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Free and Short Courses at Australian Universities

No matter what stage you are at in your study journey, there is always time to sneak in some extra courses to keep upskilling and learning

In Australia, you can take short courses at the same time as your studies. These courses can offer quality education for a lower cost than a typical course that is part of a university degree.

We’ve made a list of the best short – and sometimes free – courses you can take advantage of at Australian universities.

Australian Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

For cheap courses in Australia, check out MOOCs! MOOCs are courses that are conducted entirely online and take weeks to complete. There are usually no pre-entry requirements before beginning MOOCs, and depending on the MOOC provider you choose, you can have access to education from universities from around the world.

Australian MOOCs include a wide range of fields, from humanities to engineering, so there are always exciting and new things to learn. The courses are often free, and are accessible on mobile, tablet, and desktop, so you can learn wherever and whenever it’s convenient for you.

The University of New South Wales offers online courses in collaboration with well-known MOOC providers Coursera, FutureLearn, and Open Learning. Some other Australian universities offering a selection of MOOCs include Griffith University, Monash University, Torrens University Australia, and The University of Queensland

Speak to your education provider directly to find out if they offer MOOCs.

Open Universities Australia

Open Universities Australia offer a range of affordable short courses that can take from two hours to six months to complete. The website displays information on courses from a wide variety of Australian education providers so you can easily compare details such as course content and costs. If you need some assistance, Open Universities Australia also provides student advisors to help you.

Once you enrol through the Open Universities Australia website, you have the option to study an array of online courses from Australian universities, including some single subjects from undergraduate degrees — with no entry requirements! Some courses may even count as credit towards your degree. 

Taking single subjects can also be a great way to figure out if a specific university degree is right for you. For example, Griffith University’s Introduction to Criminology and Criminal Justice course is a pathway subject to its Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice degree, while RMIT University’s Introduction to Programming course is a foundation subject of its Bachelor of Information Technology degree.

To study with Open Universities Australia as an international student, you’ll need to prove you have a good understanding of the English language, and course fees depend on the subject you’ve chosen to study, and your residency status.


FutureLearn offers a variety of online courses from leading Australian and international universities. Some of the Australian universities offered on FutureLearn include The University of Melbourne, The University of Newcastle Australia, and RMIT University. 

The sessions are carried out by educators from top universities and cultural institutions and are conducted through videos, articles, quizzes, and discussions. FutureLearn offers both free and paid options.

If you want to study in Australia for free, Deakin University offers free online courses through FutureLearn.

After you successfully complete your course, you can choose to buy a certificate of achievement that you can include on your resume or LinkedIn profile.

University short courses

Some Australian universities offer their own independent range of short courses. These courses can be a great way to gain new skills that will benefit your studies, personal development, and future career.

For example, The University of Adelaide offers short courses both on-campus and online. As many businesses are increasingly active on social media, an online short course such as Writing for the Web and Social Media or an on-campus short course such as Developing Your Social Media Strategy could make a great addition to your education and resume. 

The University of Sydney also offers on-campus and online short courses ranging from Xero Accounting Course to How to Get Your Book Published Course. Current University of Sydney students and alumni are eligible for discounts on the university’s short courses, and the university occasionally offers discounts on specific courses to anyone who wants to enrol. For more information on these discounts and course funding, click here.

Look online or speak with your education provider to find out the details if there are any short courses available to you.