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Master of Osteopathic Medicine

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

About this course

Osteopathy is a holistic system of diagnosis and manual therapy used to treat musculoskeletal and other functional disorders of the body. In Australia, osteopaths are registered primary care practitioners.

The Master of Osteopathic Medicine is designed to develop a critical evaluation of the theory and practice of osteopathy and to produce primary care health practitioners who are able to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently. The degree is built on a contemporary professional model that integrates the principles of evidence-based practice with a holistic paradigm of patient-centred health care.

The Master of Osteopathic Medicine is the second stage of a professional-entry-level program that aims to produce graduates who are eligible to register as practitioners of osteopathic medicine. The first stage is the Southern Cross University Bachelor of Clinical Sciences (with the double major Osteopathic Studies/Human Structure and Function), or the Bachelor of Clinical Sciences (Osteopathic Studies) or an equivalent award from another institution.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Clinical Sciences (Osteopathic Studies) who commence the course from 2017 onwards, will receive four units of advanced standing into the Master of Osteopathic Medicine. For those entering the Bachelor of Clinical Sciences from 2017 onwards, the full-time duration for both courses (undergraduate and Master) is four years.

Career opportunities

The Master of Osteopathic Medicine aims to produce graduates who are eligible to register as practitioners of osteopathic medicine. Southern Cross University is seeking to increase the number of graduate osteopaths in order to meet community demand. Osteopathy Australia estimates a national shortage of osteopaths that will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.  

Professional recognition

The Master of Osteopathic Medicine is accredited by the Osteopathy Board of Australia. Graduates may apply to become a registered osteopath.

Graduates of the course are eligible for professional membership with Osteopathy Australia (OA).

Osteopathic services are recognised under all state government statutory workers compensation schemes and motor vehicle accident compensation schemes; under Medicare's Chronic Disease Management Plan items; Departments of Veterans Affairs rebates and most private health insurance schemes.

Professional placement

The Master of Osteopathic Medicine includes substantial supervised clinical practicums at the SCU Health Clinic (Gold Coast or Lismore campuses) and in external health clinics and services. External placements provide opportunities to experience a range of community practices and to start to build professional networks that help establish future careers.

Professional experience placements require students to fulfil certain pre-requisites prior to attending any placements. Before applying for this course, it is important that you understand what these requirements are, as they include immunisation compliance.

Major areas of study

Students undertake studies in osteopathic medicine, including advanced diagnosis and management of complex problems; complete clinical practice under supervision in internal and external health facilities; and engage in a research project.

Assessment methods

Students complete a wide variety of assessments including written exams, written assignments and clinical exams such as observed long case exams and viva voces.

Teaching methods

The osteopathic medicine units use a student-centred curriculum in which problem-based activities and studies, as well as case discussion, engender independent and team-based learning.

Clinical practice is a mentored learning experience in both real and simulated patient encounters. The research component is self-directed and supervised and aims to develop critical thinkers and readers of research. Reflective practitioner skills are integrated into the curriculum to develop interpersonal and lifelong learning characteristics.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes.

Osteopathy students access to clinical facilities which include fully equipped electronic resources, medical technology, motion analysis laboratories, and anatomy laboratories. The SCU Health Clinics at the Lismore and Gold Coast  campuses provide facilities for students to undertake clinical practice under the supervision and guidance of academic staff.

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents

Admission requirements

Applicants for admission to candidature shall:

  1. have completed the Bachelor of Clinical Science, majoring in Osteopathic Studies, Human Structure and Function at Southern Cross University, or
    shall have completed an award at another institution deemed by the School Board to be equivalent to the above; and
  2. have demonstrated in an interview, commitment to and an understanding of the profession.

Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of Master of Osteopathic Medicine a candidate shall successfully complete the equivalent of sixteen (16) units (192 credit points) comprising:
    1. all units listed in the Schedule of Units

Advanced standing

Candidates may be awarded advanced standing in accordance with Rule 2 Section 4 of the University’s Rules Relating to Awards.

Schedule of units


How to apply

Domestic students

Applications for this course are made directly to SCU via our online application service.

International students

Confirm you meet the entry requirements including English language and academic entry and any specific pre-requisites.

Apply OnlineSouthern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form or via our online application services.

Additional information on how to apply is available at SCU International. Please note applicants from some countries need to go through an Education Agent.

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'