The Australian education system

The education system in Australia is based on the UK model and there are many similarities between the two in terms of the range and types of qualifications offered, teaching methods and student lifestyle.

There are two types of tertiary or post-school education available in Australia – university study and vocational study.

Australian universities offer a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including bachelor degrees, graduate and postgraduate certificates and diplomas, masters (available by coursework or research) and PhDs.

The minimum entry requirement to study a bachelor degree at a university in Australia is for the applicant to have qualifications equivalent to A-Levels. Other UK school leaving qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate, the Pre-U Diploma and Scottish Highers are all accepted. Each university sets its own academic entry requirements, so the points or grades required for admission to a degree will vary according to the degree being applied for and the university that teaches it. Some degrees also have subject pre-requisites.

If you wish to study a masters degree the minimum academic requirement will be that you have a UK bachelors degree. Again, however, it is important to note that all Australian universities will then set individual requirements for each programme and it is important to be aware of these.

Most standard bachelor degrees in Australia are three years long. A masters degree will require one year, eighteen months or two years of study and a PhD between three to four years in study.

Your guide to universities in Australia


Vocational institutions offer more hands on training that is more focused on the skills needed to succeed in the work place. In Australia, government-backed vocational providers are called Institutes of TAFE (Technical and Further Education). There are also private institutions that provide vocational courses. These institutions offer students that chance to study for a certificate, diploma and advanced diploma. Some of these institutions will also offer bachelor degrees. In order to be eligible to apply for a certificate level programme, GCSEs or equivalent would be required. However, vocational training institutions will also sometimes consider applications on the basis of work experience. These qualifications range in length from 6 months to two years.

The beginning of the academic year in Australia is February. This intake is called semester 1. Many of the universities and vocational institutions also offer students the opportunity to start in semester 2 which begins in July.

Your guide to college study in Australia

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