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UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA

  1. UNIVERSITY LOCATIONS
  2. STRUCTURE OF AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES
  3. COURSES AND QUALIFICATIONS
  4. INTERNATIONAL STUDENT NUMBERS
  5. ENTRY POINTS, ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
    1. ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS
    2. UNDERGRADUATE COURSES
    3. POSTGRADUATE COURSES
  6. COSTS FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS
  7. QUALITY ASSURANCE OF AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES
    1. THE TERTIARY EDUCATION QUALITY AND STANDARDS AGENCY
    2. UNIVERSITIES AUSTRALIA
    3. ENTRY STANDARDS
    4. GROUPS OF UNIVERSITIES

INTERNATIONALISATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA

UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA

Diversity and autonomy are central features of Australian universities. There are 41 Australian universities, of which 3 are private (Bond, Torrens and Notre Dame). In addition, Carnegie Mellon and University College London have campuses in Adelaide, South Australia. As the main campuses and administrations of these university are established in Pennsylvania, USA and London UK respectively; they are considered as non-Australian universities. 

Many Australian universities have overseas branch campuses, twinning arrangements and exchange programs for students and teaching staff worldwide. Australian universities have around 7000 agreements with universities (and similar institutions around the world).

1. UNIVERSITY LOCATIONS

Australian Universities are located in all major State and Territory capital cities as well as in many regional centres.

The locations of their main campuses are given in the table and diagram below:

STATE / TERRITORY

UNIVERSITY NAME

LOCATION OF
MAIN CAMPUS

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian National University

Canberra

 

University of Canberra

Canberra

New South Wales

Australian Catholic University

Sydney

 

Charles Sturt University

Albury-Wodonga

 

Macquarie University

Sydney

 

Southern Cross University

Lismore

 

The University of Newcastle

Newcastle

 

The University of New England

Armidale

 

The University of New South Wales

Sydney

 

The University of Sydney

Sydney

 

University of Technology Sydney

Sydney

 

University of Western Sydney

Sydney

 

University of Wollongong

Wollongong

Northern Territory

Charles Darwin University

Darwin

Queensland

Bond University

Gold Coast

 

Central Queensland University

Rockhampton

 

Griffith University

Brisbane

 

James Cook University

Townsville, Cairns

 

Queensland University of Technology

Brisbane

 

The University of Queensland

Brisbane

 

University of Southern Queensland

Toowoomba

 

University of the Sunshine Coast

Maroochydore

South Australia

The University of Adelaide

Adelaide

 

Flinders University

Adelaide

 

University of South Australia

Adelaide

 

Torrens University Australia

Adelaide

Tasmania

University of Tasmania

Hobart

Victoria

Deakin University

Geelong

 

The University of Divinity

Melbourne

     

 

Federation University

Melbourne

 

La Trobe University

Melbourne

 

Monash University

Melbourne

 

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

Melbourne

 

Swinburne University of Technology

Melbourne

 

The University of Melbourne

Melbourne

 

Victoria University

Melbourne

Western Australia

Curtin University of Technology

Perth

 

Edith Cowan University

Perth

 

Murdoch University

Perth

 

The University of Western Australia

Perth

 

The University of Notre Dame

Fremantle

2. STRUCTURE OF AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES

All of Australia's universities are established or recognised under government legislation. The Federal Government has responsibility for funding the public universities.

The formal governing body of each Australian university is the Council, Senate or Board of Governors. This is presided over by a Chancellor who is elected by the members of the governing body. The chief executive authority rests with the Vice-Chancellor who is sometimes also called the President. This person is accountable to the Council, Senate or Board of Governors and is responsible for the academic and administrative operations of the institution.

3. COURSES AND QUALIFICATIONS

There are some important points about courses that you need to be aware of:

  • Courses can vary considerably in form, entry requirements, duration and method of assessment.
  • The academic year is generally from early March to late November, or mid-July to late June of the following year.
  • The year is normally divided into two semesters, although some universities offer three semesters in one calendar year for certain courses.
  • Students studying towards a Doctoral Degree or other postgraduate research awards may be able to negotiate an alternative starting date with their research supervisor.

 

COURSE

NOTES

Diploma
Duration = 1 -2 years

  • This is offered by some universities and university colleges.
  • It is the same level as a Diploma that is offered by a VET institution.

UNDERGRADUATE

Bachelor Degree
Duration = minimum of 3 years

  • This is the basic university qualification and is required for entry to a profession.
  • Study involves acquiring a systematic and coherent body of knowledge, its underlying principles and concepts, and associated problem-solving techniques.
  • Students develop the academic skills and aptitudes to comprehend and evaluate new information, concepts and evidence from a wide range of sources. Also, students learn to review, consolidate, extend and apply the knowledge and techniques that they have learnt.
  • Study usually involves major studies in an area where significant academic literature is available.
  • Course content is to a significant depth and progressively developed to a high level. This also prepares students for further postgraduate study if desired.

