You Got Your Med Offer, Now How Will You Pay for It? – A National Scholarship Guide

Sep 8, 2021

Written by M Francis

M. Frances has had a successful career in education, community arts and cultural development prior to starting medicine at the University of Newcastle in 2021.
So you’ve traversed the gauntlet of the UCAT or GAMSAT, bitten your nails down to the quick through the interview process and finally received the coveted spot into a medical program. 

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;
  • Women;
  • International students;
  • Regional or Remote Students;
  • Other.

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

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:

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:

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: 

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:

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:

International Students

There’s a host of scholarships available for international students at all universities with some very generous financial incentives.

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: 

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:

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. 

General Reference 

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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