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James Cook University (JCU) is a public university and is the second oldest university in Queensland, Northern Australia. The College of Medicine and Dentistry was opened in 2000 and aims to deliver courses and research relevant to people and communities in the tropics as well as dedicating its energy to rural, remote, tropical, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. It was the first medical school in Australia to be entirely regionally located with modern facilities, and is the only Australian medical school located in the tropics. A strong focus on social justice and humanitarian issues underpins the foundations of the JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry.

James Cook University Medicine Summary Table

Domestic Applicants International Applicants
How to apply QTAC + Written Application form Direct Application
through an agent in home country
Programme Length 6 years
Number of Places 150 150
Academic Requirements English, Maths B, and Chemistry English, Maths B, and Chemistry

English Language Band 3b
Exam Requirements N/A IELTS: 7.0+ in all components
Interview Traditional
Annual fees $11,155 AUD $57,880 AUD
Application Deadline September 2020 August 2020

James Cook Medical School - The Programme

Students have one option for Medicine at JCU: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) - a 6 year direct to medicine from year 12 program.

The College of Medicine and Dentistry at James Cook University (JCU) offers a six-year full-time undergraduate degree in medicine and 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 specialities. The James Cook University Medicine course places special emphasis on rural, remote and Indigenous health and tropical medicine and the health of under-served populations. The opportunity to live, learn and work in these rural and remote areas is not one to miss! Students can gain experience with extended placements in these diverse communities, from the outback to the aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people, the original inhabitants of the nation of Australia and owners of the lands. The university is a proud supporter of the aboriginal people and nation and does acknowledge traditional owners.

The James Cook Medicine curriculum is delivered through an integrated systems-based approach: important building blocks such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and psychology are taught at the same time in relation to a particular human body system so that students get an appreciation of the intimate relationships between these disciplines and medicine. Furthermore, where possible, the material is presented in a manner which links it to clinical health care – ensuring complete relevance to the course.

The course is based at the Townsville campus for the first three years. Year 4 is delivered at Cairns and Townsville, with approximately half of the time spent in classroom-based activities and half spent in hospitals and health services, including an eight-week rural placement.

In Years 5 and 6, over half of the cohort relocates to other MBBS Clinical School sites such as Cairns, Mackay and Darwin for the entire two years. During this time, staff and students live, learn and spend most of their time in clinical placement within hospitals and other health services.

Academic Requirements


Applicants must complete English, Maths B, and Chemistry to be eligible for admission. Candidates OP will be looked at if undergraduates, and GPA will be looked at for graduates, but there is no minimum requirement.


Applicants do not have to complete any admissions exams for admission to the JCU.

Application Process

How to apply

Domestic applicants applying for James Cook’s medicine course must apply on QTAC as well as submit an application in person or via mail to JCU directly. International applicants must apply on the JCU website.

Application Deadlines

The deadline for applications is September 2020.

Application Documents

Applicants are required to submit an online application, written JCU application form and prediction of Academic Achievement form.

Selection Process


Selection is based on a combination of a written application and academic results. The written application will consist of a number of questions including reasons for pursuing medicine, interest in a course which has a strong emphasis on indigenous, tropical and rural health, and previous experiences which have motivated candidates into applying for medicine.


Applicants will be invited for an interview based on their entire application. Interviews take place in person, and applicants are expected to arrange for their own travels. Interviews are traditional style. Of the 2000 candidates each year, approximately 700 are offered an interview.

Competition Ratios

Each year, the programme accepts approximately 150 students. Over 2000 people apply each year. This gives an overall competition ratio of approximately 1:13.


The QS World University Ranking has placed James Cook University 301st to 350th in the world of medicine.

Medical Student Opinion

Responses from Katie, a second-year student.

What are the good things about studying Medicine at this university?

I love Townsville, it’s such a gorgeous place to live, with fantastic views and every basic requirement a student needs. Though the campus borders the town, it is very easy to get around. I love studying at JCU, because the school really cares about its students. They want us to experience a clinical environment as soon as possible, which motivates me more than anything. I would find it difficult to study from lecture continuously; this clinical experience puts things into perspective for me. The university encourages independent learning, but at the same time they provide a lot of support and resources, so we’re not just stranded on our own. There are plenty of clubs to join here at JCU, including stuff exclusively for medical students, or a range of sports.

What is not so good about studying Medicine there?

That being said, the university still uses the traditional method of lecture based learning, which requires a lot of work in my own time, as the contact hours for a week are about 20-25.

What advice do you have for someone thinking of studying Medicine there?

My advice for people choosing a medical school and getting in, is to go medical school window shopping. Try and attend as many open days as you can, so you can get a feel of the medical school and if you see yourself studying there, because we’re here for a long time.

Do you have any tips on how to get in?

As for getting in, just make sure you work hard for your grades and also the entry exams. Keep an eye on deadlines too for when to apply for stuff, you don't want to miss out because of that.

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