What Is an Undergraduate Education (Degree) In Australia?


Students want to know what an undergraduate degree, qualification, or education is in Australia.


Australia has a highly developed education system with many opportunities in the higher education sector. Multiple universities are world-renowned for the quality of education they provide.


It also offers a higher education program, the Overseas Student Program (OSP), to international students who come to Australia for their studies.


Australia's higher education sector comprises universities and technical colleges offering undergraduate, postgraduate, and technical qualifications. This blog uncovers all you must know about undergraduate education, qualifications and degrees in Australia.



1. Who Provides Undergraduate Courses in Australia?


Universities and other institutions such as Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institute offer and govern higher education in Australia. Undergraduate education is also called tertiary education.


In addition, the ESOS (Education Services for Overseas Students) protects the student's rights by law:


  • The well-being of all international students in Australia.

  • The quality of student's education experience.

  • The provision of up-to-date and accurate information.



2. Undergraduate Qualifications


The Australian government is the funding authority for undergraduate education in the country. These qualifications provide a higher level of education that is both nationally and internationally recognised


Undergraduate qualifications are of two types:


  • Bachelor's Degree prepares students for postgraduate studies and professional careers. It lasts for a minimum of six semesters (full-time study). Universities in Australia usually accept only applicants with at least year 12th (Australian secondary school certificate of education) or equivalent. Further, a diploma from a VET (Vocational and Education Training) institute is another pathway into undergraduate education.


  • Bachelor's Degree (Honours) prepares graduates for a higher research qualification. This qualification lasts one to two years after completing a bachelor's degree in the same field. 



3. Entry Requirements


Undergraduate courses require you to complete a secondary school qualification equivalent to an Australian Year 12 certificate. 


You also need to satisfy the English language requirements. Remember, some courses have higher English language requirements than others. There are many ways you can meet the English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirements to study in Australia, such as: 



Every undergraduate course provider has different entry requirements. To get more information, you can contact your provider.



4. Admission Season


Higher Education in Australia follows a semester system. Universities have two semesters annually, usually between February and November. Also, there are some universities with an optional summer semester system. 



5. Average Undergraduate Study Cost 


The cost of education in Australia depends on the level of study and the institution you choose. Additional fees may include access to institution facilities and course materials. To fund your studies, you can also work part-time per fortnight.


It's important to note that courses like veterinary science and medicine may have higher tuition fees.



6. Is an Undergraduate The Same as Bachelor in Australia?


An undergraduate qualification in Australia includes:


  • Associate Degrees: It serves as a stepping stone into university courses. Candidates who don't get the required ATAR to gain admission to university courses can complete an Associate degree to qualify for a bachelor's degree.


  • Bachelor's Degree: This qualification prepares students for postgraduate studies and professional careers.


  • Bachelor's Degree (Honours): This program is ideal for graduates with higher research qualifications



7. How Long is Undergraduate Education in Australia?


The duration of an undergraduate education depends on the type of undergraduate course you plan to study.


  • Associate Degrees – These courses take two years of full-time study to complete.


  • Bachelor's Degree – It takes at least six semesters or 3-years of full-time study or up to 5 years based on the course you undertake.


  • Bachelor's (Honours) – This is additional one to two years after completing 3-5 years of a bachelor's degree in the same field. 


Depending on the course duration, the length of an undergraduate school can be between two years and seven years.



8. What Is The Undergraduate Age Limit For Australia?


You have to be 18 years old to study undergraduate courses in Australia.


However, some universities allow you to enrol in subjects or apply for a full degree at the age of at least 13 years with your parent or guardian's permission.


Age University Options

13-14 years

  • University of New England

  • Macquarie University

  • Curtin University

  • The University of Adelaide

  • University of South Australia

15 years

Above universities above, and:


  • Murdoch University

16 years

Above universities and:


  • La Trobe University

  • RMIT University

  • Griffith University

17 years

Above universities and:


  • University of Tasmania

  • The University of Notre Dame Australia

  • Swinburne University of Technology

18 years

Above universities and:

  • Australian Catholic University

  • Australian National University



9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



What Is Higher Education in Australia?


The following courses are higher education qualifications in Australia. You can obtain them through universities or higher education providers in the country.


