Regional Rural Admission Scheme

We are dedicated to providing a solution to the critical shortage of rural health care workers in New Zealand.

Rural New Zealand beach.

Our Regional Rural Admission Scheme (RRAS) is designed to encourage people to train and return to their rural areas to work and utilise their education and skills. Evidence shows that students identifying with regional or rural backgrounds are more likely to work outside urban areas.

Places in the following undergraduate programmes are allocated for students of regional or rural origin to ensure equitable access:

  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
  • Bachelor of Optometry (BOptom)
  • Bachelor of Medical Imaging (Hons)
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm)


As defined by the University of Auckland, you qualify under RRAS if you meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Five years or more of primary education (Years 1-8) spent in a school within a regional/rural area, or
  2. Three years or more of secondary education (Years 9-13) spent in a school within a regional/rural area

The definitions of "rural" and "regional" are derived from the Statistics New Zealand 2020 Urban Accessibility classification:

  • Rural = Medium urban area, medium urban accessibility, low urban accessibility, remote, very remote
  • Regional = Large urban area, high urban accessibility
  • Urban = Major urban area

For information on which schools qualify under the Regional Rural Admission Scheme (RRAS) please click here.

Applying under the Regional Rural Admission Scheme (RRAS)

You must indicate your desire to be considered under this scheme. An official letter from the regional/rural education institution you attended must be received by the application closing date.

The letter should be signed by the principal or nominee, sent by email from the regional/rural education institution and needs to outline:

  • Your full legal name and date of birth
  • The duration of your study, e.g., “31 January 2017 to 31 November 2021 (Years 9-13)”
  • The name and physical location of the institute

Send to:

Selection under the Regional Rural Admission Scheme (RRAS)

The selection processes and minimum requirements for RRAS applicants are identical to the general category MBChB, BOptom, BMedImag(Hons) or BPharm admissions. However, RRAS applicants are ranked separately for interview consideration and final offer of place.

If you indicate that you wish to be considered for RRAS, but do not meet the requirements for this entry scheme, you will still be assessed for entry via the general admissions pool.

For more information on the Regional Rural Admission Scheme entry eligibility and selection, contact the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences's Admissions Office at



Your online help and support centre. Search our frequently asked questions.