Want to know how to get into medical school in Australia or New Zealand? Getting accepted to medical school in either country is an extremely competitive process, but a degree from any of the top-rated Oceanic medical colleges is highly coveted. Australia and New Zealand are home to some of the best medical universities in the world, and are among the medical schools that accept international students. Getting into med school in Australia or New Zealand can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. In this blog, we’ll look at how competitive getting into medical school is in Australia and New Zealand, selection factors and eligibility at the top universities, the Australian medical school application and medicine interview, and tuition rates for Australian and New Zealand med schools.


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Medical school in Australia and New Zealand

Thousands of students ask how to get into medical school in Australia or New Zealand every year. Both countries are popular destinations for aspiring medical students, and not just for the sunny weather and sandy beaches nearby. Medical schools in Australia and New Zealand are internationally recognized for their academic excellence and exemplary medicine programs, and med schools in Australia are some of the best places to earn a medical degree outside of the US, alongside med schools in the UK and medical schools in Canada.

Australia is home to some of the best medical schools in the world, including top universities like the University of Sydney, the University of Western Australia, the University of Queensland, the University of Melbourne and many more. Australia’s med schools are very IMG-friendly, too, and it is an excellent place for an international medical graduate residency. New Zealand is home to only four universities, including the top-ranked University of Auckland and the University of Otago, both offering medical programs.

Average Admission Rates for Med School Programs in Australia

Medicine remains the most difficult discipline to get into in Australia, and competition can be very high. Australia sees thousands of med school applicants each year, many of them international applicants. As New Zealand has only two universities offering medical degrees, competition can be even fiercer. Average admission rates for med school programs in Australia sit at around 30%. On average, students have a 1 in 3 chance of being accepted to medical school in Australia. New Zealand medical schools are also extremely competitive. The University of Auckland medicine program has an average acceptance rate of 8% for domestic students.

Average Acceptance Rate for Med School Program in University of Auckland Medicine

While the competition to get into medical school in Australia is a challenge, it can be done. The application process and selection factors for Australian medical schools is a bit different than medical schools in the US or Canada, but the bottom line is that all med school admissions committees are looking for excellence. Next we’ll take a look at the selection criteria for Australian med schools.

Selection factors of Australian med schools

Australian medical schools will make a decision on your application based on your overall GPA and your Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) score. On average, matriculating students at Australian med schools have an average GPA of 2.7 or higher. Average accepted GAMSAT scores are 61-64 for the best chance to get accepted.

Based on your score, they’ll decide whether to offer you a medicine interview or not. The medicine interview is your best chance to the admissions committee why they should admit you. A balance between excellent academic performance or test scores and a strong interview performance will create the best application for you to get into medical school in Australia. However, even if your scores are lower, you can still get an interview and prove you deserve a shot by submitting an excellent application overall. A medicine portfolio in Australia is also a common thing to see on applications, which summarizes your work experience, interests and non-academic qualities.

Each med school in Australia has its own criteria for evaluating applicants, and each school may differ in what they are looking for and what they want to see most in their applicants. In general, Australian med schools will be very interested in students who have rural experience, or healthcare experience working in a rural community. Students who have clinical research pre-med experience or strong healthcare work experience in smaller or rural communities will be viewed very favourably by Australian med schools. You can also find virtual research pre-med experience or other healthcare-related work to give your application a boost.

For international students applying to Australian med schools, an international student advisor or a med school admissions tutor may be a wise investment. Professional advisors or tutors can help you to make your medical school application stand out in a competitive pool of applicants, and can help you tailor your application directly to Australian med programs.

It should be noted that international applicants who completed their undergraduate degree outside of Australia will need to check with the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition to see if their bachelor’s degree can be considered equivalent to an Australian bachelor’s degree. It’s also a good idea to check your chosen school’s required prerequisites, as they may vary. Some Australian medical school programs will have additional prerequisite courses students must take in order to apply.

Australian med school application

In order to apply to medical school in Australia, you’ll need to submit an application through the Graduate Entry Medical School Admission System (GEMSAS). The University of Sydney is the only one of the Australian medical schools which uses a separate, independent application directly through the school. Otherwise, the school’s admissions process is almost the same. Australian med schools may also accept a personal statement for medical school but in general this information is included in the medicine portfolio. Your GAMSAT and GPA scores are important factors in the admissions process, but it is still possible to get into med school with a low GPA

Your GEMSAS application may consist of several items, including:

While the Australian med school application process is a bit less expansive than a medical school application in the US, it is not a straightforward process. Putting together an application is a time-consuming process and it is important to understand each step of the GEMSAS application. It’s a great idea to have a medical school application timeline to ensure you have time to craft the strongest possible application. 

Australia medicine interview

For strong applicants, medical schools in Australia will extend an invitation to interview. While an interview may not be sent to all applicants due to volume, an interview is the admissions committee’s chance to really get to know a candidate and determine whether they will be a good fit for the school. Australian medical schools use both the traditional panel interview and multiple-mini interview (MMI) format. You’ll need to know how to prepare for MMI and panel interviews, depending on which school you’ve applied to.

The best medicine interview prep for Australia med programs is mock med school interviews. Mock interviews are an excellent way to rehearse for the real deal, and to prepare good interview answers ahead of time. Research some international student interview questions and answers to get an idea of what you’ll be asked and how to prepare the best answers. You can also find common med school interview questions you can expect to be asked.

The Australian medicine interview is essential to getting a spot, so it pays to be prepared. As many applicants are international students, it’s a good idea to practice for video interviews as well, so you can simulate the real interview conditions as closely as possible. Australian med schools will offer video interviews as an option to international applicants who are not in-country.

