3 Must Knows About Australian University Rural Health Opportunities

Here is the ultimate list of Australian universities offering rural health opportunities!

Are you interested in studying or working in the medical industry in rural areas? It can be hard to sift through all the information while you’re studying for your HSC! To help you out, in this article, we discuss all the Universities that offer undergraduate rural health opportunities to see which one is best suited for you.


Table of contents:


What is a rural medicine program/placement?

Rural medicine programs and placements are clinical opportunities for students to train and learn in a real medical setting in a rural or regional community. All medicine programs require students to have at least 1 year of clinical placements, and some Universities offer this experience in a rural setting.

Some Universities have rural clinical campuses and others partner with rural/regional hospitals to provide this work experience for their students.

Other Universities offer a full rural medical program where students spend most of their academic years at the rural campuses, whereas others might offer 1-2 years of rural clinical placements for students.

Either way, there are a wide variety of rural health opportunities for you! Before we see what each Australian University offers, let’s look at why rural health opportunities are important.


Why are rural health opportunities important?

Practising health in rural and regional communities is vastly different from suburban and urban environments. You will encounter a varied range of patients, medical conditions, and cases to develop your skills and knowledge. Additionally, one of the main issues facing rural areas is that there is a shortage of medical health professionals.

It is much more difficult for rural residents to find medical help compared to urban areas. Some residents drive hours just to reach their closest medical centre or hospital, and others need to travel further to find a specialist that can deal with their issues.

In the 2018 Australian Institute for Health and Welfare Report, they found that Australia’s rural areas avoidable death rates were at 248/100 000 and that their median lifespan is 16 years shorter than metropolitan cities. As an example, in Gunnedah Shire (in NSW), there is 1 doctor for every 3000 people in the area. These statistics are shocking and promote terrible health outcomes.

This is why Australian Universities are offering more rural health opportunities in hopes of encouraging more medical professionals to stay in these rural areas.

In addition, there are also plenty of Rural Entry Schemes that prioritise students with rural backgrounds into these Medical programs.

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - doctor in rural


Australian universities offering rural health opportunities:

Undergraduate Medicine:

Here are the Universities that offer rural health opportunities for undergraduate programs:


Postgraduate Medicine:

If you’re interested in postgraduate rural health programs, here are some Universities that offer these opportunities:

  • Australian National University (Rural Clinical School)
  • James Cook University (Master of Rural and Remote Medicine)
  • Deakin University (Rural Training Stream)
  • Flinders University/Charles Darwin University (Rural Stream)


University of Adelaide (Rural Medicine Placement Program)


  • Bachelor of Medical Studies / Doctor of Medicine (Previously Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery)


Information about the program

Students in the 4th-6th year of their medical degree can choose rural placements for their clinical placements.

This placement can range from 4 weeks to 36 weeks (a full academic year)

Year 4: Surgical Home Unit

  • Duration: 9 weeks
  • Students learn and are exposed to surgical patients and surgery

Year 5: Integrated program

  • Duration: 36 weeks (full academic year)
  • Students will live and work in a rural community.
  • It is a blend of clinical placements and educational tutorials

Year 6: Selective program

  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • All medical students must complete a minimum of 4 weeks of Clinical Rural Placements
  • Students will be placed in the community and ambulatory locations


Sites offered

Year 4Year 5
  • Broken Hill
  • Mount Gambier
  • Port Augusta
  • Port Lincoln
  • Whyalla
  • Barossa
  • Broken Hill
  • Clare
  • Kadina
  • Mount Barker
  • Port Augusta
  • Port
  • Lincoln/Ceduna
  • Port Pirie
  • Whyalla/Roxby
  • Downs


How to apply?

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - orange


Curtin University (Curtin Medical School Rural Health Campus – Kalgoorlie)


  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)


Information about the program

In 2021, Curtin University opened a new Rural Health Campus in Kalgoorlie. It consists of simulated hospital wards and clinical training rooms.

Students completing their MBBS degree will get a chance to have a rural placement at this campus. This placement is usually offered in their fourth year.

4th Year:

  • Students begin to transition to clinical placements, including rural placements.



  • Curtin Medical School Rural Health Campus – Kalgoorlie


How to apply?

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - curtin uni


University of New England/University of Newcastle (School of Rural Medicine)


  • Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine


Information about the program

This is a Joint Medical Program (JMP) by the University of New England and the University of Newcastle. Students completing this degree will either be placed in the rural Armidale campus or the urban Newcastle campus.

