You have probably heard that the education system in Australia resembles a lot of elements of the British education system. That is not far from the truth, but there are also a few essential differences that are often left unnoticed from international students.
In Australia, tertiary education comes after compulsory education which normally ends when students turn 16 or 17.
Following high school graduation, students in Australia are free to decide whether they want to attend higher education or drop out of education. That’s when the intriguing part of the Australian education system comes into play.
Note that to a certain extent, to succeed as an international student in Australia, it is important you properly understand the overall organization of the native education system as much as intellectually preparing for your studies because it allows you to make informed-decision as per the course you want to attend and what to expect.
The education system in Australia is regulated by the Australian Qualifications Framework a national policy which is in charge of setting out and maintaining education standards provided by licensed educational bodies in Australia.
The whole education system in Australia is divided into 10 levels. If you want to complete your higher education studies in Australia you need to be specific because higher education comprises 7 levels from 3 to 10. Postgraduate studies, on the other hand, make up the 9th and 10th level.
Read more about the education system in Australia.
Types of postgraduate qualifications in Australia
One of the distinctive traits of the Australian education system to that applied in the UK and other Commonwealth countries is the variety of postgraduate qualifications. This is done so every student gets to study what he or she wants to.
The major division of postgraduate degrees in Australian is into coursework or taught degrees and research degrees. As the name suggests, coursework degrees are mainly focused on providing a theoretical foundation and assessment is made through examinations.
On the other hand, a research degree is more oriented toward the practical aspects of your degree by exposing you in a set of real-life challenges through experimental work. Your academic development in such course is measured by a unique and original dissertation thesis of yours.
Given below are all types of postgraduate qualifications offered by universities in Australia
Postgraduate qualifications by coursework
- Graduate Certificate
- Graduate Diploma
- Master’s Degree (by Coursework)
- Master’s Degree (Extended)
Postgraduate qualifications by research
- Master’s degree (by research)
- Research Doctorate (PhD)
Am I eligible for postgraduate studies in Australia?
You can enroll a postgraduate course in Australia is you have obtained a bachelor degree in the corresponding subject by the time you apply. If you have taken a bachelor degree in another country, it must first be recognized by the Australian Framework. On such occasion, the University of your choice in Australia will require you to sit in a preparatory course in the first place.
Entry requirements change depending on several factors, mostly on the university and the course of your choice and your nationality. For example, if you’re a national of a country to which English is not the official language you must prove your language proficiency whereas a candidate coming from an English-speaking country doesn’t need to do so.
In addition, the list of documents required changes according to the academic level of the course you want to apply to. For example, if you apply for a Doctorate degree more documents may be required than for a master’s degree program.
Whatsoever, make sure your application file contains the following documents
- A Bachelor Degree in your aimed study area (recognized in Australia)
- Certificate of your grades
- Proof of Language Proficiency
- Personal Identification Documents
- Relevant references or Letter of Motivation
- Work experiences (if available)
How to apply?
You can apply for your desired postgraduate degree course online. All you need to do is to complete the required documents, scan them and upload in the university’s website. If it happens that you’re temporarily residing in Australia at the time of application fall you can submit your application in person.
Note that universities are aware that the application process might be a bit confusing to some so they’re always open to respond questions you might have at any time. Also, read carefully application guidelines published on the university’s website.
Postgraduate Fees in Australia
Tuition fees for postgraduate degrees in Australia change depending on the university and the course of your choice.
On average, annual tuition fees for postgraduate courses range from A$20,000 to $40,000 for master’s degrees and from A$15,000 to A$40,000 for doctoral degrees. Note that there are degrees which have higher fees than this range. The most expensive degrees are veterinary study programs and medicine.
Postgraduate degree programs in Australia are taught in English, therefore you need to prove your language proficiency to be admitted. Common standardized tests like TOEFL and IELTS are required, but universities may also accept other relevant certificates.
Since the academic level of classes in the postgraduate is advanced, your English skills and knowledge must be excellent. Although the required scores change from university to university, we recommend you to try to score as much as possible, at the very least 80 points.
As you’d expect, some particular study areas like social sciences and humanities require a more proficient level of English as you’re going to deal with complex theoretical study materials.
Note that universities may require a different English score compared to that required for student visa application.
Popular Postgraduate degrees in Australia
There’s an enormous amount of available postgraduate courses offered at Australian universities, thus regardless your academic interests, is almost for sure you’re going to find something it fits you.
Based on the official enrollment data the followings are just some of the most popular postgraduate degrees in Australia:
- Business Administration
- Management Studies
- Fine Arts
- Environmental sciences
- Social Sciences
Postgraduate employability in Australia
One of the best things about studying abroad in Australia are excellent future prospects. In many countries of the world, fresh graduates have probably the hardest time in their life because they see limited opportunities and don’t know what career pathway to take on. But this is not the case with Australia.
Big local and international companies value and respect education standards celebrated by Australian universities and all of them compete to hire fresh graduates. That said, once you step out of university you will have a lot of options for your future career.
According to a national survey, in 2018 a percentage of 86.9 of all postgraduate graduates in Australia were working full-time. Furthermore, data reveal that postgraduate research graduates enjoy a rate of employability at 93.5%, significantly higher than in 2017.
In terms of subject, medical practitioners have the highest employability rate and earn the most among all graduates. As statistics read, in 2018, 98.1% of graduates in pharmacy were employed full-time, 96.7% in Medicine, 96.2% in Veterinary Science and 95.6% in Nursing.
The median salary for a postgraduate course graduate was $83,300 while postgraduate research graduates earned around $90,000 annually. Medical graduates also led the charts in terms of salaries. According to the report’s findings, a dental practitioner earns the most, 109,600 annually on average. Nursing employees also earned a high salary of around 107,500 annually. Other graduates whose earnings were significantly high, Business and Management, IT and Computer Scientists, Engineering and health services.