Academic Credits in Australian Universities – Things to Know before Applying Where to study

Just as credit systems in other parts of the world, academic credit systems in Australia keep track of student academic progress, help sets tuition fees, facilitates student transfers to other higher education institutions and more.

Universities in Australia (as well as individual faculties or departments in a university) have different rules regarding independent study and transfer credit. Before applying to a university in Australia, you should inform yourself about the number of study credits that can be transferred.

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You might transfer only part of your previously acquired credits or your qualifications might not meet the minimum standards according to the higher education system in Australia. In this case, you may have to enrol in a foundation course, before being allowed to apply to an academic programme.

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The academic credit system of universities in Australia

Like in any university worldwide, for each course of study, you earn a credit value. Credits reflect the number of hours per week you are expected to study a certain subject. In Australian universities, each subject usually has a value between 6 and 8, but there may be some exceptions and find credit points below or over this average. Normally, during a semester, you would study 4 subjects. Each university may decide how many subjects students are allowed to choose for each semester.

According to the academic credit system in Australia, Bachelor degrees require completion of 144 credit points (for 3 years Bachelor degrees) and for completing a postgraduate degree, you would need 96 credits.

Check accreditation before applying to an Australian university

As an international student on a student visa, you must study with an institution and in a course that is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS), that guarantees quality education standards.

Other Austrailian academic accreditation bodies include:

  • The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
  • The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)
  • Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).
Look for these names when researching your university to make sure you select legitimate international university and you avoid any education scams.

Check more details on how to apply for a degree course in Australia.

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Get a recognition of prior studies for successful admission

For any type of degree you apply to in Australia, first, you have to make sure your earned qualifications are recognised or that you can transfer credits, a process called assessment. Credit assessment may take up to three months and costs vary depending on the number of qualifications assessed. Students may apply for assessment online. A number of credits are awarded as a result of the assessment process. Universities decide if you meet their academic requirements after evaluating the results of the assessment.

Credit transfer is available in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. In case you don’t meet the entry requirements standards or can’t transfer credits, you can first apply to a preparation course so you will have your prior studies acknowledged.

In addition, universities require students to provide a proof of English language proficiency, with IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge advanced as the main tests accepted. Check out top English language schools that prepare you for university admission.

Admission to a Bachelor’s degree in Australia

If you are determined to study your Bachelor’s degree in Australia, to make sure your studies will be acknowledged, you can take a two-year pre-university programme to prepare for the International Baccalaureate (IB). The IB is recognised in around 140 countries for university entry and the scores can be easily converted into the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

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Admission to a postgraduate degree in Australia

For a successful entry into a Master’s or PhD degree in an Australian university, you will need to simply provide a graduation certificate from your prior studies (either Bachelor or Master diploma) that qualify with the equivalency standards of your chosen Australian university. This means that for some degree courses, you need to have completed your studies in the same field or you may require passing tests, interviews or present a portfolio.

Simply check your university’s website, as they might include a list of recognised overseas secondary school and undergraduate qualifications and the entry required score for each field of study.

Course exemptions

Instead of receiving equivalent academic credit, you may be granted an exemption for a course, if you demonstrate that you have already learned the content of that course through previous study or work experience. The exemption does not count towards the unit or course requirements for your program, nor towards any majors or minors.

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