Written by Vishaak Gangasandra
A Medical Degree is one of the most sought-after degrees in Australia and is quite selective to get into. Information directly from the Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand reveals that Medicine in Australia has the lowest rates of acceptance out of any tertiary education program, with each university accepting ~5% of all applicants (that’s just 1 in every 20 students). But don’t get fooled by these numbers, your ability to get into medicine is not at all dictated by chance but rather by your preparedness and knowledge of the application process.
From dozens of case studies I have conducted on aspiring doctors for the past 3 years, the factor that can best boost your likelihood of getting into medicine, after getting good test results (of course), is your knowledge of the medical schools’ application processes and more notably, what they look for in candidates.
In Queensland, there are 4 universities offering medical degrees: Bond, Griffith (there are 3 options to study medicine at Griffith), UQ and JCU.
What is important to know is that there are alternative routes to Medicine, or on-standard routes into medicine - more specifically, students can choose to undertake 2 different pathways into medicine: direct entry and graduate entry, each of which has its own perks.
Every medical school in Queensland offers direct entry into their medical programs and both UQ and Griffith University have graduate entry programs. The difference between the two programs is fundamentally the timeline of application. For the direct entry programs, students apply straight after finishing their Grade 12 studies and are offered a spot after high school whilst graduate entry programs require students to complete undergraduate courses at university, sit the GAMSAT and then apply to medical schools. This is especially useful if you're searching up "graduate entry medicine Australia without GAMSAT". There is no traditional path, as there is always a path if you really put your mind to it. If you're interested in getting into Medicine yourself, check out this collection of Australia's top UCAT tutors.
In this blog, I’ll cover the entry requirements and the program structure of the direct entry medical programs across Queensland:
The University of Queensland
(Doctor of Medicine (Provisional Entry for School Leavers))
Subject Prerequisites: Year 12 English (or equivalent)
ATAR: Adjusted ATAR 95.00 (but need 99.00 + to be competitive)
UCAT: Competitive Score (Generally above 90th Percentile)
Additional: Sit an MMI Interview (to be held in November-December)
Program Structure: The Provisional Entry into the Doctor of Medicine at UQ guarantees students a seat in UQ Doctor of Medicine Program but requires that they first complete an undergraduate degree at UQ. Students are guaranteed a seat in medicine but don’t start it until at least after 3 years of undergraduate studies. UQ is one of the top medical colleges in Australia.
What is nice about this program is that students are given full freedom to choose any UQ degree for their undergraduate studies (I have close friends who chose a Bachelor of Economics or a Bachelor of Laws as their undergraduate degree). You can even hypothetically complete a Bachelor of Dental Science and then go into the Doctor of Medicine (a 9-year combined degree that would qualify you as both a Dentist and a Doctor).
Perks: UQ is ranked amongst the top 50 universities globally and is, by a far margin, Queensland’s best research university. UQ offers its students access to the best research facilities that are at the forefront of medical innovation (institutes such as the AIBN, QIMR and TRI). Furthermore, UQ has a medical affiliation with the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Prince Charles Hospital, some of the country’s leading hospitals.
Additionally, for high-achieving students, there are enrichment programs (specifically the UQ Liveris Academy) that put students in touch with high-profile business CEO’s, Politicians, Nobel Peace Prize Winners etc.
(Bachelor of Medical Science)
Subject Prerequisites: Year 12 English (or equivalent) + Expected to have done one of Grade 12 Biology, Physics or Chemistry.
ATAR: (variable across years): 99.85 (Gold Coast Campus) / 99.75 (Nathan Campus) / 99.6 (Sunshine Coast)
UCAT: Not Considered
Additional: No interview is needed
Program Structure: Provisional entry for current school leavers provides a direct pathway to the MD, guaranteeing you a place in the medical program conditional on your successful completion of Griffith University's Bachelor of Medical Science course and gaining a minimum GPA of 5.0.
If you get accepted in the Gold Coast or Nathan Campus programs, you complete the first 2 years of your degree at the campus you got selected into and then complete the remaining 4 years of the degree on the Gold Coast Campus (just be aware that you might need to relocate to the Gold Coast after 2 years in this program). If you are selected for the Griffith Sunshine Coast program, you complete the entirety of your degree on the Sunshine Coast.
