When Does University Start in Australia?

when does university start in australia

This article is sponsored by Charles Sturt University Study Centres

While you’re probably already familiar with the semester system in Australia, there are actually many more study options available if you’re looking for more flexibility. If you’re wondering, ‘When does university start in Australia?’, here is our guide to university start dates and study options in Australia. 

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 2021 Apr 2021 May 2021
July/August intake Jul/Aug 2021  Oct 2021 Nov 2021
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, with two weeks’ holiday 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 few months off before semester two begins in August and concludes at the end of November, with two weeks’ 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 around eight weeks’ break before semester one the following year. 

Some students also choose 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 

Trimesters – meaning three study sessions in one year – allow you to complete your course 30% faster than through a semester system, which is a great option if you are looking to speed up your studies. Charles Sturt University Study Centres, for example, lets you fast-track your degree and undertake cross-institutional study by offering a November intake.

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

2020 Orientation Teaching starts Session break  Teaching end 
February intake Feb 2020 Feb 2020 Apr 2020 Jun 2020
July intake Jul 2020 Jul 2020  Aug 2020 Oct 2020
November intake  Nov 2020 Nov 2020 Dec 2020-Jan 2021 Feb 2021
Summer semesters 

Enrolling in a summer semester is a great opportunity to expedite your graduation or provide the flexibility to free up some time in the year to come. 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 to complete a required unit in a small period of time so you can have a reduced workload through the next semester. Students who enrol in this option will essentially start semester one straight after finishing their summer semester. 

It’s worth noting that if you opt to take up a study session starting in November, you’ll receive many of the same benefits, including the chance to free up your study load for the coming year or accelerate your degree.

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 on offer every semester/trimester, so your education provider may offer specific units in one semester/trimester only. 

This is very important 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.