Bachelor Degree(Honours)
Duration = 4 years

  • A Bachelor Degree with Honours takes an additional year after a Bachelor Degree with a focus on research.
  • Honours may also be granted where outstanding achievement is recorded in a Bachelor Degree course of four or more years.

POSTGRADUATE

Graduate Certificate
Duration = 6 months

  • The Graduate Certificate typically involves broadening individual skills already gained in an undergraduate program, or developing vocational knowledge and skills in a new professional area.

Graduate Diploma
Duration = 12 months

  • The Graduate Diploma either broadens individual skills obtained in an undergraduate program or develops vocational knowledge and skills in a new professional area.
  • This qualification involves further specialisation within a systematic and coherent body of knowledge.

Masters Degree(Coursework)
Duration = 1 - 2 years

  • The Masters Degree enhances specific professional or vocational skills.
  • It is typically gained by coursework and some research.
  • Study involves acquiring an in-depth understanding of a specific area of knowledge usually by independent research.
  • A Masters Degree takes one to two years, after completion of a Bachelors Degree.

Masters Degree (Research) - MPhil
Duration = 1 - 2 years

  • The Master of Philosophy program aims to provide research training that develops independent research skills including:
    • ability to formulate a significant problem;
    • mastery of appropriate conceptual and methodological frameworks;
    • capacity for articulate and critical analysis.
  • Admission requires a Bachelor degree with Honours but students may be admitted after completing a Graduate Diploma and having significant work experience.
  • It is possible to transfer to a PhD program after 1 year full-time if the work in the MPhil course is considered to be a suitable standard.

Doctoral Degree
(Doctor of Philosophy - PhD)
Duration = usually 3 years

  • The Doctoral Degree is the highest award offered by Australian universities. Although traditional PhDs are research degrees, some programs may have a coursework component.
  • There are three components to a Doctoral Degree:
    • a review of relevant literature, experimentation, or other systemic approaches to a body of knowledge.
    • an original research project resulting in a significant contribution to knowledge and understanding and/or the application of knowledge within a discipline or field of study.
    • a substantial and well-ordered thesis, demonstrating the relationship of the research to the broader framework of the discipline or field of study.

4. INTERNATIONAL STUDENT NUMBERS

Australia is now a world leader in the provision of education to overseas students, who study at all levels within Australian universities and in all disciplines.

Australian Education International (AEI) provide excellent up-to-date information on international education enrolment:

There were 410,925 international students from 193 countries studying on a student visa in Australia in 2013. This represents a 2.3 per cent increase over 2012 figures.

5. ENTRY POINTS, ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students need to meet both a sufficient level of English language proficiency and the minimum academic requirements before they can be admitted to an Australian university.

  1. ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

Institutions are free to determine the academic requirements for entry to their courses. These requirements depend on:

  • The level and content of the study the student has completed in Australia or their home country;
  • The level and academic standards of the institution at which they completed their study.

In general, however, the following criteria apply for undergraduate and postgraduate courses:

  1. UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

Undergraduate degrees require an Australian Senior School Certificate of Education (Year 12) or the overseas equivalent of this. Some degrees may also have certain pre-requisite subjects and grades.

For international students who have attended an Australian High School, entry to higher education institutions is normally based on completion of Year 12 and determined by the student's tertiary entrance score or rank.

A tertiary admissions centre then assesses a student's tertiary entrance rank in the same way as for domestic students:

State/Territory

Tertiary Admission Centre

Northern Territory

Charles Darwin University

NSW & ACT

Universities Admissions Centre (UAC)

Queensland

Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC)

South Australia

South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC)

Tasmania

University of Tasmania

Victoria

Victoria Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC)

Western Australia

Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC)

Most universities have specialised pathway programs, such as Foundation courses or Diploma programs that enable international students who do not meet academic requirements to gain entry.

  1. POSTGRADUATE COURSES

Entry to postgraduate courses requires completion to a satisfactory standard of a Bachelor degree. Prospective students may also need to demonstrate research ability or relevant work experience.

6. COSTS OF AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS

University courses in Australia are comparable to those in other English speaking countries. For example, the cost of a Bachelor of Arts may be:

Location

Yearly Cost

Australia

$A20,000

USA (public university)

$A20,000

USA (private university)

$A40,000

UK

$A18,000

In the Australian education system, some degrees are slightly shorter than in other countries. For example, some Bachelor degrees take three years in Australia but four years in the USA.

7. QUALITY ASSURANCE OF AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES

Some of the measures that operate to safeguard and improve quality of Australia's Universities include:

  • The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)
  • Universities Australia (Universities Australia)
  1. THE TERTIARY EDUCATION QUALITY AND STANDARDS AGENCY

TEQSA is an independent body with powers to regulate university and non-university higher education providers, monitor quality and set standards. TEQSA registers providers, carries out evaluations of standards and performance, protects and assures the quality of international education and streamlines current regulatory arrangements. 

