Global Destination Australia - Studying Biomedical Science


There is also the possibility to undertake a three-year BSc (Biomedical Science) with the option to undertake a further Honours year.  In an Honours year, students conduct a research project to learn how to conduct research and gain qualification for entry to a postgraduate Masters by Research or PhD programme.

Programmes vary between universities, but all focus on human biology at the molecular, cellular and whole body levels.  There is usually choice for specialisation within the disciplines of Molecular Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Genetics, Developmental Biology, Immunology and Neuroscience. Courses are designed to develop the critical thinking, communication, analytical and practical skills needed for a career in research but are equally applicable to a wide range of careers in science and beyond.  In some universities high-performing students may have the opportunity to gain entry into a Medicine programme.

Entry requirements for international students typically include upper secondary studies and English proficiency to required standards. Fees for international undergraduate students in the Biomedical Sciences are A$30,000 or more per annum. The cost of living varies between cities, but can be as high as A$17,000 – 20,000 in major cities. Students should also have a minimum of A$2,000 when they arrive to cover the initial cost of books and establishment expenses.

Postgraduate Programmes

Most universities have masters and doctoral programmes leading to the award of an MSc by Research or PhD in Biomedical Science; these involve original research and the submission of a thesis in two years for the Masters by Research, and three or four years for the PhD.  The research can be in any of the areas of specialisation listed above.  Entry requirements to PhD programmes typically include either an undergraduate degree with Honours (at least upper second class) from an Australian university or equivalent qualification, including Masters degrees.  Some universities offer either a one-year Graduate Diploma or three semester Masters course (e.g. MPhil) as an alternative for Honours, and these can be available to international graduates lacking the research component of their undergraduate degree.  The Graduate Diploma is often articulated with a Masters qualification enabling students to enrol in the Graduate Diploma and progress to obtain the Masters degree with a further year of study.

For those wishing to specialise or upgrade their education in areas of Medical Science without focusing specifically on research, there are a very large number of coursework Masters programmes offered across the spectrum of Australian universities.  These vary in duration from one and a half years to two years, and include most of the areas listed below under health-related programmes. Many of these courses include formal course work and a dissertation. These programmes in some cases include studies in related disciplines such as financial, legal and human resource management. 

Health-related Programmes

Most universities offer a wide range of health-related programmes, which can include undergraduate or graduate level courses in:  Medical Science, Applied Public Health, Dental Science, Pharmacy, Drug Development, Reproductive Medicine, Paramedic Science, Psychology, Nursing, Midwifery, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech Pathology, Podiatry, Physical Education, Dietetics, Optometry, Clinical Psychology, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Laboratory Medicine, Medical Radiations, Exercise and Sports Science, Health Science Sport Psychology, Counselling and Public Health.  A number of universities also offer programmes in the area of alternative medicine.

Emeritus Professor Ian W. Dawes FAA
Former Chair, National Committee for Biomedical Sciences
School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences