Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme

The Government’s Bonded Programs aim to provide more Australian trained doctors where there are workforce shortages, particularly in rural and remote Australia.

Page last updated: 04 January 2022

The Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme is closed to new participants.

The Bonded Medical Program New Arrangement came into effect from 1 January 2020. Information is available online.


The World Health Organization has announced that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a pandemic. The Department of Health understands that these are difficult times for many Australians. The situation may have impacted both your personal and professional obligations.

Department of Health would like to remind current participants of the Bonded Medical Place (MRBS) Scheme that you are still required to comply with your contractual obligations.

The Bonded Medical Places (BMP) Scheme and the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme together make up what is now known as the Bonded Programs.

Reforms to the MRBS Scheme

The department is currently reforming the Bonded Programs to provide greater support for bonded doctors and to better target return of service to rural and remote areas and areas of workforce shortage.

From 1 January 2020, all existing MRBS Scheme participant can opt-in to the new arrangements which aim to encourage more doctors to work and stay in rural and remote areas.

All existing participants are encouraged to keep their current contractual requirements up to date and continue to meet their current contractual obligations.

Additional information about the reformed Bonded Programs is provided at:

Reformed Bonded Programs
Strengthening bonded programs budget factsheet
Reformed bonded programs addressing doctor shortages across rural and remote areas by enhancing bonded programs

How does the MRBS Scheme work?

The aim of the MRBS Scheme is to increase the number of qualified doctors working in regional, rural and remote areas. The MRBS scheme provided up to 100 Commonwealth-supported medical school places with an attached scholarship each year to commencing Australian medical students. Recipients signed a contract requiring them to work as a doctor in a rural or remote area for six years once they have attained fellowship (less any credit obtained through scaling incentives).

The eligibility of locations is determined by the geographical classification systems used at that time. These include Rural Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA), Australian Standard Geographic Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA 2006) and the Australian Standard Geographic System – Remoteness Areas (ASGS-RA 2011 and ASGS-RA 2016).

The MRBS Scheme was closed to new entrants after the 2015 academic year. The 100 places reserved for the MRBS Scheme each year were added to the yearly cohort of the Bonded Medical Places (BMP) Scheme from 2016 (without the accompanying scholarship).

Read your contract
MRBS Scheme participants are reminded to fully understand their MRBS contracts and remain aware of their contractual obligations, particularly as they progress through their medical careers and approach their return of service period.

Refer to the MRBS Information booklet MRBS Student Information booklet 2015

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It is important that you are clear about your obligations as you work towards your medical degree and approach your return of service period.

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Commonly asked questions:
Prior to contacting the MRBS Scheme please read the commonly asked questions and refer to the checklist of information and documents required from the participant under the relevant question.

Contact details

For more information

Telephone: 1800 987 104 (available Monday-Friday, 8:30am -5pm AEST), or

Email: using the subject ‘[Scheme/Program] – [Name] – [Request]’

write to us at:
MRBS Scheme
MDP 149
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848

Web: Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme

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