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Australian Education System

Higher Education in Australia

Students who plan on studying in Australia have two main options: joining a university where they will benefit from academic teachings, or enrolling in an institute or college to pursue a vocational or professional course.

Here is a simple diagram explaining the structure of the Australian higher education system:



Australian university diplomas

  • Bachelor’s degree: this is the equivalent to a French This program takes three years to complete. A Bachelor’s degree is a requirement to apply to postgraduate studies and most level-entry jobs.
  • Graduate diplomas: these programs are a way to gain professional skills in a given subject; they are also a great way to enhance a Bachelor’s degree. Students wishing to pursue postgraduate studies in a different field than the one they studied in previously may have to study for a Postgraduate Certificate first. These programs usually take one year to complete. This is equivalent to a French Master 1.
  • Master’s degrees: these programs help students specialize in their field, beyond an undergraduate diploma. These can last between 18 months to 3 years; they combine theoretical and practical teachings with a research component.
  • PHD: the French equivalent to a doctorat. It is aimed at students wishing to engage in research in a specific domain. A Master’s degree is usually a prerequisite to apply to a PhD. This takes between two and four years to complete.

Technical and Further Education in Australia (TAFE)

  • Certificates: there are four levels of certificates validating professional skills. The higher the level of your certificate, the more likely you are to get a high-responsibility job in a company.
  • Diplomas: this can take one or two years to complete; it combines theoretical classes with applied learning. This program allows students to develop technical and/or creative skills at a high level.
  • Advanced diplomas: similar to a French BTS or DUT, the advanced diploma is slightly higher than a regular diploma. It takes 2 to 3 years to complete. Many advanced diplomas allow students to transfer to a bachelor’s degree.


Admissions are by application only. International students must show English proficiency. To do so, they have to take the IELTS or the TOEFL. Study Experience holds various partnerships with institutions providing intensive preparation to both these exams. Contact us for more information.

The application must include previous transcripts and diplomas as well as a cover letter, a CV, and recommendation letters. Students are encouraged to submit their application at least six months before the start of classes.

Academic Year

In Australia, semesters start in February and in July. Most domestic and international students start their programs in February, just after the summer holidays.

University campuses in Australia

Just like American and British universities, Australian schools boast splendid campuses on which reside most students. These campuses are the central location of student life, a place where people bond and create a tight community.

Outside of classes, students get to take part in many sports, cultural, and social activities. Most campuses have their own supermarket, bank, fitness center and gym, bars and restaurants.

Tuition fees and finance

Tuition fees in Australia are comparable to those of French Grandes Écoles. For an undergraduate degree tuition fees are usually between AUD$17,000 and AUD$30,000 per year. Vocational training and TAFE are usually between AUD$10,000 and AUD$15,000 per year. Fees vary according to the university’s reputation, the type of program, the size of campus and the facilities it offers.

Scholarships are available, especially for postgraduate studies. Get in touch with one of our advisors to learn more about ways to finance your studies in Australia.


For more information on the higher education system in Australia, or to ask about our partner universities, get in touch with a member of the Study Experience team.

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