Australia has a fairly developed education system with numerous opportunities in higher education. Some of colleges and the universities in the country are known worldwide for the quality education. Australia has a higher education program called the Overseas Student Program (OSP) that has been formulated to provide opportunities to overseas students who come to Australia for higher studies. Overseas students increasingly prefer Australia as the students are allowed to work part-time, subject to a maximum of 20 hours per week
Higher education in Australia equips one with greatly regarded and internationally recognized qualifications. There is a wide range of courses and programs available in the country.There is a Commonwealth support program for higher education in Australia. Under the program schemes such as Commonwealth Grant Scheme, Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), and research and research training programs have been commenced.
In Australia, higher education is governed by Universities and other bodies. Universities in Australia and a few similar higher education institutions largely regulate their own courses. Besides this, there is the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which is a governing body that is trying to streamline all levels of tertiary education (both higher and vocational education) – from trade certificates to higher doctorates. As universities regulate their courses, AQF deals mainly with vocational courses.
In Australia, a student who completes higher education is eligible for degrees such as Certificates, Bachelor degrees or Diploma and Associate Degrees, depending on the courses he has chosen. Certificate, Diploma and Associate Degrees are awarded for courses that take one or two years to complete. These degrees are usually offered by TAFEs or other institutions which are into vocational trainings. Universities in Australia award these certificates and Diplomas as addition to another degree. Meanwhile, Bachelors degrees are awarded to performing students who complete 3 or 4 years of education.
Reasons for being popular higher study destination
- Excellence – education standards rank amongst the highest in the world
- Recognition – qualifications are widely recognised and accepted when seeking employment or further study
- Flexibility – multiple institutions offering a wide variety of courses with flexible delivery methods
- Protection – government legislation and codes of conduct operate to regulate the industry and protect students
- Value – the combination of competitive tuition fees and low cost of living represent good value for money
- Lifestyle – favourable climate, safe and stable environment, attractive surrounds and friendly people make it an enjoyable place to study
- Multicultural – overseas students are welcome in Australia’s multicultural society
- Support – networks of support exist to help students in all aspects of their stay in Australia
- Work/travel – there are opportunities for students to travel and/or work whilst studying
The main types of qualifications offered by most higher education institutions include:
Bachelor degree: provides initial preparation for professional careers and postgraduate study, and involves a minimum of six semesters full-time study. Entrance typically requires completion of an Australian secondary school certificate of education (Year 12) or the overseas equivalent, or a diploma or advanced diploma from the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.
Bachelor degree (honours): may require an optional, additional year of study following the degree; or, it may be awarded for academic achievement in degrees of four or more years.
Graduate certificate/diploma: 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 of full-time study for the graduate certificate and twelve months of full-time study for the graduate diploma. Entrance usually requires a bachelor degree or advanced diploma.
Masters degree: provides a mastery or high-order overview of a relevant field of study or area of professional practice. Typically they involve two years of study after a bachelor degree, or one year of study after a bachelor degree (honours). The masters degree may be offered in three formats:
Coursework masters: consists 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 diploma.
Research masters: consists of at least two-thirds research with a substantial thesis, which is often externally assessed. Entry normally requires a bachelor degree (honours) or masters preliminary year, a research-based graduate diploma or equivalent research experience.
Professional masters: may consist of a work-based project. Entry requires a relevant qualification and professional experience, or extensive relevant professional experience.
Doctoral degree: recognises a considerable original contribution to a given field in the form of new knowledge or the adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge. The doctoral degree may be offered in two formats:
Research doctorate: consists mainly of supervised research. Entry requires a research or part-research masters degree or a bachelor degree (honours).
Professional doctorate: consists of varying combinations of coursework and research. Entry typically requires a combined research and coursework masters degree or a bachelor degree (honours). In addition, considerable professional practice experience is required either before or during the course.
Higher education in Australia has been divided into a semester pattern. Universities have two semesters a year that are normally between February and November. There are quite a few universities that have an optional short summer semester system.
Average course costs
- Bachelor degree: AUD$10, 000–$16, 000 (for example, arts, accounting, business and management, and law courses)
- Laboratory-based bachelor degree: AUD$11, 000–$20, 000 (for example, science and engineering courses)
- Graduate certificate/diploma: AUD$9,000–$16,000
- Masters and doctoral degrees: AUD$11, 000–$20, 000