Program Overview - Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (Undergraduate Entry)
University and Faculty:
James Cook University (JCU)
College of Medicine and Dentistry
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
6 years (undergraduate entry)
February each year
Est. Annual Tuition:
$42,000 AUD (2016)
Est. Indicative Total Tuition:
$252,000 AUD (estimated over 6 years based on 2016 fees;
fees subject to increase)
James Cook University's
medical school offers a six-year, full-time undergraduate medical degree, the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
(MBBS). The course aims to produce graduates of the highest academic standards, who can progress to medical practice and to further
studies in medical specialties. The course places special emphasis on rural, remote, and Indigenous health and tropical medicine.
The medical program in based at the Townsville campus for the first three years. The majority of students in years 4, 5 and 6
relocate to other School of Medicine teaching sites such as Cairns, Mackay and Darwin. In years 5 and 6, students spend most of
their learning time in hospitals and health services.
Professor Ian Wronksi of JCU's College of Medicine and Dentistry speaks about the JCU's medical school program.
Unique Features of the Program
The Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) medical degree at James Cook University Medical School produces graduates
who will be uniquely qualified in the fields of rural, remote and Indigenous health, and tropical medicine.
The JCU medical school combines integrated instruction in biomedical sciences, professional practice and clinical medicine, and
incorporates the best aspects of student-centred, problem-based learning combined with systematic instruction. Clinical experience,
particularly in the rural and remote context, commences at an early stage and science remains integrated across later years.
Small-group learning and close relationships with academic staff and clinical preceptors are program features.
Professional Certification/Accreditation Information
The James Cook University medical program is accredited by the Australian Medical Council.
In Canada, each province/territory is responsible for licensing physicians to practise medicine within its boundaries. Licensure
to practise medicine requires the completion of an accredited postgraduate training program, as well as the completion of national
qualifying exams. Each province may have different requirements; it is your responsibility to meet the necessary requirements for
licensure in your province.
Each year, OzTREKK hosts its annual Canadian Medical Licensing Seminars across Canada, which are exclusive to
students who submit their Australian medical school application via OzTREKK. These seminars provide the latest information
regarding the accreditation and medical licensing process in Canada, as well as outline options for internships in Australia and
Why Canadians Love this Program
Read what OzTREKK students have to say about the JCU medical program!
2014 Intake Reviews
"The opportunities it has provided me as far as education and training of Medicine in remote areas. If you want a program
and school that focuses on your success, James Cook University is where you should apply. The courses are structured to give
you ample of first hand experience as well as making sure that you are able to understand what is expected of you. The cost
of living is very high over here compared to the USA."
"It's a lot different than being in Canada. Especially since Townsville is a small city. It allow you to meet a lot of
different kinda of people. I like that it's a relatively small group so we all take the same classes together. It allows
you to get to know other students easier. I dislike how they change professors every few weeks. I suppose it is a good thing
if you don't like a professor, but that's not always the case. It's a good program to do medicine in. Since it is relatively
small you can ask questions without feeling nervous. There are a lot of older students ready to help you during class time.
Townsville is a nice place to learn."
"Like: location, beautiful weather except during rainy season. MBBS at JCU offers the most clinical practice out of any uni
starting in very early years and progressively adding more. Its a very practical program preparing you well for the work places
dislike: the constant switching of various professors. The weather, the subtle changes in culture and most of all the friendly
Australians. JCU MBBS is a great program allowing students to enter the clinical skills early in the program. With over 1000
hours of practical training, JCU students are able to practice with confidence and have the most experience out of many
universities. JCU allows students to not only learn the material but apply it very early on starting in year 1 giving a
great reputation for the school of medicine in the workplace."
"I would not recommend staying on campus if you are an upper year student. It does not seem conducive to studying at all. I
would say if it is your dream to become a certain professional, than don't let Canada be your only stomping ground. Look
abroad and see what the world has to offer."
"i don't regret this decision for a minute. The program is really interactive and you will be able to do placement even in
your first year. Everyone wants you to do well and will try their best to help you to the best of their ability. You get to
meet people from all over the world and learn their different cultures too."
2013 Intake Reviews
"JCU places great emphasis on rural, remote and Indigenous health care. I really enjoy the fact that the university embodies the
needs of the community, realizes the local issues and tries to tackle them head on. Moreover, the smaller class size (roughly 180)
is much better than my previous undergrad experience at UWO whilst studying BMSc. Nonetheless, JCU being a relatively new medical
school does have some kinks to fix. Organization can sometimes be an issue (timetables shuffled, placement organization) but these
are issues that should be solved over time."
"I like how we receive early clinical practices and placements, starting from year 1. You gain a lot of experience working in rural
environments especially at james cook university."
"I love the subjects I'm studying because they're so interesting. I don't like that my classmates are so much younger than I am.
The subjects are very interesting and I'm learning a lot each day."
"It has limited access to services (hours of operation), campus is far out of town, they require you to organized placements on
your own. (How do we do that when we dont know anyone!!!). All teachers have been very friendly and approachable, very receptive
to international students. Program is well constructed and they are open to student feedback. Good program, well thought out.
Excellent opportunity for rural experience!"
"Coming from a large urban centre like Toronto, it's particularly challenging to adapt to life in a small town-- there only a few
places to go, everything closes early, and everyone knows everyone! Also, there are a different organizational values here and it
is challenging to remind yourself that it isn't 'worse' just 'different'. For example, you realize that efficiency, efficacy and
transparency are not as high priority in program management here as they are in North America. (e.g. Lecture content was not
available early enough to help students who wanted to prepare before school started-- most other universities I know of in
Australia and Canada have lecture notes up at least 1 month before classes, JCU didn't have their note up until the week of
orientation and bio chem started that week!, many times lecture notes are posted late, and Group Learning Sessions are not very
well organized, there are also not enough tutors in GLSs which is frustrating especially when you're paying close to $40K a year.
