Types of Medical School Places in Australia
2 months ago by Chris
In Australia, there are many different types of medical school places:
- Commonwealth Supported places
- Bonded Medical places
- Full fee paying places
- International places
- Special access scheme entry places
- Extended rural cohort places
It can be confusing to navigate all of these types of places, and know how to preference them in your university applications. In this blog we will explore these types of places in more detail.
Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP)
Commonwealth Supported Places, or CSPs, are the most common medical school places. They are offered by all public universities. In these subsidised medical school places, the federal government pays about 80% of the fees and you pay only 20% (about $10,000 per year). This fee, or Student Contribution Amount (SCA) can be paid upfront or taken as a HECS-HELP loan from the government (but it has to be paid back with interest when you start earning).
To qualify for a CSP you need to be one of the following:
- An Australian citizen
- An Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder
- An Australian permanent resident
- A New Zealand citizen
Graduating students with a CSP have the advantage of being guaranteed an internship in Australia. The drawback is that medical CSPs are tightly controlled. The Health Minister allocates a set number of medical CSPs to each accredited provider for each calendar year. The limited number of CSPs means that they are highly competitive, especially for medicine.
Bonded Medical Places (BMP)
The purpose of the Bonded Medical Program is to meet the demand for doctors in areas which have workforce shortages, that is, in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia.
The Government provides students with a CSP place in medicine (which still includes the same fees as a CSP), in return for a commitment to work in predefined areas of need for three years after they graduate. This is called a ‘return of service obligation’ (RoSO). The terms of the placement (including location and duration) are subject to change and should be checked every year. However, once you have accepted a BMP position, the terms of the placement are fixed.
As the obligation to work in a rural place may not be agreeable to all students, the entry requirements are generally lower than for a CSP.
Students can apply for the Bonded Medical Program if they:
- are an Australian citizen or permanent visa holder
- reside in Australia
- have agreed to the terms of the Bonded Medical Program
The program is open to all students who are eligible for a CSP. You do not need to have come from a rural or remote area in order to apply. After submitting your application to study medicine, the selection process for a Bonded CSP is determined by the university.
Full fee paying places (FFPP)
Domestic full fee places are offered by three universities. Only one university (Bond University, which is a private university) offers full fee paying places for undergraduate medicine. Full fee paying postgraduate medicine places are offered by two public universities (Melbourne University and Macquarie University). The total fees payable are in the range of $400-500,000. There is no government subsidy or rebate on university fees, however, students can take out a loan.
International students can apply for a place at many Australian medical schools. A certain number of places are set aside for such students, and the number of places is capped. Fees vary according to each university but range from $70,000 - $80,000 per year. There can be difficulties in obtaining an Australian medical internship for international students, due to visa regulations and internship categories. Students can apply for internships in other countries as Australian medical degrees are internationally recognised.
Special Access Schemes
Rural and Equity
If you are a domestic student, you may be eligible for bonus points or be able to apply to reserved places under special schemes (for example, rural and equity). The entry requirements are lower than for standard places. Therefore, if you qualify for these schemes, it is highly recommended that you apply for them. You should visit the university websites for more information on these schemes and how to apply.
Several universities have an Indigenous student access scheme. These may have different entry requirements. For example, proof of indigenous descent required, UCAT not required, bonus points or a bonus percentage adjustment on selection rank. Some universities require students to attend a pre-medicine program, for example, Newcastle and Notre Dame. Some universities require students to attend an MMI and panel interview with Indigenous representatives, for example, Griffith University. Other universities may reserve a percentage of their places for students applying through this scheme, such as the University of Western Australia.
Extended rural cohort
Monash University has Extended Rural Cohort (ERC) places which require students to spend most of their clinical training years in a primary health care setting in rural and regional Victoria. Unlike the BMP, students are not required to work in an area of need upon graduation. Australian or New Zealand citizens, Australian permanent residents and holders of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa can apply for an ERC place. Students do not need to be from a rural or remote background to apply. There are 30 ERC CSP places available. Students must use the ERC VTAC code to be considered for a place. The entry requirements are slightly lower for ERC places.
Which type of place should I put first on my preferences?
We recommend that you put CSP as your first preference and BMP as a second preference. You will not gain any advantage if you put BMP ahead of CSP in your preferences list. If you are ranked highly, you will be offered a CSP place; if you are ranked lower, you will be given a BMP place. If you are unable to obtain entry with a CSP place, you can consider applying as a full-fee paying student.
Suggested preferences for Monash university are CSP, then ERC, then BMP.
For more information, check out our blog on preferencing.