This six-year undergraduate program has oriented its selection processes to attract applicants from rural, remote and Indigenous Australian backgrounds via targeted recruitment of local high-school students. All students undertake a minimum of 20 weeks of rural community placements throughout the course.
The JCU program is decentralised across the northern Australian region in years 4–6, with the majority of students moving away from the early years base in Townsville to rural clinical school sites in Cairns, Mackay and Darwin . JCU adopted this decentralised education model primarily to ensure medical students have adequate clinical supervision and exposure to clinical experiences, as the steady yearly growth in enrolments has led to a current cohort size of more than 200 medical students, up from 60 in the first cohort, which commenced in 2000. Students are attached to two clinical schools in year 4 (Townsville and Cairns), and four sites in years 5 and 6 (Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Darwin). Students undertake the majority of their clinical training in their site of allocation, with additional rotations to undertake eight-week rural terms in years 4 and 6, and the possibility of a rural elective in year 6.