Study Medicine in Australia

So you want to Study Medicine in Australia?

med2Considering Australia also offers a more streamlined application process (as compared to the UK) and a slightly more encouraging admissions rate, it’s easy  to see why many international students are considering Australia as a destination to study medicine.  Having said that, it is not easy to get into a Medicine program. Otherwise we would all be doctors! So read on for all you need to know about study medicine in Australia

Section 1: Programs Offered 

Six Australian universities offer undergraduate entry medical programmes recognized by SMC:

  • Monash University (5 years)
  • University of Adelaide (6 years)
  • University of Newcastle (5 years)
  • University of Tasmania (5 years)
  • University New South Wales (6 years)
  • Flinders University (6 years)

Three more Australian universities offer integrated bachelors + Medical Degree (MD) programs, guaranteeing a spot in the MD course at the time of application, assuming successful completion of the bachelors:

  • University of Sydney (7 years)
  • University of Queensland (7 years)
  • University of Western Australia (6 years)

The integrated options typically are a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (or similar) then followed by graduate Medicine.  At the end of the program you are a qualified doctor.

Still want to study medicine in Australia? Read on.


Application Requirements

There are essentially three parts  to the admissions process. Your admissions decision is determined based on your grades, your standardized test scores, and  on your interview performance. These are not necessarily in equal proportions.

Application form

Most of the application process can be conducted online

med1Academic record (IB/A Level scores)

Applications to Australian medical schools are highly competitive. Though Students with 37-38 IB/AAB GCE might technically meet the minimum cut off, typically students should only expect to see an offer with a 40+ IB or AAAA on Cambridge GCE A Levels. It is also important to note that most universities will have a quota for international students going into their Medicine programs. So this may mean that even though you have met the entry requirement, you are not guaranteed a place in the program.


ISAT – International Student Admissions Test

The ISAT is required for students from overseas applying to medical schools in Australia. According to the ISAT website ‘ISAT is a 3-hour computer-based multiple-choice test designed to assess a candidate’s intellectual skills and abilities that are the foundation of academic success at tertiary level.

The ISAT is widely required by universities in Australia. Nearly all well-known undergraduate pathway schools will ask for it, with the exception of University of Newcastle and University of Adelaide, which require PQA, and University of Sydney, which doesn’t require a test at all.

  • Test Structure

The test is broken into 100 questions, which are a random combination of mathematics and verbal questions. Students have three hours to complete the test. Breaks are permitted at any time; however, the clock does not stop during breaks.

  • Test Dates

Except for a two-week period in late February into early March, the ISAT is available year-round. Students can register for it anytime online. The ISAT test result is valid for two years.

  • Score Guide

Students receive a raw score out of 100 and a scaled score out of 200. Typically, students who score above 180 or in the 85th percentile or above are likely to be shortlisted for interviews.



The PQA is required by only two schools in Australia. Acccording to the PQA website ‘The  PQA is designed to test the student’s cognitive skills and personality traits. There are four sections on the test: Mental Agility, Interpersonal Traits Questionnaire, Interpersonal Traits Questionnaire and Personal Characteristics Inventory.

Schools Requiring PQA

The PQA is required by Newcastle University and the University of Adelaide

  • Test Structure

The sections of the PQA are as follows:

  1. Mental Agility Test – similar in content to the ISAT
  2. Interpersonal Traits Questionnaire
  3. Personal Characteristics inventory


  • Test Dates

The PQA is only administered by invitation as part of the interview process. As such, students should first submit their applications to the relevant universities, and then they will be given instructions on completing the PQA should they be shortlisted to take it.

  • Score Guide

As a personality based test, the PQA does not have scores in the traditional sense. Lower numbers indicate the tendency to value the rights of individuals whereas higher numbers indicate the tendency to value social norms.

Why PQA ?

For a number of reasons a selection policy based purely on academic marks is no longer enough. The community and medical professionals have strongly indicated a desire for graduating health practitioners who have a demonstrated ability to communicate with and relate to their patients, in addition to having the necessary highly developed levels of skill within their field.

Woman during job interview and four elegant members of management; Shutterstock ID 370947476; PO: angelikiJ-for robin kawakami

Interview (if shortlisted)

Interviews can come in one of two formats: panel interviews and multiple mini interviews (MMI).

Panel interviews are the traditional format. Candidates will sit in front of a group of 5-6 individuals, who will ask the student questions evaluating their grasp of scientific concepts, their commitment to medicine, and their personal values.

The MMI iswhere panel members are split up into separate rooms, and students will rotate through each of the stations. In each room, students will be asked one or two questions. They will have 5-10 minutes to answer before moving on to the next room.

This format has become increasingly popular in recent years.  This format allows students to compose themselves before going to the next session.

Application Deadlines

As Australia’s academic calendar runs on a different timeline, so do Australia’s application deadlines.

The Australian academic year begins in February. Most Australia programs have rolling applications, with the 1st round deadlines falling between 13 April (Monash) to 30 June (Adelaide) of the year before matriculation. Applying by these early dates is encouraged for students. However, applications do remain open until October or November.

Check the website of universities you are interested in to confirm their application deadline.

medicine6Cost and Financial Aid

You will have to consult the individual web pages of the programs for specific fees of each university. On average, expect tuition at an Australian medical school to total AUD$60-70,000 per year. Although these numbers might seem intimidating, they are actually relatively on par with the fees for the UK and the USA.

In addition to the school fees, you should budget an additional AUD $20,000 per year for living expenses.  Funding for your studies will have to come from parents, local government support, scholarships, or private loans.

And to Sum Up

Get started early. Be organized. Do your research. – Study Medicine in Australia

Recognize that there are many careers in the field of health sciences. Medicine is only one of them. Being a doctor requires a high degree of commitment. Being a doctor is not as glamorous as it may appear in the media. Being a doctor, especially in the early part of your career requires very long hours of work and time spent away from friends and family.


For more information contact us at Insight Education Consulting.