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 a dedicated pathway that enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to enrol and complete the Doctor of Medicine. We provide access to a variety of scholarship opportunities.

Applications for 2025 entry will open on 1 March 2024

To register your interest for up-to-date information on the MD Admissions process, join our mailing list.

UOW MD: Express your interest

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants are encouraged to get in touch with the Graduate School of Medicine for advice and assistance with the application process, or if they are considering enrolling in the MD program at any point in the future.

For further information and/or assistance in your application, please contact: gsm-Indigenous-health@uow.edu.au  

UOW MD Admissions information webinars will be held on the following dates to inform and assist applicants for all pathways.

  • Friday, 15 March, 2024 at 6:00pm-8:00pm AEDT
  • Friday, 12 April, 2024 at 6:00pm-8:00pm AEST
  • Friday, 17 May, 2024 at 6:00pm-8:00pm AEST

Registration for webinars is required. A recorded presentation will also be available to download. 

Additional sessions, specific to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway, will be available during the selection period. Please contact gsm-Indigenous-health@uow.edu.au  for more details.

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.

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.

Admission and application key information

Please check our webpage regularly for any updates to timelines.

Timeline for 2024-2025

Date

Task

1 March 2024

UOW MD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway Direct applications open

15 March 2024

UOW MD Admissions information webinar #1

22 March 2024

UOW MD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway information webinar #1

8-12 April 2024

April round Multiple-Mini Interviews (online)

UOW GSM Community interviews (online)

12 April 2024

UOW MD Admissions information webinar #2

1 May 2024

GEMSAS Application open

17 May 2024

UOW MD Admissions information webinar #3

20 May 2024

UOW MD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway information webinar #2

21 May 2024

Currency of qualification waiver requests for GEMSAS applicants close

31 May 2024

GEMSAS Application close

7 June 2024

Applicant payments to GEMSAS close

17 June 2024

GEMSAS Application rural documentation close

24-28 June 2024

June round Multiple-Mini Interviews (online)

UOW GSM Community interviews (online)

June - August 2024

GEMSAS Application processing

21 August 2024

Currency of qualification waiver requests for direct applicants close

31 August 2024

UOW MD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway Direct applications close

23-30 September 2024

September round Multiple-Mini Interviews (online)

UOW GSM Community interviews (online)

Early November 2024

First Round place offers sent via email

Mid-December 2024 - Mid January 2025

Subsequent place offers (if any)

 23 January 2025

Orientation day in Wollongong

27 January 2025

Day 1 of MD at UOW

 

 

Applicants in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pathway may choose to apply for the UOW Doctor of Medicine directly to UOW or via the GEMSAS application system.

Direct application process

Applicants for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pathway are encouraged to apply to the UOW MD program directly via the direct online application process. Direct applications will open on 1 March, 2024 and close on 31 August, 2024. No late applications will be accepted.

There is no application fee for direct applications.

Applicants applying via the direct application process must complete the UOW MD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway application form and submit the following documentation to the Graduate School of Medicine:

  • Scanned 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.
  • Evidence of Aboriginality or Torres Strait Islander descent (see below for more details)

The UOW MD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway application form will open on 1st March 2024 and close on 31 August 2024.

Early applications are strongly encouraged.

GEMSAS application process

Applicants for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway may instead choose to apply through the GEMSAS online application system, identifying themselves as of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. Fees apply for the GEMSAS application system. Applicants who apply through the GEMSAS application will be contacted directly by the GSM once their application is submitted.

Applications via the GEMSAS application process will open on 1 May, 2024 and close on 31 May. 2024.

Admission to the UOW MD degree is based on:

  • A weighted Grade Point Average (GPA) from a valid qualifying degree*
  • A Confirmation of Aboriginality*
  • An Interview (Multiple Mini Interview) score *
  • UOW GSM Community Interview*

* see specific sections on eligibility to determine required standards for each criterion.

Applicants in this pathway are required to meet acceptable levels of performance in GPA and Multiple Mini-Interview, as well as confirmation of suitability for entry to the UOW Graduate School of Medicine MD program through the UOW GSM Community interview.  The Community interview will include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, and staff from the University of Wollongong.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants are not required to sit Casper or GAMSAT.

All applicants must have completed (or be in their final year of study at time of application) an undergraduate degree at AQF7 or above consisting of at least three years duration when studied full-time, or equivalent (FTE). To be classed as a valid qualifying degree, the undergraduate degree must be from an Australian university or an equivalent overseas Bachelor qualification from an institution that is recognised under the framework and guidelines set by the Australian Department of Education, Skills, and Employment (DESE) (previously AEI-NOOSR). All valid qualifying degrees need to be completed by 31 December, 2024.

