If you dream of becoming a doctor in Australia, why not consider beginning or continuing your studies here? Each country has its own university system for training doctors, and Australia has a unique system for its future medical professionals. In this article, we will explain how studying in Australia works, and specifically outline the path to becoming a doctor.
Study medicine in Australia
There are two types of medical training in Australia:
- The undergraduate medical curriculum, which requires passing an entrance exam, the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). This program generally lasts 6 years and leads to a Bachelor of Medicine (MBBS).
- The graduate medical curriculum, which requires the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) entrance examination. This program leads to a Doctorate in Medicine and Surgery (MChD) after 4 years.
The application process is difficult and involves several stages.
Conditions for entering an Australian university
To study medicine in Australia, you’ll typically need to have completed high school and earned good grades in science and math courses. In addition, you’ll need to take an entrance exam.
Students applying for an undergraduate medical degree will have their applications assessed against three criteria:
- Academic merit (BTEC Diplomas are not accepted by Australian medical schools as being suitable for entry)
- Aptitude test score
- Interview (Some interviews are formal others are more relaxed discussions held over the phone)
To be considered for application, students need to have finished their school leaving qualification (or be in their final year of study) and obtained high grades in the relevant subjects, as well as attaining a minimum score on an aptitude test.
Once academic and aptitude test score requirements are met, you will be invited for an interview.
After a license (graduate program)
For Postgraduate studies, determining equivalences with your previous training can be complex. You will need to provide transcripts from your undergraduate years. In any case, you will have to take the GAMSAT, the admission test for qualified medicine, which includes more than 5 hours of multiple-choice questions and writing on the humanities.
The formalities to be carried out, as well as the required documents, may vary from one faculty to another. Given the complexity of medical courses, it is advisable to directly contact the chosen university. Additionally, we recommend referring to the GEMSAS website, which facilitates the admissions process for some of the medical schools in Australia.
International Students’ aptitude test (undergraduate)
Most Australian universities that require aptitude test results as part of their application process, use the International Student Admissions Test (ISAT), which is administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). However, the University of Adelaide is an exception and uses its own aptitude test, called the PQA.
ISAT is a three-hour computer-based multiple choice test that assesses skills such as reasoning, logical deduction, and judgment formation. It does not test any specific subject knowledge and cannot be revised for. ISAT can be taken within an 11-month window at a time and date of your choosing, as there are no set testing dates. Although familiarity with the test format can be helpful, ACER provides practice tests on their website. It’s important to note that ISAT can only be taken once within a 12-month period.
Medical schools in Australia
More than fifteen Australian universities offer several medical study programs. Here is a list of some establishments offering these courses:
- Australian National University (ACT)
- The University of Newcastle at Callaghan (suburb of Newcastle- NSW)
- Deakin University in Geelong (Victoria)
- Griffith University (Victoria)
- The University of Melbourne (Melbourne Medical School) (Victoria)
- Monash University (Victoria)
- The University of Notre Dame in Fremantle (WA)
- University of Notre Dame in Sydney (NSW)
- The University of Queensland (Queensland)
- The University of Western Australia (WA)
- Wollongong University (NSW)
- Camperdown in Sydney (NSW)
- Macquarie university in Sydney (NSW)
- Flinders University in Adelaide (South Australia)
- James Cook University in Cairns (Queensland)
- Bond University on the Gold Coast (Queensland)
Duration of studies and curriculum
A medical degree in Australia typically takes around 4-6 years to complete, depending on the program and whether you pursue postgraduate training. You’ll also need to complete clinical placements and pass licensing exams before you can practice as a GP.
The curriculum for medical studies in Australia typically includes courses in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and clinical skills. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in clinical rotations in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
The cost of medical studies
A sizeable budget
Australian universities are renowned worldwide. The cost of studying medicine in Australia can be quite high, especially for international students. Tuition fees range from around AUD 25,000 to AUD 80,000 per year depending on the university and program. To complete a course, expect to pay around £170,000. However, many universities offer scholarships and financial assistance to help students cover the costs.
It is important to note that in Australia, medical professions are highly paid, sometimes up to three times higher than overseas. Medicine is a highly respected and in-demand profession in Australia, and there is a strong demand for qualified doctors in both urban and rural areas. After completing your studies, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue a range of medical specialties, such as family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, or psychiatry.
For those interested in studying in Australia, scholarships are available at some universities, including Bond University (QLD) and the University of Melbourne. These scholarships are based on the academic excellence of the candidate and are available to high-achieving local and international students. It is recommended to inquire directly with the universities to find out more about the award criteria.