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

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.
Degree studies

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.
Language studies

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.