  1. UNIVERSITIES AUSTRALIA

Universities Australia is the peak body representing Australian Universities and operates a Code of Ethical Practice in the Provision of Education to International Students by Australian Universities, and associated Guidelines.

The code provides ethical practice guidelines for universities about promotion and marketing, and agents and partners. It also provides information about:

  • the admission of students,
  • arrival and orientation,
  • student support,
  • fee-charging and refunds,
  • university infrastructure,
  • returning home support.

The Code of Practice provides overseas students with clear assurances in respect of:

  • maintaining academic standards,
  • being accurate and honest in the provision of information to prospective students,
  • the welfare of international students,
  • being sensitive to the culture, customs and linguistic needs and characteristics of international students,
  • delivering to students the commitments made to them by education agents or others representing the University,
  • the refund policy for overseas students.
  1. ENTRY STANDARDS

While entry levels are fairly uniform for entry into Australian university degrees, different universities do have different requirements for entry into similar courses. The relative academic levels can illustrate which universities are considered better. This can show how, in general, academically more able students choose one university over another to do a similar course.

  1. GROUPS OF UNIVERSITIES

Universities that share common characteristics have formed groups and networks that to some extent illustrate differences in focus and objectives between groups of universities and the commonalities of those within the group. These groups may be linked through a formal network, such as the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) and the Regional Universities Network which have their headquarters situated in a regional centre. All Australian universities are members of Universities Australia, the peak body representing the university sector:

Group of 8 (Go8)

These are research intensive universities and are amongst the oldest in Australia.

They are regularly listed towards the top of any ranking scheme that includes Australian universities.

They also:

  • receive over 70% of national research grants,
  • employ 80% of university researchers,
  • produce 60% of research publications,
  • generate 80% of the most highly cited university publications.

The members are:

  • University of Adelaide
  • Australian National University
  • University of Melbourne
  • Monash University
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Western Australia

Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN)

This is a grouping of five universities that share a common focus regarding the practical application of tertiary studies and research.

The members are:

  • Curtin University of Technology
  • University of South Australia
  • RMIT University
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • Queensland University of Technology

Innovative Research Universities Australia (IRU Australia)

This is a grouping of seven universities, established as research-based universities with:

  • a comprehensive disciplinary coverage,
  • a strong commitment to innovation,
  • an inter-disciplinary focus.

The members are:

  • Charles Darwin University
  • Flinders University
  • Griffith University
  • James Cook University
  • La Trobe University
  • Murdoch University
  • The University of Newcastle

Regional Universities

These are universities that serve the needs of a regional area in Australia:

  • Central Queensland University
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Deakin University
  • James Cook University
  • La Trobe University
  • The University of New England
  • The University of Newcastle
  • University of Ballarat
  • University of Southern Queensland
  • University of the Sunshine Coast
  • University of Tasmania
  • University of Wollongong

International groupings

One of the most noteworthy groups that includes these Australian universities is Universitas 21:

  • University of Melbourne,
  • University of New South Wales,
  • University of Queensland.

8. INTERNATIONALISATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA

Internationalisation is developing within higher education in the following areas:

AREA

DEVELOPMENT

Curriculum

Many degrees have learning materials that reflect:

  • the international content of subject matter,
  • the possible international profile of students undertaking a program.

Student mobility & exchange

Most universities are promoting the benefits of:

  • domestic students undertaking a portion of their studies (and work experience) in another country,
  • international students undertaking their 'study abroad' in Australia.

Institutional partnerships

  • Universities have formed a number of international groups and bi-lateral arrangements to collaborate in research and increasingly in the delivery of specified programs.
  • Private providers tend to be forming partnerships with public universities that target the international education market.

International Students

  • International students have become very visible on Australian campuses and they represent from 10% to 30% of the total student population.
  • Some universities have specific campuses that are predominately populated by international students.
  • International alumni associations have become important in both recruitment and in advocating for a particular institution.

Structural administration

  • While Universities have a variety of administrative structures, their international activities are headed by a senior management position such as Deputy or Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International).
  • Typically an administrative Director of an International Office manages the strategic and procedural issues.
  • In some cases an autonomous unit is dedicated to international students and international recruitment can exist separate from the main university administration.
  • Some universities have off-shore administrative staff and/or marketing staff and/or offices aiding their activities in that country.

Program delivery

Universities have begun to develop means of delivering their programs that increase access for international students such as:

  • flexible web-based delivery (including distance education),· off-shore campuses,
  • off-shore twinning arrangements,
  • off-shore partners that deliver all or part of their course(s).

In some cases, regional Australian universities have established metropolitan campuses due to the attraction of the larger cities to international students rather than less popular rural and smaller town environments.

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