Admissions committees use the medicine interview to gauge your personal interests and motivations, so be sure not to repeat anything from your medicine portfolio. Expand on your personal and professional experiences, share your reasons for studying medicine and why you chose to study in Australia. Highlight the values you have in common with your chosen medical program. Also note that you are likely to be asked some questions on current healthcare topics and concerns in Australia, so it’s worth your while to do a little research on Australian or New Zealand healthcare hot topics. You should also familiarize yourself with Australia’s rural healthcare system and Aboriginal healthcare concerns.

Tuition and fees

Tuition at Australian med schools can vary from around 255,000 AU to over 630,000 AU for international students. Average estimates for medical school study in New Zealand are between 70,000 and 80,000 NZD. These estimates include tuition and other fees accumulated by students for the entire four years of medical school study. While medical school tuition is not cheap, there are several ways students can afford to attend medical school in Australia.

It's also important to keep in mind that medical school applications come with some fees. GEMSAS applications require a $100 application fee to submit, and taking the GAMSAT also includes paying a sizeable fee.

Tuition at Australian or New Zealand medical schools may also be partially covered depending on a student’s GEMSAS place. Domestic Australian and New Zealand students have an advantage when applying for medical school through GEMSAS, as they are eligible to have the bulk of their tuition and fees covered by government funding. This is known as a Commonwealth Supported Non-bonded place (CNP). Permanent visa holders are also eligible for this place of funding. Domestic students can also apply for a Bonded Medical Place (BMP) if they agree to work for at least 3 years after graduation in a rural medical setting. Through a Bonded Medical Place, the majority of tuition fees are also government subsidized.

International students are not eligible for either a CNP or BMP, so they are classified under a Full Fee-paying Place. In this case, alternative forms of funding are available and should be fully considered before you apply to medical school in Australia. Aside from savings, loans, bursaries or grants, students may also be eligible for funding assistance or financial aid programs at their chosen school. An international student scholarship consultant may also be able to advise you on what funding you are eligible for.

Admission to Australian medical schools

Offers of admission to Australian medical schools are typically sent out in November of each year. GEMSAS applicants are usually notified through the system. Your letter of admission will contain further information on acceptance and registration. You’ll also be given a deadline for acceptance, so you’ll have some time to consider your options if you receive more than one offer of admission.

If you do not receive an acceptance letter through GEMSAS, you’ll need to wait until the following application year to try again, as GEMSAS only allows one application per admission year.

Australian medical schools also use waitlists for potential applicants waiting for a spot to open in their medical program. Being waitlisted does not guarantee a spot, but it is not a confirmed rejection, either. Many Australian med schools have few spots and receive thousands of applications each year, so will place a few candidates on a waitlist. If you are waitlisted, you may have to wait until the acceptance deadline has passed to see if any spots open up and you are sent a letter of acceptance.

Conclusion

Getting into medical school in Australia can be challenging, and it requires a high level of commitment and preparation. However, for those who choose to apply it can be well worth it to receive a world-renowned medical education and have a chance to study abroad in Australia or New Zealand. For your best chance to get into medical school in Australia or New Zealand, start your preparations as early as possible, concentrate on maintaining excellent grades, research your chosen schools and get to work on crafting the strongest application possible.

FAQs

1. Is it hard to get into medical school in Australia?

Admission to medical schools in Australia is generally quite competitive and medicine is the most difficult program to get into in Australia and New Zealand. However, it is possible for many students to be accepted to medical school in Australia.

2. How do I get into medical school in Australia?

To get into medical school in Australia you’ll need a good GAMSAT score, a GPA of at least 2.7, a strong medicine portfolio or GEMSAS application and a very good performance in the medicine interview. International students will also need to apply for the proper student visa and financial accommodations. 

3. Are Australian medical schools IMG-friendly?

Yes; all medical schools in Australia accept international students and it is a popular destination for IMGs. The two medical programs in New Zealand also accept international students.

4. Are medical schools in New Zealand similar to Australia?

Yes; there are only two medical programs in New Zealand at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago. Both have similar eligibility requirements as Australian medical schools. New Zealand medical schools also use GAMSAT and the GEMSAS application system.

5. What GPA do I need for medical school in Australia?

The average accepted GPA at Australian medical school is 2.7 or higher. It’s generally a good idea to have a GPA of at 3.0 and above for a fair shot at getting accepted.

6. How much is tuition at Australian med schools?

Australian medical schools have an average tuition of 255,000 to 630,000 AU over the course of four years. The costs of attending medical school in Australia are significantly higher for international students.

7. Do Australian med school use interviews?

Yes; Australian medical schools use either panel interviews or MMI interviews for their applicants. The interview is one of the most important parts of getting an offer of admission, and the interview is heavily weighed by most admission committees.

8. Is going to medical school in Australia worth it?

Getting into medical school in Australia is challenging and it can be expensive for foreign students. However, the calibre of medical education is generally considered very high, and there are many work opportunities for medical graduates in Australia.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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2 Comments

Jao Jundam

Hi, I'm an Australian permanent resident but I want to study medicine in New Zealand. Pls give me advise. :)

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BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Jao! Thanks so much for your question. Please contact us for a free initial strategy call so we can discuss how we can help you!

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Sophie

Hi, I am thinking of taking medicine but I got to a British curriculum school in UAE ( I am Australian but I moved here as a child ) but we have a-levels not ATAR grades and there is no accurate conversion system to use to find out how many A's or A*'s i may need to get e.g. a 99.0 . If you know a reliable conversion system please let me know, thank you.

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BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Sophie! Thanks for your question. We are actually working on a converter ourselves. But for now, try this one.

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