Study in Australia
Australia has some of the best colleges in the world. Several Australian universities are listed in the top 100 best universities in the world. There are also over 1100 education institutions found across the entire country. As of 2009, the Australia higher education system had over 41 universities. Most universities are public institutions, but there is also a limited number of private universities. There are also Australian branches of universities located overseas. Dozens of smaller schools do not grant any degrees or have accreditation – private schools that focus on theology, business, information technology, natural therapies, hospitality, health, law and accounting.
Some of the most popular fields to study are the natural sciences (biology, zoology, chemistry, etc), mathematics, engineering, social sciences (sociology, anthropology, archaeology, psychology, etc), and medical fields (even MD’s and PhD’s). Australian study programmes cover almost every possible subject students might need.
Higher education institutions
Most Australian universities are self-accrediting institutions that each run under a legislation (usually at the state or territory level).
Most programme contents are set by the universities offering the courses, and are not controlled by any government entity. Each university is able to set their own coursework and program requirements. As with most countries, teacher education programs are the exception to this rule. The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership oversees requirements related to becoming a teacher.
The higher education system in Australia is overseen by the federal, state, and territory governments, but each school is unique in terms of the programs they offer and where they are located. The syllabi and program requirements will differ based on the particular schools students attend.
General application requirements
To apply directly for the university study programme, download the application form from the education provider's website. If you are applying for courses at more than one institution, you will need to submit a separate application to each institution.
You will need to prepare supporting documentation to send with your application. The documents vary depending on the course, provider and qualification you're studying for. The most important documents include:
- Certificates that verify your previous study, including qualifications you already have.
- Evidence of your English language proficiency.
- Certificates or documents which verify previous study or work experience if you are seeking course credits. These must be translated into English.
If your application is successful, you will receive a ‘Letter of Offer’. To confirm your offer you must respond to this letter by signing and sending an acceptance of offer back to the institution. It sets out the course you will be enrolled in, enrolment conditions, the fees you need to pay, and the refund payable if you don’t complete your course with that provider.
After you have accepted your Offer and paid your deposit you will receive an ‘Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment’ (eCoE) by email.
For detailed information about the application process contact the university student admission office.
Find out more about higher education in Australia.
Check the article that explains how to apply to a university in Australia.
Student information about cities in Australia
Find the best information about what to expect when studying in top cities in the Australia. Read about degree course offers, career opportunities, student life, living costs, and more.
- Study in Sydney
- Study in Melbourne
- Study in Canberra
- Study in Brisbane
- Study in Adelaide
Australian study programmes are organized based on the United Kingdom model. The college and university framework consists of ten different levels. The first 7 levels of the AQF are based in undergraduate studies, level 8 is a step between undergraduate and postgraduate studies, and levels 9 and 10 are at the postgraduate level.
- Certificate Levels 1 to 4: Getting these certificates takes anywhere from 6 months to a year. The first two levels are similar to certificates that you may find for jobs that require almost no formal training. Levels 3 and 4 are similar to the vocational certificates that may be found at trade schools, and may teach more specialized technical skills.
- Diploma (Level 5): This level helps students to gain advanced cognitive and technical knowledge in a particular field. It normally takes about 2 years to obtain these degrees, and they are usually available in paraprofessional fields.
- Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree (Level 6): This degree can take anywhere from 2-3 years, and counts for approximately 3 to 4 semesters of bachelor’s work. Advanced diplomas are awarded to students studying technical or vocational fields, while associates degrees are awarded for more academic fields of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees (Level 7): Standard degrees also known as undergraduate degrees. In Australia, the average amount of time needed to complete a bachelor’s level degree is anywhere from three to four years.
- Bachelor Honours Degrees (Level 8): You can obtain an honours degree either by taking an extra year of bachelor studies (for 3-year Bachelors) or by finishing you bachelor studies with high grades (for 4-year bachelors).
- Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas (Level 8): Graduate certificates and graduate diplomas in Australia take approximately one year after earning a Bachelor degree.
- Master’s Degrees (Level 9): Master’s degrees are one of the higher levels of postgraduate education. These degrees are usually focused on research and academia instead of advancement in the work force. It takes approximately two years of study for you to obtain a Master’s level degree.
- Doctorate Degrees (Level 10): Doctorate degrees are the highest level of education that you can receive in the world. This is the 10th level in Australia’s AQF system, and can include PhD’s, M.D.’s, DPT’s, law degrees, DDS’s, and a variety of other degrees, each named for the profession(s) that they degree is related to. Doctoral degrees can take anywhere from 3 to 6 years to complete.
There are many opportunities that you will have for studying English if you decide to study abroad in Australia.
Along with testing, many of the universities in Australia offer English as second language courses that you can take before or alongside your regular coursework. These courses are often intensive and help students upgrade their English skills as quickly as possible.
University English: as second language courses are usually smaller classes (instead of the large lecture classes you may have for other general education classes). The reason for this is because learning a second language requires a lot of individual attention. You may also be assigned a partner that is a native English speaker to help you learn the language by conversation and direct interaction.
Foundation courses in Australia
Some international students may not be able to attend a degree in Australia because their previous studies do not match the academic system of the country. To be allowed to take an undergraduate or graduate degree in Australia, they will need to enrol in a one-year pre-Bachelor or pre-Master offered by a local university.
Popular foundation degree studies in Australia include pre-law degrees, pre-MBA courses, pre-medicine, pre-nursing studies, or other types of international foundation programmes in engineering, economics, finance, social science, science and other types of university pathway programmes. Preparation courses in Australia include academic English language training to help international students meet university language requirements for future undergraduate or graduate studies.
Foundation degrees in early years in Australia are perfect for increasing your chances of getting accepted to an Australian university. Pre-university business schools, law schools or med schools make sure international students develop the skills they need to succeed in the Australian academic system. Pre-university education also includes cultural integration classes that help students feel more at home. Some pre-university programmes guarantee enrolment to the institution if students complete the preparation with high grades.
Where can I study a foundation course in Australia?
The top Australian cities where students can take a foundation year programme include Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and more.
Read more about the enrolment requirement for international students.
English language preparation courses in Australia
Meet language requirements for university admission in Australia by choosing an English language preparation course offered by English language schools worldwide, including Australia. By taking the right English exam training course you will advance your language skills in order to get the needed scores for IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, or other English exams.
If you are applying for a student visa in Australia, there are six different types of visas for you to choose from if you are going for tertiary education:
- English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) Visa – for English courses that will not result in a degree.
- Vocational Education and Training (VET) Visa - for vocational degree studies
- Higher Education Visa - for any type of degree in an academic field. This is not the visa to apply for if you are pursuing a Master’s research degree.
- Postgraduate Research Visa - if you are earning a Master’s research degree or a doctoral degree of any type, then you must apply for one of these visas.
- Non-award Visa - if you are looking to come to Australia for a semester or you are just taking classes while residing in Australia without pursuing a degree, then you will apply for a non-award visa.
- AusAID and Defense - these visas are for those who are sponsored by the AusAID or the Australian Department of Defense. These sponsored visas allow you to go for any type of full time degree (associates through doctorate).
Here are the requirements of Streamlined Student Visa Processing as of 2013:
- You must have a Confirmation of Enrolment at a participating university. This confirmation can be for a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctoral degree, or a non-award university or study abroad program.
- In order to be eligible for a student visa and to be allowed access into Australia, you must go through a process that involves a review of your financial resources.
For detailed information about student visa requirements, please check out the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s student information page.
Get more insights about the student visa for Australia.