In Australia, school attendance is compulsory for children of 5-6 to 16 years old, from 1st to 9-10th grade. Studying lasts 12 years, and secondary education is divided into 2 stages:
Middle school (grades 7-10) — students study such subjects as economics, mathematics, civil law, English, science, business, and geography;
Secondary school (grades 11 and 12) — preparing students for higher education and employment. At this level, students continue to study history, mathematics, science, geography, and English.
Schools themselves are divided into:
Private (including religious, for example, Catholic, which make up more than half of all private schools, Islamic, etc.);
Schools based on educational methods such as Montessori and Steiner.
At the end of 12 years of study, students receive a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. In Australia, each territory and state has different names for this certificate, but they all correspond to the same level of education.
It is noteworthy that about 65% of all students attend public schools, while 35% are students in private institutions.
Public and private schools accept international students. Usually, they study in grades 11-12, then enter universities in Australia. Education in a public school for foreigners costs about 7,986 USD per year, and in elite private schools, it reaches 19,965 USD. Here you can learn more about public schools in Australia.
Education in Australia is the benchmark of quality and is highly regarded in the international arena. This is not surprising since among the 100 best universities in the world in 2021, 7 are in Australia. Therefore, a large number of international students from around the world come here. In terms of the number of foreign students, Australia takes the 3rd place in the world after the United States and Great Britain. At the same time, studying here is a real pleasure: warm weather, surfing, the ocean, and friendly Australians will make your student time an unforgettable period of your life.
Advantages of education in Australia
English. The official language in Australia is English. At first, it will be unusual for a visiting student to hear the Australian accent, which has some distinctive slang and other differences from more common American and British accents. However, after a while, foreigners adapt and sometimes adopt Australian English. In the event that the applicant does not have enough knowledge of the language, there are many language schools and preparatory courses that will help with admission to Australian universities. It is worth noting that Australians speak classic English. Residents of the southern states can understand those who live in the north and vice versa.
Internationality. Australia is the state that can rightfully be called an international student center. Students from around the world flock here to get an education. For example, in 2019, 812000 foreigners studied here. This made Australia the country with the highest international student per capita ratio worldwide, and this is considerably more than in other countries. Moreover, Australia, along with Canada, the UK, and the USA, accepts more than 40% of all foreign students from OECD and partner countries.
Quality monitoring. Australian universities guarantee the quality of education at the legislative level. There is a law in a place called the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS) and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students of 2007. They provide education standards at Australian universities and protect the rights of international students. Along with the ESOS Law and the National Code, there are organizations such as:
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) for higher education;
Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) for vocational institutions.
They regulate, register, accredit, and monitor the quality of educational institutions and programs. Therefore, regardless of the course, place, and duration of the study, all these systems guarantee a high quality of education and its compliance with international standards.
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). It makes the education system of Australia unique compared to other countries. AQF governs all Australian education, with particular emphasis on secondary and tertiary education. Thanks to this system, various levels of training and the freedom to choose an educational inclination appeared. The system also allows international students to enroll in educational institutions in Australia without any problems.
Academic freedom. Australian universities are independent and autonomous, but they are checked for compliance with internationally recognized accreditation standards. The state even requires the protection and promotion of academic and intellectual freedom in universities at the legislative level.
Employment in the country. Graduates from Australian universities are highly regarded around the world. And Australia's growing economy has a positive effect on employment in the country. In 2018, 84% of adults with higher education had a job. Moreover, the high level of employment is inherent to all graduates, regardless of specialization. Salary depends on demand, but the discrepancy between the lowest-paid jobs and the highest paid jobs is only 30-40%. Compared to other OECD countries, this difference is small.
Accommodation options. Students of Australian universities rent apartments on their own or with friends. They can also live in university dormitories and sometimes in Australian families. Renting an apartment with peers will cost from 100 to 200 USD per week. If the student prefers to live alone, then the cost might be even higher. In Australia, rental housing comes with a minimal set of furniture: the tenant buys household items and in addition pays a deposit. Dormitories cost about the same, they are furnished and you can live both alone and with neighbors. Host families usually prefer high school students and first-year students. This helps them to immerse themselves in the language environment and local life. Other benefits may include meals and family members looking after students. The price is 133-266 USD per week, depending on conditions and region.