For 2025 entry, GPA scores will be used as a qualifying hurdle for interview offers. GPA scores will not be used in ranking for interview or place offers once the hurdle has been met.

The GPA for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants is calculated using the GEMSAS GPA calculator. The GPA calculator tool is available on the GEMSAS website.   

Applicants must have a weighted GPA of greater than 5.5 on a 7-point scale at the time of being selected for interview to be eligible to apply. A weighted GPA calculation is used for admission to the MD program. This means most recent results are weighted more heavily:

  • Final GPA Year (most recent) = Weighted x 3
  • Final-1 GPA Year (2nd most recent) = Weighted x 2
  • Final-2 GPA Year (3rd most recent) = Weighted x 1

The GPA calculation is based on three years of full-time equivalent study (3.0 FTE) in the most recent eligible degree (or combination of degrees, if applicable). For the purpose of the GPA calculation, eligible degrees include Bachelor, Honours, Graduate Diploma and Master by Coursework programs. Course results from eligible degrees will be included in the GPA calculation if the degree is already completed or due to be completed by 31 December in the year of application.

For further information or assistance in calculating your GPA, please contact the GSM on md-enquiries@uow.edu.au.

Currency of qualification

Applicants are required to have graduated from their undergraduate degree within ten years of the closing date of applications for their degree to be considered a valid qualifying degree.

Applicants whose undergraduate degree was completed outside the ten-year period may still be considered for admission if they have successfully completed the equivalent of one year full-time tertiary study at Graduate Diploma level or higher at a recognised university within the last ten years. If no postgraduate study has been completed in the last ten years, applicants can apply for a waiver of this rule if they can demonstrate through other activities that they hold current high level academic skills. 

To request a waiver, applicants need to provide a copy of their university transcripts, Curriculum Vitae (CV), and any other documentation in support of their request to md-enquiries@uow.edu.au. This must be submitted by 21 May, 2024 for GEMSAS applicants and 21 August, 2024 for Direct applicants - a minimum of 10 business days prior to the closing date of applications.

Applicants who are required to be assessed for currency of qualification due to the ten-year rule will be deemed ineligible for consideration of an interview and place at UOW for 2025 entry if:

  • An applicant submits a waiver request that is not approved by the Graduate School of Medicine.
  • An applicant does not submit a waiver request at all.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit a waiver request. Late submissions of a waiver request are not accepted.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait 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. 

OR

  • 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: 119 KB) certified by an approved witness – a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a person prescribed under the Statutory Declarations regulations. This is a legally binding document demonstrating self-identification as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. The Statutory declaration must be accompanied by evidence of your claim.

Direct applicants will need to submit this documentation with their application. GEMSAS applicants will be contacted by the GSM to provide this document directly to the GSM after their GEMSAS application has been submitted.

Applicants who meet the qualifying threshold hurdle for GPA and have provided certified Confirmation/ Declaration of Aboriginality will be offered an interview place.

For 2025 entry, domestic interviews will be conducted in an online Multiple-Mini-Interview (MMI) format.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants may be offered interviews in one of the following rounds depending on the time of applications:

  • 8-12 April, 2024 – April MMI interview round
  • 24-28 June, 2024 - June MMI interview round
  • 23-30 September, 2024 – September (main) MMI interview round

Interviewees are assessed on areas such as communication skills, empathetic and ethical approach, reflective manner, teamwork, and decision-making skills.

Further information about the interview process will be forwarded once applicants receive an interview offer.

The Community interview is designed to explore an applicant’s understanding of Indigenous health and social issues. This meeting gives the applicant the opportunity to talk in a more informal setting about their Community, their experiences and being a medical student at the GSM.

The Community interview will include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, and staff from the University of Wollongong.

The UOW MD Program offers places in the Rural-Regional Combined Medical Education Track, and the Rural End-to-End Medical Education Track.

UOW MD Program - Rural-Regional Combined Medical Education Track

UOW offers Commonwealth Supported Places (bonded and unbonded) under the Rural-Regional Combined Medical Education Track.

Students in the Rural-Regional Combined Medical Education Track will be based at UOW Wollongong campus or UOW Shoalhaven campus for Phase 1 (first 18 months) of the program.  After Phase 1, students will then be allocated by the GSM to placements within NSW. Placements will be in regional, rural, and remote areas within NSW where the GSM has a clinical education/training site. UOW training sites and teaching hubs currently include placements in the Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands, Illawarra, Murrumbidgee, Clarence Valley, Northern Rivers, Central West and Outback regions of NSW.  These regions may change in the future. Students will need to relocate to the allocated site for the duration of the clinical placement. 

