Rural students are sought for professional health degrees

At Griffith, we recognise the vital role healthcare providers play in rural and remote communities. We also understand the unique challenges that students from rural backgrounds face when considering university.

To help develop the next generation of doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals who are familiar with the issues facing rural communities, a number of places are set aside in select Griffith health degrees for which students from rural backgrounds can apply.

What can I study?

Through Griffith University's Rural Priority Access Scheme (GURPAS), Commonwealth Supported Places are set aside for rural students in the following degrees:

Jump to FAQs

Am I eligible?

Eligibility is based on residential location in accordance with the Federal Government definition of rurality. You must have lived in a category ASGS-RA 2-5 regional or remote area of Australia, for a minimum of five or more consecutive years, or 10 cumulative years, at the time of application.

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

How to apply

Bachelor of Medical Science and Bachelor of Dental Health Science applicants

Rural applicants apply for these two programs through QTAC—make sure you order your preferences carefully, so you don’t miss out on what you want to study. After your application, you will be sent an email that indicates you may be eligible for the Rural Priority Access Scheme. In this email, you will be directed to a complete a Cover Letter and supply this with your supporting documents to QTAC.

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.

What documents do I have to provide to prove my rural background?

Acceptable supporting documentation includes:

  • 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.

Letters written specifically in support of your claim must be original letters. Other documentation can be photocopies, however certification is not required. If selecting five years consecutive residence, the supporting documentation must support five full years and must be consecutive.

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?

While it is expected that you would work in a rural area once you graduate from Medicine, there is no requirement to do so.


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