Priority places for rural students in medicine and dentistry degrees

If you have lived in a regional or remote area for at least 5 years, you may be eligible for a priority place in dentistry or medicine at Griffith. These priority places are set aside to help support and develop the next generation of dentists and doctors familiar with the unique challenges facing rural communities.

Students may also have the option of undertaking placements in a rural setting in South East Queensland and the Burnett regions, including Toowoomba, Stanthorpe, Warwick, Dalby and Palm Island.

What can I study?

At Griffith, we recognise the vital role healthcare providers play in rural and remote communities and understand the unique challenges that students from rural backgrounds face when considering university. Through the Griffith University's Rural Priority Access Scheme (GURPAS), Commonwealth Supported Places are set aside for rural students in the following degrees:

Please note you will need to meet the entry requirements for your selected degree.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible, you must have lived in Australian rural area for at least 5 consecutive years, or for 10 years cumulatively, since birth. This area needs to be defined as an Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS):

  • Remoteness Area 2 (RA2)
  • Remoteness Area 3 (RA3)
  • Remoteness Area 4 (RA4)
  • Remoteness Area 5 (RA5)

To check on rural geographic eligibility, enter your address at the Health Workforce Locator and use the ASGS Remoteness Areas (2016) filter.

Please note, if you attended boarding school you can use your family’s residential address to qualify.

How to apply

Bachelor of Dental Health Science

Admission to Griffith’s Bachelor of Dental Health Science is now determined by the following three components:

  • Performance in the Universities Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT ANZ)
  • Performance in the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)
  • Academic attainment

Further information about this application process can be found here: Dental Health Science New Entry Requirements 

If you would like to start study in 2022 and have applied to sit / sat UCAT ANZ and confirmed your rural eligibility (see 'Am I eligible' above), now is the time to:

  1. Apply via QTAC.
  2. Start collecting your proof of rural eligibility documents, such as:
    • Supporting letters from a GP, school, university or workplace (signed originals on letterhead). Supporting letters must state your rural address.
    • Invoices for telephone, rates, utilities or bank statements showing your (or your family’s) address. These documents can be in your parents name(s).
    • Letters written in support of your claim must be original. Other documentation can be photocopies. If selecting five years consecutive residence, the supporting documentation must support five full years and must be consecutive.
  3. Look out for your email  from QTAC that indicates you may be eligible for Griffith's Rural Priority Access Scheme.
  4. Complete and the cover sheet you are directed to in the email.
  5. Upload the cover sheet with your supporting documents to QTAC before 30 September.

Doctor of Medicine applicants

Applications to the Doctor of Medicine are made through GEMSAS. When completing your application, you will be asked if you think you are a rural applicant. Respond yes and follow the prompts to provide proof of residence.

Note: If you progress to the Doctor of Medicine from the Bachelor of Medical Science and proved your rural status for your undergraduate degree, you do not need to prove this again.

Mohit Tolani

Dental Health Science graduate

Mohit was drawn to rural dentistry as he saw the diversity of opportunities offered to health professionals in those areas. This has led him to develop several unique dental outreach programs in rural and regional Victoria and New South Wales, while also allowing him to expand his understanding of not just dentistry but also public health and education.

While working as a Dental Officer in Goulburn Valley Health in rural Victoria, Mohit realised he didn’t just want to be a dentist who pulled teeth; he wanted to do more to improve dental health by educating his patients. In 2017, while working in Shepparton in rural Victoria, he organised the Shepp Health project, delivering basic dental, eye and general health management information to high school students and TAFE students in order to increase health awareness, identify anomalies, and give them knowledge of where and when to seek help.

Then, in 2018, he etched the Community Smiles program in Dapto in regional New South Wales, providing free dental care to marginalised communities and those with limited access to oral health care, and oral health literacy to school children and young adults. He has taken this further as a visiting flying dental officer with the Royal Flying Doctor Service Southern Eastern (RFDS SE) section providing dental care and education to rural and marginalised communities. Mohit says the basis of both programs is changing the future through education.

Find out more

Frequently asked questions

How do I find out whether my home address is in an ASGS-RA 2-5 area?

Go to the Health Workforce Locator, type in your address, select 'Australian Statistical Geographic Standard Remoteness Areas'. In 'Select a year' use 2016, and you will be advised of your ASGS Remoteness Area category.

I was born in Coober Pedy and this remains my home address. However, I have been attending boarding school in Brisbane for the past 6 years. Do I qualify to be considered under GURPAS?

Yes, if you reside at Coober Pedy with your parents when you are not at school, you can apply to be considered under GURPAS.

Although I live in Brisbane our family has a holiday home in Alice Springs and we spend about 6 weeks a year there. Do I qualify to be considered under GURPAS?

No, your family’s holiday home is not your primary residence and you would not be eligible to apply under GURPAS.

My family and I moved to Goondiwindi three years ago and intend to stay there for at least the next five years. Can I apply under GURPAS knowing that I will meet the criteria in two years?

No, you cannot claim time in the future as part of the five or 10 years.

What if I currently am, or have been, studying an undergraduate degree in a city with a goal of applying for Medicine?

Graduate entry students of rural origin who are, or have been, studying an undergraduate degree in a city will still be eligible for the Rural Priority Access Scheme, providing they have spent five years consecutively or 10 years collectively in a rural area.

What if I’m currently a secondary school student boarding in the city?

Students from rural backgrounds who are boarding at a secondary school located in a city, can apply for entry to the medicine program, providing they have spent five years consecutively or 10 years collectively, in a rural area.

Will I get to do rural placements while undertaking my medical degree if I enter as a part of the GURPAS Scheme?

Some students admitted to the MD at Griffith will be allocated to spend a year at a rural placement. The aim is for at least 25% of students to have spent a year or more in rural placements by the time they graduate.

When nominating placement preferences, students have the option of ranking the 5 different placement zones in preferred order. While preferences are taken into account, not all students will get their most preferred placement as quota limits apply.

If I apply for entry via GURPAS, does it mean I will automatically get a Bonded Medical Place?

No, Bonded places and unencumbered CSP places are distributed across all rural and non-rural applicants.

Do I have to work in a rural area when I graduate from Medicine if I get a place under GURPAS?

There is no requirement to work in a rural area once you graduate from Medicine.


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