If you’re interested in a career in medicine and looking to study and practise in Australia, there’s a fair amount you need to know before you apply. So, we’ve put together a guide to help you understand the different medicine entry requirements and medicine career requirements and how to make your dreams of studying and practising medicine in Australia a reality.
What are the requirements to study medicine in Australia?
Medicine entry requirements in Australia can vary between institutions, but generally, there are a few key things that education providers look at.
International students applying for an undergraduate degree (which is often a prerequisite for studying a Doctor of Medicine) need to be able to meet three main conditions to be considered for acceptance. These are:
- Academic grades
- International Student Admissions Test (ISAT) (see more on aptitude tests below)
International students applying for postgraduate study, such as a Doctor of Medicine, have to meet different requirements, including:
- Undergraduate GPA
- Aptitude test score from the International Student Admissions Test (ISAT), Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test (GAMSAT) or North American Medical Colleges Admission Test (MCAT) (see more on aptitude tests below)
As well as an impressive academic record, students applying for undergraduate or postgraduate study will need to demonstrate fluent English language skills by taking an English language test that is approved by the university. You can read more about English language tests in the section below.
Applications also require information about you, your background, your ambitions, your practised skills and how you have worked on them, as well as other specific information relevant to the institution’s application process. It’s wise to research where you’d like to study and understand the application process and admission requirements for their medicine course, so that you can form and implement a plan to reach your goal.
Which prerequisite subjects should I study?
Depending on which institution you wish to apply to, required school subjects for entry into undergraduate degrees often include chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology and English. To get into a postgraduate course, you may need to have completed subjects such as anatomy, biochemistry and physiology in your undergraduate studies in order to be considered.
Look up the universities you’re interested in attending and search their medicine subject requirements; these are usually found under ‘entry requirements’ or ‘admissions’. If you can’t find information you think applies to you, contact the international student liaison or services provided by the university to make sure you have all the information you need before committing to your final years of study at school.
What academic grades do I need to study medicine in Australia?
The academic grades required to apply for a bachelor’s degree in Australia vary widely between universities. Generally, grades of between ABB to A*A*A* for A-Levels and 35 or higher for IB courses are non-negotiable for entry into undergraduate courses. It’s worth noting that these grades will make you eligible to apply, but won’t necessarily guarantee a spot in your chosen course.
For entry into a postgraduate course, your chosen institution will assess your undergraduate degree GPA. The exact GPA required to get into your preferred postgraduate degree will vary between education providers, but generally speaking, it will need to be quite strong.
What aptitude test do I need to study medicine in Australia?
Depending on whether you’re entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies, Australian universities require international students to successfully complete an aptitude test such as the International Student Admissions Test (ISAT), North American Medical Colleges Admission Test (MCAT) or Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test (GAMSAT). (Although, the University of Adelaide does its own test called the Personal Qualities Assessment, or PQA.)
These tests are designed to assess your scientific knowledge, as well as other skills like critical thinking, writing and problem-solving.
Do I need to take an English language test?
If you are from a non-English speaking background or you haven’t completed four years of secondary education at an institution that teaches entirely in English, you may be required to take an English language test, such as OET, to be eligible to apply to study medicine at an Australian university. You can find the details of the tests accepted by your chosen university on their website under ‘admission requirements’ or ‘course prerequisites’. Learn more about choosing an English language test here.
What other qualifications or skills do I need to apply to study medicine in Australia?
As with any application to study at a high level, there is often tough competition for spots in the best courses at revered institutions and specialist training providers. Building important skills via extra-curricular activities and mapping out your preferred study pathway are essential if you’re considering a career in medicine. Networking, volunteering and gaining work experience are also important aspects of ensuring your application is successful. Read more about launching your global healthcare career here.
Do I need specific qualifications for different disciplines within medicine in Australia?
If you have studied your medical degree in Australia, once you have successfully completed your studies, internship and residency, you will need to undertake vocational training in your chosen specialty. Training duration, intensity and format vary depending on the specialty you wish to pursue. These include:
- General Practice: Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- Radiology: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
- Psychiatry: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology
- Ophthalmology: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
- Surgery: Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
- Anaesthetics: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
- Emergency Medicine: Australasian College of Emergency Medicine
- Physician (cardiology, clinical genetics, infectious diseases, paediatrics, oncology): Royal Australian College of Physicians
You can find a full list of specialties here. It’s best to research what you might like to study well ahead of time, but you will also learn more about each specialty as you study your degree.
What are the requirements to practise medicine in Australia if I studied outside of Australia?
Medical graduates or professionals who studied medicine in another country are called international medical graduates, or IMGs. To register to practise medicine in Australia, IMGs must provide evidence of eligibility to undertake one of the following pathways:
- Competent Authority pathway
- Standard pathway
- Specialist pathway
Each of these pathways assesses the knowledge and clinical skills of IMGs seeking medical registration in Australia. These pathways are managed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which is responsible for the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. Registration is held through the Medical Board of Australia (the Board).
Which IMG pathway should I take?
The Competent Authority pathway is for IMGs who have completed training through a Board-approved competent authority and are seeking general registration.
The Standard pathway is for IMGs seeking general registration as a medical practitioner in Australia, who are not eligible for the Competent or Specialist pathway.
The Specialist pathway is for IMGs who are considered overseas-trained specialists that wish to apply for a test of comparability to Australian-trained specialists (specialist recognition), as well as for IMGs applying for an ‘area of need’ specialist position in Australia.
Requirements for these pathways include holding a primary qualification in medicine awarded by a training institution recognised by both the Australian Medical Council and the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS).
Each pathway also requires recent training and assessment specific to that pathway. Click on the links in the text above to read about the eligibility requirements for each pathway, including medicine degree requirements.
Do I need to take an English test if I’m an international medical graduate?
Yes! The Medical Board of Australia, as well as other important national Boards, requires IMGs to successfully complete an English language test. There are several tests you can take, including OET. This test is specifically designed for healthcare professionals, as it uses industry-specific language, prepares you for real-life job scenarios and is accepted all over the world, including in Australia. You can read more about OET here.
There are several other options for English language tests, too. You can read up on all your options here.
“Yay, I have to take an English language test,” said nobody ever! With OET, you’ll be learning the kind of language you’ll need to succeed in your work or studies, without wasting your time on irrelevant topics. We can’t make studying for a test fun but we do make it worth your while!
Click HERE to start your international healthcare career today.