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Study in Australia

Education System

Australia's quality assurances are based on national legislation covering quality and financial standards for those in Australia on student visas. These laws, based around the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000, also require registration of each and every course and institution open to international students on student visas.

The Australian education system is built around the Australian Qualifications Framework. This framework offers unique pathways between qualifications, flexibility, choice, easier recognition and quality assurance not found in many other countries. The AQF joins work-based qualifications and academic qualifications in a single system, allowing maximum flexibility in career planning and continuous learning.

The Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) and a National Training Quality Council are two recent Australian Government initiatives to further strengthen Australia's existing accreditation and quality assurance processes throughout Australia.

The Australian education sector is broadly broken down as follows:


University is the highest level of study in Australia. There are 37 public (government funded) universities and two private universities in Australia. All Australian universities are unique and you need to find the one that best suits your own needs.

  • Bachelor Degree - basic level for most professions, 3-4 years. Many universities also offer Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas.
  • Bachelor Degree with Honours - if you achieve outstanding results you can do a further year of study and apply for honours.
  • Graduate Certificate - intensive programs of study, building on an undergraduate degree, 6 months
  • Graduate Diploma - building further upon an undergraduate degree, 1 year
  • Masters Degree - coursework or research, 1-2 years
  • Doctoral Degree - also known as a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), is the highest level of University qualification, 3-4 years

Vocational Education and Training

The main difference between vocational studies and university is that vocational institutions are closely linked with industry, which means the courses are very practical and skill based. Vocational education and training is provided at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes, which are government owned, or at private institutions.

Many vocational institutions have links and agreements with universities. Through these links, universities offer up to one year of advanced standing into a Bachelor degree as well as guaranteed entry into your course, as long as you achieve the required grades at your vocational institution.

Foundation Studies and Bridging Courses

A foundation studies or bridging course will give you the knowledge and skills you need if you want to enter a university undergraduate course but your academic background does not meet the minimum academic requirements. These courses were developed especially to prepare international students for university undergraduate studies. They are usually for one year and are divided into steams of study (business or science). There is no examination involved with the Foundation program. Your teachers and lecturers will assess you and give you exams to test your level.

English Language Study

English language courses are for those international visitors who need to improve their English language skills, whether for study, traveling or business. Many universities and vocational education and training (VET) institutes have English language centres attached to their campuses. There are around 100 private English language centres in all capital cities and some rural areas. English language courses do not usually have any entrance requirements. A wide range of courses are offered to suit all levels.

School Study

In Australia, it is compulsory for children aged between 6 and 15 to go to school. Australian schools are either public (run by the government) or private (often linked to religious institutions). There is a general match in the level of schooling in Australia and other countries. However, a student may need to start at a lower level to make sure that they adjust to Australian conditions and studies in English.

Thinking of applying for an Australia education?

Websites of Interest
The official site of the Australian Tourist Commission 2004. Very informative and well designed.
Australian government immigration web portal. Complete details regarding visiting, studying, working or migrating to Australia.
The Australian high commission, New Delhi.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) web site.