Australian Education Overview

The Australian education system is one of the best in the world, ranking 8th on a worldwide scale.

The Australian Education System is generally divided into three models, primary education (primary schools), secondary education (secondary schools/high schools) and higher education (university and/or TAFE (technical further education college). The academic year in Australia varies between states and institutions, but generally runs from late January until mid-December for primary and secondary schools and TAFE colleges, and from late February until mid-November for universities. See normal age of education in more detail here.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

Australian universities 

There were 39 recognised universities in Australia in 2007, of which 37 were public institutions and 2 are private.

So what they offer?

Undergraduate study

Bachelors degrees: generally the first university degree undertaken, which take 3-4 years to complete, and consist primarily of coursework. Bachelors degrees are sometimes awarded with honours to the best-performing students.

Certificate, Diploma and Associate degrees: which take 1-2 years to complete, and consist primarily of coursework. These are primarily offered by TAFEs and other institutions as vocational training. Universities

Postgraduate study

Masters degrees: which are undertaken after the completion of one or more Bachelors degrees. Masters degrees deal with a subject at a more advanced level than Bachelors degrees, and can consist either of research, coursework, or a mixture of the two. Masters degrees usually take 2 years to complete, but vary from 1 year to 3 years depending on institutions and courses.

Double Masters degrees: which are undertaken two Masters degrees. It usually takes 2-3 years and both masters degrees usually relate each other, for instance MBA and Master of Professional Accounting.

Doctorates (PhD): which are undertaken after an Honours Bachelors or Masters degree, by an original research project resulting in a thesis or dissertation. Admission to candidature for a PhD generally requires either a Bachelor's degree with good honours (First Class or Second Class Division I), or a Masters degree with a research component.   

Vocational Education and Training

The major providers of vocational education and training (VET) in Australia are the various state-administered institutes of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) across the country. TAFE institutions generally offer short courses, Certificates I, II, III, and IV, Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas in a wide range of vocational topics. They also sometimes offer Higher Education courses.

In addition to TAFE Institutes there are many Registered Trainning Organizations (RTOs) which are privately operated.