Dr Bartley graduated in medicine from the University of Queensland in 1992 with First Class Honours. In 1999, he obtained Fellowship with the College of Physicians in the area of Infectious Disease following training at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.
After training, Dr Bartley joined the Royal College of Pathologists and began further education in Microbiology at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and QML Pathology. In 2001, Dr Bartley was awarded the Gus Nossal NHMRC Medical Post Graduate Scholarship to fund his PhD at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in molecular parasitology. In 2005, Dr Bartley obtained his Fellowship with the College of Pathologists, along with being awarded a PhD in the areas of population health and tropical medicine.