How to Become a Doctor in Australia

Has becoming a doctor always been a passion of yours? Unsure where to start in terms of the pathways to becoming a doctor, and understanding what will be the best pathway for you?

With 18 medical schools spread around Australia, with all offering different courses, and different approaches, it is quiet easy to be confused – the good news however is that it is not as complicated as it looks.

Essentially, there a couple of steps (and a lot of study) required to take you from where you are today, to a professionally qualified doctor:

Undergraduate:

  1. Medical School (5-6 years)
  2. Intern (1 year)
  3. Resident (1+ years)
  4. Registrar (4-6 years)
  5. Consultant

Postgraduate:

  1. Undergraduate Degree (3-4 years)
  2. Postgraduate Medical School (4 years)
  3. Provisional Registration
  4. Intern (1 year)
  5. Medical Registration
  6. Resident Medical Officer (1 + years – prevocational training)
  7. Registrar (3-8 years – vocational training)
  8. College Fellowship

All of this however starts with entry into Medical School. So, what are the pathways to medical school?

Want to find out more about the admission requirements into Australia’s 18 medical schools, and the UMAT testing? Read our article on Studying Undergraduate Medicine.

What about if you want to study postgraduate medicine? Check out our article looking at postgraduate medical school programs.


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74 Comments

  1. obi says:

    DOCTORS ARE CREEEEEPY

  2. Sarah says:

    @kate: Simply wanting something a whole lot doesn’t mean you’ll get it. That’s pretty much the first rule in life, and someone of your experience and age should know that wishing and hoping you’ll get something doesn’t mean it will fall into your lap.
    @Everyone else: Stop asking what HSC/VCE scores you need – universities don’t have a set score because your high school result doesn’t get you into med school completely, they also take into account UMAT.

  3. India says:

    Hi All, I am 13 years old and currently in year 8. Ever since I was a toddler (the age I got my first plastic medical kit) I have had my heart set on being a doctor. I think it is a wonderful profession and it would be extremely rewarding. I have a lot of crazy goals in my life such as living in the Swiss alps when I have a steady career going! I am quite driven as I am currently studying French and German because those are the two base languages spoken in Switzerland. I go to a normal high school and I am applying to a selective school later this year, although I have just started thinking about being a surgeon as my full time career. I know that there is no structure to this question, sorry, but I am in a hurry to go out as I am writing this but in my family there have been a lot of issues with cancer and therefore a few members have had surgery that has successfully removed all traces. I have so much respect for the doctors that have saved my loved ones lives and one day I want to be able to tell them that they have been my inspiration… ok now I have to go but I will continue later when I get home hahaha thanks I know it is incredibly long.

  4. sarah says:

    hi
    can some1 tell me hw hard it is to be a doctor
    i really want to become a dentist but from looking at the fact that u have to to have alot of brain to become a doctor

  5. Tom says:

    If you decide to take the post graduate madicine option, here is a complementary ebook which will help you prepare for it. Good luck guys!

  6. Princess says:

    I am in year 7 I was wondering how long I have to study and what I have to study if want to become a Ob-gyn is it hard to become one and how much do I have to get in hsc in Australia to get grauded to a good uni sydeny

  7. Lovely says:

    Same here princess I want to know that 2

  8. Princess says:

    I am in year 7 and i want to become ob- gyn I just want to know how much marks I have to get 4 hsc how long I have to study and what subjects I have to do in year 12

  9. Ryan says:

    Hello my name is Ryan I am 32yrs old and I always wanted to become a dr my education I’s I have completed diploma in finance and a dip in legal services and another in conveying and advance dip in legal practice , my question is still do I have to undergrad , can I do a postgrad in medicine

  10. Kate McKenzie says:

    I just graduated with a Master in Nursing and would like to become a doctor. How difficult is it for a nurse to become a medical doctor in Melbourne?

  11. Kaniz says:

    Hi,
    my younger brother is really interested to study at Australia to become a doctor.Can anyone suggest me which uni I have to make queries?
    Thanks in advance.

  12. elnaz roshdi says:

    im 15 years old and im in year 9 currently. I have made my decision for my future job and decided to become a doctor who helps people to get healthy. i hope my wish will become true and will have a good life in the future :)

  13. elnaz roshdi says:

    i believe that the personal interest is the main thing in becoming a doctor or many other jobs. i havent seen it in myself yet :( hope to see it soon!

  14. Medical Student says:

    I can believe there are year 7 kids out there who’s already got there heart set on becoming an Obstetrician / Gynaecologist. LOL too much TV I say…

  15. DR. Luela says:

    First if you want to get into medical it is best to find a university that is well-known and respected as it will increase job opportunity such as UQ – St Lucia in Brisbane. That’s not to say you won’t get a job if you don’t study there not to mention it is harder to get in as you need an OP of 1 whereas this may be a little higher for other Uni’s.

    Secondly you must sit the UMAT as mentioned above which is a three hour test on 3 areas of medical that you use to apply. Graduates of course sit the GAMSAT. They only happen once a year so it is best to visit the ACER website to see when they are running and where.

    The course then runs for 4 to 6 years depending on the uni and choice of course to study. I am to start a specialisation is obstetrics and gynacology so after my 4 years at st lucia plus 2 years training I have to apply ro RANZCOG and do another 4 to 6 years.

