
  • Must have a minimum of a 5.0 GPA.
  • Applicants are required to participate in both an MMI and a panel interview with Indigenous Australian representatives.

University of Notre Dame (Fremantle & Sydney) - Aboriginal Entry Pathway

  • The interview is conducted by members who are a part of the university’s Aboriginal Health Team.
  • If accepted, you must attend the one-week pre-medicine preparation program. 

University of Queensland - Admission Pathway

  • Although the university encourages applicants to submit a GAMSAT score, it is not compulsory.

University of Sydney - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway

  • It is preferred for applicants to have received a minimum of 50 in all sections of the GAMSAT.
  • A minimum GPA of 4.5 is necessary.
  • Must undergo two Multiple Mini Interviews.
  • There are two Indigenous Australian entry schemes for the University of Sydney. The first pathway is the Indigenous Facilitated Entry Scheme, for applicants with a bachelor’s degree and GAMSAT score. The second scheme is the Indigenous Entry Pathway. This is for applicants with a postgraduate degree but no bachelor’s degree or GAMSAT score.

University of Western Australia - Indigenous Entry Scheme

  • Up to 10% of places are available for those applying through the Indigenous entry scheme.
  • The interview will be conducted by the university’s Centre of Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health.

University of Wollongong - Indigenous Applicant Admissions

  • Applicants must attend the general interview process and an Indigenous community panel interview.

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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