The standards of living in the country. Australia is considered to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world, where a high level of comfort is combined with a clean environment and a favorable climate. The first thing a student will notice when exiting the plane is fresh air and blue skies. For example, Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world. The UN Human Development Index awarded Australia 6th place in the aggregate assessment of attributes such as life expectancy, educational attainment, and gross national income per capita. If you were not born in Australia, then studying here still has its perks: Melbourne and Sydney entered the top ten student cities of 2019, taking 3rd and 9th places, respectively. The Australians themselves are friendly people who welcome foreigners warmly. Therefore, students adapt to the country relatively quickly and easily.
The ability to immigrate. Australia's open immigration policy makes the country attractive for ambitious young people who come to study in Australia to find work in the future and stay here. After graduation from a university or college, young specialists can apply for a visa for graduates and find a job. The visa allows you to legally stay in the country from 18 months to 4 years.
Disadvantages of education in Australia
Expensive education. In Australia, a year of bachelor’s studies costs around 29,948 USD on average, and a master's degree costs 33,275 USD per year. State universities charge higher tuition fees for foreign students than for local ones, on average the tuition will cost 9,250 USD more. For local students, financial support is offered in the form of education loans, while visitors have to pay from their own pockets.
Excessive independence. Despite a large number of classes, lectures, and academic discussions, the educational process in Australia is largely focused on self-study. At first, this may seem unusual but hard work, discipline, and dedication will help the student to get involved in learning. The student must be interested in getting an education and in his specialty in order to successfully complete the program. Eventually, this will benefit the student, because time management and organization skills are also highly valued in the workplace.
Lack of the sought specialty. Australia does not have as many educational institutions as, for example, the United States or England, which may complicate the search for a program in a highly specialized subject. In the event that the necessary specialty is not available at universities in large cities, it is worth looking at narrowly focused universities located further from major cities.
The difficulty of obtaining a student visa to Australia. Australia has a soft immigration policy, but not everyone can get a student visa. The most important condition is to prove that the applicant came only to study and has no immigration intentions. For this, the student must have significant evidence of ties with the homeland (mortgage, real estate, children, work). Moreover, the visa application process requires a serious approach and a lot of attention to the documents you are submitting. The number of required certificates and statements can confuse the applicant, so he should carefully study the website of the Australian government or consult a specialist.
High living costs. An international student without children and family spends the average of about 1,131 USD per month on accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transportation, international and domestic travel, communications, and miscellaneous expenses. To this, we could add the cost of plane tickets, which are quite expensive. Foreigners are allowed to work up to 40 hours in two weeks, but the money earned will only partially cover expenses.
Remote continent. Despite the quality of education and international recognition, flying for an Australian diploma is expensive and long, since the mainland is far from many countries of the world. You should plan your trip in advance in order to save on air travel and avoid numerous and tiring transfers. Moreover, the time difference between Australia and your country can be quite severe, which can cause inconvenience in communicating with family members.
Guidance in the admission process
Our staff will walk you through the entire admission process: from choosing a university and preparing documents to enrollment and obtaining a visa. We are always in touch and ready to answer any questions. UniPage experts will always objectively assess your situation and suggest the most suitable university options.
AccommodationDepending on the city and the type of accommodation
All prices and requirements must be clarified on the websites of universities. You can also calculate the cost of living here.
Options and schemes for admission to universities in Australia
Admission and requirements at universities in Australia
Australia uses a three-level system of degrees: bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Australian universities offer a wide range of programs: from medicine, natural sciences, and liberal arts to management, commerce, and engineering. The programs in engineering and technology, medicine, ecology, accounting, and finance are especially notable. These programs of Australian universities are among the best in the world.
The main requirements for admission to higher education programs in Australia are English proficiency and the necessary package of documents:
Bachelor’s / Master’s diploma and a certificate of completed secondary education
Educational documents must be accompanied by notarized translations into English.
Many universities do not have fixed deadlines for submission of documents. In most cases, deadlines are set 1-3 months before the start of classes (visa application deadline).
In Australia, studies begin in January-February (winter semester) and in June-August (summer semester).
Many Australian universities collaborate with agents, so admission is often done through agencies. But in no case can they guarantee admission — the admission committee always has a final say.
Legalization and recognition of a diploma in Australia
Legalization (Apostille) or recognition of foreign diplomas is generally not required for admission. It may be enough to provide a certificate / diploma translation certified by a notary or the school / university that issued it. However, you should check with the websites of the universities as the requirements vary greatly from country to country. Since Australian educational institutions tend to work through agents, some universities require additional certification of the translation with the seal of the agency.