Rural-Regional Combined Medical Education Track consists of a total of 54 places. These places are allocated across the General Entry pathway, Rural Entry Pathway and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway. We aim that 15% of places in the Rural-Regional Combined Medical Education Track be filled by students from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway.

(See below for additional places offered under the Rural End-to-End Medical Education Track).

Two place types are available:

  • Commonwealth supported place – Unbonded (CSP)
    • All domestic students studying medicine at UOW are entitled to a Commonwealth Supported place (CSP) which provides reduced course fees subsidised by the Australian Government through the Commonwealth Grant Scheme.
    • Some of these places are “unbonded” places with no additional conditions or return of service obligations.

UOW MD Program – Rural End-to-End Medical Education Track

UOW also offers Commonwealth Supported Places under the Rural End-to-End Medical Education Track.  Students in the Rural End-to-End Medical Education Track will be based at UOW Shoalhaven campus or UOW Southern Highlands campus for Phase 1 (first 18 months) of the program and then must reside and study in a rural NSW location, as determined by the medical school, for the duration of the entire four-year program.

The Rural End-to End Medical Education Track consists of a total of 30 places. These places are allocated across the General Entry pathway, Rural Entry Pathway and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway. We aim that 15% of places in the Rural End-to-End Medical Education Track be filled by students from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway.

One place type is available: 

  • Commonwealth supported place – rural end-to-end.
    • The Rural End-to-End Medical Education track provides students with a Commonwealth Supported Place in medicine, in return for a commitment to live and study in a rural area for the duration of their medical degree.
    • The Rural End-to-End places are only available to Australian citizens/permanent residents (with some places reserved for rural origin students, local origin students and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students)

At the time of application, applicants will nominate the tracks and place types for their application. If an applicant does not nominate a certain track and place type, and that is the only place available, they will not be made an offer from UOW.

Acceptance of a UOW MD place indicates acceptance of the track and place type allocation. Transfer between tracks or place types is not possible at time of offer or at any time a student is enrolled in the four years of the program.

If an applicant refuses an offer of a particular place type, then that offer (of that place type) will be made to the next applicant.

Offers of a place are made for a specified year only and course commencement can only occur in January (Semester 1) of each calendar year.

Deferral of a place is not possible.

Applicants who do not, or are unable to accept an offer, must re-apply if they wish to undertake the course in a subsequent year.

The MD program at the University of Wollongong is conducted at three campuses during Phase 1 (the first 18 months of the program).   These campuses are Wollongong, Shoalhaven (Nowra), and Southern Highlands (Moss Vale).

Students in the Rural-Regional Combined Medical Education Track track will commence the program at Shoalhaven or Wollongong campus before being allocated to placements in regional, rural, and remote areas within NSW. Placements are determined by the medical school.

Students in the Rural End-to-End Medical Education Track will commence the program at Shoalhaven or Southern Highlands campus and will be required to reside and study in a rural NSW location, as determined by the medical school, for the duration of the entire four-year program.

All students enrolled in the UOW Doctor of Medicine are required to undertake clinical placements in regional and rural/remote communities across NSW in order to meet the requirements of the program. Students can expect to be required to undertake rural clinical placements in each phase of the program. The placements will vary in duration but may be up to a full academic year in length and require a student to relocate and live in the community of placement.

At the time of application, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants will be asked to indicate a campus preference. Campus allocations will be made by the GSM taking into account campus preferences where possible for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants.

Acceptance of a UOW MD place indicates acceptance of the campus allocation. Transfer between campuses will not be considered.

Additional campus information

Wollongong is a vibrant, multicultural city, situated on the coastal strip 85km south of Sydney and is the site of the UOW Wollongong campus. Among the city's many attractions are its entertainment options, chain of patrolled surf beaches and the spectacular bushland backdrop of the Illawarra escarpment. Wollongong is located in the Illawarra region and has a total population of just over 300,000 people.

Nowra is a bustling regional town on the banks of the Shoalhaven River, 160km south of Sydney. Nowra boasts gorgeous river scenery and a peaceful bushland setting and is the site of UOW Shoalhaven campus. Nowra is the commercial hub of the picturesque Shoalhaven region which contains a population of just over 100,000 people spread across 125km of coastal villages including 109 beaches and protected areas of National and Marine Parks.

Moss Vale is a heritage rural town, located at 700m above sea level in the Great Dividing Range, 140km southwest of Sydney and is the site of UOW Southern Highlands campus. Moss Vale is part of the Southern Highlands region of NSW with contains a population of 45,000 people and is known for its lush landscapes, historic rural villages, wineries, and National Parks featuring mountains, caves and waterfalls in a cool temperate climate.