    As for applying to become a doctor after a masters in nursing it is essential that you have earnt that qualification in the last 10 years. If you have just sit the GAMSAT and apply and you have just as much chance as the undergraduates with OP1′s.

  16. Grant says:

    Hi,

    I am a doctor at a major teaching hospital in Melbourne.

    It’s not all it is cracked up to be, but I wouldn’t necessarily deter you from doing it. The income is good; albeit at a great cost and there is potential to find what you want.

    one comment though…..

    I’d ask you all to be a little broader than what you are; even though I realise how hard that advice would have been for me in year 12.

    Medicine entry has changed dramatically since I entered. Back then there was no postgrad and you were selected on marks. On reflection, it was a better system. The reason i say that was because you knew from the earliest point who was and wasn’t going to succeed and those who didn’t could get on with their lives accordingly.

    Leaving it until after you have completed a series of useless undergraduate degrees is actually incredibly inefficient. Time is starting to prove there is actually no benefit from these ‘diversifying’ degrees. In fact there is none. it’s not releven to serious medicine.

    I also believe that the move to use interviews and ‘other forms’ of selection are very poor. At one time, selecting on a score seemed ‘unfair’ towards those with poorer luck and because it cut people out who didn’t necessarily get a good VCE score.

    unfortunately, the interviews don’t stand for anything. there’s no virtue they can select for that can be reliably proven across the board to enhance the grade of entrant to medicine. being nice, sounding nice, sounding moral and ethical are all fine but you simply cannot measure them and people lie.

    most importantly though, you select for people with lesser brains and more of an incentive to lie and it is becoming a huge problem. dislike them as you will, but people with sky high enter scores don’t need to lie to brag. They are smart, they just get on with it.

    And as for the line ‘older entrants to medicine will be better because, compared with those who got in straight out of school, they have more motivation’ is also not proving to be true.

    Anybody who has done any serious hospital residency will know how demanding it is. Younger doctors simply have less family commitments, simple as that. Time is also beginning to prove (and this is bearing out in the numbers too) that older grads tend to go straight into part time and into general practice in order to suit their family situation.

    Medicine takes over 5 years to even get close to being an intern. Over that time you either get seriously wokred hard or more often is that case these days-required to show up to classes and jump through hoops.

    Over 5 years of that, i can assure you, when the pressure is already there your priorities change.

    The other thing that has changed is the quality of the course. Before I started, the course had not changed for 150 years and was largely anatomy/physiology/logic/science based and wasted no time and went into immense depth.

    By the end of your training you knew it all. Every nerve, artery and muscle, clinical syndrome and skill.

    Sadly, medical schools and hospitals have succumbed to an awful political correctness disease and infiltration by special interests; namely left leaning social scientists and political groups with a grudge against doctors.

    I though the course I went through was a bit ‘anatomy’ light but the new course is an utter cluster fuck. The consultants and reg’s I work for all comment now how different and picky and completely inept medical students are compared to even a few years ago and they are pretty accurate.

    The moral from this is to understand very clearly what you are getting yourself into.

    You may get into medicine or you may not. But you will find that the path is a lot longer than it used to be and the esprit de corp of a unified sense of identity is no longer present. The changes have made the careers of huge numbres of future doctors very vague and middle ground.

    i encourage all of you to think very carefully about what things you like about your life and what you want to do. Whether you are a year 8 or a uni student or a bored 30 year old looking for a way to ‘upsize’ with an MBBS OR a young doctor like me contemplating a life in surgery or procedural GP-the moral is the same.

    Work hard, do what you like doing, pace yourself and the career will probably take care of itself. And most importantly, there’s a limitation to all of what we try on earth-so don’t take it personally if you don’t get in. move on and move on early.

  17. Random says:

    Princess, undergrad mbbs is criteria based, you want to get within the top 1% of the state when you complete your hsc, each university varies however (e.g close to 99.95 ATAR as possible)

    Ryan & Kate, post-graduate mbbs, GPA 5.5/7.0, GAMSAT 50/50/50 (usyd), each university varies again, I think you need a bachelor’s degree to get into pgrad mbbs however, so you would be undergraduate, ryan, don’t quote me on that however.

    disclaimer, mbbs is just the more widely, some universities will offer the same degree, but under a different name

  18. Princess says:

    Thanks random

  19. Princess says:

    Do u think it is better 2 go 2 a private school than a public school because my parents are sending me 2 one of the best schools in sydeny they think it will be better for my future career ob-gyn

  20. Me says:

    Try getting into James Ruse. That’s the best school in Sydney. Maybe you’ll get a better chance of getting into medicine at that high school.

  21. Eycao says:

    Hi, I am a pharmacy graduate this year and looking for a graduate programme for medicine, any pathway that I can get into a medical school? The knowledge that I have learned in pharmacy will help?

  22. Jeong says:

    I have a question about this
    If your ATAR was not quite high enough, all is not lost. Most university medical programs allow you to re-apply when you have completed 1 year or more of tertiary studies at undergraduate level.
    Ok, i have a question, what are the programs that do this called? could anyone link me to more information regarding how to apply to medicine with one or two years of undergrad study?

  23. Princess says:

    Thank me

    but my parents are sending me to a Islamic private school

  24. Princess says:

    What’s the difference between a gp and an ob-gyn can you be the same thing or are they two completely different things

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