James Cook University

James Cook University (JCU) aims to create a brighter future for life in the Tropics and beyond, through education and research that makes a difference locally and globally. JCU is set amid irreplaceable ecosystems and cultures, and is unique among Australian universities, woven into the intellectual, economic and social fabric of the regional and remote communities they serve.

JCU teaches the only undergraduate medical degree in Northern Australia.  The six-year Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) recently expanded to JCU’s Nguma-bada campus in Cairns, in the past the full degree was only available for students at the Bebegu Yumba campus in Townsville.  This expansion allows students from the far north of Australia to stay even closer to home whilst undertaking their medical training. One third of students from the 2023 Cairns cohort are the first in their family to go to university and from a regional, rural or remote area.

Training medical students close to their hometown has made JCU Australia’s most successful university at producing health professionals who go on to work in regional, rural and remote locations, with JCU graduates representing 40% of the health workforce in outer regional, remote and very remote locations in Queensland. JCU is proud to have a diverse student cohort including the second highest number of Indigenous undergraduate students of all Australian universities. 

The Balnaves Foundation has been a long-time advocate for the education and development of indigenous doctors in regional and rural Australia.  The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Medical Scholarship at James Cook University Nguma-bada campus was launched in 2023. The scholarship is available to first year students studying at the Nguma-bada campus, and is a six-year scholarship.