Higher Education

Higher Education in Australia

Australia offers lots of study options for both local and international students. There are more than 22,000 courses and 1,100 institutions to choose from. The higher education sector comprises of universities and technical colleges that offer among others bachelors, masters, graduate certificates and diplomas, research degrees and doctorate qualifications. Australia’s higher education is highly ranked in terms of employability, satisfaction, quality of life, and level of education. It is very suitable for both locals and international students who might opt for higher education in Australia.

higher education in australia

    Bachelor's DegreeMaster's Degree

    Levels for Higher Education

    Higher education degrees in Australia is among the top worldwide, as their standards are well acknowledged globally. The Australian government makes sure that the quality of education is the best. This is achieved by regulatory bodies that keep the standards of training and qualification within acceptable standards. These bodies include; AQF, TEQSA and ASQA.

    Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) has ten levels, Level 1 to Level 10; level 1 being Certificate 1 in tertiary education to level 10 which is a doctorate degree in University. On the other hand, TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency) regulates quality of education and the training services offered to international students. ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority) is a national quality regulator and ensures that quality standards of training are achieved by all training providers within the country. There are three major types of education providers;

    • Universities and higher education providers
    • TAFE colleges and registered training organisations for VET
    • ELICOS providers for English language courses


    Australia has multiple universities with the highest percentage being funded by the government. Only a few are international universities while others are privately owned. Students are offered a wide range of courses; businesses, science, humanities, engineering and IT, law, health sciences among others. The study modes are also flexible since one can do dual degree programs or do a major in one course and a minor in another. The possibilities are endless as long as one is eligible.

    6 of Australian universities are on the world’s top 100 universities by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020.

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    Admission requirements vary from university to university and each course has its own set of requirements as well. For undergraduate studies candidates must have completed at least 13 years of education or its equivalent in the case of international students. Postgraduate programs’ admission requirements are based on the bachelor’s degree results. The doctoral program is based solely on high achievements in a research master’s degree or the completion of a bachelor degree with a first-class honour or second class honour upper division.

    Qualifications offered at the university level include the following:

    LEVEL 5

    This level offers some specialised knowledge, a set of skills for skilled or any paraprofessional job. It is also a foundation and a pathway for some further learning if you intend to do so. It’s also offered in vocational institutions and prepares individuals for industrial and professional careers. Additionally, the skills obtained can also assist you in entrepreneurship depending of the field. Depending on the college and university you may be eligible for some unit credits. The course duration is between a year and two depending on a handful of factors including the course, units offered and the provider.

    LEVEL 6

    This is a short-term cycle degree that helps to develop your career especially if you are working and need to study part-time. It’s a more advanced level compared to a diploma, where broad knowledge is acquired and the skills obtained are of the next level. The practical concepts are meant to help you develop general employment-related skills. You will be highly skilled for a paraprofessional career or you can use this course as a stepping stone for further learning while obtaining advanced skills. You will learn the basics or foundations of the course for university and depending on the college and university apply for unit credits. The associate degree takes about 2 years to complete while advanced diploma typically is 1,5-2 years.

    LEVEL 7

    It will help you to acquire problem-solving techniques and a wide scope of knowledge in a particular field. With a degree you become qualified to undertake professional work by applying the vast knowledge and advanced set of skills. Additionally, in Australia, students can take up double or combined Bachelor degrees which will allow them to be awarded two Bachelor degrees on completion. A Bachelor’s degree also helps you to develop your skills and knowledge to a point where you can advance to postgraduate degrees.

    LEVEL 8

    You can acquire further advanced knowledge by adding an honours degree after your Bchelors degree. A bachelors honours degree includes the normal 3 years of a degree with an additional year of study based on academic merits. The additional year comprises of additional coursework and a research-based thesis. Another alternative is to continue with a Graduate Certificate or a Graduate Diploma to enhance your current skill level. The courses are usually between six months to a year.

    LEVEL 9

    This course is meant to develop your expertise in your field. It expands your knowledge and critical thinking skills as you will have to conduct more self-studies, assignments and research. There are three choices for the Master’s degrees:

    • Masters by Coursework – 1-2 years
      More commonly a general and most popular Masters.
    • Masters – (Extended) – 3-4 years
      A more comprehensive and advanced Masters degree for those who are hungry to learn more.
    • Masters by Research – 1-2 years
      This option is research focused with fewer classes and rather with a supervisor overseeing the quality and content.
    LEVEL 10

    This is the highest award offered by the Australian universities, which focuses more on a comprehensive research based on a new part or extending on an old thesis, states a problem and provides a solution. Graduates at this level have critical understanding of a complex study field and you will poses specialised skills and advanced knowledge in your professional practice. The degree takes 3- 4 years to complete.

