Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pathway and scholarships

The University of Wollongong is dedicated to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to achieve a career as a doctor. We are passionate about having dedicated pathways that enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access the Doctor of Medicine and we provide access to a variety of scholarship opportunities.

At UOW, we offer a dedicated pathway program that prioritises access to our Doctor of Medicine program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants.  Prospective applicants and students are encouraged to get in touch with the Graduate School of Medicine for advice and assistance during their consideration of the program, and the application process. Applicants may choose to apply for the UOW Doctor of Medicine through GEMSAS or directly to UOW.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarships

There are too few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors in Australia.

The below scholarships aim to produce more Indigenous doctors in our country and have the ultimate and shared goal of improving Aboriginal health outcomes in the longer term.

Admission criteria and eligibility

Admission to the UOW MD degree is based on:

  • A weighted Grade Point Average (GPA) from a valid degree*.
  • A valid GAMSAT score. For more information on the GAMSAT, please visit the GAMSAT
  • A completed UOW GSM Admissions Portfolio.
  • A UOW GSM Admissions Interview.

Applicants in this category are required to meet acceptable levels of performance in selection criteria. That is, GPA, GAMSAT, portfolio and interview. Applicants who can demonstrate academic proficiency in cognate disciplines such as health professions and biomedical sciences may be exempt from sitting GAMSAT. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants are not required to sit Casper.

The interview will include Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander community members, medical practitioners and staff from the University of Wollongong.

Applicants must sit GAMSAT and apply through the GEMSAS online application system, identifying themselves as of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent in the appropriate section of this form. As part of the GEMSAS application, completion of a written Portfolio is required to be considered for a place at UOW. This will become automatically available online when applicants elect UOW as a preference through the GEMSAS portal; applicants do not need to submit a separate application to the GSM.

The UOW GSM Admissions Portfolio is a written description of an applicant’s experiences and achievements. Applicants have the opportunity to highlight areas of achievement, leadership, teamwork, service ethic and commitment as well as ties to regional, rural and remote communities.

Applicants are recommended to commence preparation early. The portfolio template and a portfolio guide are available from the UOW MD website. Use the portfolio guide to assist in completing the portfolio, using the provided template. Please note that all activities listed in the portfolio require a current email contact for verification.

A copy of the portfolio template and guide is available:

 

This application process should only be considered if an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicant wishes to:

  • Apply after the GEMSAS application closing date or;
  • be considered for an offer at UOW only.

Applicants applying via the direct application process must submit the following documentation to the Graduate School of Medicine:

  • A completed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway Application and Portfolio Form(PDF:580KB) Applicants are encouraged to use the Template and Guidelines available via the links above when preparing responses for their Portfolio.
  • Certified copies of university transcripts showing the completion of a three-year undergraduate degree (if a degree has already been awarded). Applicants who are in their final year of study will need to provide certified copies of their most up-to-date results. Applicants should also provide certified copies of any postgraduate qualifications, if applicable.

GAMSAT results (if the GAMSAT has been completed). Otherwise, a valid GAMSAT ID number is required for test result verification by the Admissions Office once the results are available. Applicants who can demonstrate academic proficiency in cognate disciplines such as health professions and biomedical sciences may be exempt from sitting GAMSAT.

Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander applicants are required to submit the following supporting documentation:

A Confirmation of Aboriginality: By a letter with a common seal signed by the chairperson of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander incorporated organisation in which the applicant lives or has previously lived, e.g. lands council or Aboriginal cultural centre. 

The University of Wollongong understands that sometimes obtaining an official confirmation of Aboriginality can be challenging. Therefore, we accept a WIC statutory declaration of Aboriginality(PDF:152KB) signed by a Justice of Peace. This is a legally binding document demonstrating your self-identification as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. The statutory declaration must be accompanied by evidence of your claim.

This documentation must be provided to the UOW Graduate School of Medicine.

A number of financial scholarships are available and some examples are listed below.

For more details about these and other scholarships and how to apply visit our scholarship website.

Dr Rhiannon Russell

After completing an undergraduate degree in Sydney, proud Worimi woman Rhiannon Russell studied at the UOW Graduate School of Medicine, graduating in 2019. In this video, Rhiannon reflects on her medical studies at UOW, including the benefits of having an Indigenous support unit within the Medical School, receiving an Indigenous scholarship, and the cultural connections provided by UOW's Woolyungah Indigenous Centre.

Meet Dr Rhiannon Russell

Hi, my name is Dr. Rhiannon Russell and I'm a proud Worimi woman.

I first did four years of physiotherapy at the University of Sydney and completed that degree in 2015. I then commenced onto medicine at the Graduate Medicine School here at Wollongong University, which I started in 2016 and finished in 2019. I then commenced a junior medical officer position at the Wollongong Hospital, which I've now completed my first year of. Prior to starting medicine - as most people would be aware - there's entry programs that you do need to sit and test, that you do need to sit. And the Indigenous Centre here at the Graduate School of Medicine was very helpful and supportive and arranged for accommodation and expenses to be paid for so that we were able to sit the exam without any other financial stressors, which was really appreciated.

Starting graduate medicine at the Wollongong University was an incredible experience, especially being an Indigenous medical student. I was able to be a role model for other Indigenous medical students as well as be a role model to our non-Indigenous students.

We're really lucky at the Graduate School of Medicine that we are able to have an Indigenous support unit within our building. This provides us with significant cultural support and it also provides us with pastoral care, our provides us with pastoral care, our tutoring and any other things we may need that come up during our time here at the Graduate School of Medicine. Another advantage we have here at the University of Wollongong is Woolyungah Indigenous Centre. This provides us with a culturally safe place where we can connect with other Indigenous students who are here at the University.

During our time at the Graduate Medicine, we were able to attend the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association's conference. We attended this last year in Darwin, which was an amazing opportunity to network with other Indigenous medical students and Indigenous doctors. During my time here at Wollongong University at the Graduate School of Medicine, I was able to be a part of the Medical Society where I was able to create the first Indigenous student representative on the WUMSS Society.

At the Graduate School of Medicine, there are an array of scholarships available to Indigenous students. These are significantly helpful when you're going through your university degree. As I was fortunate enough to receive these scholarships, I was able to immerse myself in my studies completely and not have to worry about the financial stresses and burdens that you can face during a time at university. I'm really excited about what the future holds for me. I'm going to be completing another year at the Wollongong Hospital as a resident medical officer and then I hope to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, Dr. Slape, the first Indigenous dermatologist.

Scholarship provides a healthy dose of support

When you’re studying to become a doctor, there’s not much spare time to commit to part-time work. In 2021, Gunggari man Harison Towns received one of UOW's Graduate School of Medicine scholarships for Indigenous students and is now fulfilling his dream of becoming a doctor.

More about Harison UOW scholarships

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