Australia is quickly becoming the most preferred education hub for international students. Currently it has the third largest number of international students after USA and UK. Australia offers a diverse range of study options for international students, with more than 1,200 institutions and over 22,000 courses to choose from. Irrespective of what you are studying or how long you are studying for, Australia’s laws promote quality education and protection for international students. As an international student on a student visa, you must study with an institution and in a course that is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). CRICOS registration guarantees that the course and the institution at which you study meet the high standards expected by international students. Australia has a national set of qualifications that are endorsed by the Australian Government. This means that there is national and international recognition of each qualification and the level of education it represents. Entry into most higher education courses in Australia is highly competitive, and a high standard of English language is required for postgraduate study. Each education provider will have different entrance requirements, so it is important to contact individual providers to check. The main types of postgraduate qualifications offered by most higher education institutions are:
Graduate certificate/diploma: These qualifications are generally designed for specific vocational purposes — either the broadening of skills and knowledge already gained in an undergraduate program or the development of vocational skills and knowledge in a new professional area. The typical requirement is six months to a year of full-time study for the graduate certificate and one to two years of full-time study for the graduate diploma. Entry usually requires a bachelor degree or advanced diploma.
Master’s degree: Master’s Degree provides a high-order overview of a field of study or area of professional practice. They typically involve one to two years of full-time study. The master’s degree may be offered in three formats:
- Master’s degree (coursework): These consist of coursework, project work and research in varying combinations. Entry typically requires prior completion of a bachelor degree, a bachelor degree (honours) or a graduate certificate or diploma.
- Master’s degree (research): These are at least two-thirds research and include a substantial thesis or research project, which is often externally assessed. Entry normally requires a bachelor degree (honours) or masters preliminary year.
- Master’s degree (extended): These may consist of a work-based project. Entry requires a relevant qualification and professional experience, or extensive relevant professional experience.
Starting dates vary widely depending on the course. Higher education courses generally run from late February to mid-November. The academic year is generally divided into two semesters, although some institutions operate on a trimester system or offer summer schools from December to February, which can reduce the total course length. Students enrol for their courses at the beginning of the year (usually in January or February), but application dates are towards the end of the previous year. Some institutions also have a mid-year intake (usually in July) for certain courses.