    Price estimation

    The tuition fees depend on the course, degree level, and the university you want to enrol in. Bachelor degree fees for international students range from AU$18,000 to AU$45,000 a year. For masters and Ph.D., it ranges between AU$22,000 to AU$60,000 a year. Most universities also offer scholarships which vary from 5% to 30% and even 50% for exceptional students. Rarely can you be awarded with a full scholarship. The government may also offer grants and scholarships. All scholarships have some requirements, therefore, be sure to provide these ones as stated.

    TAFE colleges and registered training organisations for VET

    This category of degrees offers students with some technical and practical skills that are much needed in real work environments. VET (Vocational education and Training) provides individuals with career-focused skills that will be put to test by any employer. VET training is accepted by employers, specifically in trade industries, hence it’s a great option to consider if you would like to start your dream job sooner. VET is provided by Australian schools that are accredited such as Technical and Further Education institutions (TAFE) and other private colleges. Some universities also chip in and offer similar courses.


    Thousands of courses are offered in these VET institutions and for one to be accepted in any of these courses, you have to meet set requirements. The general requirements for international students are a valid passport, a school certificate and proof of English proficiency. Most schools require a certificate level of IELTS 5.0 and above or equivalent. You can also learn and study English in Australia before attempting the VET or higher education packages.

    VET qualifications start at certificate level 1 all the way to level 5. These levels are:


    This level is the lowest in the AQF qualifications, when you pass through this course you pose basic and functional knowledge and skills that help you partake work and also set a foundation for further studies. The course takes 4 to 6 months or even a year.


    It’s a bit more advanced compared to the first level and here you get skills that assist you to do routine work and also open a gateway to further learning. The set of skills can be applied to specific situations at workplace. The course usually last about 6-12 months.


    Once completed this level you will have a range of theoretical, procedural and technical knowledge. Industrial skills are also part of the training hence you are able to tackle more complex responsibilities and professional work. Book in 6-12 months if you are thinking of pursuing a course on this level.


    Being the last step in VET training before starting on the diploma, you will leave with a range of professional and specialised skills that will enable you to perform special tasks related to the skills and knowledge obtained. The course duration is 12 to 18 months.

    Lectures and assessments

    According to Australian Government Department of Home Affairs regulations international students must be genuine students with their primary purpose of studying fulltime. VET courses are a little more flexible and, therefore, students can study and work alongside. Classes are also flexible, some taking place during the day and others in the evening, while some may even be during the weekends. Some study strategies like self- study may be new to some international students but that is part of the course work. Course work ranges from 20-25 hours a week. Grades are earned from submitted assignments which in this case can be theoretical, project or a practical report among others. Course work is covered via various teaching methods like presentations, videos, discussions and many more to enhance knowledge gaining.

    Price estimation for VET institutions

    The fees varies from state to state, depending on the field and the type of school. Some schools may offer discounts, so contact Australia Study for those ones! TAFE is a government provider and can be a bit more expensive than private ones, however, is of high quality. Furthermore, the fees per year may range between AU$4,000 to AU$22,000.

    There is a large variety of courses offered in Australia, which can fall in the following categories,

    If you have any questions of any of the above courses or you couldn’t find your interests please contact us at Australia Study to tell you more!

    ELICOS providers for English language courses

    English language courses are offered for overseas students who would like to improve their academic English skills or in pursuit of higher education. The course(s) help with communication, networking and studying. You can choose courses according to your goal, e.g. General English, Academic English, Hospitality English, English pronunciation and many more. The fees vary from one institution to another between AU$150-AU$450 a week and the requirements are at the bare minimum.

    If you are already in Australia and would like to know more about your Higher Education options, please contact us!

    Not in Australia yet? Get in touch to start planning your best study options!

    Keep in mind that the school may request that you present proper certification confirming your English skill level (usually IELTS).

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    Why choose Australia for higher education?

