Higher Education

University courses of study include bachelor’s degrees at the undergraduate level. At the postgraduate level, graduate certificates and diplomas are offered in addition to master’s and doctorate degrees. Master’s programs are available in many disciplines including social sciences, engineering, health sciences, business, and economics. Master’s degrees usually involve research or coursework, or a combination of both.

Why Study in Australia?

In addition to Australia being a great place to live, Australian master’s degree programs are among the highest quality in the world. The Australian academic environment fosters innovation, creativity, and independent thought.

Australia is committed to ensuring international students have a good experience in Australia. Institutions that admit international students must adhere to a strict set of requirements regarding marketing activities, course delivery, facilities, and student services such as legal and health services.


Four of Australia’s 39 universities are ranked in the top 100 by the 2012-2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. These schools include the University of Melbourne (28th), Australian National University (37th), the University of Sydney (62nd), and the University of Queensland (65th). About 230,000 international students attend higher education programs in Australia, with about 90,000 graduates each year.

Tuition and Program Duration

International students must pay tuition and fees before beginning master’s program studies. Typical tuition for master’s degrees is A$15,000 to A$36,000 per year depending upon the university.

Masters degree programs take 1-2 years to complete. The course of study is usually two years after a bachelor degree; however, a master’s degree can be obtained in one year if the student’s bachelor degree was obtained with honors.

Academic Year

The academic year in Australia begins in early March and runs through late November. Most schools offer two semesters each year, but some schools use a trimester system and other schools offer summer courses from December to February.

Post-Graduate Opportunities

A master’s degree in any discipline from an Australian institution makes a graduate more valuable to employers worldwide. In addition, recent legislation was passed that permits international graduates of Australian institutes to obtain a post-study work visa that allows them to work in Australia for up to four years after graduation.

However, although international students may be eligible to work in Australia after graduation, students should not undertake studies in Australia for the sole purpose of migration. Australia provides preferential migration treatment for individuals on a Skilled Occupations List, but the skilled migration process is separate from the student visa process. There is no guarantee that a student studying for a master’s degree in Australia will be able to migrate to Australia.

After completing a master’s degree, students may also continue their studies if they are admitted to a doctoral program and obtain an additional student visa.

Visa Requirements

To obtain a student visa, students must be enrolled in a full-time course that is registered with the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Students enrolled in a short course of less than 3 months can study on a visitor visa. However, only students with a student visa will have access to Australian health care and part-time work. Students may apply for a student visa once they receive a letter of offer or electronic confirmation of enrollment.

Health Insurance

Australia has a special health insurance program for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Students should buy OSHC before arriving in Australia and coverage must be maintained for the duration of the student’s stay on a student visa. OSHC covers medical or hospital care and partially covers prescription medication and ambulances.


Much of Australia is unsettled and visitors need to be aware of the hazards associated with travel in the outback. Even when not in the outback, sun protection should be used at all times, and travelers should drink plenty of water.

Bush fires are a common hazard, especially from late spring to summer. Travelers should maintain awareness of the location of fires at all times.

Other hazards include poisonous snakes, spiders and marine stingers. These hazards can be avoided with situational awareness and appropriate clothing and footwear.

The continent of Australia, with the island state of Tasmania, is approximately equal in area to the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). Mountain ranges run from north to south along the east coast, reaching their highest point in Mount Kosciusko (7,308 ft; 2,228 m). The western half of the continent is occupied by a desert plateau that rises into rolling hills near the west coast.

Australia is an island continent and country located in the southern hemisphere between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Although the sixth largest country in the world by area, Australia has a population of only about 20 million. Most of the population lives along the south and east coasts. Australia is a highly developed country with the world’s fifth-highest per capita income. Major industries focus on Australia’s abundant natural resources, including agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, forestry, and minerals.

Due to Australia’s large land mass, the climate varies widely across the country. The northern one-third of the country is in the tropics while the rest has a moderate climate, with the coldest areas in the southeast and Tasmania. Seasons are opposite from the northern hemisphere. Summer occurs from December through February, autumn from March through May, winter from June through August and spring from September through November.

Australia is a very safe, friendly and multi-cultural society that is one of the most diverse in the world. Nearly one-quarter of the population was born in another country. In addition to the multiple immigrant cultures, much of Australian culture is derived from its Aboriginal heritage.

Although Australian society is generally very casual, many workplaces and restaurants have dress codes. Australians love both sports and the arts, including film, literature, music, dance and theater. Art museums and galleries abound in all major Australian cities.

Cost of Living
The cost of living is similar to the United States and United Kingdom. International students must demonstrate to migration authorities that they have enough money to cover living expenses, tuition and fees during their stay. Students may work part time to earn money toward living expenses. The annual expense requirement as of 2012 was A$18,610 for the student, A$6,515 for the student’s spouse or partner, A$3,720 for the student’s first child, and A$2,790 for each additional child.

Universities in Australia