Undergraduate (school leaver) medicine
There are two structures of medical degrees open to school leavers in Australia and New Zealand.
The first is the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. These programmes involve clinical experience from the start of the course.
The second are double degrees, for example the Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine. These are largely academic for the first (bachelors) section of study, with more limited exposure to clinical healthcare environments. Students must maintain a GPA at or above a set standard during the first two years in order to progress into the four clinical years of the Doctor of Medicine.
Medical degrees in Australia and New Zealand have one intake each year, in February (semester 1). They take 6 years to complete.
Regardless of which structure you go for of the two options above, applications are assessed against three criteria:
- Academic merit (as demonstrated by grades in A-Levels, IB or equivalent. BTEC diplomas are not accepted by Australian or NZ universities for applications to study medicine)
- Aptitude test score
To be eligible to apply, you must have completed your school leaving qualification (or be in the final year of study, eg year 13 or Upper Sixth) with strong grades in the required subjects. You must also have achieved a minimum score on an aptitude test (see information below). Provided academic and test score requirements are met, students are then invited to interview for a place on the course.
What subjects should I study at school to be eligible?
There is some variation in subject pre-requisites but almost all medical schools will require you to have a strong pass in Chemistry (at A2 or Higher Level in IB). Most also require Maths. Physics or Biology is recommended.
What grades will I need?
Minimum 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.
What aptitude test should I take?
All but one of the Australian universities that assess aptitude test results as part of an 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.
Do Australian and NZ medical schools accept UCAT?
Not at the moment for international applicants. Some Australian schools have just begun to accept UCAT for domestic (Australian) applicants, but are not currently allowing international applicants to submit UCAT test results.
What is ISAT?
ISAT is run 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.
What does it test and can I revise for it?
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 is certainly an advantage, however, and you can access practice tests on the ACER website. You can only take ISAT once within a 12-month period – please plan carefully when will be best for you to fit this preparation in to your ongoing school work and other commitments.
When and where are interviews held?
Interview formats and requirements vary depending on the school. Some are formal, or MMI in format, and have to be attended in person while others are more relaxed discussions held over Skype or phone.
Undergraduate medicine: Key facts
Intake dates: 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.
Funding options: Not available for international students. Domestic students should contact the relevant medical school directly for information.
For more information about studying undergraduate medicine please contact Study Options.