Why study in Australia

With a unique landscape and relaxed culture, Australia is a popular destination for travelers, but it is also one of the most sought-after destination for international students. It’s not just for the lifestyle, Australia contains 7 of the top 100 universities in the world and the government invests around $200,000,000 annually in international scholarships. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is a national policy that ensures there is a uniform and recognised progression for study. The framework was introduced in 1995 and includes secondary school, higher education, and vocational education and training (VET) courses. The AQF establishes pathways between qualifications and sets the standard for learning outcomes at each level, so not matter what you study, you can be sure you will gain formal recognition.

Some of the highlights of studying in a great country like Australia

  • International Students’ interests for the standards of studying in Australia are protected through the Overseas Students Act which was introduced in 2000
  • This piece of legislation, amended in 2010, delivers regulatory requirements for education and training institutions through the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

In a 2012 survey co-conducted by the Australian Government and top education groups, 86 per cent of international students responded that they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their experiences studying in Australia. For a country with a relatively small population, Australia has a history of punching above its weight when it comes to producing outstanding research. Many Australian discoveries and developments have led to tangible benefits around the world. This comes as a result of heavy investment in research, including over AU$140 million to be spent on Federation Fellowships over the next five years, some of the endless reasons as to why you should choose Australia as your study destination.

Education System in Australia

Australian education qualifications are regulated through The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which links Australian schools into one national system.

This allows students in Australia to easily move from one education level to the next within a nationally-accredited system.

The Australian education system has three main sectors of higher education: universities, vocational institutions, and English language institutions.  School education (primary and secondary) is compulsory between the ages of six and sixteen (Year 1 to Year 9 or 10). School education is 13 years and divided into:

Primary school - Runs for seven or eight years, starting at Kindergarten/Preparatory through to Year 6 or 7.

Secondary school - Runs for three or four years, from Years 7 to 10 or 8 to 10.

Senior secondary school - Runs for two years, Years 11 and 12.

Tertiary education includes both higher education (including universities) and vocational education and training (VET).

Within Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) facilities, students gain valuable, career-focused skills that are sought by employers. Vocational Education and Training institutions offer practical courses in both real and simulated work environments in subjects such as business, tourism, marketing, computing, and hospitality.

Vocational training is offered by Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Institutes, private colleges, and many other schools and universities. The educational curriculum of this training is developed by the government and industry together, and combines lectures and tutorials in small classes. In the VET sector, assessment is determined through assignments, attendance, class participation, practical skills tests, and exams.

Upon completion of vocational training in Australia, students are awarded a Certificate, Diploma or Advanced Diploma. Students who complete a vocational education may choose to either enroll in a university education program with credit or search for a job.

Australian universities offer many different education courses in various fields for both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. Classes are a combination of lectures and tutorials; lectures are given to large groups of students, perhaps a few hundred, and then discussed in small groups within tutorials.

Tertiary education in Australia includes a wider category of higher education than just universities - there are a high number of private higher education providers in Australia as well, offering students a range of different education opportunities.

The most common type of education degree at universities in Australia is a Bachelors Degree. Upon completion of a bachelors degree in Australia, students may choose to specialize in research training or professional development through masters or doctoral degrees. The research of postgraduate students in Australia is at the forefront of development and application of new technologies. Other types of education degrees in Australia are Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Associate Degrees

English is the official language of Australia and the main language of instruction in the education system. Many schools offer bilingual programs or programs in other languages.

The Australian education system is distinguished from many other countries by the Australian Qualification Framework. The AQF has 10 levels and links school, vocational and university education qualifications into one national system. This allows you to move easily from one level of study to the next and from one institution to another, as long as you satisfy student visa requirements. It allows for choice and flexibility in career planning. All qualifications in the AQF help prepare you for both further study and your working life. More information regarding AQF can be found at

There are endless reasons as to why students choose to study in Australian universities and Australia as their favorite study destination. The friendly and laid-back nature of the country, the high standard of living and the boundless cultural opportunities are surely a part of this, but one of the major reasons for this choice is definitely the various universities in Australia. With around 39 universities in Australia, 8 of them are featured in the top 100 universities in the world. With more than 1,100 institutes offering over 22,000 courses, students have a dearth of options to choose their own right fit. The courses offered at the various universities in Australia, provide degrees that are recognized and respected all around the world. All the universities in Australia offer courses that are governed by the Australian Qualifications Frameworks, which is a quality-assured national educational system that distinguishes the Australian education and ensures uniformity in the progression of study.

