Extended Rural Cohort

Guaranteed training placements in northern Victoria

The Extended Rural Cohort is a cohort of direct entry Monash University medical students within the Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (MD). This program gives you the opportunity to spend most of your clinical training years in rural and regional north-west Victoria.

As an Extended Rural Cohort student, you'll spend your first two years in Clayton with other medical students. For the next two years of clinical training you are then guaranteed a place in hospitals and community-based practices in northern rural and regional Victoria. Your final clinical training year consists of a series of six-week placements which you can choose to do in a mix of regional or metropolitan hospitals, which must include 12 weeks in rural and regional north-west Victoria.

Throughout the course, you study the same curriculum as metropolitan-based students and have great hands-on training opportunities with dedicated tutors, clinicians and experienced educators.

Applying for the Extended Rural Cohort

Domestic students are eligible to apply. You are a domestic student if you are:

  • an Australian citizen (including dual citizens), or
  • a New Zealand citizen (including dual citizens), or
  • an Australian permanent resident, or
  • a holder of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa.

The Extended Rural Cohort within the Monash MD course has its own VTAC code and you must nominate this code to be considered for a place in this cohort. See the medicine course website for details on eligibility and how to apply.

Eligible applicants: Domestic students (see definition above)
Places available: 30 (Commonwealth Supported Places)
Duration of course: five years full-time

For further information about the Extended Rural Cohort stream please contact:

Laura Major, Manager - Rural  Education Program
T: (03) 9905 1521
E: laura.major@monash.edu


Frequently asked questions

Q.  Do ERC students have to do all their clinical placements in rural or regional teaching hospitals?
A.  ERC students can undertake the majority of their final year undergraduate training in metropolitan teaching hospitals, however must undertake two six-week clinical rotations in north-west rural Victoria.

Q.   Do ERC students do all their clinical training in Bendigo?
A.  ERC students undertake clinical training in Mildura, Bendigo, and north-west Victorian towns including Gisborne, Woodend, Castlemaine, Kyneton, Maryborough and Swan Hill.

Q. Can ERC students choose where they go for clinical placements and when do they submit preferences?
A. During second semester of Years 2, 3 and 4 all ERC students are provided with information regarding ERC locations. Students nominate preferences for Year 3 and 4 clinical placements and we take their preferences into consideration in allocating student placements. We try and give students opportunities to spend time in both Mildura and Bendigo, as well as one of the rural hubs during Year 4. Student preferences are taken into account when allocating students to ERC sites, however, students are not guaranteed to be placed at one of their preferred locations. Students are advised of their provisional placement details by mid-October and confirmed once end-of-year assessment results are finalised in December.

Q.  Do ERC students have to come from a rural background?
A.  The ERC is open to students from rural or urban backgrounds. If you do come from a regional or rural background, be sure to find out about the Dean’s Rural List – a special entry scheme that can help you gain entry into the Monash undergraduate medicine course.

Q. Are there any return of service obligations as an ERC student once I graduate?
A.  No. ERC students apply for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and undertake most of their undergraduate clinical training in rural north-west Victoria. If you accept an ERC place, you will be asked to sign a Statement of Understanding with the University stating that you will spend the equivalent of five clinical semesters (Year 3, Year 4 and 12 weeks in Year 5) in rural and regional north-west Victoria.

Q. Are there any differences with examinations?
A. Extended Rural Cohort students sit the same exams as metropolitan based students.

Q. Do ERC students need a car or is there transport available?
A. We recommend that all ERC students have their own reliable transport. Regional and rural sites vary with travel requirements and distances related to learning activities.

Q. Where do students live?
A. When you undertake a two-week placement in Year 2 we organise and pay for your accommodation. When on regional or rural placement during the clinical training years (Years 3-5), students live in Monash subsidised, self-catered accommodation. The accommodation is either college-style or share houses/units close to the placement site. The weekly rental fee covers the cost of fully furnished accommodation, Wi-Fi, utilities, property and garden maintenance.

Q. How can I find out more about life as an ERC student?
A. We hold information events at Open Day and we can also help connect you to current ERC students. Contact our Monash Rural Health’s Rural Education Program Manager at rural.health@monash.edu

Q. Would spending time rurally disadvantage my chance of internship selection at my preferred location?
A. The majority of ERC students receive their first preference for internship location.