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Australian Medical School - Which one is best for me?

Australian Medical Schools - Which one is best for me?

by , 28 September, 2018
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Medical School Admissions SeminarThe GAMSAT is done and dusted for another year. Many of GradReady's students who have put themselves through the horror of the 2018 version of this test are now in the midst of their medical interviews. Somewhere along this journey, it has probably crept into your mind as to what medical school you might attend (fingers and toes crossed!). Typically, students will choose the university close to them but there are many considerations that you should take into account for your medical school journey – considerations that you should take seriously as this is undoubtedly, a hugely significant part of your life. 

Other Criteria To Consider

I’ve done some research for all of you and created a discussion below of the pros/cons (along with other tips) about the various post-graduate medical schools around the country.

There are so many considerations for which medical school you will be applying for and considerations that stretch far beyond the actual course (family/friends/location/rent/employment etc).

Discussing my own medical school choice, I was interested in attending either UNSW or Sydney University medical schools (due to the emphasis on research) but the cost of living in Sydney was highly prohibitive to realising that goal.

Australian Medical School Rankings

For those of you who find such information important, Australian medical schools have been well represented in the top 100 medical schools around the world here.

Indeed, there are five schools in the top 50: the University of Sydney (15th), the University of Melbourne (19th), Monash University (joint 29th), the University of Queensland (42nd) and the University of New South Wales (50th). have also compiled a list of top universities for medicine in Australia, using a formula that considers student numbers, percentage of graduates satisfied with their course, and indicative graduate salaries (this is apparently an important consideration). James Cook University scored first, followed by University of Western Australia in second and then Monash University in third. have published the information informing their rankings here, which is quite interesting (especially regarding graduate satisfaction).

If you're interested in looking at your med school options, PostgradAustralia is a great platform that allows students and professionals contemplating a graduate level degree to explore, compare, shortlist, and apply for over five thousand unique courses in one place. 

Australian Medical Schools - Pros and Cons

The following table is my own construction and will hopefully provide you a rough idea of what each medical school offers.

Please be warned that a lot of this is anecdotal information that I’ve gathered from speaking to students from each of these schools. So please take it with a grain of salt if it’s not exactly what you’ve heard! Certainly consider this table in conjunction with the above links too.








Australian National University (ANU)



  • Great Research

  • Political/Policy Focus

  • High rent in central Canberra

  • Public transport not as strong as in other cities


University of Sydney

Camperdown, Sydney


  • Abundance of opportunities

  • Separate application process

  • Hard to be a ‘big fish’ here

  • Expensive rent

Fantastic places to eat around campus!

Uni of NSW

Kensington, Sydney


  • Fantastic societies at UNSW

  • Great student culture

Expensive rent

Huge amounts of walking between classes.

Uni of Western Sydney

Campbelltown, Sydney


  • Plenty of experience at hospitals

  • Some rural focus

  • Western Sydney is a cultural hub and away from the business-focus of the central city

Far out of Sydney central (could be a positive)


Uni of Wollongong



  • Portfolio application process

  • Quiet/beach town

  • Predictable timetable



Uni of Newcastle




  • Small university and class sizes

  • You may be sent to Armidale for practicum



Uni of Notre Dame (Sydney)

Darlinghurst, Sydney


  • Near Kings Cross, so loads of practical experience during placement!

  • Right near Oxford St

  • Small classes

Expensive rent

Some anecdotal suggestions of Catholic focus here

Bond University

Gold Coast


  • Beautiful campus

  • Motivated students

All/most full-fee paying


Griffith University

Gold Coast


  • A lot of very good extra-curricular societies to get involved in (some of the best in Aus – Surgia/H4H)

  • Previously known to have problematic administration

  • Not a lot of research/leadership opportunities or support for furthering academic studies


Uni of QLD



  • Leadership/research/extracurricular opportunities aplenty

  • Fairly close to the city

  • Huge amount of students

  • Can be randomly sent out to Ipswich for pre-clinical years


Uni of Adelaide



  • Really excellent student culture

  • Really good social events and great extracurricular opportunities



Flinders Uni



  • Right near the hospital

  • Final year has no exams (as of 2014)



Melbourne Medical School

Parkville, Melbourne


  • Right in the heart of Melbourne

  • Great food

  • Great culture

  • Loads of excellent hospitals and many College offices located in Melbourne




Clayton, Melbourne


  • Very intense course

  • Get into clinical context very early on

  • Medical school located at Gippsland, which is quite far out of Melbourne





  • New campus

  • Very friendly cohort

  • Small classes



Uni of Notre Dame (WA)



  • Similar to Notre Dame in Sydney, except in Fremantle!

  • Accepts portfolios as well



Uni of WA



  • Beautiful campus

  • Has a clinically-intensive course





Hopefully you found this article interesting and somewhat informative!

Choosing the best medical school for you is a difficult process and there are many factors to consider. Importantly, I would encourage you to not ignore ‘soft’ factors of choosing a medical school such as:

  • Distance to family

  • Friends and other social support

  • Rent and cost of living

All of these factors could play the biggest influence in impacting your enjoyment of the medical course and shaping what kind of doctor you may turn into!