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. Find out how academic credits are awarded in Australia.
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 enquire about what amount of study credits can be transferred and converted. It is possible that only part of your previously acquired credits will be transferred. In this case, you may have to enrol in a foundation course, before being allowed to apply to an academic programme in Australia.
Student credits approval usually depends on your major and the number and type of credit hours needed to complete your degree requirements. The following forms of education may provide credit for prior learning in Australia:
- work experience,
- professional development,
- professional licensing and examinations,
- work-based education and training.
What is the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)?
The Australian education system is distinguished from other countries by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF is a set of general rules and standards that allow students to move easily from one level of study to the next, and from one institution to another. This offers you flexibility when planning your future career and ensures that a study programme is authorised by the Australian Government.
Objectives of the AQF include:
- to accommodate the diverse purposes of Australian education and training;
- facilitate easy transfer between different education institutions;
- to ensure the quality of study programmes;
- to support international mobility;
- to align the AQF with international qualifications frameworks.
How international credit is recognized in Australia
Australian higher education institutions recognise qualifications from overseas using a system provided by The Australian Government organisation National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR). AEI-NOOSR provides information and advice about the comparability between foreign and Australian qualifications, using standards set by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
Qualifications recognition helps Australian universities:
- Compare international qualifications with Australian qualifications.
- Assess overseas higher education and vocational qualifications
- Establish financial support for international students
After completing the assessment of academic qualifications, students will be able to apply for admission to an Australian University.
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.
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.
Grading in Australia
Universities in Australia assign credits based on different types of grading, that may greatly differ between universities. These may include letters A-F, points 1-7, levels of distinction, honours and more. Many courses also have Non-Graded Pass (NGP) and Non-Graded Fail (F).
Because of the great variety of grading systems, calculating the student Grade Point Average (GPA ) is also more complicated and differs between institutions. Read about credit systems and calculating GPA in the U.S.
Qualification issuing agencies
While the AQF specifies the standards for qualifications, education and training organisations in Australia issue student qualifications. Here are some institutions that allow education and training organisations to issue qualifications:
- State and territory government authorised institutions.
- Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) authorised by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and government accrediting authorities.
- Non-self-accrediting higher education providers authorised by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).
- Self-accrediting universities and higher education providers authorised by TEQSA.