OzTREKK - Study in Australia OzTREKK - Study in Australia OzTREKK - Study in Australia
Undergraduate Programs
College Articulation
Environmental Science
Health Sciences
Occupational Therapy
Public Health
Speech Pathology
Teacher Education
Veterinary Science
Study Abroad

Australian Medical Schools

  • Australian Medical Schools in Australia
  • Griffith Medical School in Australia
  • James Cook University Medical School in Australia
  • Macquarie University Medical School
  • Monash Medical School
  • University of Melbourne Medical School
  • UQ Medical School
  • University of Sydney Medical School in Australia
  • University of Western Australia Medical School

James Cook University Medical School in Australia

Program Overview - Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (Undergraduate Entry)

University and Faculty: James Cook University (JCU)
College of Medicine and Dentistry
Program: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
University Location: Townsville, Queensland, Australia
City Population: 190,000
Student Population: 15,500
Campus Location: Townsville, Queensland
Program Duration: 6 years (undergraduate entry)
Semester Intake: February each year
Next Avail. Intake: February 2020
Est. Annual Tuition: $55,960 AUD (2019)
Est. Indicative Total Tuition: $335,760 AUD (estimated over 6 years based on 2017 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.

Related Videos

Former OzTREKK student Reuben George talks about his experience in in the JCU MBBS 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 other destinations.


Why Canadians Love this Program

Read what OzTREKK students have to say about the JCU medical program!

"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."

"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 a big 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 me and my fiancé."
"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 Grade 12 English and chemistry, and Grade 12 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 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.

Please see the JCU International Admissions Guide 2020 for more information.


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.

In-person interviews in Canada (Toronto and Vancouver) for the 2020 intake are tentatively listed as June 9 – 15, 2019 (subject to change).

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.


Total Number of Places in the Program: 130

Number of Places Available for International Students: 45

Application Deadline: August 30, 2019

OzTREKK Admissions Officer: Amanda Rollich

Only OzTREKK gives you invaluable guidance and inside information about Australian universities—for free.