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When Does University Start in Australia?

This article is sponsored by Western Sydney University

Whether you’re thinking of studying in Australia or you’re scheduled to arrive soon, you likely have a lot of questions about how the education system works here. One of the most pressing might include, “When does university start in Australia?”

If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we outline the most important timelines you need to know, including Australian semester dates and semester break dates. 

Semester start dates in Australia

The majority of Australian universities offer a semester system, which means you attend two teaching sessions per year. These dates tend to differ between states and education providers, so make sure to confirm your dates before classes. But, you can generally expect your semesters in Australia to look something like this:

Teaching starts Session break  Teaching end 
February intake Feb/Mar 2024 Apr 2024 May 2024
July/August intake Jul/Aug 2024 Oct 2024 Nov 2024

Semester one 

If you are enrolling at a university that operates on a semester system, your semester one classes will begin in February or March and conclude at the end of May. During this time, you typically get a two-week semester break in April which usually coincides with the Easter long weekend. If you need to sit exams for your units, these will be held throughout June. 

Semester two 

You will then enjoy a bit of time off before semester two begins in August and concludes at the end of November, with a two-week break in the middle. If you are required to sit exams for your semester two classes, these will be held from late November to mid-December. You will then have roughly eight weeks’ break before starting your next academic year.

While it’s most common for students to start their studies in semester one, many opt to start their degree in semester two.

Alternative university start dates in Australia 

If you are interested in completing your course sooner, there are other options for you to complete your university degree in Australia. These include:


Trimesters – meaning three study sessions in one year – allow you to complete your course 30 per cent faster than through a semester system. So, if you’re looking to speed up your studies, a trimester system could help you do it.

Here’s an example of how a trimester system might work:

2023 Orientation Teaching starts Session break  Teaching end 
February intake Feb 2024 Feb 2024 Apr 2024 Jun 2024
July intake Jul 2024 Jul 2024 Aug 2024 Oct 2024
November intake  Nov 2024 Nov 2024 Dec 2024-Jan 2025 Feb 2024
Summer semesters 

Enrolling in a summer semester is a great way to expedite your graduation. You can usually enrol in a summer intensive from early January to early March to complete prerequisite subjects that you couldn’t schedule in the previous year, re-sit classes you did not pass previously, or complete a required unit to have a reduced workload in your next term. Students who enrol in this option will essentially start semester one straight after finishing their summer semester. 

Does it make a difference when you start university in Australia?

In short, it can; your start date might make a difference when it comes to the scheduling of units at your university. Due to teaching and space resources, every single unit can not be offered every semester/trimester, so your education provider may offer specific units in one semester/trimester only. 

This is very important to track when it comes to prerequisite classes. For example, if you miss a specific unit in semester one, you can not take other relevant classes until the first class is on offer again. But don’t stress! Your education provider will offer unit planning sessions, where university staff will help ensure you’re enrolling in the right classes and sessions. 

How far in advance should I apply for my chosen university start dates?

Regardless of how many study sessions you will be undertaking in your academic year, there will be an application deadline listed on your education provider’s website. You must apply before this deadline, however, it is advised you submit your application as early as possible as some universities prioritise applications sent before the deadline. Late applications are possible but are only admitted if there is space in the course; otherwise, you may be deferred to the next available intake.

It’s also important to do your research about the different intakes at each university as they may be different at each institution. For example, Western Sydney University also have quarterly intakes for its Sydney Graduate School of Management, giving students four opportunities a year to start their postgraduate business degree.

Ranked in the top 2 per cent of universities worldwide, Western Sydney University is a top choice for international students. Specialising in unparalleled student support, the friendly team at Western Sydney is ready to help you understand everything you need to know about Australian semester dates. Discover everything that Western Sydney University has to offer here