They also do not address the needs and experiences of mature students well-- the structure is focused on school leavers and you
basically have to get used to it. ***Like*** Clinical skills-- well run and taught, but I truly wish we had MORE time to practice
them. The professors seem to really care about your experience and want you to really understand the content. There are a few
professors here that go out of their way to help you understand the material. I have traveled before, but mostly to countries that
are very different than North America. Being in a country that appears to be similar to Canada but really isn't, challenges you to
face some of your ethnocentric attitudes (e.g. around efficiency!) and encourages to experiment outside of your comfort zone. I've
listed many things that I find frustrating so far, but I appreciate that it is a personal challenge that I have to address head on!
After all, someone once said, a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor! If you are a mature student, be prepared for abig adjustment in learning styles. If you haven't studied your core-sciences in a while you MUST do independent review for
chemistry. For bio and the social science of medicine they go at a balanced pace, but with Molecules to Cells (biochemistry)
started at a break-neck speed and they expected you to know/be familiar with concepts such as chirality and naming amino acids--
topics which are not covered, as far as I know, in grade 12 chemistry. Apply through OzTREKK -- you will not regret it!!"
"The professors here are inspiring! They strike a balance between passion, hard work, and enjoyment of the course and material. The
material is interesting and the course has been outlined in a very thoughtful, logical way, conducive to learning the material in an
digestible form. The clinical skills portion of the program is very well run and is a highlight every 3-4 weeks throughout the
year. That being said, the faculty (especially the admin) seem slightly to mildly disorganized, and the relaxed atmosphere here
leads to lecture/study materials going up last minute much of the time, which I find stressful. The program has grown incredibly
over the last several years, but the department infrastructure has not kept up. The best example of this is in our group learning
sessions (GLS) where all 240 first-year MBBS students are put in one room for what is basically "structured study time" with only
the professor and three tutors to answer questions. I also find it difficult at times to be a mature (ie 28-year old) student in a
class of predominately 17-19 year olds, since the course is structured to cater to their emotional and learning needs. I would
definitely encourage other Canadians to come to JCU for the MBBS program, but to do so with much thought and planning. I would tell
them to take advantage of the Canadians that are here and contact us with as many questions as possible regarding the town, the
university, the program, coursework, professors, etc. I would absorb as much information as possible about the program from the JCU
website and youtube, etc. I would also make sure to have all the basic sciences under your belt, whether through a previous degree,
or online through the free Khan Academy courses like I did. prospective students should definitely make use of the students
studying here right now. Ask as many people as many questions as possible! It's a big decision and a big move, so treat it with
that weight and get as much information as possible before committing. It made all the difference to meand my fiancé."
2012 Intake Reviews
"I love the size of JCU it is really close knit. The medical program is amazing, you get a lot of clinical experience and everyone
is so nice! Definitely consider studying here. There are beaches, sunshine, and great people. The program is well put together,
great clinical experience, professors that love their job and are really helpful."
"I really like the environment. Everyone is really friendly and helpful. The program is well paced. The professors are great. The
faculty really listens to their student's concerns. I don't like how the faculty of medicine is so isolated from the rest of the
university. There is very little interaction between the faculties. The uni is smaller than most universities in Canada. Medicine
is a great program. The way they teach really helps you understand the content. You aren't just a number here, they care about you.
Professors are really caring and they love their jobs. If you seek help, there are always people willing to help you."
"Like: the people are wonderful. Everyone is so lovely and helpful Dislike: The Aussie can be 'too' relaxed at times. So things
can get delayed and done at a later date than when expected. But maybe it is a North American culture to rush through. Do it. Once
you are here, you realize there are so many international students that are doing the same thing as you. You won't be alone!!!
I came here not knowing anyone and now, I feel right at home. You will meet young people from all over the world who come to study
here. Don't be afraid, just do it!"
"I like that JCU is a smaller Uni. However, I find that med school can be a little disorganized. I also find that self-arranged
clinical placement programs are very inconvenient for international students. JCU focuses on rural and Aboriginal medicine.
Clinical exposure starts earlier (1st year) than other Australian med schools."
Admissions Criteria/Entry Requirements for Canadians
Applicants may apply directly from high school, or after having partially or fully completed their university studies.
Prerequisite subjects include English, Maths B (Calculus and Vectors and Advanced Functions), and Chemistry at a minimum of
the Grade 12 level
If applying directly from high school, applicants need a minimum GPA of 85% from their top 6 courses in Grade 12
(including prerequisite subjects)
If applying after having partially or fully completed post-secondary studies, applicants need to have a minimum of
80% cumulative GPA to be considered
Completion of Australian Medical Schools Application Form and JCU Program Specific Form
Interview: held in person or via video teleconference
OzTREKK Note: The JCU MBBS is a 6-year undergraduate-entry degree. Canadian applicants
who hold a bachelor degree are eligible to apply. If an offer of admission is received, an applicant who has undertaken
undergraduate studies may apply for credit for previous studies; however, JCU is strict with its MBBS credit approval process,
and candidates' applications for credit are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Canadian applicants who have completed university
subjects are not typically awarded credit toward the JCU MBBS program and have to undertake the full 6-year program.
For more information about the James Cook University Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery program, please read the
Information for 2017 Entry.
Total Number of Places in the Program: 130
Number of Places Available for International Students: 40