You Got Your Med Offer, Now How Will You Pay for It? – A National Scholarship Guide
Written by M Francis
Once the adrenaline settles you may find yourself wondering just how big a commitment full time study is going to be and, like so many students have before you, find yourself asking “how on earth am I going to support myself?!”
You might be living with your parents straight out of high school or you might be a mature age student leaving the safety and security of full time work. Whether you are a commencing or continuing student, it’s worth having a look at what kind of scholarships may be available via your chosen university.
When to start looking?
Now. Some scholarships have closing dates of November the year previous such as the Ma and Morley Scholarship at the University of Newcastle. Lots of other scholarships have closing dates from January to March in the year that the scholarship will be awarded. In any case, it’s a good idea to start looking early so that you can create a timeline for yourself of scholarships that you would like to apply for. Most scholarships require a rigorous application process and you can bet competition will be fierce so the sooner you can begin to plan your application the better.
What types of scholarships are out there?
Depending on your university you can expect to see a broad range of scholarships available for commencing and continuing students. Scholarships are predominately broken up into categories along the lines of:
- Commencing students;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students;
- Students who can demonstrate an impact of Personal Circumstances;
- International students;
- Regional or Remote Students;
Some scholarships require you to demonstrate a combination of the above criteria to be eligible and for all scholarships you will need to closely read the specific criteria and tailor your application accordingly. Don’t forget to take a look at all scholarships that are available as well as those specifically for students undertaking Medicine at your university.
Commencing students are well serviced by scholarships with most universities offering a number of opportunities for this cohort.
For those who have aced the NSW or ACT HSC and will be studying at UNSW you could apply for the Academic Achievement Award. This award provides $5000 to a commencing student who is academically gifted. At the University of Sydney, a similar scholarship of $10,000 for end of school high achievement is the Chancellor's Award. A few more of this nature that may be of interest are:
- Vice-Chancellor's Award for Academic Excellence in Year 12: From the University of Newcastle.
- UWA Hackett Scholarship: From the University of Western Australia.
- Commonwealth Tertiary Access Payment: Funds to assist students to relocate to The University of Western Australia.
- The Firoze and Manda Narielvala Medical Scholarship: The University of Adelaide provides fee remission for a student in a commonwealth supported place. The scholarship requires a student to demonstrate academic merit and financial need.
If you are heading into Medicine then no doubt you’ve done well with your end of school exams so be sure to check out if these kinds of opportunities are available at your chosen university. Of course, many universities offering a graduate entry medical program won’t be taking students right out of school in which case commencing students may like to look at opportunities that are either more directly related to study in the field of medicine or aimed at supporting a specific cohort of students.
The University of Adelaide also has some fantastic scholarships for continuing students:
- Lottie & Aileen Connon Scholarship: For second year students to assist with educational and living costs.
- McConnochie Scholarship: For students entering year four of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students
Most universities have a range of scholarships dedicated to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students and they are often available to both commencing and continuing students. A selection of these are:
- Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarships: Provides scholarships for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students studying an entry-level health course, including Medicine at the University of Melbourne.
- The Robinson Family Scholarship for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women: Available from the University of Sydney and providing up to $20,000 per annum for up to 4 years of study.
- Double Degree Science Medicine Diversity Scholarship: $6000 for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander student proceeding to their second year in the Doctor of Medicine at the University of Sydney.
- Commonwealth Indigenous Support Scholarship - An Australian Government scholarship designed to assist Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students with study costs at Monash University;
- PSA Insurance Indigenous Scholarships: provides funding for three Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students who reside at the Monash Residential Services and study medicine.
- Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Medical Scholarship: For Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students studying Medicine at UNSW who are in their first year and are high school leavers.
- Richard Hays Foundation Dean of Medicine Bursary: is available for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students at James Cook University.
- AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship: is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students who demonstrate a commitment to their community and to medicine, and who may not have the financial means to realise their dream.
- Avant Foundation First Year Indigenous Medical Student Bursary: Applicants must be an Indigenous medical student member of Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA), be enrolled in your first year of an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree in medicine and have a demonstrable commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
Impact of Personal Circumstances
Most scholarships ask recipients to demonstrate their eligibility by showing that their education and/or future study has been or will be impacted by personal circumstances. The definition of what “personal circumstances” actually is seems to differ slightly from university to university and I encourage you to look closely at the definition produced by your chosen university (or even scholarship) to see if you may qualify. If in doubt, be sure to call the scholarships department at your university so that you can discuss your case specifically.
Some scholarships advise that the impact of personal circumstances can be demonstrated by:
- Carer responsibilities;
- Regional or remote educational disadvantage;
- Solo parent status,
- English language difficulty.
- Long-term medical condition/disability or ongoing effects of abuse;
- Financial hardship;
- If you have been a refugee;
- If you are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander;
A number of scholarships that specifically fall into this category are:
- Adam Scott Foundation Scholarship for commencing students under 30 studying at the University of Sydney who have experienced disadvantage or hardship;
- University of Sydney Access Scholarship - A $6000 scholarship from the University of Sydney for a high academic achiever, non recent school leaver who is experiencing financial hardship or other disadvantage;
- Achieving Potential Placement Grants: A Monash University scholarship for students to undertake compulsory unpaid placements who have both a low income and have experienced educational disadvantage.
