Rob Stephenson.

FIFTEEN students have been offered a place in La Trobe University’s new, highly competitive end-to-end rural medical program in Wednesday’s first round university offers, which Bendigo Head of Campus Rob Stephenson has described as a “golden ticket” program.

The course sees students take up a Bachelor of Biomedical Science in Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga, before, upon successful completion, gaining entry into the University of Melbourne’s Doctor of Medicine post graduate program based in Shepparton.

Entry into the program was based on an interview in early January and a student’s ATAR score, with the lowest offered selection rank being 89.05.

It was specifically targeted towards regional students, with strong interest from across Australia.

“From an undergraduate to post graduate course, this is probably the most direct way in,” Mr Stephenson said.

“The course adds to the case we’ve been making to solve the issue of a lack of regional doctors.

“It will be fantastic to have the students here, and to watch them progress.”

He said that, based on evidence from other courses, 75 per cent of students who study regionally then stay regionally post degree.

Coupled with other courses offered in Bendigo such as pharmacy, dentistry, physiotherapy and allied health programs, Mr Stephenson said they offer an “absolute boom to the area”.

There was also strong interest in Bendigo’s dentistry course, which saw the lowest offered selection rank of 99.1. The course sits in the top 20 highest ATAR entry scores in Victoria, with Mr Stephenson reporting it continues to attract a high calibre of students.

2019 at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus will see the opening of a new state-of-the-art engineering building, which will also welcome new engineering staff and open up possibilities for new research programs.

High school students from across the region will also continue to utilise the new tech school opened last year, to further build interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subject opportunities.

Across the state, the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre this week released 51,638 offers to applicants, with 79.68 per cent of students who applied in this first round receiving an offer.

Four more domestic offer rounds remain for students.

– Sam Kane