James Cook University

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery



University Location Townsville or Cairns, Queensland
City Population 194,000
Student Population 22,000
Int'l Student Population 6,640
Main Campus Townsville
Program Campus Townsville or Cairns
Program Duration 6 years
Estimated Annual Tuition AUD$66,960 (2024 fees; subject to increase)
Semester Intake February
Next Available Intake 2025
Application Deadline August 29, 2024*
International Places 40 (208 total)


One of the world’s leading institutions focusing on the tropics, Australia’s James Cook University is surrounded by the spectacular ecosystems of the rainforests of the wet tropics, the dry savannahs, and the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

The JCU School of Medicine is committed to the advancement of tropical medical education and research relevant to the rural and remote communities of northern Australia.

JCU 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.

You will graduate from JCU with skills and knowledge in

  • the distinctive needs of northern Australia’s tropical populations;
  • distance and remote delivery of medicine;
  • tropical medicine;
  • medical care in rural hospital and community settings; and
  • medical experiences and facilities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

In this video, former OzTREKK student Reuben talks about his experience studying medicine at James Cook University.


The JCU Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) is a degree with a difference, producing graduates who will be uniquely qualified in the fields of rural, remote, and Indigenous health, and tropical medicine.

As a JCU medical student, you’ll lay the foundation for a diverse medical career within small classes that offer personalized support and engage in hands-on learning through the guidance of passionate, experienced lecturers as you develop knowledge and skills across key areas of medicine and surgery.

Graduates of JCU’s MBBS are well-respected professionals, highly regarded for their knowledge to meet the medical needs of rural and tropical populations. As a medical university, JCU aspires to what the World Health Organization calls a “socially accountable medical education—a medical school accepting its obligation to direct education, research and service to priority health concerns of communities it has a mandate to serve.”

Preparing you for a dynamic medical career

You can study the MBBS full-time at JCU’s Townsville or Cairns campuses, where you’ll find opportunities to expand your professional network through JCU’s connections with local hospitals, health services and providers.

Year 1 – You will be introduced to integrated medical studies. Examine normal functions of the human body from a molecular and cellular level and consider how systems and society can influence health.

Year 2 – In Year 2, you’ll explore human anatomy, physiology and common pathophysiologies. Develop associated clinical skills while focusing on challenges common to rural, remote, and tropical contexts.

Year 3 – You’ll extend your knowledge of clinical healthcare through further study of both physiological and social impacts on health. Consider specifically areas including immunology and preventive medicine.

Year 4 – You’ll focus on honing your clinical pathology knowledge, working specifically to examine and collect information from patients. Build expertise in interpreting this data to draw conclusions and plan for patient care.

Year 5 – In your fifth year, you will expand upon your previous studies as you integrate your medical knowledge with the awareness, attitudes and skills required to perform in clinical healthcare environments. Complete six rotations in clinical healthcare settings, each lasting six weeks.

Year 6 – In your final year, you will consolidate your learning and form an in-depth understanding of the examination, investigation and patient management skills required for medical practice. You’ll undertake 30 weeks of embedded clinical placement as a trainee intern in a hospital within JCU’s training region to consolidate work-ready clinical skills. You will also complete a 10-week clinical elective where you will further explore the personal and professional roles of medical practitioners.

Clinical Placements
Embrace hands-on learning through JCU’s innovative on-campus facilities from the beginning of your course at both the Cairns and Townsville campuses. The Anatomy and Pathology facilities feature humidity-controlled anatomy laboratories and North Queensland’s largest and only anatomical cadaver, prosection, pathology, and skeletal teaching collection.

You’ll practice assessment and diagnostic techniques by working through simulated medical scenarios with volunteer patients. Learn how you can help Close the Gap by developing expertise and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Rated five stars for overall student experience*, JCU’s Medicine students receive extensive training with more than 4,000 hours of clinical practice. Graduates are well equipped with strong clinical skills to work in any setting and are highly sought after by employers. Share JCU’s passion for promoting rural health in the Tropics by completing a placement in a remote community, or you may also choose to develop a global perspective by seizing the opportunity to gain practical experience overseas.

