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Australian Courses for International Students

This article is sponsored by Austrade

Whether you’re pursuing a specific career or are keen to develop different skills, there are many types of courses you can study as an international student in Australia.

To help you figure out which study pathway is best for you as an international student, we’ve made a list of the different courses available in Australia. 

Undergraduate courses

In Australia, types of undergraduate courses, which you may also hear referred to as ‘undergraduate qualifications’, can include:

  • Diploma
  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor Degree
  • Bachelor Degree (Honours)

Most undergraduate courses typically have a similar structure and are a mixture of lectures, group work, individual assignments, and examinations.

It typically takes three to five years to complete an undergraduate course in Australia, however, this depends on the education providers you’ve chosen and the type of course you wish to pursue. 

To enrol in an undergraduate course, you’ll likely need to have successfully completed secondary school (year 12) or the equivalent in your home country. However, there are pathway programs available as an alternative way into your chosen course – a bridge to tertiary education in Australia. For example, if you have missed a certain cut-off date, or you haven’t met the requirements for entry into your chosen course.

Postgraduate courses

Many Australian universities offer a range of postgraduate courses which are available to students who have completed undergraduate courses. They are a fantastic way to continue developing your skills for your future career.

Postgraduate course options range from graduate certificates to the highest award level, which is a doctoral degree. Options for postgraduate courses include:

  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Masters Degree
  • Doctoral Degree (also known as a PhD)

Postgraduate studies can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete, depending on the type of course you would like to pursue.

Part-time courses

Part-time courses in Australia are an excellent choice for those looking for more flexibility with their study and work/life balance. You can still obtain the qualification you want, but it will take you longer to complete your studies.

However, it is important to know that most international students are required to study full-time if on a student visa. For example, if you have a Student visa (subclass 500), you must be enrolled in a full-time course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). If you have this visa and start studying part-time, you may breach your visa conditions.

Check your visa conditions before making any changes to your study arrangements.

Short courses

The short courses available in Australia are incredibly diverse and are a great way to show your commitment to your career and your willingness to continually learn.

They can also help you secure your first job while you are studying in Australia as they are a quick way to upskill. For example, an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate is required to work in many areas of hospitality in Australia. You can complete the course in just a few hours, depending on which provider you complete the course through. Coffee is a critical part of the culture in Australia, especially if you live in a city like Melbourne (hello, coffee capital!). A barista

In Australia, you are also able to take short courses at the same time as your studies to continue upskilling and learning. For example, you can undertake:

  • Australian Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) – These courses are conducted entirely online and take a few weeks to complete. MOOCS include a wide range of fields, from humanities to engineering, and the courses are often free.
  • Open Universities Australia courses – Offering a range of affordable short courses, Open Universities Australia courses can take from two hours to six months to complete.
  • FutureLearn courses – FutureLearn offers a variety of online courses from leading Australian and international universities and has both free and paid options.

As with part-time courses, always check your visa conditions before making any changes to your study arrangements.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses

VET courses, also known colloquially as ‘trade courses’ in Australia, are a great option for those who prefer practical learning on-site mixed with in-class study, or are looking for a pathway into university. Through studying a VET course, you can obtain:

  • Certificate I
  • Certificate II
  • Certificate III
  • Certificate IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma

VET providers offer a wide variety of courses to give you the skills to work in different trades, from a Certificate III in Accounts Administration to an Advanced Diploma of Maritime Operations.

If you want to live and work in Australia after studying, completing a trade course could also help you qualify for a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) in the Graduate Work Stream

Studying online

The number of study options available is always growing. For example, you can now study everything from short courses to a full-time bachelor’s degree online. Or, study at an Australian university campus in your home country. This gives you all the benefits of Australian education, without having to move away from your friends and family. You can use Study Australia’s Explore my study options tool to search for on-campus courses in your home country.

Finding the perfect course

The Study Australia course search tool below is Australia’s most comprehensive list of course options and allows you to search for courses based on interests and locations, whether you’re currently based offshore or are in Australia looking for a change.

Tips for meeting course entry requirements 

No matter which course you decide to pursue in Australia, it’s essential to know which student visa you will require. For more information on those necessary visas, click here.

Australian courses are taught in English, so you will need a strong understanding of English while studying in Australia. In some cases, you need to complete an English language test to be accepted into a course. To find the best apps and websites for improving your English, click here.

Keep in touch with everything you need to know about studying in Australia as an international student at Study Australia