There is two streams available for students: a Rural Stream and an Urban Stream. Students must indicate preferences for which stream they wish to follow during Year 3 of the Bachelor of Medical Science, and a ballot will be used if there are any unfilled clinical placements.

Students entering the rural stream will be attending the School of Rural Medicine. There are 3 Rural Clinical Schools that include anatomy laboratories, PBL rooms, and medical student common rooms.

Years 1 and 2:

  • Some hospital-based teachings are introduced (pre-internships)

Year 3:

  • Student’s clinical placements are geographically widespread

Year 4 and 5:

  • Students who select, or are balloted to, the Rural Stream will be required to spend one year in a rural school and one year in an urban school.


Sites offered

This program is based in both Armidale and Newcastle. So, students can choose to be placed on the Armidale campus for a more rural experience.

In Years 4 and 5, students can be placed at one of the three Rural Clinical Schools in the Hunter New England region or Central Coast region:

  • Tablelands: near Armidale Rural Referral Hospital
  • Peel: based around Tamworth Hospital
  • Manning: based around Manning Base Hospital

(Note: JMP has 3 more urban clinical schools)

Students can be placed in four rural referral hospitals for their clinical placements in:

  • Armidale
  • Maitland
  • Tamworth
  • Taree.


How to apply?

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - uni new england


University of Sydney (School of Rural Health Dubbo/Orange)


  • Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine
  • Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine


Information about the program

USyd’s Rural School of Health is located in both Dubbo and Orange. It includes medical facilities, public and private hospitals, and general and private specialties.

All USyd’s third-year and/or fourth-year medical students can choose to complete their clinical placements at Dubbo or Orange. This can be 1 year or 2 years long. All Medical students must complete some of the compulsory clinical placements in rural areas.

Note: For Postgraduates, there are two streams available for students: Metropolitan Stream and Dubbo Stream. Students who choose the Dubbo stream will complete their studies on the Dubbo campus for the full course.


Sites offered


  • Dubbo
  • Orange

Rural hospitals where USyd’s medical students complete their placements:

  • Dubbo Hospital
  • Dubbo Private Hospital
  • Orange Health Service
  • Dudley Private Hospital (Orange)


How to apply?

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - USYD


La Trobe University/University of Melbourne (Rural Medicine Pathway)


  • La Trobe University: Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) / Doctor of Medicine (Rural Pathway)
  • University of Melbourne: Doctor of Medicine (Rural Pathway)


Information about the program

La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne are collaborating to train and encourage doctors in rural areas. The Rural Medical Pathway is suitable for students coming from rural backgrounds and is interested in working in rural/regional areas.

There are two ways to enter the Doctor of Medicine through the Rural Pathway:

  1. Students complete the Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) at La Trobe University; or
  2. Students complete an undergraduate degree, then apply for the University of Melbourne MD Rural Pathway (postgraduate method)

Students who are beginning at La Trobe University will be completing the two degrees on rural campuses.


Sites offered

Students who choose to take the Rural Pathway to Medicine will complete their studies on the following regional campuses:

  • La Trobe University’s Bendigo or Albury Wodonga Campus (3 years of Biomedical Science); then
  • The University of Melbourne in Shepparton (4 years of Medicine)


How to apply?

To be accepted into the MD Rural Pathway, students must meet the following criteria:

    • Complete the La Trobe University’s Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) with a minimum of 70 WAM; or
    • Complete an undergraduate degree, pass a rural specific MMI, and complete the MD Rural Pathway rurality form.
    • Note: Read more about this Rural Pathway on the University of Melbourne’s Doctor of Medicine Course Page.

Approximately 30 students are selected to complete the University of Melbourne Medicine of Doctor. In this group, 15 are pre-selected from La-Trobe University’s Biomedical Science (Medicine) students.

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - la trobe


University of Queensland (Regional Medical Pathway)


  • Doctor of Medicine (Provisional entry)


Information about the program

UQ’s Rural Clinical School is one of Australia’s largest rural clinical schools. Students will learn through public and private hospitals, consulting rooms, and different healthcare settings in different rural areas in Queensland.

Students who are completing their clinical experience part of their medical degree will live and work at 1 of 4 UQ’s Rural Clinical School sites for 6 weeks or 1-2 years.

Students who are keen to learn and work in a rural environment are able to apply for an extended rural placement in Year 3 of the MD program.


Sites offered

UQ’s Rural Clinical School offers 4 main rural sites:

  • Bundaberg
  • Hervey Bay
  • Rockhampton
  • Toowoomba


How to apply?