A more complex procedure awaits those planning to immigrate to Australia for employment. You may need to have your diploma legalized using apostille or other legalization procedure depending on the country. Then, the Australian Assessing Authorities check it for compliance with Australian standards.
If you need to put an apostille on a document from Australia for further use in other countries, this is done in passport offices. The cost of the procedure is 56 USD. More information can be found here.
Australian Computer Society (ACS) — IT professionals;
Architect Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) — architects;
Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) — skilled workers;
Medical Board of Australia (MedBADoctors) — medical professionals.
As a rule, the assessment of qualifications is carried out solely on documents sent via mail. In some cases, applicants are required to pass additional exams (language or professional).
The cost of the procedure is 200-666 USD in various organizations. Duration of consideration — from several weeks to several months.
Documents for certification of qualification in Australia:
Degree with an apostille;
Academic transcript (diploma supplement with a description of taken courses and the number of hours). Compliance with the Australian syllabus in the same specialty may be required;
Documents confirming practical training;
Language certificate IELTS (usually not lower than 7.0).
Important: All documents must be translated into English and notarized. Additional requirements must be specified at authorized organizations.
Preparatory programs in Australia
In the event that high school education lasted less than 12 years, an applicant must attend the year-long preparatory course Foundation, which is specifically designed for students from abroad. You can enter Foundation only after grade 11 of high school.This training program is offered by Australian colleges and sometimes universities. Upon completion of the program, Foundation students can continue their bachelor’s studies at the university.
As a rule, Foundation includes the study of English, specialized disciplines (depending on the future field of study), and honing of academicskills. Foundationprepares students for passing the IELTS language test with a score of at least 6.0-6.5 and teaches them the terminology for studying specialized disciplines. In addition, during Foundation students train basic academic skills: the ability to write notes, compose reports and essays, work with the dictionary, preparation, and defense of training projects.
Advantages of Foundation programs:
Universities preallocate places for Foundation students. If they successfully complete the program and meet the requirements, then they may automatically enroll in the bachelor’s program;
Programs are developed by universities and include subjects that prepare students for study at the university;
Students familiarize themselves with the local system of education and life in Australia. As a rule, program staff, like study and career counselors and psychologists, help students with studies, administrative affairs and take care of their well-being.
Courses can be extended, standard and intensive, the duration is usually 72, 52, and 39 weeks, respectively. Criteria for admission depends on the program and the type of intensity. Typically, a certificate of complete secondary education and a language certificate is required (IELTS from 5.5 / TOEFL from 62). For students who do not meet these requirements, some universities offer separate English language programs.
You should search for Foundation courses on the websites of the universities you wish to enroll in. However, many universities accept the Foundation graduates ofany educational institution in Australia.
TAFE — Vocational Education in Australia
Australia can be rightfully proud of its educational institutions TAFE (Technical and Further Education). They offer the following training levels:
About 1 year
About 1 year
As of June 2009, 10 TAFE colleges (mainly in New South Wales and Victoria) began to award degrees (no higher than bachelor's). And the Melbourne Polytechnic Institute was accredited to award master's degrees in 2 programs in 2015.
The areas of study at TAFE colleges are diverse and include business, finance, tourism, construction, engineering, visual arts, information technology, and hotel business.
For admission TAFE colleges usually require:
10 or 12 yearsdepending on the qualifications and the program of school education;
After college, students can start looking to work in their specialty or continue their education. Studying at TAFE has its advantages for further admission to universities:
Courses in diploma programs are equal in quality to university ones. Therefore, universities often transfer studied disciplines and credits. As a result, it helps to reduce the time (usually several semesters) and the cost of studying bachelor's programs at universities;
Often, partner universities accept college students without entrance exams if the applicant has high grades in the diploma;
Many TAFE colleges offer bachelor’s programs equal to the university ones. In this case, the bachelor's degree of a college graduate receives accreditation of a partner university.
If the graduate is focused on employment, then it is advisable to go through the full cycle of training. Advanced Diploma gives holders high chances to land a decent job, while Certificate I is usually not enough to get a good position.
Most bachelor's programs last for 3 years if studied full-time. It should be kept in mind that Australian secondary education lasts for 12 years, so after graduating from grade 11 of high school, you can’t enter an Australian university.
