Australia - Education System
Higher Education in Australia:
Higher education in Australia has evolved over the last 140 years, with the first university established in 1850 and has now grown to become relatively large for a nation of 17 million people. Today Australian higher education comprises of 38 universities and general specialist institutions offering quality and diversity.
Australian universities are set up under state or federal acts of parliament. They are controlled by a governing body called a council or senate, comprising of representatives from universities and general community. The federal government has financial responsibility for funding the universities. However, there are also a couple of private universities in Australia.
Universities provide courses and conduct research in a wide range of professional and academic disciplines.
Universities vary enormously in size, location, and in research and teaching interests. There is also diversity in the structure of courses and research programs. Student life in all Australian universities is very similar with heavy workload involving lectures, tutorials and seminars, plus individual work in laboratories and libraries.
Students can also choose from a wide range of extra-curricular activities to balance their academic pursuits.
Types of Formal Awards:
The following formal award courses are offered within the higher education sector:
A Doctoral Degree: PhD is the highest award conferred by universities. Traditionally, it is a research degree though some universities offer coursework programs. Candidature takes minimum of 3 years.
Master Degree: Master degrees are either undertaken by coursework (which usually involves the preparation of a minor thesis or project) or by research. Coursework masters tend on the average to take less time than research masters (one year to eighteen months, compared with eighteen months to two years of full time study). A limited amount of coursework may be offered to complement a research masters or Ph.D. programs. However, award of a research degree is essentially based on the quality of final thesis.
Post Graduate Diploma: Courses are designed to enable graduates to acquire specific vocational qualifications through an intensive program of study, usually for a year. These courses are particularly attractive to graduates who already have some employment experience and wish to gain further qualifications in specialist areas. In general, they are of shorter duration and have more restricted content than coursework at masters programs.
Bachelor Degree: Bachelor degree courses usually take from three to six years, depending upon the course. However, most undergraduate degree courses involve 3 years of full time study. An extra year of study is usually required for bachelors degree with honors.
Diploma Courses: Diploma courses are at undergraduate level and are of one to three years duration. They require the same entry level as a bachelor degree course.
Associate Diplomas: Associate Diplomas are also at undergraduate level and are usually of 2 years duration.
International students can enter Australian education institutions through a number of ways, including direct enrolments, through the High Commission, via Agents and by receiving expert counseling through organizations such as NODNAT
NODNATcan assist students to identify the most appropriate course, institution and city to meet their academic needs.
NODNATcan help students enrol into universities, TAFE, colleges, schools, special studies colleges, foundation and bridging courses. Bridging and foundation studies programs provide a pathway to university for those students who do not meet the academic requirements for direct entry.
MATCHING YOUR NEEDS TO THE INSTITUTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES:
There are 38 universities (36 public-funded, 2 privately-funded) in Australia; varying in size from 3,000 to 30,000 students. TAFE colleges are located in all Australian states and are both private and government funded. Students can apply to enrol in either private or government schools. The academic year for most Australian institutions runs from February to November with an increasing number of institutions offering mid-year (July) intake.