Skip to content

Healthcare in Remote and Extreme Environments

Turn your study into an adventure

Working in healthcare in remote and extreme environments is a great challenge, even for the most seasoned professional. You need to have the right knowledge and skills underpinning your actions.

You’ll learn from a diverse group of health professionals with extensive experience in working in remote and extreme environments – from aeromedical retrieval and helicopter rescues to endurance race medical support and solo medical practice in Antarctica.

Course Options

Graduate Certificate in Healthcare in Remote and Extreme Environments

1 year min, 3 years max

View course details Graduate Certificate in Healthcare in Remote and Extreme Environments

Developed in collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division and the Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine.

An eight day expedition medicine intensive residential course puts theory into practice.

Study a wide variety of areas, from medical evacuation theory to creating emergency plans for remote sites, to understanding the unique needs of workers in remote areas.

Study options

Medicine in Extreme Environments (Core)

This fully online unit was designed to complement Operational Aspects of Healthcare in Remote and Extreme Environments. We look at cold, high altitude, desert, maritime, underwater and aerospace as the five key extreme environments, though given the origin of this program it won’t surprise you to discover that we focus more on “cold” and “high” than we do on the others. We start with the challenges of living and working in each environment, and then look at relevant physics and physiology in that environment (you can’t care for people effectively if you don’t start with that) before moving on to patho-physiology and clinical care of common problems. As always the focus is that of the clinician in a remote site providing frontline care.

Operational Aspects of Healthcare in Remote and Extreme Environments (Core)

This fully online and predominantly non-clinical unit provides a foundation for designing and running a healthcare facility in an austere setting. It looks at some concepts and that underpin how healthcare is delivered differently and uses case studies that showcase solutions to some of the difficulties faced. The unit starts by considering the concepts of “remote” and “extreme” and the types of populations to be found there. It then moves on to look at topics such as leadership, management and teamwork, disaster planning, evacuation, telehealth, and point of care testing, before finishing with additional non-medical knowledge and skills to allow you to thrive in extreme environments.

Expedition medicine (Core)

This unit is an intensive, residential course providing practical skills to support the online units offered in the program. It commences with a focus on basic knowledge and skills in the following domains: expedition preparation and planning, wilderness emergency medical response, search and rescue, remote area communications, navigation, steep terrain rescue, use of stretchers and splints, and cold injury and high altitude medicine.

Extreme sports medicine

Extreme and adventure sports have increased in popularity over the last few years and are practised by many people, often in remote and extreme environment settings. This unit takes a multi-disciplinary approach and looks at training, prevention, engineering and safety equipment, management of the injured extreme athlete, and medical event coverage.

Humans in space

Aerospace medicine is a growing sub-specialty. This unit is developed in collaboration with the Australasian Society of Aero-space Medicine (ASAM), focusing on the environmental challenges and technological adaptations for survival in space. It explores the physiological and patho-physiological responses of humans in space, and applies principles of space analogue research to inform the development of solutions to long-term space travel.

Medical Care on Offshore and Inland Waters

Medical Care on Offshore and Inland Waters provides both a theoretical and practical introduction to the planning and delivery of medical care in various aquatic settings: from scientific expeditions and Antarctic cruises on large ships through to white water rafting and kayaking expeditions. The unit runs as an eight-day residential, intensive course that covers non-clinical theoretical topics such as maritime regulations and maritime search and rescue, clinical topics such as marine envenomation, drowning and cold injury, and then combines these with practical scenarios and exercises.

Human Behaviour in Extreme Environments

In this online unit, you’ll learn about the factors that characterise an environment as extreme. You’ll consider how individuals and groups can manage distress in these environments and enhance resilience. Extreme environments considered include Antarctica, outer space, military operations, disaster sites, and cults. In this unit, you will examine how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organisational factors influence the challenges posed by extreme environments.

Practical Skills for Remote Medicine

This unit reflects the additional skills needed by clinicians in remote environments and focuses on radiography, ultrasound, regional anaesthesia, physiotherapy and dentistry and the curriculum reflects to a large extent some of the additional training undertaken by Australian Antarctic Division doctors prior to deployment. The unit is not “taught” in the conventional sense, but rather you will gather evidence that you meet the requirements and will gain credit for this unit. Contact us for details.

Advanced Clinical Reasoning in Out of Hospital Practice (Paramedics Only)

This online unit is included for paramedics who are looking to make the leap from conventional paramedic practice into providing care in remote and extreme environments.

Course breakdown

In 2024 we are offering the Graduate Certificate in Healthcare in Remote and Extreme Environments.

Please visit the course page for full details on the core and choice units available to study.

Career outcomes

Extreme study

"There’s no triple zero down there. We are the fire brigade, we are the search and rescue service. These are ordinary people. Plumbers, mechanics, chefs. We ask people to step right outside their normal environments and take on these emergency services roles There’s a lot of professional challenges and psychological challenges to get into that mindset that you have to be prepared to meet any situation that might occur."

Learn more about Jan Wallace's story

Projected number of new healthcare jobs


Five years to 2024

Full-time role share of employment market


In the healthcare industry

Percentage of unfilled vacancies in healthcare


In 2017/18 financial year, up from 34% in previous year

Entry information

Entry requirements

Entry requirements vary across courses. You'll find the requirements on our individual course pages. These can be accessed from Course Options, which is located at the top of this page.

We encourage you to apply for the courses you most want to study. If you're not eligible to enter your chosen course right now, our admissions team will work with you to find the best pathway option.

Credit for prior learning

The University of Tasmania aims to provide you with credit for approved prior study or equivalent professional experience which exceeds standard entrance requirements for courses. For more information please visit Recognition of Prior Learning.

English language requirements

For those applicants who are nationals of and currently residing in a country where English is not the official language, evidence of an IELTS or TOEFL test must be provided. For more information, please visit International Future Students.