- Thomas Brewer Shaping Scholarship in Medicine: For first year students at the University of Newcastle who have experienced disadvantage;
- Dr Susan Lim Scholarship in Medicine: For a student in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th year of the Joint Medical Program at the University of Newcastle who is experiencing one or more areas of educational disadvantage.
- The Melbourne Access Scholarship: For students at the University of Melbourne who have experienced disadvantage.
- Dr Neville Rothfield Medical Scholarship: For students entering the School of Medicine at the University of Melbourne who have experienced “financial need”.
- JCU Access Fund: available for first and second year students who are experiencing financial hardship at James Cook University.
Equity definitions for Monash University can be found here, while information on the type of supporting documentation that the University of Newcastle may ask for regarding your application can be found here. Be sure to take a look at equity definitions as they relate to the scholarship specifically as well as the university more broadly.
With the push for more women to enter into STEM based industries, a range of incentives are available in the form of scholarships:
- Lord Mayor's Scholarship for Women: For women in any year of their undergraduate degree program at the University of Newcastle who are experiencing financial hardship;
- Wainwright Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship: For women interested in a career in Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland;
- Valasi Bleazard Memorial Scholarship in Medicine: This scholarship is for a second year, female student of medicine at the University of Newcastle. The student must be able to demonstrate academic achievement and the impact of personal circumstances.
There’s a host of scholarships available for international students at all universities with some very generous financial incentives.
- Monash International Merit Scholarship: For continuing international students studying medicine who can demonstrate academic achievement.
- The Humanitarian High Achiever Scholarship at the University of Sydney is available for international students who are asylum seekers .
- Future of Change Scholarship: For students of Indian descent at UNSW;
- UWA Humanitarian Swans Scholarship: A University of Western Australia scholarship for students who have been a refugee or asylum seeker.
Regional / Remote Students
Most universities offer incentives to attract students from regional and remote areas of Australia. There is also an acknowledgement that students who have lived and studied in regional and remote communities may not have been afforded the same educational opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts. A few opportunities of this nature are:
- Dr Herbert Gibson Rural Health Scholarship: A Monash University scholarship for students who are studying medicine and have a low income or are from a regional or remote area of Australia;
- Daniel and Helen Gauchat Port Macquarie Award for Rural Medical Students: Accommodation support at Forster College for first year UNSW Medicine Students from a rural area;
- Mary Dillon Inspire Scholarship: An accommodation scholarship for students at the University of Western Australia;
- Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships: A scholarship for financial need, rural and remote access, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students affected by natural disasters at the University of Queensland.
Hilda and Sandy Anderson Scholarship: Available to assist students at the University of Adelaide who are relocating from rural, regional and remote areas (and financial hardship) and who have accepted a place in Medicine.
Universities tend to offer a range of scholarships that align to their school values or are simply additional opportunities that you can investigate, sometimes in relation to research priorities. Several interesting ones that I found are:
- UNSW Medicine Program Education Award: A scholarship for 4th year med students at UNSW undertaking their ILP (Independent Learning Project) or Honours Project in the field of Medical Education.
- Excellence through Equity Pathway to Medicine: A University of Newcastle access avenue to the JMP (Joint Medical Program) for students in the Open Foundation and Newstep programs.
- PhD scholarships at the University of Queensland include:Cerebral Palsy Alliance PhD Research Grant, Design and development of effective peptide-based therapeutics, The Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation HDR top-up scholarship, and the Professor Philip Walker Surgery Research Scholarship.
The Richard Hayes Bursary from James Cook University offers students in their 5th year of the B Medicine / B Surgery funds to attend medical conferences.
There are some great sites out there listing scholarships available across a number of states, territories and schools. Be sure to check out these collected resources:
- The Good Universities Guide: Not only does this site compare and contract universities and courses, it also has a comprehensive list of scholarships available by state around Australia.
- My Health Career: Lots of great information about Australia wide scholarships for those in the health sciences. This site also includes information on rural and remote placements and available support.
- The General Practice Student’s Network: This site has some good tips on scholarship preparation and some database ideas of how to locate scholarships you might be eligible for.
Scholarships tend to have closing dates from August to March although some have several rounds open throughout the year. Once you have secured your place at university, be sure to take a look at what is available right away. Even if you have missed out on a scholarship one year, you may be eligible to apply the following year and can set up a range of calendar points in your diary as part of your scholarship application plan. For all students commencing or continuing their med school journey, Medic Guild wishes you good luck!
Acknowledgements: In an effort to best represent the scholarships that are available, in some cases, descriptive text has been taken directly from the university websites.
Scholarships listed are from the following sources:
James Cook University: https://www.jcu.edu.au/
The University of Melbourne: https://www.unimelb.edu.au/
The University of NSW: https://www.unsw.edu.au/
The University of Newcastle: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/
The University of Tasmania: https://www.utas.edu.au/
The University of Adelaide: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/
The University of Sydney: https://www.sydney.edu.au/
The University of Western Australia: https://www.uwa.edu.au/home
Monash University: https://www.monash.edu/
University of Queensland: https://www.uq.edu.au/
For further information on scholarships check out:
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