    It’s a beautiful country with top universities and a well ranked education system. There are incredible cities to choose between, beautiful beaches and amazing nature and scenery. The institutions of higher learning are diversified and spread around the beautiful country. The education system offers the best and a variety of courses to make you better at your occupation. Levels of higher education degrees are divided into levels thus one can fit in where applicable.

    Australia in general is a safe place to live in with competitive prices and a booming job market.

    What are the entry requirements for an international student?

    Entry requirements vary between courses and educational providers, but the basics are:

    • English language proficiency; most courses in Australia are taught in English, therefore, as an international student you have to prove your English level with e.g. IELTS.
    • Academic requirements; the requirement vary a lot depending on the school and study field. Generally, for higher education in Australia you must have completed high school (year 12) or equivalent. If you have not or your grades are not good enough for the course you can enrol for a foundation course or even a VET course. Some scholarships might also be based on your grades.
    • Passport; you must have a valid passport to apply for higher education in Australia.
    • Motivation letter; most Australian higher education providers require you to write a comprehensive motivation letter to be accepted to the course as well as to receive a scholarship. Contact us at Australia Study for more information about the letter.
    • Visa; to enter Australia you must have a valid visa. While studying in Australia as an international student it’s recommended to choose the student visa. You must have received a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from your educational provider to apply for a visa. The visa is a long and complex process, so contact us at Australia Study early and we can help you out.
    • Health cover; it’s a requirement for you to have an Overseas Student Health Cover when you are an international student in Australia. This helps you in case you fall ill or hurt yourself while studying there. The medical cover should take care of you while you study in Australia. There are multiple different covers for different prices. You can contact us at Australia Study to find out about your options.
    What’s considered higher education?

    In Australia the education system regards higher education as any form of further studies after high school (year 12) excluding certificate level courses, involving to enrol into institutions of higher learning like universities.

    Why is higher education important?

    Higher education allows you to pursue a career that makes you happy if not satisfied. Likewise, everywhere else in the world once you have a higher education and more knowledge you are able to apply for better jobs. While you have a higher position you will most probably also ear more and consequently your living, social and economical status can improve. The higher educational providers offer high quality education that are accepted globally.

    Is Bachelors education a form of higher education?

    Yes. Bachelor’s is a higher level of education offered in universities and some colleges. It comes in many forms; you can pursue a single or double degree or you can choose one major and one or even two minors. A bachelor’s degree offers individuals with a depth of knowledge and skills that are required professionally in their careers and jobs. It usually takes about 3-4 years to complete a Bachelor’s degree, excluding Medical studies that can last longer.

    What is vocational training in Australia?

    It’s a post-secondary education system offered in Australia that ensures students get practical preparations to allow them work in their selected occupations sooner than going through higher education. The courses offered in VET institutions are based mostly on practical skills and less on theory, therefore, their duration is only 6-24 months.

    What’s the difference between TAFE and VET programs?

    TAFE is the biggest provider of vocational education nationally offering most fields in the whole of Australia, while VET offers fast qualifications in specific occupational skills for all types of employments. TAFE is government funded and it provides quality education while VET is provided by private institutions.

    What’s the difference between TAFE and University?

    The main difference between the two is the level of higher education offered in each. TAFE offers courses mostly between level 1 – 6 while Universities commonly offer from level 7 – 10 (with some Level 5 courses too).

    • Level 1- 4; Certificate I – IV
    • Level 5; Diploma
    • Level 6; Advance Diploma
    • Level 7; Bachelor’s degree
    • Level 8; Bachelor honors degree, Graduate diploma, Graduate certificate
    • Level 9; Master’s Degree
    • Level 10; Doctoral degree
    What courses can one study in Australia?

    The institutions of higher education in Australia offer a variety of courses, however, they can be divided into 6 major classes. These classes are; Health, Business and Management, IT, Design and Media, Hospitality, Trades and Sport. There are thousands of courses within these classes, so do not hesitate to contact us at Australia Study if you want to find your perfect course. These courses will offer the best skills and knowledge required in your profession. Your passion and interests can be fulfilled with these courses.

    How does higher education help the economy?

    Education plays an important role in building and sustaining a country’s economy. With competitive education the graduates will have quality degrees and good knowledge, which will lead to a competitive job market and successful businesses. This will thrive the economy of the whole country and benefit social services, societies, communities and the people, while even creating more jobs.