Each university and program has its own admission requirements. Usually, applicants need:
Education that is equivalent to 12 years of Australian secondary education. International equivalents of qualifications are usually indicated on the websites of universities:
For some disciplines (medicine, dentistry, education, music, visual arts, veterinary medicine), you may be required to go through an audition, interview, portfolio review, or submit a motivation letter.
In Australia, students often enter dual or combined bachelor’s programs that lead to two bachelor’s degrees. It is most common in the fields of art, commerce, law, and science.
In addition to the standard bachelor’s degrees, Australian universities offer bachelor’s degrees with Honors. It represents:
1-2 years of study with writing a research paper after receiving a bachelor's degree;
Parallel program during the fourth year of the four-year bachelor’s program.
Usually, if a student performs well during studies (from 65% of academic performance), the university can provide an extra year of bachelor’s studies with Honors. It provides for a greater number of credits that are gained through additional courses, classes, dissertations.
Master’s in Australia — Graduate / Postgraduate
Masters programs usually last 2 years for bachelor’s graduates and 1 year for those who have a bachelor's degree with honors. Master's programs are divided into three types:
Сoursework and thesis;
Research and thesis.
Master's degrees may also vary:
Traditional — studying a specific subject at an in depth level, similar to Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MSc). Programs combine training and research, most include a dissertation or a graduation project;
Change of direction — designed for students who want to change their specialization or gain knowledge in a new field. Learning begins with the basics and main principles and then goes on to a deeper study of the subject. Usually, such programs last for at least 2 years;
Graduate entry professional qualifications are intended for bachelor’s graduates who want to get a professional qualification;
Graduate diploma programs usually last 6 months and are available for foreigners. They can be provided as Pre-Master programs for applicants who want to gain knowledge in some specialty, for example in marketing. However, graduate programs are not degree ones, so upon completion graduates are awarded only a diploma.
GRE/GMAT exam results (for Graduate entry professional qualifications, e.g. MBA).
Australia does not have a centralized application system. Therefore, documents are submitted directly to the university.
Australian universities also offerGraduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma programs. For admission to these qualifications, a bachelor's degree is required. In some cases, it can be done on the basis of significant work experience. The usual duration of programs is from 6 to 12 months.
Doctoral studies in Australia — Postgraduate
Doctoral studies offer two types of programs:
PhD — the candidate conducts research for 3 years and writes a thesis, after which he receives a PhD;
Professional doctorate is more applied and focused on the practical application of research results. The curriculum consists of mastering a certain number of courses (coursework)and writing a dissertation.
Before admission, the candidate must contact a potential academic advisor via an email, as universities usually do not consider applications from international students who have not done so. The professor should have research interests on the topic of the candidate’s future dissertation. After the prior consent of the potential advisor, you can proceed to submit documents to the university. For admission, you will need:
Master's degree in the relevant discipline (sometimes a bachelor4 years (with honours));
Sometimes admission committees conduct interviews with applicants. This usually means that you are a promising applicant and a potential research adviser sees potential in you.
Each university and program put forward its own requirements, so the candidate must independently verify all the criteria and deadlines on the official websites of universities.
At the end of doctoral studies, students submit a dissertation, and often there is no need to verbally defend it. In this case, the work is sent to several external examiners. The verification process may take several months. Some Australian universities have begun to conduct a more traditional oral defense, but often this happens online or via interviews.
Academic career in Australia
Academic ranks in Australia are divided into five levels. Names may vary depending on the institution:
Equivalent at North American universities
Associate / Assistant Lecturer, Senior Tutor, Tutor, Research Officer
Lecturer, Research Fellow
Assistant Professor (PhD required)
Senior Lecturer, Senior Research Fellow
Associate Professor, Reader
Full Professor The
The salary of academicians depends on the level, on average, the salary starts from 35,272 USD and reaches 77,198 USD per year.
Jobs are offered by the universities themselves. Universities are actively hiring foreign scientists. A selection committee is appointed for each position, which conducts interviews and decides on the final appointment.
Selection criteria vary by university. Usually, it requires a PhD degree, experience in research and teaching, publications in scientific journals. Applications are submitted online and include resume, letter of motivation, confirmation of compliance with qualifications (criteria), information on reviewers / supervisors. Promotion is based on the achievements and successes of the candidate. Usually, it should be 2 years after the previous promotion or the beginning of work.
