Australia, boasting a highly ranked education system,  is one of the most popular destinations for international students. Let’s take a brief look at what you need to know if you want to study here!

Australia’s higher education system has two branches: universities and vocational schools. 


1. Vocational Schools

The Australian public vocational system is known as TAFE: Technical and Further Education. These institutes are usually funded by the state.territory government. TAFE institutes reward qualifications–Certificates I, II, III, and IV, as well as Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas–in line with Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. In certain niche areas of study, some TAFE schools also award Bachelor’s degrees.

A select number of TAFE institutes focus on just one area of specialised study, but generally the TAFE system offers courses and degrees in many fields of interest, ranging from business and hospitality to the visual arts and information technology.

Very often, vocational schools have official agreements with universities, allowing students to transfer credits they’ve accumulated at a TAFE institute to an advanced Bachelor’s degree. Universities may also offer guaranteed acceptance if a student achieves the minimum grade requirement from their TAFE coursework.

Vocational degrees can also be obtained at private vocational institutes known as Registered Training Organisations (RTO), of which there are over a thousand scattered across Australia.


2. Universities

The university system in Australia consists of three levels: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate, with diverse academic programs – from physical science to management and commerce; humanities; engineering; law, and health science. 

Australia has a total of 43 universities (40 Australian universities, 2 international universities and 1 private professional university)

Eight Australian universities are listed among the best 100 universities in the world according to QS Rankings. At least three Australian universities are among the best 50 universities in field such as Arts and Humanities, Engineering and Technology; Natural Science; Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, Social Sciences and Management. 

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) in Australia was established by the government as an agency responsible for the regulation of the country’s higher education. It is a set of standards against those set by the Independent Higher Education Standards Council.

3. Course lengths


  • The majority of Bachelor’s degrees in Australia require three years of study. Students can opt to do a fourth year, referred to as “honours,” in which a thesis is required. This honours qualification would then be listed as part of the degree; for example, “Chemistry with Honours.”
  • To obtain the Bachelor’s degree, students must pick a major, or focus in on a particular subject area. Universities set specific general and major requirements that the student must fulfill in order to graduate. 
  • In addition to a major, students have the option to minor in a particular field. A minor requires fewer courses than a major, but is still a specialisation in a certain academic area. Tacking on a minor does not usually increase the time needed to graduate.
  • Some universities allow students to do double degrees, in which they major in two fields of study. This will often delay the time you graduate beyond a three-year period. 
  • Masters programs across Australia are one to two years long, depending on the program.

Source: Australia Government ; StudyInternational

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