Associate Degree


  • Duration - Two years

  • Requirements: Year 12 or equivalent, Certificate III/ IV



Bachelor Degree


  • Duration - Three to five years (depending on the program)

  • Requirements: Year 12 or equivalent, Certificate III/ IV



Bachelor's Degree (Honours)


  • Duration - Four years

  • Requirements: Bachelor's Degree



Graduate Certificate


  • Duration - Six months

  • Requirements: Bachelor's Degree



Graduate Diploma


  • Duration - One year

  • Requirements: Bachelor's Degree



Master's Degree (Coursework)


  • Duration - 1 to 2 years

  • Requirements: Bachelor's Degree or Bachelor's Degree (Honours)



Master's Degree (Research)


  • Duration - Typically two years

  • Requirements: Bachelor's Degree or Bachelor's Degree (Honours)



Doctoral Degree


  • Duration - Usually 3 to 4 years

  • Requirements: Master's Degree



Can a 14-Year-old Go To University in Australia? 


The minimum age requirement varies between universities in Australia. You may get admission to degree programs at selected universities (through Open Universities) that accepts applicants of this age for their undergraduate courses.


Below are some universities offering undergraduate courses to students between 13 to 14 years:


  • University of New England

  • Macquarie University

  • Curtin University

  • The University of Adelaide

  • University of South Australia 



How Long Is A Full-Time Undergraduate Degree?


Based on the undergraduate program you choose to study, the duration to complete an undergraduate qualification is:


  • Associate Degree: 2 years of full-time study


  • Bachelor's Degree: 3-5 years of full-time study


  • Bachelor's (Honours): One to two years of full-time study after completing the same Bachelor's degree program.



Is Undergraduate Education Free in Australia?


In Australia, university course tuition fees are calculated per unit, not per year. 


Each unit falls into a fee band. As most students study a combination of units from distinct fee bands, the fees payable can differ for different students.


The general yearly tuition fees for undergraduate bachelor programs for overseas students are: – AU$20,000 to AU$45,000.


However, if you are a domestic student enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP), the government pays part of your fees, and you pay the remaining part. It is called the 'student contribution amount.'


The below table gives you an estimated student contribution amount (SCA) you must pay for each of the units you study in a course.


Fields Max. SCA (per EFTSL)
(As of Jan 01, 2023)
Law, accounting, administration, economics, commerce, communications, society, and culture $15,142
Education, Postgraduate Clinical Psychology, English, Mathematics or Statistics $4,124
Allied Health, Other Health, Built Environment, Computing, Visual and Performing Arts, Professional Pathway Psychology or Professional Pathway Social Work $8,301
Nursing, Indigenous, and Foreign Languages $4,124
Engineering, Surveying, Environmental Studies, or Science $8,301
Agriculture $4,124
Pathology $8,301
Medicine, Dentistry, or Veterinary Science $11,800


Your student contribution amount for each unit of study is: EFTSL value of unit * Student contribution amount = Fee payable by a student


However, students enrolled in a CSP and at an approved HECS-HELP provider can get a HECS-HELP loan to cover their student contribution amount. They will only repay the fees when they earn above a specific income threshold.



Can You Get Into University Without an ATAR? 


Yes. Not obtaining the required ATAR for a university course doesn't mean you can't study that course. Some pathways can lead you to that university course without having the required ATAR.


An associate degree is one such study pathway for students who could not get the required ATAR in Year 12. Graduates with an associate degree get guaranteed entry into a related bachelor's degree.


As an associate degree is counted as significant academic credit, you may get direct admission to the second or third year of the bachelor course.


However, your eligibility for credit depends on the course you study and the university you study with. So, keep this in mind before you choose this option.



What Is The Lowest ATAR Entry?


The Lowest ATAR score depends on the university and the degree program you wish to undertake.


Most mid-ranking Australian universities set 70.00 as the minimum selection rank for "in-demand" courses. These include Monash, RMIT, QUT, Curtin, Murdoch, and ECU University.


Some universities, such as Victoria University and Torrens University, don't have any ATAR requirements. To enter such courses, you must finish your Year 12, have a Senior Secondary School certificate, and have some vocational education or work experience after leaving school.



Higher Education - Undergraduate Institutions in Australia


To pursue your undergraduate study in Australia, you can choose from the following institutes: 



Queensland (QLD)




Victoria (VIC)




Tasmania (TAS)




New South Wales (NSW)




South Australia (SA)




Western Australia (WA)




Australian Capital Territory (ACT)




Useful Topics to Explore:

⇒ Types of Education in Australia
⇒ Enligsh Language Courses Overview (ELICOS)
⇒ MBA and Management Education in Australia 
⇒ Vocational Education & Training Courses (VET)
⇒ Technical and Further Education (TAFE)
⇒ Higher Education - Postgraduate Level
⇒ Foundation Courses
⇒ Study Abroad & Student Exchange 
⇒ Online & Distance Education
⇒ Secondary Education

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