Upon completing the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, you will emerge with key capabilities required for a career in medicine and will be well prepared to work in a range of settings and communities from the outback to the city.

*Good Universities Guide 2024, UG Medicine

Admission Requirements

Applicants may apply directly from high school or after having partially or fully completed their university studies.

1. High school diploma (or bachelor’s degree)
If applying directly from high school, you need a minimum GPA of 86% from your top 6 courses in Grade 12 (including prerequisite subjects). Prerequisite subjects include

  • English
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics studied as part of a secondary qualification deemed comparable to the Australian Senior Secondary qualification covering any of calculus, statistics, algebra, trigonometry, vectors, or geometry. (Calculus should include differentiation and/or integration).

If applying after having partially or fully completed post-secondary studies, you need a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3/4.0 to be considered.

2. Completion of JCU MBBS program-specific application
The JCU MBBS program-specific application considers your reasons for wanting to study medicine, your work and volunteer history, and other supportive information.

3. Interview
Held in person in Canada or via video teleconference. Early offers of admission may be made to high-achieving international applicants. JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry members usually conduct MBBS interviews in Canada in the spring. Early offers may be issued prior to the application deadline.


Admission Timeline

*While the application deadline for the 2025 intake is August 29, 2024, you are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Please note applications are assessed as they are received and early offers to the program are possible to high-achieving students.

After the application deadline has passed, shortlisted applicants are expected to be invited for an interview. Application outcomes and offers of admission will be issued following these interviews.


“I like the amount of support students get”

I like the amount of support students get, I dislike how terrible their budgeting is. I like the hands on nature, but I dislike the other younger kids that clearly shouldn't have been admitted. Get ready to study outside all day, it's hot. Don't worry about making friends, you're now the exotic one!

JCU Australia Maximilian W
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
James Cook University, 2023

“I love JCU”

Facilities are good, services are good as well. In terms of organized activities the student body is tight knit. More opportunities are given in later years, which I can understand. It is nice to have the home group structure at JCU, it really connects the students. The rural aspect isn't as jarring as it sounded on paper and overall I love JCU. Class sizes are perfect. They are not too large nor small. Teaching methods are fair yet tough, though this is expected given it is me... Read More

JCU Australia Pravnoor Singh M
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
James Cook University, 2023

“I’ve already attended 2 clinical skills sessions and I just can’t believe I’ve begun my med journey”

I’m glad I accepted my JCU offer and I’m loving it here—the people are super friendly and welcoming. There are lots of Canadians here and the culture is amazing. The material is super fun too. I’ve already attended 2 clinical skills sessions and I just can’t believe I’ve begun my med journey which used to be a dream at one point.

JCU Australia Robin S
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
James Cook University, 2022

“The program allows for a lot more clinical experience…”

The people are very kind and interesting. The program allows for a lot more clinical experience than other programs.

JCU Australia Gradon F.
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
James Cook University, 2018

“I love my program.”

I love my program. The clinical skills part is the most intriguing aspect. Do not underestimate the workload, but also don’t let it swallow up your whole life. Balance is key. Also get to know others outside of the program. Being surrounded only by medical peers sometimes can be draining.

JCU Australia Cassandra C
James Cook University, 2018

“I like everything about the program”

I like everything about the program and the university. The only downside I have found is that it was different than getting education in North America and the standards are much higher. It is going well, I took to it fairly quickly though I still adapt to new things every day.

JCU Australia Daniel D
James Cook University, 2018

“…really prepares you for the field.”

I like the amount of clinical work they make you do which really prepares you for the field. The transitioning process is easier than expected and as long as one stays on top of the school work, it is also manageable.

JCU Australia Rama M
James Cook University, 2018