The most important thing to note for this program is: Bonded and Non-Bonded medical spots are not determined straight after you leave school like at other universities. The GPA that you get in your first 2 years will determine your enrolment status and hence it is important to take the first 2 years of your degree academically seriously to get into the more sought-after non-bonded places.
James Cook University
(Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery)
Subject Prerequisites: Year 12 English (or equivalent), Maths Methods (or equivalent) and Chemistry
ATAR: Variable, but need 98.00 + to be competitive
UCAT: Not Considered
Additional: Hand-Write and mail an application answering several essay-style questions and sit a panel interview
Program Structure: JCU is one of the only Australian universities that still offer a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) which is an undergraduate medicine degree whilst most other universities offer a post-graduate entry Doctor of Medicine (MD) program. In the medical industry though, this makes no difference except for the piece of paper you receive at the end of your degree. This degree is a 5-year degree, one of the shorter degrees for medicine in Australia. Additionally, JCU has a strong focus on Indigenous and Rural Health and outreach. You don't need UCAT for postgraduate medicine.
(Bachelor of Medical Studies, Doctor of Medicine)
Subject Prerequisites: Year 12 English (or equivalent) and one of: Maths Methods (or equivalent), Chemistry or Physics
ATAR: Variable, but need 98.00 + to be competitive
UCAT: Not Considered
Additional: Psychometric Test and MMI Interview
Program Structure: At 4 years and 8 months, Bond University’s medical program is the shortest medical program in Australia and New Zealand, allowing you to be a doctor at the earliest age of 21 years old. Located on the Gold Coast, Bond University allows for a maximum of 120 students each year, making this program competitive like all the other programs. The Psychometric Test comprises of two assessments: a personality test that should take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete, and an emotional intelligence test that should take about 30-45 minutes to complete, which aim to gauge the personalities of applicants.
If you're interested in getting into Medicine yourself, check out this collection of Australia's top UCAT tutors.
Written by KIS Academics Tutor for QCE Chemistry, QCE Physics and QCE Ancient History, Vishaak Gangasandra. Vishaak is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Biotechnology/Doctor of Medicine at UQ. Vishaak received a 99th Percentile UCAT Score, graduated with an ATAR of 99.95 and was awarded by QCAA as Queensland’s Number 1 Student. He is currently involved in translational research at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and represents 40, 000 students at UQ on the Academic Board, having access to inside knowledge on the university’s applications process. You can view Vishaak’s profile here and request him as a tutor.
Australian Medical Council [Internet]. Canberra ACT: Changes to Primary Qualifications for Admission to Practise Medicine in Australia: Implications for AMC Accreditation; 2012 [updated October 2012; cited 2016 Jul 24]. Available from: http://www.amc.org.au/joomla-fil
The University of Queensland [Online]. Future Students, Doctor of Medicine Entry Requirements . Available from: https://future-students.uq.edu.au/admissions/doctor-medicine/review-entry-requirements
Griffith University [Online]. Bachelor of Medical Science Summary and Enrolments . Available from: https://www.griffith.edu.au/study/degrees/bachelor-of-medical-science-1280
Study Medicine [Online]. Australian Medical School application statistics . Available from: https://www.studymedicine.com.au/chance-of-acceptance-into-medicine#:~:text=In%202020%2C%20there%20were%20(including,Acceptances%3A%201677
James Cook University [Online]. Entry Requirements into the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) . Available from: https://www.jcu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/272756/2021-MBBS-Dom-infosheet_Final.pdf
Bond University [Online]. Medical Program Guide . Available from: https://bond.edu.au/files/6289/Medical%20Program%20Guide%202022.pdf
Additional Information Cited / Acknowledgements:
University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine Coursework Admissions Standards Sub-Committee: Restructure of Admissions Policy and Framework
I acknowledge the University of Queensland Dean of Medicine, 4 Anonymous Griffith University Medical Students, 3 Anonymous Bond University Medical Students and 2 Anonymous James Cook University Medical Students with whom I consulted with in the process of planning, writing and editing this article.