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - queensland uni


Monash University (Medicine Rural Boost)


  • Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (MD)


Information about the program

Monash offers a few different programs to complete your medical degree in rural/regional Victoria:

  • Extended Rural Cohort (direct entry): Only 30 places are available for domestic high school leavers. Students who choose the Rural Cohort will complete most of their 3 clinical years in rural Victoria.
  • Rural End-to-End Program (graduates): Only 30 places are offered for this program. Students who choose to undertake this program will complete most of their degrees in rural Victoria.

Students who complete their degrees in rural Victoria are being taught and examined on the same content as students studying in metropolitan Victoria.


Sites offered

Year 2:

  • Monash University, Clayton
    Metropolitan general practice and hospital site visits
  • Regional and rural Victoria (2-week placement)

Year A:

  • Monash University, Churchill Gippsland
  • Gippsland-based community and hospital placements throughout the year

Year 3B:

  • Regional hospital in north-west Victoria or Gippsland (full academic year)

Year 4C:

  • Regional hospital in north-west Victoria or Gippsland (1 Semester)
  • Rural community practice in north-west Victoria or Gippsland (1 Semester)

Year 5D:

  • Rotations in regional or rural hospitals (2 six-week)
  • Your choice of regional, rural or metropolitan hospitals (4 six-week rotations)


How to apply?

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - Monash


University of NSW (UNSW Rural Clinical School)


  • Bachelor of Medical Studies/ Doctor of Medicine


Information about the program

The UNSW Rural Entry Scheme aims to encourage students with an extensive rural background to learn and practise Medicine. Students will learn and be examined on the same course content as the ‘local entry’ UNSW Medicine students.

There are 3 phases to UNSW Medical programs:

  • Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2): Learns the basics of medical practice
  • Phase 2 (Years 3 and 4): Beginning to undertake clinical coursework
  • Phase 3 (Years 5 and 6): Students complete long-term and short-term placements

Students who apply for the UNSW Medicine through the Rural Entry Scheme can choose to undertake Phase 1 at Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga or Kensington campuses. Applicants must complete the full Phase 1 at their named location. Students also have a chance to complete the full UNSW Medicine program at Port Macquarie or Wagga Wagga.

Those who choose UNSW Rural Clinical School Port Macquarie must remain at the Mid-North Coast campus throughout Phases 2 and 3 too, like Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie. Those who choose the Wagga Wagga campus will complete Phases 2 and 3 at a Southern Campus, including Wagga Wagga, Albury, or Griffith.

Approximately only 26 students are accepted into the Port Macquarie campus.

Note: Students from the local stream are still able to undertake placements in UNSW Rural Clinical School.


Sites offered

Main campuses:

Other campuses:


How to apply?

  • Students must meet the entry requirements for UNSW Bachelor of Medical Studies/ Doctor of Medicine and pass the RES requirements. To read more about UNSW Medicine’s entry requirement, check out our University of New South Wales: UCAT and Medicine Entry Information article. To read more about the Rural Entry Scheme requirements, check out UNSW’s website.
  • Note: Rural Entry Scheme is available for students with an extensive rural background. Approximately 29% of the Medical cohort is made up of students from the Rural Entry Scheme

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - UNSW


University of Western Australia (Rural Clinical School of WA) – Partner with Notre Dame and Curtin


  • Doctor of Medicine


Information about the program

Rural Clinical School of WA (RCSWA) offers placements for their medical students in 15 different rural towns in Western Australia, ranging from Kununurra to Esperance. It is the only collaborative rural clinical school in Western Australia.

This program is offered for medical students in their penultimate (second-last) year of their Medical program and is 1 year long. Approximately 105 students are accepted into this program.

Students from UWA and Notre Dame can apply to RCSWA in their 2nd year. Students from Curtin can apply to RCSWA in their 3rd year.


Sites offered

Research hubs:


How to apply?

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - UWA


Western Sydney University/Charles Sturt University (Rural Undergraduate Pathway)


  • Bachelor of Clinical Science / Doctor of Medicine


Information about the program

This is a joint program offered by Western Sydney University and Charles Sturt University. Students have the chance to complete their degree in Metropolitan Sydney on the WSU’s Campbeltown campus or regional NSW on CSU’s Orange campus.

Students who take the rural stream will learn on the Orange campus opposite Orange Hospital and will also get a chance to have placements in Orange Hospital.

This program also accepts applicants from rural and regional backgrounds through the Rural Entry Admissions Scheme (REAS).


Sites offered 


How to apply?

Australian Universities Offering Rural Health Opportunities - Charles Sturt Port Macquarie Campus



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