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The University of Sydney now offers a scholarship that gives preference to men.

The University of Sydney has come under fire this week after announcing a new veterinary science scholarship that will give preference specifically to male applicants.

“To be eligible for this scholarship you must be enrolled in the DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) in the year of award and preference will be given to applicants who are male,” the one-page presentation reads.

Established in honour of the late Professor Marsh Edwards AO, the scholarship will be available every four years and will provide one student with $27,000 of financial assistance over the four-year course period and is aimed to “defray the costs of accommodation and general living expenses to offset the cost of studying at University.”

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Image via the University of Sydney.

To be eligible, applicants must be from a rural or regional area, male, interested in large animal practice, committed to working in a rural or regional area following graduation, and an Australian citizen.

When contacted by Mamamia, a university representative claimed the eligibility requirements had been set by the scholarship donor — Professor Edwards' wife, Marcia.

The university also said, "The scholarship does not exclude females and is open to all students regardless of gender studying veterinary science at the University."

It is expected more than 90 percent of the 2017 DVM intake will be female. However it is estimated that despite the high graduate numbers, female vets are still paid less than their male counterparts upon entering the workforce.

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"The inclusion of males as one of a number of preferences by the donor is to address the current under-representation of males in the student cohort," the university said, adding, "There are a number of scholarships offered by the University aimed at increasing female participation in areas where they are under-represented."

The university added that it "is satisfied it is complying with the law."

university of sydney vet scholarship
The scholarship criteria. Source: University of Sydney.

Female students currently within the DVM course are not impressed, though, with one student telling Fairfax Media she initially thought the gender criteria was an error.

"I just think it shows very little thought into the causative agents of under-representation of women in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths]," the anonymous student said.

"The barriers that prevent men from entering vet science are not the same barriers that prevent women from entering every single other academic area."

Another female student told the Daily Mail Australia the scholarship has made her question the university and its motives as an institution.

"It makes me think that they care more about money than my right to equal opportunities," she said.

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