When most people think of Australia, they see wide open spaces of outback bush, kangaroos, koalas and clean air and water. However, Australia has so much more to offer than just that! Many international students are choosing to study in Australia because of its friendly, laid-back nature, excellent education system, and high standard of living.

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world, with a large population of international students. This means that you will study with students from all over the world and will enjoy many of the comforts of home - from restaurants and grocers to film festivals and food fairs. Australia is also home to some of the best student cities, as revealed in the QS Best Student Cities ranking. Cosmopolitan Melbourne placed second, ahead of cities such as London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore. Sydney came in at fourth place, with Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth not too far down the list.

Institutions in Australia offer a wide variety of courses and degrees, so international students can easily find the school and field that are right for them. The first decision international students have to make when choosing a degree program is which type of school is most catered to their needs and interests. Students can choose between universities, vocational education, and English language training. If necessary, it is easy for students to move between one qualification levels and from one institution to another.

One of the most appealing aspect of the country for international students is the quality of scientific research. Australia is at the forefront of new technology and innovations. Students who study in Australia can take advantage the country’s impressive technology and research resources.

International students can work up to 40 hours per fortnight in Australia, which will help you pay for things like nights out with friends or short trips over holiday breaks. Students also have the opportunity to stay in Australia to work once they have graduated, taking advantage of the post-study work visa. There are also opportunities such as the Professional Year Program (PYP), which allows graduates of accounting, information technology and engineering degrees to gain experience and mentoring in an Australian workplace. Completing a PYP can assist you to gain permanent residency.


  • Length - Typically 3 years (4 years for honours degree)
  • Semesters - Two, although some institutions offer three semesters (trimesters)
  • Starts - Typically March, but can vary by course and institution


  • Length - 1 to 2 years
  • Semesters - Two, although some institutions offer three semesters (trimesters)
  • Starts - Typically March, but can vary by course and institution


  • Length - 3 years
  • Semesters - As most doctoral candidates do not attend class, there are usually no formal semester
  • Starts - Your start date will be negotiated with your supervisor


Types of degree offered :

1 . Diploma, Advanced diploma, Associate degree :

Courses at Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Associate degree level take between one and three years to complete, and are generally considered to be equivalent to one to two years of study at degree level. Diploma and Advanced Diploma are titles given more practical courses, while Associate degree is given to more academic courses.

These courses are usually delivered by universities, TAFE colleges, community education centers and private RTO's (Registered Training Organizations).

2. Bachelor degree and honors

The Bachelor degree is the standard university qualification and is recognized worldwide. Most courses take three to four years to complete.

Honors may be awarded atop a bachelor's degree after an additional year of study for three-year degrees or, in the case of four-year degrees, for performance at credit or distinction average level. An Honors degree is denoted by "Hons" in parentheses following the degree abbreviation, for example BA (Hons). Honors degrees requiring an additional year of study generally involve a research project and require the completion of a thesis during the optional fourth year of study.

Traditionally these courses have almost exclusively been delivered by universities; however there is now a growing number of  TAFE institutions and private colleges who have higher education status to deliver degree programs.

3. Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma :

These qualifications are deemed to be at a higher AQF level than a bachelor and generally mean you have graduated from a bachelor prior to undertaking studies. Therefore, you usually require a completed bachelor's degree or higher to gain entry or have significant skills and abilities in the field of study meaning that technically you have completed the requirements to exceed a bachelor through your work experience. Certificates take months to complete, while Diplomas take 12 months.

These courses are usually delivered by universities and private providers.

4. Masters degree

A Master's degree usually requires two years of full-time study to complete. A completed bachelor's degree, sometimes with honors, is a prerequisite for admission. The pattern of study generally takes one of the following three forms :

Coursework - comprising postgraduate level rigorous academic coursework and project work. In some fields also consist of a research component and requires the completion of a thesis. In such fields, completion of only the coursework component without submitting a thesis usually results in a graduate diploma being awarded instead.

Research - comprising substantial research and completion of a major, externally assessed thesis.

Extended - for preparation for professional practice in fields such as law, medicine, physiotherapy, speech pathology, social work or other professional fields.

Master's degree (extended) are permitted to deviate from the 'Master of ...' naming convention. Those in legal practice may use the name Juries Doctor, but do not allow a graduate use of the honorific title 'doctor'. Master's degree (extended) in medical practice, physiotherapy, dentistry, optometry and veterinary practice are allowed to be named 'Doctor of ...' and graduates are permitted to use 'doctor' as a courtesy title where it is existing practice for that profession. Universities are not permitted to refer to these degrees as doctorates and must note on documentation such as transcripts that the qualification is a master's degree (extended).

Master's level courses are delivered by universities and a limited number of registered private providers.

5. Doctoral degree

The highest qualification, a Doctoral degree is awarded by a university. This generally requires the completion of a major thesis, which has to be assessed externally by experts in the field of study. Additionally, there are professional doctorates, which require less research and are partially assessed by coursework or projects. Entry into an Australian Doctorate program requires an Honors degree or "Honors equivalent". A Master's degree is usually considered equivalent. Holders of Doctoral degrees are permitted to use the title 'Doctor'.

This is also required during the procurement of student visa. Major test results accepted by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for visa purposes are IELTS (International English Language Testing System), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Cambridge (CAE) and Pearson (PTE).

Certificate Levels I to IV, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma

All of these fall into the category of vocational training. If you are going to Australia for vocational education and/or training, you will pay anywhere from $4,000 (for a 4 to 6 month Certificate I program) to $22,000 (for a complete advanced diploma program)

Bachelor’s Degree

These degrees will vary depending on whether you go to a public university or a private university. Public universities can run anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 per year; private universities can cost upwards of $33,000 per year (there are only a handful of private universities in the country, so you are more likely to be attending a public university). Much of the time, the costs related to these degrees can be taken care of through financial aid and scholarships.

Master’s Degree

Most Master’s degrees average approximately $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Some Master’s programs can end up costing more than that if you go to a prestigious university or a private university. There are a lot of research scholarships and bursaries that you can obtain to decrease the cost of postgraduate education, which we explore more in our page on scholarships.

Doctoral Degree

For a basic academic doctoral degree, it will end up costing you anywhere from $14,000 to $37,000 per academic year. It can cost upwards of $40,000 plus per year if you are working on a medical degree (veterinary, dentistry, medical doctor, surgeons, etc). There are a variety of research scholarships and bursaries available to help alleviate the costs postgraduate education, which we explore more in our page on scholarships.

Overall, Australia is a bit more expensive in terms of education costs than other countries (even higher than the United States in some cases). But the good news is that there is a lot of financial aid available for international students. If the numbers still make you nervous, there are a lot of ways for you to make ends meet.

Work Rules for International Students

International students in Australia on a valid student visa can work for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and there is no limit on the number of hours an international student can work during recognized school vacations. A work week in Australia is considered to be Monday through the following Sunday. Although they are allowed to arrive in Australia up to 90 days before their 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 his or her 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, his or her visa may be cancelled.

Further Rules and Regulations

Other rules and restrictions under Australian student visas include:

  • Students are required to pursue a consistent study program that has been approved by the Australian government.
  • Students have to fulfill all of the requirements of the study program in which they are enrolled.
  • Students must maintain satisfactory attendance in their course and course progress for each study period as required by their school.
  • Students are required to maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Working during your stay in Australia is a great way for international students to supplement their finances. However, it is extremely important to be aware of the restrictions placed upon you as an international student. If you violate any of these restrictions, your student visa may be revoked and you could be deported out of Australia.

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