Australia also has research centers that are open to international applicants.
Scholarships and grants in Australia
Most international students in Australia pay full tuition fees. However, there are a number of scholarships that cover the full or partial cost of education or living expenses. They are offered by government, universities, and other public and private organizations. There are also automatic scholarships for high academic results, which do not require students to submit separate applications.
The Destination Australia Program (DAP) is the new Australian government program for local and international students at Australian universities. This grant is issued to freshmen students at all levels of education (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral). The scholarship is 9,983 USD per year. Universities independently distribute and award grants to students. More than 1000 such scholarships are awarded annually.
The Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) provides scholarships to students doing research (research doctorate or research masters). Universities provide one or more types of support to the RTP scholarship recipient:
Tuition for a student-researcher;
Coverage of living expenses;
Coverage of additional expenses (for example, printing a dissertation, academic publication, medical insurance).
Universities manage the application process and the selection of RTP, so candidates must submit documents directly to the university. There is a quota of 10% for RTP scholarships for international students. Detailed information can be found on the Australian Government website.
Universities periodically offer scholarships to applicants and foreign students for academic success. The selection committee and the international office of universities conduct consultations and provide additional information about such opportunities.
In general, obtaining grants is possible, but there is always fierce competition for them, therefore, the documents should be near the perfect and academic performance of the applicant high. You can find a suitable scholarship or a grant here or on the websites of universities.
Student visa in Australia
To take part in any educational program, lasting more than three months a student visa is required. A visa to Australia for study purposes is a visa of subclass 500. In order to apply for it, the chosen educational institution must be included in the CRICOS list.
The term for consideration of documents and visa application is from 2.5 to 4 months. Make sure to allocate at least 6 weeks prior to the start of studies. The cost is from 413 USD. The following documents will be required:
General medical examination by doctors accredited by the embassy;
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC);
A medical examination can be done before applying for a visa. It is held in special medical centers located in large cities. The procedure is carried out by panel doctors who have received permission from the Department of Immigration. If your family is traveling with you to Australia, they must go through a medical examination as well.
Student visa allows the student to work up to 40 hours every two weeks. Students with a visa of subclass 500 or subclass 574 (studies) can work an unlimited number of hours if:
They study at the research masters or doctoral studies;
Work is a registered part of the course.
During the holidays and official internships, the 40 hours limit is removed. It is forbidden to work before the studies start. It is noteworthy that family members of students of master's or doctoral programs can work an unlimited number of hours after the start of studies.
Information on wage rates, vacation organizations, and termination benefits is provided in a special service. The website of Ombudsman for Fair Work contains more detailed information on the rights and benefits in the workplace for migrant workers.
Opportunity to stay and immigration to Australia
The Department of Immigration has established a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485). It allows foreign students to work in Australia and is divided into 2 streams:
For a Post-Study Work stream, the length of stay in Australia depends on qualifications:
Bachelor’s (including honors): 2 years;
Master’s (coursework): 2 years;
Master’s (research): 3 years;
PhD: 4 years.
For both streams, the recieved education must meet the following criteria:
The curriculum is registered with CRICOS — the official register of Australia;
The graduate has successfully completed his studies;
The study was in English;
Studies lasted at least 2 academic years (92 weeks);
The graduate was physically in Australia for at least 16 months to study;
The graduate had a study visa.
Additionally, applicants are required to confirm English proficiency (IELTS 6.0 / TOEFL 64), medical insurance and other documents. Detailed information can be found on the website of the Australian Department of Home affairs.
Young professionals can look for work after obtaining a visa. Jobs are posted online or in university career departments.
Prospects and employment opportunities
Due to the high speed of development, the Australian economy needs a large number of highly qualified specialists in various fields. This has become one of the reasons for facilitating immigration visa procedures for graduates. The main sectors of the economy in the country are the services industry (finance, insurance, tourism, education), technology, mining, and agriculture. Australia has been one of the leaders in terms of economic freedom since the creation of the rating in 1995, and its economy has been ranked among the freest over the past 14 years. The unemployment rate in the country was only 5.1% in February 2020.
Australian education is mostly practical and very close to the modern needs of society. Therefore, employers not only in Australia but also in other countries of the world, are willing to hire graduates of Australian universities. Diplomas and certificates obtained in Australia are recognized worldwide, including Europe, Asia, the USA, and the CIS countries.