Academic requirements

The academic requirements (including evidence of English language skills) student need to study in Australia will vary depending on the level of education you want to study.

Here is some general guidance on entry requirements for the different levels of study:

English language - Entry requirements vary between institutions, and according to the level of English language course you want to study.

Schools - Entry requirements vary between schools depending on the state or territory you will be studying in. Academic performance and ability is considered during the application process.

Vocational education and training - In most cases there are no entrance exams for VET institutions. However, some courses may have specific pre-requisite subjects or work experience requirements.

Higher Education Undergraduate - To gain entry into an Australian undergraduate course student will need to have an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (Year 12), or the overseas equivalent. Some undergraduate courses may also have specific pre-requisite subjects.

Higher Education Postgraduate - As well as the satisfactory completion of at least one degree at undergraduate level, institution may take research ability or relevant work experience into consideration.

English language skills tests most of the universities accept include:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) - Academic module
  • TOEFL PB (Test of English as a Foreign Language: paper based)
  • TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language: internet based)
  • Pearsons Test of English (PTE) - Academic
  • Cambridge English scale for Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) and Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

The following scores provide an indication of the minimum requirement at most universities:

  • IELTS — overall score of 6.0 to 6.5 (no band less than 5.5 to 6.0)
  • TOEFL (internet-based test) — overall score of 60 to 90
  • CAE — overall score of 169 to 176 (no less than 169 in any category)
  • PTE Academic — overall score of 50 to 64.

International students in Australia on a valid student visa can work for up to 20 hours per week during semester and unlimited hours during semester break. International students studying master's degree by research or PhD degrees can work unlimited hours. A work week in Australia is considered to be Monday through the following Sunday. Although students are allowed to arrive in Australia up to 90 days before their studies commence course begins, students are not allowed to begin working until after their courses have begun.

The 20-hour-per-week limit does not extend to any work the student is required to undertake as a component of their studies or training. Volunteer and unpaid work, however, does count towards the 20 hours. If an international student works more than the Australian restrictions allow, it is considered breach of their student visa condition and visa may be cancelled.

Visa requirements

The student visa depends on your preferred course of study and as a guide, the typical key requirements you will need to meet are:

  • Have electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) certificate
  • Meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement requirement. Read more about this on the Department of Home Affairs website.
  • Sufficient funds for airfares, tuition fees and living costs.
  • English language proficiency.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Acceptable Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Your Australian student visa is valid for the duration of your course and allows for you to remain in the country for a period of up to three months once your course has finished.  If you want to continue living in Australia after completing your studies, it is your responsibility to ensure that you get an appropriate further visa to allow you to do this.

There are a number of options to consider, though please remember that immigration rules do change and visas that are available at the start of your course may not be available to you when you have graduated. Please check for the latest information.

There are two types of visa that you may be eligible to apply for under visa subclass 485. Both are temporary work visas which allow you to work full time for a defined period of time.

1. Graduate Work stream

This visa allows full work rights for you (and your partner) for 18 months from issue. You will only be able to apply for this visa if you satisfy certain criteria, the main one being that the qualification you hold relates to an occupation on the  Skilled Occupation List

2. Post-Study Work Stream

This visa allows full work rights for you (and your partner) for up to four years, depending on the level of your Australian qualification. You will only be eligible for this visa if you applied for and were granted your first student visa on or after 5 November 2011.

If you have studied a bachelor degree your PSW visa will be valid for two years

If you have studied a master by coursework degree your PSW visa will be valid for two years

If you have studied a master by research degree your PSW visa will be valid for three years

If you have studied a doctoral degree your PSW visa will be valid for four years

If you are planning to apply for this visa If you are planning to apply for this visa please be aware of the time your visa may take to be processed.


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