Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Levels

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An international student in Australia is hiding behind a book and studying the Australian qualification framework (AQF).


If you're thinking about studying in Australia, it's essential to understand the education system.


One key thing to know is the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Levels. This system helps people recognise and value qualifications in the country.


In this guide, you will learn why you should know about the framework and how it can help you choose a course in Australia.



1. What Is The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF)?


The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) sets the standards for educational qualifications in Australia and is overseen nationally by the Australian Government's Department of Industry.


The AQF's goal is to ensure that qualification titles have the same meaning throughout the country and uphold high education standards.


This organised system simplifies the educational journey for students in Australia, offering a clear and easy-to-follow path.


The consistency in education levels and qualification titles across the country also facilitates swift transfers for students moving from one university to another.



2. The Ten AQF Levels Are:


AQF Level   Qualification Type
Level 1
  • Certificate I
Level 2
  • Certificate II
Level 3
  • Certificate III
Level 4
  • Certificate IV
Level 5
  • Diploma
Level 6
  • Advanced diploma
  • Associate degree
Level 7
  • Bachelor degree
Level 8
  • Bachelor Honours Degree
  • Vocational Graduate Certificate
  • Vocational Graduate Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
Level 9
  • Masters degree (research)
  • Masters degree (coursework)
  • Masters degree (extended)
Level 10
  • Doctoral degree
  • Higher doctoral degree




3. AQF By Education Sector 


The AQF categorises the qualifications according to the three main educational sectors in Australia that are responsible for their accreditation.



Schools Sector Vocational Education &
Training (VET) Sector
Higher Education Sector
Senior Secondary Certificate of Education Certificate I Diploma
  Certificate II Advanced diploma
  Certificate III Bachelor degree
  Certificate IV Bachelor honours degree
  Diploma Graduate certificate
  Advanced Diploma Graduate diploma
  Vocational graduate certificate Masters degree
  Vocational graduate diploma Doctoral degree





  • VET is primarily offered in the school sector.

  • The higher education sector has two qualifications - undergraduate and postgraduate.

  • Undergraduate qualifications include bachelor's degrees and deliver education for entering into a professional career.

  • Postgraduate qualifications include graduate diplomas/certificates, master's, and doctoral degrees.

  • Both qualifications (undergraduate and postgraduate) offer a highly professional study level, allowing students to enhance their knowledge in a specific field. 



4. The AQF Objectives


  • It accommodates the diversity of training for both now and in the future.

  • It supports nationally consistent and relevant qualification outcomes and contributes to national economic performance.

  • It develops, maintains and supports various pathways that provide access to qualifications and help students quickly move from one education and training sector to the other.

  • It provides the foundation for students to advance through education and receive recognition for their previous learning experiences.

  • It offers national regulatory and quality assurance arrangements for training and education purposes in Australia.

  • Assists with the national and international mobility of workers and graduates by increased recognition of Australian qualifications.

  • It aligns with international education frameworks and standards.


The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) makes it simple for international students to discover suitable courses by using the same qualification levels across every state and territory in Australia. This consistency allows students to focus more on finding the right institution based on their needs and interests.


In Australia, the AQF reflects globally recognised education in a technologically advanced and modern society. This enables students to establish careers in their chosen field, whether in Australia or elsewhere.


Useful Topics to Explore:

⇒ Types of Education in Australia 
⇒ Courses For Permanent Residency (PR) In Australia
⇒ The Australian Grading System 
⇒ International Students in Australia
⇒ What does it cost to study in Australia?
⇒ Courses that can lead to PR in Australia
⇒ Migrating to Australia
⇒ Australia Compared
⇒ Academic Life

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