Students in Phase 1 at Shoalhaven or Southern Highlands campus will attend their teaching sessions at the local campus and will engage in placements in their local community. On average, one day per week, students will travel to Wollongong for anatomy lessons and other selected teaching sessions. Students may be eligible for subsidies to assist with these travel costs.

Students in Phase 1 based on the Wollongong campus will attend their teaching sessions at the local campus and will engage in placements in their local community. Students at Wollongong will also be required to travel to Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands campuses for some teaching sessions/placements during the Phase.

In later Phases of the MD program all UOW medical students will undertake clinical placements in medical facilities within NSW including many and varied regional, rural, and remote communities. Students in the Rural End-to-End Medical Education Track will undertake all of their medical education in rural communities and students will be expected to relocate to those communities.

First Aid Certificate

Successful applicants must have completed and hold a current approved First Aid Certificate for the duration of their enrolment. This will be required to be completed and evidence provided prior to the commencement of the MD program.   This certificate must meet the requirements of Provide First Aid / Senior First Aid from an accredited provider.  Australian certificates bearing the code HLTAID011 (previously HLTAID003) will meet this requirement and must have been undertaken within the past 3 years to be valid. Certificates from outside Australia will need to be individually approved by the GSM.

No exceptions will be made to this requirement for entry regardless of previous work experience or qualifications. The cost of a First Aid course is the student's responsibility.

Students will be excluded from clinical placement if evidence of this requirement is not provided within 4 weeks of commencement.

NSW Health Verification

Prior to the commencement of the MD program, all students are expected to complete the verification requirements of UOW and NSW Health. This process includes immunisation requirements, proof of identity, code of conduct agreements, and working with children checks and police record checks.

Students will be excluded from clinical placement if this verification process is incomplete within 4 weeks of commencement.

Inherent requirements 

Inherent requirements for the UOW MD course are guided by the Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand (MDANZ) Inclusive Medical Education guidance note which refers to the following:

Communication skills – verbal, non-verbal and written

Medical students will be expected to communicate effectively and sensitively with a range of different people to establish rapport, involve patients and carers in decision making, and practise in a culturally safe way to deliver high quality, safe care. This applies to listening, speaking, reading, writing, and the capability to use these different modes to elicit information from people, often under pressure and in difficult situations.

Professionalism

Medical students will be expected to demonstrate capabilities consistent with those of a medical professional, including a commitment to making the care of patients their priority, and to practise safely and effectively, treat people with dignity and respect, and be aware of the limits of their own knowledge, skills and health. They will also be required to comply with the law, regulations and any other university codes or policies.

Insight into their own health and behaviour

Medical students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to recognise when they experience poor health and put in place effective processes to ensure their own health or behaviours do not pose a risk to others.

Cognition, critical thinking and problem solving skills

Medical students will be expected to have an aptitude for problem solving, based on scientific principles to understand and solve the complex medical needs of patients, whilst also considering the context of the patient’s circumstances and the health system they are working in.

Teamwork

Medical students will be expected to work willingly and cohesively as part of a team, taking responsibility for their actions as well as recognising and respecting the skills of other professionals.

Physical and observational capabilities

Medical students will be expected to demonstrate their ability to acquire information, carry out a range of procedures suitable to their level of capability, and understand and carry out their role in assisting during a medical emergency.

Sustainable performance

Medical students will be expected to demonstrate both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level to perform multiple tasks in an assigned period of time that provides safe and effective care without compromise.

Diversity and Inclusion

UOW and the GSM seeks to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for all students, including those with a disability.  The School encourages potential applicants who anticipate they may need particular support to participate in the medical program to make early contact with the GSM for a discussion regarding the requirements of the degree and the potential for reasonable accommodations.

It should be recognised that there may be cases where students will not be able to meet the requirements of the program, even with reasonable accommodations. Staff are available to provide guidance on options and applicants are encouraged to contact the GSM early in the application process to discuss their individual circumstances on md-enquiries@uow.edu.au

Commonwealth supported students are required to pay a student contribution amount towards the cost of their course. The amounts are calculated based on the subject cluster and the Equivalent Full-time Study Load (EFTSL) value of the subject. For information regarding student contribution amounts, please refer to the UOW Current Students - Fees and assistance website*.

* Session fees are for one session for the year shown. Total course tuition fees shown are indicative and are based on normal course length and progression. These fees are subject to change from year to year.

 

A number of financial scholarships are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants and some examples are listed below.

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

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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